Spring cleaning, tools

purple crocus and yellow daffodils emerging through leaf strewn ground

As the spring bulbs emerge, I like to give my tools some much needed TLC. The winter months are when they see the heaviest use.

The process is similar for the different types of tool. I gather them together, evaluate their condition, clean, and perform maintenance, wash the container, and put everything away properly. I don’t do it all on one day, that’s overwhelming. I spread it out over several weeks.

Below are the things I focus on during this spring cleaning.

Knitting needles and crochet hooks

Thanks to a cat who loves to chew, I now keep all needles and hooks put away. However, there are always some that end up in a bin “to be put away later.” As I sort through everything, I evaluate the condition and give everything a good wipe with a damp cloth. I use hand lotion more often in the winter and this residue can build up. This year after I clean them, I’m also working bees wax into the wooden tools, I had a few knitting needle tips split over the past few months. The dry air was not kind to them this past winter, so everything is getting a light conditioning. Don’t forget to check interchangeable cables, I’m rough on mine and use this time to evaluate which need replacement.

I also have a few containers of what I’ll term “vintage needles” that are mostly for decoration. They look nice in the background of video calls, but I don’t often use them. It doesn’t take long to check for signs of deterioration and clean away the dust.

Cutting tools

While I keep cutting tools safe from any curious felines who share my space, each spring I like to sharpen or replace blades and oil moving parts, so they cut smoothly. I also attempt to corral all the wayward seam rippers.

Pins and needles

I check for rust and make sure that storage containers still close securely. When I’m sewing, I’m apt to just toss pins onto a magnetic dish and put that away without sorting and storing properly.

Spinning and weaving tools

This year I’m giving all wood a quick conditioning. These tools receive their annual check in autumn during spinning and weaving week, held the first week in October.

Sewing Machine

My machine is susceptible to a slipped timing belt, so checking that is now part of my regular maintenance before I start a new project. During this cleaning I make sure to clean the table it’s on, give it a good blow out with compressed air, and oil all the recommended spots.

Project Bags

While these are a very different type of tool, it’s important to clean these periodically too. I tend to toss mine on the floor, especially when I’m a passenger in the car. They roll around in some pretty gross environments. I either toss them in the washing machine or hand-wash depending on how they’re made. If the weather is nice they get to dry outside in the sun, though since temperatures are still fluctuating, mine enjoyed a spot in front of the fireplace.

This is a 2022 update of a post first written in 2018.

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