Last revised on 22 July 2013

Non-Sewing Roll-up Kits

These kits are of a different type than the housewife.  Where the pockets on the housewife run across the width, and rolling the housewife closes them, the pockets on these kits run parallel to the width, and an extra flap folds down to keep stuff from falling out. 


Bicycle Tool Kit

I'm surprised that the acid holes show so little in these photographs.  I once kept this kit in a saddle bag with a sealed battery that wasn't sealed quite so well as it should have been.

The tie is sewn to the edge of the kit to make sure that I don't mislay it while changing a tube.  The sewing is off-center — one end of the tie is just long enough to tie a bow knot, and the other end is long enough to wrap around the case and tie.  The tie is a strip of the same fabric the roll-pouch is made of. 

I used coated nylon because that was what I had.  This was not a happy choice — the tools tend to stick to the coating. (The stickiness increased with age, and eventually I got fed up and made a new tool kit.)

You make a kit of this sort by finishing a rectangle of fabric all the way around, then folding up one edge to make a pocket.  Or you finish one edge, fold it up to make a pocket, and finish the other three edges in a way that secures the ends of the pocket.

Now lay the tools out on the fabric and mark where the stitching for the pockets should be.  If you use pins to mark the stitching line, you can try the things in the pockets to see whether they fit.  Give thought to how the kit will roll when laying out the tools.  In this case, the two patch-kit boxes are placed at the extreme left to form a rod around which the other tools can be wrapped.

The pockets are separated by a single line of stitching that undulates across the kit.  It begins at the fold, at the bottom of the patch-kit pocket, runs up to the hem, makes a smooth U-turn, runs back down about a quarter inch from its first path to allow space for rolling, makes a wider smooth U-turn when it is deep enough to hold the screwdriver, runs back to the hem, makes another dip to hold the crescent wrench, and so forth.  It returns to the fold after making the pocket for the tire irons.  The left-over space was left as one big pocket which originally served as a wrap for the kit, but over the years it has filled up with extras.

tool kit for a bicycle

Here everything has been dumped out of the pockets — possibly the first time they have all been empty at once.  One of the patch-kit boxes contains supplies for repairing my hide; the other still contains supplies for repairing a punctured tube.  Fading, wear, low contrast between the pink sticker that says "1st aid" and the original red label, and unskilled photography cause the two boxes to appear identical in the photograph.  The green handles of the pliers also fade into the green fabric.

The empty plastic bottle originally contained a teaspoon of olive oil for cleaning grease off my hands after repairs.  Luckily, the thick paper towel wrapped around it soaked it all up.  After taking the picture, I replaced the bottle of oil with a salve-box of a nearly-solid hand cream.  This isn't nearly as good at cleaning my hands, but it's quite certain not to leak. The other towel-wrapped object is a coffee spoon, which I called a "refueling implement" when I used to buy yogurt along the way.  ("Fruit" yogurt is loaded with jam, and is a very good source of sugar.) 

In the curl of the paper towel that was around the oil bottle, you glimpse a film can which contains a complete sewing kit.  The film-can sewing kit is described in the text file about tools, and there are pictures of it on its own page.

In 2013 I replaced this kit and took notes.


Knitting Needles and Crochet Hooks

rolled-up needle cases
The pocketing-twill knitting-needle case, like the bike-tool case, has a tie permanently attached, The knitting-needle case uses a length of narrow ribbon instead of a strip of self fabric.

The plaid crochet-hook case was originally secured by a piece of half-inch tape, but it wasn't sewn to the kit and has been lost. The kit seems to stay rolled without it, partly because it spends most of its time resting in a box on the shelf,

crochet-hook case unrolled
partly because there is a generous flap to cover the ends of the hooks,
crochet-hook case open
and partly because the contents are all pretty much the same size and shape. Three of the hooks — the two finest steel hooks and the one with the wooden handle — have metal sheaths to protect the hooks. To the right of the steel hooks you see a pocket of "weaving needles": blunt, long-eyed doll needles that are useful stitch holders for knitting. They are stored here because everything has to be someplace. To the right of the needles is an aluminum hook still in the original wrapper.

I took advantage of a selvage to avoid an awkward hem on the pocket openings.

Instead of two parallell rows of stitching, as in the tool kit, zig-zag stitching spaces the pockets for rolling. For decoration, and to avoid having to finish the ends, the zig-zagging runs the full width of the case. The pocket stitching matches the stitching used to secure the fringed edge finish. I appear to have folded up the pocket flap and permanent-basted it before ravelling out the fringe, so that the same row of zig-zag could secure both fringe and pocket. The threads of the zig-zagging were cut to match the fringe and otherwise unsecured.

double-point case open

Only a single row of stitching divides the pockets in the knitting-needle case, with all ease for rolling provided by slop in the way the round needles fit into the pockets. The tops of the stitching lines are secured by backstitching. Bar tacks would have been better, but the fabric is strong and the backstitching has held up well.

This case started out as a spoon case, but before making the fork and knife cases, I realized that keeping my silverware in roll cases was a stupid idea, so when I needed a case for knitting needles, I already had one. Knitting needles are longer than spoons, so the flap isn't nearly long enough, but the tie keeps things in line. The larger needles fit the spoon holders nicely; I divided pockets in half with new rows of stitching to keep the smaller needles in line. The pocket flap ends in french seams, and the second stitching of the french seam is also the edge stitching of the hems at the end of the case. The edge of the fold-over flap is a selvage.

Coming Soon

Roll kits for wrenches and chisels

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