Tools of the Trade

What do you need when you first start knitting? The simple answer is two needles and yarn.  When I first started this addiction hobby, that’s all I needed. I had a project in mind (a simple cozy for my e-reader), so I bought a ball of Red Heart Super Saver (I know better now!), and two 6mm needles.

Almost six years later, my collection of knitting accoutrements has grown substantially, and there are a number of things I couldn’t do without. In my very humble opinion, these are a few tools every knitter should have.

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Row Counter

For my first project, I was improvising an e-reader cover. I was making a long rectangle which would be sewn together at the sides.  It was simple enough that I knew I would knit it as long as needed and then cast off.  Not all projects are this simple. I would be at a loss for lace patterns or cable patterns without a row counter. Row counters track where you are in your project.  They are especially handy when you have several detailed projects on the go. Didn’t touch that lace shawl for months? No worries! A quick glance at your row counter, and that bad boy is ready for knitting!

The best part: they are cheap! Don’t spend more than a few dollars on a row counter – I think I can get four in a pack from a LYS and it’s less than $10.


Measuring Tape

Again, another inexpensive tool any well stocked knitting bag shouldn’t be without. Many patterns tell you to ‘knit for ## of inches.’ Unless you have an extremely good eye for measurements, your measuring tape will become your knitting BFF.


Needle Cases

Needles, of varying sizes and types, may seem like obvious tools knitters need, so obvious that they don’t need including on this list. What becomes necessary after accumulating these assorted needles is a way to store and organize them. I have three needle cases: a roll for my straights, an expandable file (intended for receipt organization) for my circulars, and I use a pencil case to store my DPNs.


Knitting Bag

Once you’ve collected all the tools, bits, and bobs that will make your knitting life much simpler, you’ll need somewhere to keep it. I love my knitting bag, largely because the message on the front speaks so many truths, but also because it’s big enough to keep all my knitting accessories, plus a few different in-progress projects.  Find something that works for you: want to buy the biggest and best with pockets for everything you have and more? Great! Want to use one of those re-usable canvas bags that very quickly accumulate in a closet somewhere? That’s great too! Organization methods are very personal, just find something that suits what you need it for and ultimately something that makes you happy, because if it’s like my knitting bag, it will get a lot of use.


What knitting tools are your must-haves? 

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10 thoughts on “Tools of the Trade”

  1. A crochet hook to assist with dropped stitches, scissors / snips, and a needle gauge. We all know that sometimes the number gets worn off a needle due to use and a needle gauge is perfect for figuring out the size. Different sizes of stitch markers for different size needles or yarn in a contrasting color to substitute for stitch markers.

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  2. I think I’m the only one in the world who doesn’t like row counters. I always found them too clunky and found that they slowed me down way too much while knitting. But, I always kick myself when I drop a tricky stitch and realize that I don’t have a crochet hook on me to help pick it back up. It is possible, but so much more fiddly with just a needle. I also can’t live without my small crochet hook for beading.

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    1. The crochet hook has been a popular response! Even if you’re not a crocheter, they are dead handy to have!

      And interesting about the row counter. If I didn’t have that physical ‘thing’ to remind me to count, I know I would lose track of rows, but that’s just me. Happy knitting!

      Liked by 1 person

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