What’s in Your Knitting Kit?

Posted by on Apr 17, 2013 in Knitting | Comments


A Basic Knitter's Kit

To start knitting, you only need two things: a pair of needles and a ball of yarn. If you want to finish a project, though, you’ll need a few more items. So what does an experienced knitter keep in a knitting kit?

A tapestry needle – The most basic tool in any knitter’s kit, a tapestry needle is a large sewing needle, with an eye big enough to accommodate bulky yarn. You’ll use the needle to weave in the tails of yarn left after you bind off your project.

Stitch markers – These small rings slip on your needles to mark particular points in your pattern. Some markers can be clipped directly onto a stitch if you need to mark a spot on the project itself to come back to later in the pattern.

Stitch holders – A stitch holder is like a large safety pin. When a pattern calls for you to set some stitches aside to come back to later, you will slip those stitches onto a holder.

Row counters – Many patterns require you to keep track of how many rows you have knit. Some counters slip onto your needle and have a number dial you change after each row. Some have a simple button you click. And, yes, there are smart phone apps for that.

A measuring tape – A lot of patterns call for a number of inches, rather than a number of rows. A flexible measuring tape will be indispensable, especially when making pairs of things, like mittens or sleeves. You don’t want to guess that your sleeves are the same length.

Needle caps – When you’re taking a knitting break, you can place them on the end of your needles to ensure no stitches slip off while your project is in your knitting bag. They can also be used to turn a double-point needle into a straight needle.

As for knitting needles, there are three types: the classic straight pair, double-point needles (sold in sets of 4 or 5), and circular needles. Keep knitting and you will eventually use each kind of needle. Some projects require the use of more than one kind.

Straight needles are used for most of your rectangular projects, like scarves and washcloths.

Circular needles are two needle heads connected to a cord. They are necessary for larger projects, like blankets. They are also used for projects that are worked in the round, like hats or the body of a seamless sweater. These needles vary by needle size and by cord length, from 9 inches to 60 inches. Frequent knitters might want to invest in a circular needle kit, which offers greater flexibility. Rather than buying a needle for each project, a kit allows you to customize the cord length and the needle size. Plus, if your project calls for changing needle size partway through, all you have to do is scrunch your stitches onto the cord and switch out the needle heads.

Double-point needles are used for smaller projects joined in the round, like mittens or the crown of a hat. Often, you will start a project on circular needles, then switch to double points as you get close to binding off.

Happily, most of these tools are fairly cheap and you’ll use them for years. So stock up and keep on knitting!

What other tools do you find helpful to have handy?

In case you missed it learn five ways to cast on your next knitting project or explore knitting backwards. And come back to the Craftsy blog on Friday for a beautiful free knitting pattern!

Comments

  1. Lois M. Morgan says:

    I have scissers in my knitting , pen or pencil and paper to wrote things down on if need to.

  2. Jane Stewart says:

    My very favorite row counter is the Abelet Knitting Abacus bracelet!

  3. anke says:

    I always have a crochet hook and waste yarn in mine- great ideas- today is the perfect day to sort out the knitting kit!

  4. Darlene Krystal says:

    I’m finding that with learning fair isle knitting graph paper is becoming quite handy to have as part of my knitters kit…and now that I learned the entralac technique I now have a knitters tote…..

  5. Wendy W says:

    I agree with adding the scissors and also a crochet hook in case of dropped stitches.

  6. Amelia Johnson says:

    I keep 1″ x 1½” post-it notes that I can stick on my patterns and keep track of rows, or any changes I made to the pattern, or where I was when I stopped. That way I don’t mark up my actual pattern, and it stays pristine for the next time I want to use it, or lend it to a friend.

  7. Lori Sue Johnson says:

    I also have an emery board, several crochet hooks and a travel size of hand lotion.

  8. tmgray says:

    Thanks for the info! It was incredibly helpful!

  9. lynnette says:

    I keep a nail file, and hand lotion because I don’t like to knit with rough nails or hands. I keep tissues, a tea bag, a small notebook, and a pencil. for notes.

  10. LaJuana says:

    Scissors. 6″ flexible ruler. Needle gauge. Crochet hook. Cable needle.

  11. Bobbie says:

    Slip Stitches project bags, needle nook scissor fob and pattern wallet ….because all those things need a place to live <3

  12. I include a couple post it notes, to keep track of rows on a pattern. I use those little plastic squares that come with your bag of bread for yarn bobbins. A needle gauge is a must have. I also have an empty dental floss container to cut yarn…in case the airlines take my scissors! I keep small hair barrettes to keep yarn ball tails neat and tidy. A small crochet hook too!

    Sheila
    Craftsy Instructor
    Classic Cabled Cowl Workshop

  13. Judy says:

    Don’t forget a crochet hook for fixing dropped stitches and other mistakes.

  14. Marylouise says:

    I always have my Knit Kit with me. It has everything I need, and is small.

  15. Kathy Barth says:

    You also need a crochet hook to use when picking up dropped stitches or to catch them before they really run. I have found and old, small latch hook that I use for dropped stitches and it locks around the dropped stitch.

  16. Rebecca J. Loos says:

    I have a bag for traveling with all of my yarn, any patterns, a ruler, and my portfolio (of patterns of my own making).
    Within the bag there is a “kit” that I knitted and sewed together. There are pockets for at least 3 sets of circular needles, with one pocket fitting in a set of double-pointed needles. There is a pocket for scissors and a writing utensil or crochet hook. On the opposite side there is zipped pocket with rings for marking, clothing labels, thread, sewing needles, extra yarn needles, a counter, and needle caps. There is even a location above this pocket for yarn needles most often used and a cabling needle.

    I used to also lose my supplies within my bag, but creating a special pocket for most items has been really REALLY useful!

  17. Cecilia says:

    I keep several small and large safety pins and a pair of tweezers with handles. The large safety pins I use to hold stitches for cable work and the tweezers help me sew or join items together without having to thread a needle and also without splitting the yarn in the stitches or work I am joining.

  18. Terri -TN says:

    I also keep a crochet hook in my tool box in case I accidentally drop a stitch. Also keep a needle gauge as well as a cable needle.

  19. Kay M says:

    I keep a small emery board to repair a fingernail that catches on the yarn.

  20. SUSAN WARD says:

    As I mainly write patterns for bears and toys I have safety eyes and safety noses in different sizes and colours, embroidery thread and a demon 8ins/20cms darning needle (for attaching arms and legs!). A red crayon pencil for blushing cheeks assorted buttons and ribbons and, of course, my lovely yarns and knitting needles…..where would I be without those?

  21. Demdike says:

    I have a tiny crochet hook in mine to help with picking up dropped stitches.

  22. Patricia says:

    I am very new to knitting as I only learned it in March of this year. So far I have successfully bid on ebay for some needles. This post is therefore quite invaluable for me so I can get some of the essential items required to pursue this craft. Thanks Craftsy.

  23. Rina says:

    I also have a small crochet needle to pick up lost stitches

  24. I love, love, love my Puppy Snips and keep them attached to the zipper pull of my clear plastic bag.
    I also have a Susan Bates “Knit-Chek”, for checking needle sizes and measuring my gauge swatch.
    I always have a little bit of cotton yarn for waste yarn or an impromptu yarn holder and a crochet hook or tool for fixing mistakes.
    I keep my stitich markers in a clear plastic bead tube.

  25. Kimberly Dzingel says:

    A crochet hook for fixing dropped stitches and a pair of scissors.

  26. Connie a says:

    I love my tapestry needle holder to make it easy to keep track and pick up those pesky little buggers. Also, a crochet hook is handy to catch dropped stitches.

  27. Joy says:

    a crochet hook to catch run away stitches

  28. Kathy Agusta says:

    Post its!! Helps keep track of where I am in a pattern and I can make notes on them if I need to!

  29. Stephanie Mayfield says:

    I do not just have tools I have a bag. It is section off and I keep my glasses, pencils and colored, ones too (for beads}, inside is my yarns, books, papers straight needles, measuring tape, marks of all colors, counters, crochet hooks scissors, stitch holders, Needle caps and circular caps, beads that I am usings in a project, Everything is organized. I use alot of heavy duty ziplock bags to keep things sorted. I can pull when what I need from one bag. and somethings I can pulled from another bag if need be..The tote goes with me everywhere.

  30. Billie Geist says:

    A needle gauge to measure the size of dpns and other non-marked needles

    A bit of ‘waste’ yarn for invisible cast-ons or lifelines for lace or as temp stitch holders

    Hand cream, nail clippers

    Post-its to place under written pattern rows, especially for lace or complicated patterns

  31. Tamara Morgan says:

    I also have a tape measure and, like Lois above, have a pen and paper to make notes. Also a cable stitch holder and a crochet hook for picking up dropped stitches.

  32. Elida Hamilton says:

    I have crochet hooks for picking up dropped stitches and weaving in. I have post-it notes to help me mark what line I am on in my pattern and to take notes. I also have a small notebook to jot down design ideas or notes related to knitting ie., new websites I come across. I also keep a straight 6 inch ruler to measure inches in addition to a measuring tape.

  33. Wendy says:

    My Girly Swiss army knife-it has scissors, a nail file, knife, and tweezers.

  34. marilyn deida says:

    i carry scisers, safety pins for marking rows, crochet hooks, pattern, nail file, measuring tape,pen for writing ideas,rows,changes,date,little notebook or paper,sewing needles,a big hair clip to hold items i am sewing, other pieces of yarn ,and a completed asimiliare project.

  35. Jessie says:

    hi, can anyone guide me from where i can buy knitting kit with all the necessary knitting tools……

    1. MT-MOONCHASER says:

      I doubt if there is such a kit, as there are so many items that depend on personal taste and experience.

      In the author’s list are several that I think are optional. There are items listed in the article that I have never owned, such as stitch markers and row counters and needle caps. I usually just tie a piece of contrasting yarn into a loop to use as a stitch marker or use a paper clip. When I am knitting something long and need to keep track of rows, I usually just put a safety pin every 10th row. If I am worried about stitches coming off the needles when the project is put away, I just wrap a rubber band around the needle near the point.

      And if I were to start over again, I would probably not have a regular straight needle in my collection, since I find that circular needles are so much more versatile.

      Other things that I find essential are the needle gauge, crochet hook, scissors, safety pins, and rubber bands. I don’t use a cable needle, I just use one of a set of double pointed needles in the size I am knitting. I have found that extra circular needles and double point needles with rubber bands work fine as stitch holders with the added plus of being able to knit right onto and off of them without having to transfer the stitches.

      A cosmetic bag will do in the beginning to hold all the little items that are prone to be lost. An “office on the go” bag might also be an option. The craft stores such as JoAnn;s and Michaels have items that are designed for hauling around or storing your set of “must haves” As you gain experience, you will accumulate your own set of preferred items.

  36. Bayan says:

    I also have a board divided into 4 with holes at the top for keeping unused pegs, and each section has a row of holes marked 1-10 with another row beneath it marked 10-100. each section is named : rows, pattern rows, increases, decreases. The pegs I use are from an old flower loom.I have had this for almost 35 years.
    The whole thing measures 11inches by 8inches. I made it myself so it’s not perfect but I wouldn’t be without it.

  37. I think you might want a small pair of scissors, too.

  38. Barbara Sullivan says:

    My handiest gadget is a dental tool. It has a crochet hook at one end and a sharp angled point at the other. The pointed end is great for helping to unravel knots in the yarn, while the crocchet hook end is terrific for dropped stitches.

  39. Joy McGuffin says:

    My husband is a fisherman so I call my kit my “tackle box” and keep everything mentioned above plus my personalized labels, a needle and thread for sewing them into my work, a wine bottle cork cut in half to use for point protectors, and an eraser pen for when I am working on charts or making notes on patterns. I don’t leave home without my kit and my knitting.