Top 10 Knitting Tools
Thursday, March 10th, 2011 by Rhonda Bell
Having the right knitting tools and notions can make the difference between a frustrating or enjoyable knitting experience and can effect how your knitted items turn out. Below is a list of the top 10 Knitting tools that every knitter should have.
1. Knitting Needles
Knitting Needles are the most important tool in knitting. They come in a variety of styles and materials.
Knitting needles styles include: straight, circular, and double-pointed. Straight knitting needles are usually available in 10 inch and 14 inch lengths. These are the knitting needles that usually come to mind when thinking about knitting.
Circular knitting needles are needles that are connected together with a cord. The cord is usually plastic but may be created out of other materials. The needles at each end of the cord are typically shorter then straight knitting needles. Circular knitting needles are available in 16, 24, and 36 inch lengths. They are often used to knit in the round. But also make knitting flat pieces easier by allowing the fabric to be held on the cable and thus reducing the amount of weight being held on each knitting needle.
Double-pointed knitting needles, often referred to DPNs, are knitting needles with points at both ends. They are sold in sets of 4 or 5 needles. DPNs come in 6 and 8 inch lengths. They are used to knit in the round, especially for small tubular pieces such as socks and hats.
My favorite set of needles is my Denise Interchangeable Knitting Needles Set.
It has 10 different size needles from size 5 to 17 and 6 different length of cable. I can use my set for almost any project. I can use them as circular and knit in the round or as straights. I like them so much, I have 3 different sets, including a Pink one.
2. Knit Gauge
One of the best things you can do help with the success of your knitting projects, is to knit a gauge swatch. Gauge is very important in getting knitted items the right size. I use a knit gauge with a ruler to measure a gauge swatch before starting my project and while I’m knitting the project to insure I’m still knitting at the same tension. There are many different type of knit gauges but I like the ones that also include a knitting needle size check.
I always carry a set or two of scissors with me in my knitting bag. I like ones that have a sharp point so that I can cut close to the fabric with precision.
4. Crochet Hook
Before I started knitting, I had been crocheting for years. I have a whole set of different size crochet hooks. For my knitting, I use them to help me pick up dropped stitches, create provisional cast-ons, and to add crochet borders to blankets and garments.
5. Stitch Markers
Stitch markers are used to help keep track of the number of stitches in a row or to indicate where a stitch pattern starts or ends. I have lots of different stitch markers. I have simple ring ones in various diameters to fit on different size needles and hand-made ones that are jump rings with beads attached. There are also locking/unlocking stitch markers and split markers that can be used to mark a stitch on a row. They can be removed later when the knitting project is complete.
6. Row Counter
Another important knitting notion for keeping track of your knitting is a row counter. I carry several of these too. There are also different types of row counters. Some go directly on you knitting needle. These are used on straight knitting. There are also hanging ones, these are used with circular knitting needles. Another type of row counter is the hand held row counter. It has a clicker that you click to count the row. For all these different types of row counters, you set the counter at the completion the row.
7. Stitch Holders
Sometimes a pattern will call for you to take stitches off your knitting needle and keep them to the side while you continue your knitting. You can use specially designed stitch holders for this. I also use stitch holders when I’m in the middle of a knitting project but need to use the knitting needle for another project. I then move all the stitches to a stitch holder. Later, the stitch holder makes it easy to get the stitches back on the needle.
8. Cable Needles
Cable needles are a special kind of knitting needle used specifically to hold stitches in the front of or behind your knitting so that the stitches can be picked up and knitted after knitting other stitches first. This is what allows the stitches to cross each other and create cable stitches. There are several different shapes of cable needles. There are curved cable knitting needles and straight cable knitting needles.
9. Tapestry Needles
Another essential knitting notion is a tapestry needle. Make sure the needle has a blunt end rather then a pointed one.
10. Knitting Bags
I have several different knitting bags. I have large ones for carrying bigger projects like sweaters. And I have much smaller ones for carrying my sock knitting projects. I also have a couple of zippered knitting notion bags to keep all the knitting notions together. I don’t think you can have too many knitting bags, especially if you are like me and have lots of different knitting projects going on at the same time!
What are your favorite knitting tools or supplies? Leave your answer in the comments.