Are you new to knitting? It can be easy to get overwhelmed and unsure of what tools you should invest in, especially as you're starting out. Beyond the yarn and needles, here are my top 5 must-have tools for your knitting bag.
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1) A Measuring Tape
A flexible measuring tape is essential for checking gauge and tracking progress in your knitting projects. It is also important for measuring bodies - your own or someone you're knitting for - if you are making accessories or garments.
A retractable measuring tape is handy for slipping in your knitting bag and keeps the tape tidy. It also stops you from grabbing the wrong end (happens to me every time) when you're measuring. They do go missing easily (at least in my experience as I cannot find mine right now).
2. Tapestry Needle
Weaving in the ends of yarn after binding-off your stitches is many knitters least favourite thing, but having the right tools will make it go much quicker. A tapestry needle with a hole big enough for your yarn is essential for finishing your knitting projects right.
There are two different styles typically used in working with yarn - straight tip and curved tip. The curved style is meant to maneuver more easily around the worked stitches of your knitting but it is really down to preference (and budget since the curved tend to be more expensive).
3. Stitch Markers
Stitch makers help to keep track of progress in your project. If you're knitting any project that has sections or a reminder to change stitches, it is important to mark certain elements. Stitch markers can be used to mark the beginning of the round, the edging or border, the sleeve or body stitches or sections of lace repeats.
My favourite stitch markers are these Clover Soft Stitch Ring Markers which are great for newer knitters because they are thin (meaning no noticeable gaps in your work) and there are two sizes to fit a variety of needles.
Eventually, you will need to separate your project from your ball of yarn (hopefully at the end of knitting and not because you need to manage a tangled mess).
While it isn't as essential as sewing to have a dedicated pair of scissors for your knitting, it is still a good idea to keep a pair handy in your knitting bag. You don't want to cut your yarn with your kid's crafts scissors that are covered in glue or use the kitchen scissors and get yarn fibres in your dinner.
Craft or embroidery scissors work best for cutting yarn. I particularly like these Stork style embroidery scissors from which the design apparently stems from 19th-century midwifery tools (you can pick a pair up from Michaels or Amazon.ca.
5. A Crochet Hook
Ok, I know, a crochet hook seems like an odd thing for a knitter to need but it comes in handy, in particular when fixing mistakes! Dropped stitches in particular are much easier to pick up with a crochet hook.
You want to try and pick a hook (or two) that are similar or slightly smaller in size to the needle size you're working with the most. A smaller hook is going to be good for smaller needles or lighter weighted yarn whereas a larger hook is better for bigger needles and heavier yarn.
A set like this from Michaels may be a good investment or you can just pick up individual hooks to meet your needs.
Here's a link to a video (not mine) on how to pick up stitches using a crochet hook.
6. A Project Bag
If your knitting project is still in the plastic bag that you got when you bought your yarn (no judgement, we've all done it), it's time to upgrade to a project bag. Any cloth bag will do but it is fun to invest in a dedicated project bag (or two). I have a few projects in reusable shopping bags and a few in random tote bags but I really enjoy my knitting themed bags.
One of my favourite knitting totes is the Kitty Pile Tote from Knit Picks (pictured above). There are lots of great shops on Etsy too that have themed bags specific for knitting or you can pick on that has lots of pockets to keep your tools organized.
What do you think about my list? Is there anything I missed? Let me know in the comments below.
Until next time, happy knitting!