Once you have been knitting for a little while, you might find yourself lusting after all manner of fancypants equipment, and there is a lot of it out there. But what do you really need, and for the beginners, what are the things that you will find most useful?
In a short series, I’m going to take a look at some of the notions that you might come across in shops, online, or even at knit night in other people’s knitting bags (that part is always fun). I’ll be talking about what these implements are, where they came from, and what you’re supposed to do with them. I’ll review a few items and give some recommendations as well that I think will be useful in your knitting notion arsenal.
I think that we all have our favourite gadgetry, from pretty stitch markers to clickable row counters, so to be frank with you about my own biases, and to start us off, here’s a look into my own knitter’s kit bag.
I keep all of my everyday knitting tools (other than needles) in this little zipped pouch. It measures about 20cm by 15cm and is a handy size to pop into a capacious handbag along with my knitting, notebook, and other vital day-to-day things. Not so handy for trying to stuff into a vintage clutch bag however. Lucky that I don’t use one of those often.
Above, you can see what I like to stuff inside that tiny bag. In fact, I realised after taking the photograph that there is even more, and that I had left out my 6″ steel rule and cloth tape measure, as they were being used to measure a tension square yesterday.
So, these are my basics. I don’t use them all for each project that I work on, and some aren’t used for knitting at all, such as the badges, but they are certainly all called on regularly. Here’s a list, more or less starting at the top right and working along in rows:
- General craft scissors
- ‘Safety’ stitch markers
- Sewing scissors (actually nail scissors, but don’t tell anyone)
- Pens for adding notes, tallys or general doodling on pattern print-outs
- A good assortment of darning needles
- A loupe*
- Cable caps and a cable key for my knit pro circular needles
- A stitch ripper (more for sewing than knitting, really)
- Two needle gauges: one from a 1980s Women’s Weekly, one modern
- A dog-tag with kitchener stitch instructions
- Assorted sizes of stitch holders
- Two sizes of cable needles
- Safety pins
- Woven labels for sewing into finished garments
- A stitch counter (never used)
- Some cable connectors for making my interchangeable needles longer
- Badges – you never know when you might need your ravelry badge, in particular (I’m IngridMurnane over there)
- Three small, but differently sized crochet hooks (not for crochet)
- Dental floss for making lifelines
- A tin of many stitch markers (large and small sizes)
*I have to admit that you probably won’t need a loupe in your knitter’s kit bag; not least because it weighs a ton. A loupe is a magnifier often seen used by jewellers. They are also used when curators and the like are looking at and assessing fabrics and stitching on textiles. I most often use mine to look really closely at stitch patterns, labels on garments and to see how things are joined when researching. It has been known that I’ll use my loupe to help measure tension if I’m knitting in a particularly small gauge, but really, that’s just showing off.
This little compendium, along with my tape measure is what I like to keep nearby when I am knitting. Yes, I could probably get away with a darning needle, some scissors, a tape measure and a crochet hook, (and often I do, by slipping them into my purse), but I do make good use of the other items in my knitter’s kit bag too. I often wonder if it is similar to others’ little hoards, and sometimes ask for a sneaky look at knit night.
So, I wonder: How does my knitter’s kit bag compare with yours?