Hi friends! This weekend I read some of my favorite knitting blogs, and I started thinking about all the wonderful tools available for knitters. I have several favorite items that help keep my knitting area and stash organized, and some tools that help facilitate easy knitting. I thought I would share my knitting tool essentials, and I certainly hope you’ll leave a comment with yours!
A Good Project Bag
A good project bag might be one of my top three essentials. A project bag is with you for the long haul — it’s going to be there for the whole duration of the project, from when you cast on to when you bind off. It will be there when you’re knitting at home, it’ll be the protective shell when you’re toting your knitting around out and about. It’ll be there for your tools, your yarn, and your pattern.
There are so many wonderful project bags available! Etsy is a great place to look, or even in your LYS. Project bags come in a variety of sizes, from teeny baby bags for the baby hat you’re knitting, to large tote-size bags for sweaters, ponchos, shawls and blankets (though there comes a time when the blanket has to stay home. It’s just too big).
If you like zippers, pockets and extra accessories, there are many options available. Or, if you’re weird like me and the idea of a zipper coming near your knitting makes you wince, there are great open-top options with draw strings, wraps, ties or folds.
My partner gave me two yarn bowls for Christmas. Before, it hadn’t ever occurred to me to use one. Either I left my yarn in the project bag, or I let it roll around where I was knitting. The yarn bowl was a game changer! No longer does my yarn drop onto the floor, pick up animal hairs and get tangled. My yarn is contained, safe and secure. I highly recommend getting one to keep your knitting easy.
Quality storage is really a lifesaver, or at least a yarn-saver. I’ve read (and heard!) many horror stories over the years about moths destroying someone’s beautiful yarn or FO.
However, we don’t need to be afraid of moths if we have a good storage option. I love to look at my yarns arranged all along some shelves, but I would rather have peace of mind and a healthy stash (without a bug infestation). So, I’ve packaged up the marjority of my stash into plastic bags, and then into the tubs themselves. Clear plastic storage tubs are very affordable and can be bought at most major grocery stores or online.
Cedar boxes or chests are another popular option, but there is a little bit of urban myth involved. Cedar contains volatile oils that are toxic to moths and to their larvae, but only in high doses. This oil dissipates over time, so the cedar chest is not going to be as effective as a plastic storage box with a tight fitting lid. Wrapping the yarn in plastic bags and then storing in the cedar box would be a better option than just placing it in the box.
I also recommend doing a monthly “stash toss” or at least a comb-through. This is simply cleaning through your stash and checking to make sure no infestation is present. It’s also a chance to play with your yarn, which is always fun 🙂
Needles that Work
Some people like to exclusively knit with wood, others prefer stainless steel. I first learned on a pair of Susan Bates aluminum needles. They were bright pink and I thought they were just the coolest. They still retain a soft spot in my heart, but my knitting needle taste has changed.
Figuring out the type of needles that “work” for you is going to be found through experience. Some of my knitting friends will only work with wooden needles, while others (myself included) prefer metal needles.
This also includes finding the right needle for the project. Some knitters find dpns too fiddly and prefer using circulars, whereas others don’t like wrestling with the long cables.
Overall, finding the right needles for you is a journey! Your preferences now may change in the future, or depending on the project. This is why I prefer not to buy needle sets, but rather to choose the needles individually.
Good blocking tools are indispensable. What is the point of spending the time, money and effort in knitting something beautiful if it never gets the complete process it needs? Most knitting is incomplete until it is blocked — a sweater won’t quite fit right, the lace shawl looks funny and crinkled, the hat won’t quite sit right. Blocking is a crucial part of the knitting process, and boy is it a pain without quality blocking tools.
I recommend getting some blocking wires and T pins (that don’t rust) at a minimum. I know some knitters really like blocking mats, but I just use an old camping pad and some towels.
An Extra Special Skein
I think we all need that one (or more…) extra-special, luxurious yarn that is simply beautiful to look at, pet, and dream about. A treasure for your stash, something inspiring and that makes you feel good.