This begins an ongoing series where we ask knitters of all skill levels what they carry with them in their ‘knitting tool kits’ - the items they always have in their project pouches, totes, bags and fanny packs! This week, Greg (KnittingDaddy on Ravelry) shares what he’s a fan of with us.
What’s in you knitting tool kit? This is a question that I hear with some frequency. It’s a question I love to answer, because I love showing other knitters the tools I use and I love seeing what other knitters keep in their tool kits, too.
Let me show you my primary tool kit. Actually, I have two kits — a couple of little pouches that friends of mine made for me. They are perfect for keeping the various little things I find myself needing when I’m knitting. Sometimes, I’ll use one pouch more than the other, sometimes I’ll switch. If I’m working on multiple active projects, I might be using both pouches at the same time, in different project bags. The pouches are about the size of my hand and easily drop into whatever project bag I need to drop it in.
Let’s take a look at the tools I keep in my pouches!
First, there are the measuring tools. Probably the most useful tool to have is a tape measure. Small, 5-foot tape measures are often given out as promotional items. You can also find really cute tape measures and tape measure covers at your local yarn shop. In addition to a standard tape measure, I’ve discovered that a 2.5-inch acrylic square ruler is a great tool to have handy. The square ruler helps with gauge measurements, and I think it’s easier to measure the brim of a hat with a hard ruler than with a flexible tape.. You can find it at many of the big-box craft stores and quilting shops.
The next important tool to have is something to cut my yarn with. I have some snips, I have little scissors, and I have a small pocket knife. I find that I keep going back to the snips as the easiest to operate quickly. I should probably take the pocket knife out of my tool kit. I don’t really use it since I have snips or scissors.
I keep my yarn needles for weaving in ends in my tool kit. I have metal needles in various sizes. They live in the cylindrical container that they came in, and that container fits very nicely in my pouch. I particularly enjoy the needles with a slightly bent tip. The bent tip makes it easier to get the needle exactly where you want it when you’re weaving in ends. In addition to weaving in ends, these needles can double as a cable needle in a pinch.
What’s a tool kit without stitch markers? Ring markers are nice to have around, but I find that I usually get all the ring markers I need when I start a project. What’s really helpful in my tool kit is the locking stitch markers. I use them all the time to secure dropped stitches, mark certain features of my project (the right side of my work, when I started an increase/decrease, etc.). I like to attach a locking stitch marker (or two) on the container that my yarn needles live in so that I’m more likely to have one when I need it.
Every knitter makes mistakes, and I usually have several adventures in correcting errors on every project. Because of this, I keep a few tools for picking up dropped stitches handy. When I first learned how to pick up dropped stitches, I used a small crochet hook. Since then, I’ve found a few tools specifically designed for picking up and laddering dropped stitches. With all of these tools being smaller than a crochet hook, they fit in my hand better when I’m correcting mistakes. The pointed end on the metal tool makes it easy to use as a cable needle if needed. The flared point on one end of the wooden tool makes it easy to push through the fabric when laddering stitches. And hooks on both ends of the plastic Fix-A-Stitch makes it easy to fix a dropped stitch in garter. Depending on what kind of project I’m working on, at least one of these tools will be in my pouch.
Finally, I have a digital row counter that I can wear on my finger. I love the convenience of just mashing a button to increase my row count, but I find that I use this tool less and less. Over the years, I’ve had a few instances where the counter was accidentally incremented — I assume because the button was hit when it was jostled in the bag. As a result, I don’t fully trust it. But it’s still mighty convenient, so it’s stayed in my kit. For now.
Those are my go-to tools for my tool kit. I also have a couple of special-purpose measuring tools that I use frequently. Most recently, I’ve been doing a decent amount of sock knitting. As a result, I’ll drop my Sock Ruler in the project bag. I love how the curved end nestles right into the toe or heel of a sock, making it easy to get an accurate measurement.
There you have it: tools to measure my yarn, cut my yarn, and manipulate my yarn when I make mistakes. That pretty much covers my tool kit. So now I’m asking you – what’s in your knitting tool kit? Leave a comment and let me know.
Keep on knitting for the ones you love!
This post was written for us by Greg, who we affectionately know as KnittingDaddy on Ravelry. Greg is a fixture in our group boards and a regular reviewer of Knitcrate shipments on the his podcast, the Unraveling Podcast.