Essential Knitting Equipment

Posted 9th April 2011

If you're new to knitting and visiting your local yarn emporium for the first time, it can be a bit daunting when you take stock of all the accessories and equipment on sale where do you start, do you need all of that stuff? Well, my "woolly" answer has to be yes and no (sorry about the terrible pun). You see, all of the accessories are indeed likely to be useful at one time or another, but in the same way that you wouldn't buy everything in the DIY shop if you only want to put up a fence, you may find some items more essential than others. Here are my suggestions as to what you might want to turn your attention to first...

Knitting Equipment

Knitting Needles well, I couldn't really start my list with anything else, could I? If you're buying needles just to try out knitting and have no specific pattern in mind, then I would suggest something like a 4mm knitting needle it's a good all-rounder in size and works well with most Double Knit yarns (which is the thickness of yarn I'd also suggest if you're just trying out knitting without a specific aim). In terms of what material your needles are actually made from, well that's very much a matter of personal preference, I tend to vary between metal and bamboo, but you'll find your own favourite in time.

Blunt-Ended Yarn Sewing Needle this has got to be purchase number two since it's essential for sewing up your work. The needle you buy has to have an eye sufficiently large enough to be able to thread yarn through it fairly easily, if you've got a piece of work with a lot of loose ends to sew in you're going to get pretty frustrated if you have a struggle on your hands each time you need to thread it!

Small Ruler pretty much essential for measuring your tension squares to check you've got the right knitting needle size before beginning a project. (For those who aren't familiar with the term, a tension square is a square piece of knitting worked in advance to make sure that you're getting the same size stitches as the designer did when they created the pattern - this is often measured over a 10cm square.) I prefer using a ruler for this purpose because I find that tension squares can wriggle around a bit if using a tape measure whereas I can really pin the blighter down without stretching it if I use a ruler! In addition, if you can get a ruler which also has a needle gauge in it, then so much the better. Why? Well, if you have a knitting needle and aren't sure as to its size, you just slot the needle through the series of holes in the ruler until you find the matching size and bingo! mystery solved.

Row Counter lots of rows to knit in a pattern can make it really easy to lose track of how many rows you've actually done. A row counter is designed to help you take note each time you finish a row and personally, I never work without one. There are different types of counter available, my preferred choice is a small box with a numerical display which counts up in single units each time I press the little plunger on the top of it. (The only drawback with my otherwise wonderful little gadget is that the crisp "click!" sound it makes when the button is pressed is surprisingly effective at waking up anyone else who happens to be having a snooze nearby!)

Sticky Notes not a knitting supply as such, but quite useful at helping you keep your place when working a lengthy or intricate pattern. The notes can be moved down a line at a time, and I just find them so helpful in guiding the eye right back to the relevant part of the pattern without having to re-read the whole thing each time. They're also good for scribbling on little notes you might want to add, for example if you're making some variations (e.g. working extra lines on a sock or a sleeve perhaps) and want to keep a record of them without writing on the original pattern.

Wow, this list is lengthening, isn't it? In the interests of cost control, I think I had better draw a line under it here, but just remember, as long as the item is reasonably priced, affordable and helpful to you in your knitting then go ahead and treat yourself you deserve it!

Clare


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