While knitting needles and yarn are undoubtedly the fundamental requirements for your knitting tool kit, there are several other tools that can enhance your knitting experience and take your projects to the next level. In this post, I will share five essential tools every knitter should consider adding to their toolbox. From ensuring precise measurements to providing effortless stitch corrections, these tools are bound to help you make your next project that much better. (affiliate links)
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1. Stitch Markers
Stitch markers are small, often colorful, rings or clips that are invaluable for keeping track of your stitches. They come in a variety of sizes and materials, such as plastic, metal, or even beaded designs. Stitch markers help you mark specific stitches, sections, or pattern repeats, allowing you to easily identify the beginning or end of a round, or indicate where shaping or pattern changes occur. They prevent confusion and save you from unnecessary unraveling, making complex projects much more manageable.
I find my favorites are simple round markers that are just slightly bigger than the needles I am using. These are easy to see and slip and don’t get caught on your yarn like more fancy dangly type stitch markers. I also tend to like the hard plastic better than the soft rubber type so they glide easily on my needles.
2. Row Counter
A row counter is a handy tool for keeping track of the number of rows or pattern repeats in your knitting project. It eliminates the need to rely on memory or manual tallying, which can be prone to errors and distractions. Row counters are available in both mechanical and digital forms, including standalone devices or convenient apps for smartphones. With a row counter, you can focus on your knitting without worrying about losing count and ensure consistent and accurate results.
Tip for counting rows: Be sure to choose how you will track your rows and stick with that method for all of your projects. As in, will you mark your row at the beginning when you start the row, or at the end when you finish it? I always mark it when it is complete. That way I never have to remember if I marked it or not if I leave in the middle of a row.
3. Gauge Checker
Accurate measurements are crucial in knitting, whether you’re sizing a garment or determining the length of a scarf. A gauge ruler/checker is an essential tool for every knitter. You need accurate stitch counts when trying to match gauge to a pattern to ensure proper fit. Look for a checker with both metric and imperial measurements, ensuring compatibility with patterns from different regions. A metal checker like the one below is better than plastic or wood which can warp and give inaccurate measurements.
4. Cable Needles
Cable knitting adds beautiful texture and intricate designs to your projects, but it can be challenging without the right tools. Cable needles are specialized knitting needles, usually short and with a U or hook shape, designed to hold stitches temporarily while you work on other stitches. They prevent your cable stitches from unraveling, allowing you to cross stitches and create stunning cable patterns with ease. Cable needles come in different materials and sizes, catering to various yarn weights and personal preferences. If you plan on trying your hand at cables, using these will ensure your frustrations will be kept at bay while moving stitches to the front or back of others.
Cable needle tip: Choose cable needles that are similar in size to the needles you are using for your project. Not only will this keep your loops and gauge consistent while working stitches, but you can learn to knit right off of the cable needle to minimize having to slide stitches back and forth from cable needle to knitting needle.
5. Stitch Holders
When working on complex patterns or garments with multiple pieces, stitch holders are indispensable. These tools come in various forms, such as straight pins, safety pins, or locking markers, and they help you hold live stitches securely without them slipping off your needles. Stitch holders are particularly useful for setting aside stitches for later use, such as when shaping necklines, shoulders, or pockets. With stitch holders, you can maintain the integrity of your knitting and ensure a smooth transition when returning to those stitches.
While knitting needles and yarn form the foundation of any knitting project, incorporating the right tools into your knitting kit can significantly improve your overall knitting experience. Stitch markers, row counters, gauge checkers, cable needles, and stitch holders are invaluable additions that enhance your efficiency, accuracy, and creativity. With these essential tools by your side, you can embark on more intricate projects, tackle complex patterns with ease, and take your knitting skills to new heights. Happy knitting!
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