Crocheting is a beloved craft that brings joy, creativity, and relaxation to millions of people around the world. From intricate blankets to delicate doilies, crocheters invest time and effort into their projects, making it important to have the right tools at hand. However, not all tools are created equal, and some may be unnecessary if you are limited on funds and space. In this post, I’ll explore five tools that crocheters can do without and offer alternative solutions that will save your hard-earned money.
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1. Yarn Ball Winders
Overrated Tool: Yarn Ball Winders are often touted as essential for neatly winding skeins into center-pull balls. While they can make your yarn storage more organized, they might not be a necessity for everyone. If you use store-bought yarn, they are not necessary as the skeins in stores usually are ready to use immediately.
Alternative: Instead of investing in a yarn ball winder, try winding your yarn by hand. It might take a bit more time, but it’s a simple and effective method. If you find winding yarn by hand tedious or buy hanks regularly, your local yarn store usually offers winding services. I have a video tutorial on hand-winding center pull skeins of yarn using this link.
2. Stitch Markers
Overrated Tool: Stitch markers are often recommended for keeping track of stitches, especially in complex patterns. However, some crocheters find that they can be fiddly and get in the way.
Alternative: Instead of traditional stitch markers, try using contrasting scraps of yarn or paper clips. These alternatives serve the same purpose and are less likely to snag on your yarn or disrupt your rhythm.
3. Blocking Mats, Lace Wires and Pins
Overrated Tool: Blocking mats, lace wires, and pins are commonly used to shape and size finished projects. While they can be helpful for achieving a professional finish, they might not be essential for all projects. Plus storing these can take up valuable space in a limited size home.
Alternative: Opt for alternative blocking methods, such as steam blocking or wet blocking with towels. You can place them on your ironing board for smaller items or on carpet for larger ones. For smaller projects like hats or amigurumi, gently reshaping by hand and allowing the item to air dry can often suffice.
4. Specialized Crochet Hooks
Overrated Tool: Specialized crochet hooks, such as ergonomic or light-up hooks, are marketed as enhancing comfort and visibility. However, not everyone finds them necessary. It can be tempting to want to purchase specially designed hooks, but often they are great to look at but not as easy to use and are usually way more expensive than the more practical then standard hooks.
Alternative: Experiment with different types of standard crochet hooks to find the ones that suit your hand and style the best. Adding cushioned grips or using adhesive tapes can also make regular hooks more comfortable to use.
5. Yarn Bowl
Overrated Tool: Yarn bowls are designed to hold yarn securely while you crochet, preventing tangles and dirt. However, they can be bulky and expensive. I have a couple I have purchased over the years and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve used them.
Alternative: A simple and cost-effective solution is to use a large mason jar or a clean coffee canister. This keeps your yarn contained and protected while allowing it to smoothly unwind as you work. It’s easy to employ multiple jars/canisters to organize different yarn hues during colorwork projects. Bonus Tip: If you’re handy you can cut/drill holes in the plastic cover on your coffee canister to guide yarn through.
While there’s a myriad of crochet tools available on the market, not all of them are essential for a fulfilling crocheting experience. By evaluating your personal preferences and crocheting style, you can determine which tools are worth the investment and which ones you can comfortably do without.
Are there any crochet tools you think are overrated? Share them below and see if others agree.
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