The beginning of September always makes me think of going back to school. I grew up in an area where we never went back before Labor Day. (Mainly, I think, because high school students were needed to labor at the local tourist traps!)
No matter when we went back to school, for many kids like me school supplies are the best part of going back to school. There is nothing like having an organized pencil box full of cool stuff to use. Organizing all the new sharpeners, crayons, pencils and rulers always made me feel smarter and more prepared.
I feel the same way about having a well stocked knitter’s tool kit. I may not be in school any longer but I do still enjoy learning and not a day goes by that I don’t learn something new about knitting or quilting. Having the correct tools makes every job more enjoyable and easier to complete. (Who doesn’t hate having 1,000 ends to weave in!)
Here are some of the things I think are essential to a knitter’s tool kit:
A Knitting Bag
Lets Start with a bag: I like a box bag or zipper top bag. I really love the KSC Designs bags that we stock at The Crooked Stitch. They are well contructed and so hold up well for a very long time. All of the bags I currently use have been around for several years. I really only add to them when there is a fabric pattern I can’t live without. They are a great investment and make your tool kit look very stylish.
A Medical Kit
Inside the bag I like to keep a travel “medical” kit stocked with lots of little knitting items. These are available at your local big box store, or a dollar store – usually for less than a buck. There are any number of things to keep in this kit, here is my list:
- Stitch Markers – I like to keep at least two different kinds of stitch markers in my kit because some projects require loopy beaded stitch markers and others require just the round ring markers. It is really a personal preference, but I like to be prepared for my mood.
- Knitters Safety Pins – Knitters safety pins are really just coil-less safety pins. They are great for marking the right side of a project or for making a dropped stitch. They won’t pick the yarn and are very handy. I also use them when adding a tag to a knitted gift.
- Snips – My favorite snips don’t fit in my med box, so i just leave them loose in the bag.
- Darning Needles – I recommend three sizes so that you can thread any yarn into the eye and weave those loose ends into place ASAP. (It is best not to let them linger as they are never too much fun to deal with – and really – sweaters being worn with loose ends just look silly.)
I generally carry three different types of measuring tools in my knitters kit.
- A needle gauge so that I can make sure I am using the correct needle for my projects or I can identify the needles that have wiggled free of my needle case.
- A clover clicking row counter is very handy on charted projects or if you are trying to keep track of decreasing and increasing.
- A Hiya Hiya retractable measuring tape. Some times I think the tape lies to me – especially when I have knit eons of stockinette stitch… But scientifically I know it is really right. Frustrating but handy.
Last but not least I carry dental floss. I use this for safety lines in lace projects and to park stitches for sleeves and the like. Extra yarn works well for this too, especially cotton which is not too sticky. I just like the dental floss because it is waxed, so it won’t stick and it’s in a neat case so it doesn’t go everywhere in my bag!
What about you?
What special tools do you carry? Share your ideas with us, you never know what others are ready to learn!