Any knitter or crocheter will tell you that along with their hooks, needles, yarns and patterns they will also have a plethora of other bits and pieces which are pretty essential to their craft. All of these little bits help to build up the essential toolkit and make yarn craft so much easier
Scissors/Snips – I have several pairs of scissors and snips in my toolkit and have my favourite pair of snips in my project bag. You will need to make sure that these are nice and sharp so they do not snag or pull the yarn when snipping. You can find all manner of decorated and shaped snips in colours and patterns to suit your personality.
Tape Measure – I find that the best type to have is a small retractable one which features cm and inches. These types are small enough to put into a little notions bag and you won’t need to waste any time rolling it back up. Just squeeze the button and they retract quickly
Stitch Markers – These can become a little addictive to collect! From plastic to handmade, you can find the perfect type of stitch markers. Just be careful when choosing. Some stitch markers for knitters are not suitable for crocheters as they are a single loop which cannot be removed from crochet work without frogging it! These type slip onto a knitting needle rather than loop through a stitch. (I am planning a blog post dedicated to stitch markers so keep your eye out for that one!)
Yarn Needle – Sometimes called a knitters needle these are for weaving in your ends and sewing pieces together. They are just like a regular needle but with a larger eye to accommodate thicker yarn.. You’ll find that these, a bit like scissors, mysteriously disappear on a regular basis so it is always handy to have a few of these
Stitch Counter – These are so handy to have for counting stitches or rows. You can use a pen/pencil and a piece of paper but stitch counters are starting to become really cool looking. You can get one which slip onto the end of a knitting needle and bracelets which you can move over beads. You may see some like a stitch marker and you pull it through the stitch to show how many you are upto. My favourite type of is an electronic stitch counter which you can wrap onto your thumb or finger and you just press the button to count!
Gauge/hook sizer – These are particularly handy as to help with finding the size of the needle or hook and they usually have a handy little measuring edges on them to help you measure your tension too!
Blocking Mats and Pins – There are several different types of blocking mats available. You can buy special wooden ones with wooden rods to help block your work and you can also purchase a more flexible set of interlocking mats which you can then pin the work onto whilst blocking. It’s down to personal preference with these (and size too as the wooden ones can get super expensive) I use my toddlers play mats that she no longer uses, but I have also been known to use my ironing board and floor with a towel underneath!
There are several more pieces of equipment that can make a yarn artists life a little easier, including a yarn umbrella and yarn winder but the items above are pretty much essential to have available from the beginning.
Make sure you keep an eye out for the next post in this series – Stitch Markers. You can also see the previous posts using the links below.