knitter’s toolbox

Posted by on February 1, 2011 in knit | 3 comments

I'm still knitting away here. It's cold and windy tonight, so I am curled up with a plain little baby sweater. I need some straight stockinette stitch so I can start getting through the backlog of foreign films in my Netflix queue. I think I'll start with The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, for a nice two-and-a-half hour knitting marathon.

Oh, and my Juneberry shawl is moving right along, it's just not a foreign film sort of project. I've completed the body and am working on the edging, which I suspect will take as long as the rest of the shawl did. I'll write more about it and the yarn when I'm done, but it's been a really fun project. The heavier yarn means that it knits up super fast, and the pattern is interesting, but not difficult. I was a little worried at first, since there are pattern rows on the right and wrong sides, but it really hasn't been hard. I tried to get some in-progress pictures, but it pretty much just looks like a big pile 'o yarn. Still, the color is pretty accurate, and you can see the beginning of the edging (in the lower right corner). 

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All this nesting knitting I've been doing lately has made me be a little more organized. My little studio, where I keep all my knitting and sewing supplies, is a short walk out the back door, but when the low is supposed to be 19 degrees, like it is tonight, I'd like to avoid having to venture out in search of a tape measure or stitch marker. So I've put together a toolkit of knitting essentials that I keep nearby at all times, and thought I'd share. You certainly don't need everything here, but most of what I've got are just things I've collected here and there, and are things I use regularly.

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I labelled everything on flickr, so you can click the image to see all the notes. A little pouch is handy for keeping all the smaller items together, and if you're working on multiple projects, it's easy to move it from one bag or basket to another.

  • Scissors are useful, but a yarn cutter will do in a pinch. 
  • Stitch markers are necessary for many projects and I like these Clover markers that work like a safety pin, so they can be removed in the middle of the row. I'd love to make some small beaded markers for smaller projects. Maybe one day I'll get to that. 
  • A retractable tape measure stays neat.
  • I hate it when my hands are dry, so I keep some rose salve and lotion nearby. I just made the lotion in that little tin (under the rose salve), I'll tell you more about that in an upcoming post, it's pretty cool!
  • Post it notes are essential when I'm following a charted pattern
  • I finally thought ahead and added a couple different weights of waste yarn. I used a wooden spool and a yarn bobbin to keep them neat. 
  • I don't use my row counter too often, but I figure it's a good idea to tuck it in anyway, since it takes almost no space. 
  • Cable needles in various sizes and configurations make large or elaborate cables much easier.
  • A pencil for writing notes on patterns. Essential for calculations and reading patterns.
  • Crochet hooks are great for everything from picking up dropped stitches to doing a provisional cast on. 
  • Nothing works as well as a bent-tipped yarn needle for weaving in ends. A chibi (the yellow case) and a wooden fish are cases for keeping my collection of needles safe until I am ready to use them. 
  • I have a set of the Zephyr clear acrylic needles from Knit Picks, so a needle gauge is used every time I start a new project, to make sure I've picked up the right size needles. 

Oh, and I nearly forgot, a little chocolate is never a bad idea. You have to keep your strength up when you settle in for a marathon knitting session. What are some of your essential knitting tools?  


  1. (1) I’m excited you showed your Juneberry–I’ve been wondering what that yarn would look like knitted up. Pretty!
    (2) I’ve also been wondering about the Zephyr needles…do you ever have trouble with the cables coming off the needle mid-project?
    (3) A small crochet hook also works really well for pulling the yarn through a too-tightly-worked nupp, I’ve found.
    (4) I love your wooden fish!
    (5) My essentials: row counter, pencil & paper (I make tons of notes), little scissors, tiny crochet hook/knitting needle combo tool, same stitch markers, big yarn needle for ends, 12 inch metal ruler. Now I’m going to go knit!

  2. The yarn-I will do a full review when I'm done, I don't hate it, but I was expecting to love it and I don't, but I am also reserving judgement until I'm all done and it's blocked. I don't think I've worked with woolen-spun yarn before, so that could be my problem. 
    Zephyr needles-I love them! I think the cable has come loose a time or two, but I just tighten them up with the little tool, and they're great. I have broken the tips off two size six needles! When the first one broke, I called Knit Picks and they sent a replacement pair right away, free of charge! So excellent customer service, which I really appreciated. When the second tip broke, at least I had the second replacement needle waiting. It was during all my lace knitting, and I think I was tense and keeping everything too tight. 
    Nupps-on my to-try list! I've never done them. I'm doing the bobbles on Juneberry, they're kind of fun :o) 
    I've learned to write all over my patterns, even dumb notes like reminding myself to move my post-it row markers to the new row before putting my knitting away for the night so I don't have to think about where I'm at when I pick my project up again. A pencil is essential!

  3. Green & Black’s Almond chocolate bars get me through life’s messes!
    Love that hat, too!!

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