Top 5 Knitting Essentials

By Monday, February 02, 2015 ,

Sometimes I feel like a bit of an old lady because I am 21 years old and have been knitting since I was 16. Knitting is stereotyped as a "grandma" hobby so I also get pretty excited when I see another person my age who appreciates a good knit. Knitting was a hobby that I wanted to pursue and taught myself with the aid of books and YouTube. Over the past five years, I would argue that this knitting has grown to become quite the hobby. Recently a good friend asked me if I would teach her how to knit which got me to thinking about what are the things a beginner knitter must know and what are some knitting essentials that I couldn't go without.

 So here are my top five knitting essentials:
1. Good Yarn

Yarn is a clearly a knitting essential. I've seen a lot of images on Pinterest saying, "Life's too short to knit with cheap yarn," and it's true. Yarn can be expensive, I just found this skein of yarn selling for $300. Obviously most skeins of yarn aren't quite that pricey but it's not uncommon for a hand dyed or handspun skein to go from $20-30. I will say that knitting with non-acrylic yarns is better. They tend to be softer and of a higher quality than the $3.00 acrylic selections. One of my favorite nicer yarns is Malabrigo Merino Worsted. It is affordable, incredibly soft, and has a ton of color options. 

2. Knitting needles

Another obvious knitting must unless you only plan to arm knit. My favorites are bamboo needles because not only are they super pretty but they are really easy to work with. I was pretty thrilled last year when an unexpected package showed up at my dorm and it contained a set a bamboo needles from US size 0 through US size 15. When I buy double pointed needles, I always go for bamboo. Another favorite is the Needlemaster 40 piece interchanagable aluminum needle set by Boye. It was a pricey purchase so I waited to get mine until I had a 60% off coupon. The nice thing about this set is how organized it keeps all my needles. It is complete with 13 different needle sizes and various lengths of cable for creating circular needles. This thing has seriously saved so much money because I can create different length circular needles depending on my project for US size 2-15! It keeps everything neat and organized in a 7.5"x7" case.  I highly recommend!

3. Measuring Tape

Measuring tapes have many uses in knitting. While preparing a sample gauge is tedious and seems like a waste of time when you would much rather be knitting, it seriously saves so much frustration because if done correctly, it keeps you from having to unravel a project later. You can use a measuring tape to measure your gauge, see how many more inches to go until your piece matches project specifications, or to take measurements to see which size you should knit in a project. 

4. Stitch Markers

These markers can really eliminate the headache of having to count stitches and keep track of things. You can use stitch markers to mark the beginning of a row when knitting in the round or separate the boundaries between two different types of stitches. I also like to use stitch markers when I'm casting on for a long project by placing a marker every 25 or 50 stitches to make the final counting go much faster. If you are casting on 220 stitches, you will totally understand where I am coming from with this one. I also like the stitch markers shown because they came with their own storage box that fits easily in the Needlemaster case.

5. Tapestry needles

While there is nothing better than binding off the last stitch of a project, I still absolutely hate weaving in my ends. A tapestry needle is needed to weave in your ends. I would much rather be knitting so maybe that is why I usually wait a few weeks to weave in ends after I finish something. :)

Bonus essential: Graph Paper

Graph paper is a serious must if you are creating your own pattern that involved fair isle or cables.