When it comes to supplies, knitting has its fair share of stuff to stock up on. Needles and yarn, of course. A pair or two of scissors of some sort too. But then there are lots of things that you don’t necessarily have to have, but which can make knitting a lot easier – like stitch markers. And stitch holders. And counters. And something to keep your yarn stash and needles. Not to mention your works-in-progress. And then there are patterns – books, leaflets, downloads or however else you buy them. Knitting can be a fairly frugal hobby – you can buy inexpensive yarns and needles that work perfectly well, and there are plenty of free patterns to be had online. But it is nice to be able to splurge a little bit if you can.
I don’t buy a lot – nothing fancy or terribly expensive, although I do have to admit a weakness for Addi Turbo needles, because I love the slick metal needles and smooth joins. But I’ve discovered a few less expensive options that work almost just as well – the last pair I bought was from KnitPicks (the needles I’m currently using on my daughter’s socks), and I’ve heard of some others which I’d like to try someday, like Hiya Hiya or Kollage’s square needles.
I hadn’t originally thought much about stitch markers – I have a cheap package of them that I’d bought way back when I first started knitting but hadn’t really used much, mainly because I hadn’t needed to. Yet. On the smock top that I started recently, there’s a series of decrease rows. You don’t have to have stitch markers for them, but as I’m finding out – it makes it a lot easier if you do. And I also realized that the cheap ones I had don’t work very well because they’re made of thick plastic and it’s hard to knit over or around them. So I went shopping on Etsy.
Oh my goodness, there are some beautiful things to be had on Etsy.com – and the best part is that they’re all handmade so you’re supporting other crafters and artisans. And prices can be really good too – I found a set of beautiful little stitch markers for only a few dollars. Not only do they work much better, with thin loops to go around the needles, but they make my project look prettier while I’m working on them.
Speaking of Etsy, it’s also where I found my favorite knitting bag a while back – the shop is called KnittingsMyBag, and she makes knitting bags and needle cases that are sturdy, have lots of pockets to hold stuff and I love many of the fabrics she uses. My bag has held up extremely well for 1-1/2 years now and I wish I’d bought a matching one in a larger size when she had it available, because while this one is perfect to take along places and hold small projects, I’d love to have one to keep larger ones in too. I do have matching dpn case and little notions pocket that came with my bag though and love them as well.
Up until now, I hadn’t had any good way to store circular needles, but this past weekend I visited a new yarn shop (new to me anyway) while in Holland, MI for a conference. It was a really cute shop and I could have spent much more time (and $) in there than I did, but I did find one thing that I splurged a little bit on with a gift card I’d won a few weeks ago. It’s a circular needle case from Offhand Designs and it holds a ton of circulars! Plus it’s got some dpn storage as well as a zippered pocket for notions and such. Perfect!
Don’t even get me started on yarn… And that’s the subject of a whole other post. I don’t have a huge stash – but that’s only due to financial and space restrictions. I love browsing through craft and yarn stores to see the different fibers and shades. And then trying to find the right project to match a specific yarn (or vice versa) – it’s one of the most fun parts of the craft.
I don’t have a stitch counter – and I’ll post more about why not and what I use instead in the future. I do have a small collection of pattern books – but I get most of my patterns from Ravelry or other online sources if I can. Having said that, I spent an hour at the bookstore a few weeks ago browsing through pattern books and looking for inspiration for a project and thoroughly enjoying myself.
There’s a lot more that can be said about the things that you use to knit and crochet with – and I’m sure I’ll get more into that in the future. It’s fun to be able to splurge a little every now and then – but also nice to not have to if you can’t. And to know that you’re making something useful as well in the end.
Watch for my review of the new Sheep(ish) yarn from Caron coming up on May 28th!