The Simple Guide to Knitting Supplies
For many years as a knitter, I impulsively bought all of the knitting supplies that I could get my hands on, simply because I felt it would step up my knitting game. Unfortunately, many of these things just sat in my stash, unused.
Earlier this year, I decided to tackle this accumulated collection head on. I sat in the middle of my bedroom floor, surrounded by piles of equipment, and carefully considered whether I was ever going to use each item. Over half of it was either donated or set aside to be sold. The remaining supplies are items that I absolutely love and find extremely useful. It felt liberating to eliminate all of that clutter (and associated guilt!) from my home.
Do you have a large collection of knitting supplies?
If you have accumulated a collection that is larger than you could ever use, it's worth considering how it got that way.
Sometimes, when you have a hobby that you love, such as knitting, it can be tempting to purchase all kinds of equipment to, subconsciously, make you feel more accomplished in that skill. A great example would be when people purchase lots of workout clothes to make them feel like a gym bunny...
The truth is that no piece of equipment will ever substitute the time and practice that needs to be invested in learning. That new set of knitting needles is not going to make you an expert knitter!
As 2017 fast approaches, I encourage you to curate a simpler selection of knitting supplies, whilst resolving to expand your knitting skills. To help you here is my guide to the only basic supplies that most knitters will ever need. I hope this will help you to shrink down your own supplies to only the pieces that you consider to be either beautiful or useful.
A KNITTING KIT FOR MINIMALISTS
A set of circular interchangeable knitting needles. When I learnt to knit, interchangeable circular needles weren't around, so I purchased a lovely set of wooden straight needles. However, since I purchased my set of interchangeable needles approximately eight years ago, I have rarely used the straights, simply because they are so versatile! If you have the choice between investing in straight or interchangeable needles, I wholeheartedly endorse the latter. You can knit any project, flat or circular, on this style of knitting needle, plus they distribute the weight of the fabric better - no more wrist pain!
A case for your interchangeable needles. (optional) This is by no means compulsory for everyone, however, I have been so thrilled with my purchase of a case for my interchangeable needles. For years, I compromised on the badly-designed case that came with my needles, even though the needles fell out and it was hard to organise anything in it. Last month, I treated myself to an extremely well-designed (and beautiful!) case that has helped me to keep everything in my kit in order. Now, I consider it an essential.
Needle gauge. If you're using any kind of needle that does not have its size etched into it, you are going to need a needle gauge. The one I use was handed down to me by my Nannan. It may not be the most beautiful gauge, however, it is extremely useful.
Tape measure. If you're going to knit anything that fits, you are going to need a tape measure. I like to use a retractable one, as it doesn't unfurl and make my knitting kit untidy.
Stitch markers. I adore the set of silver ring stitch markers that I bought from Loop many moons ago. They are the definition of functional beauty. They are useful to keep track of stitch sequences, particularly if you struggle to read your knitting. I also use them to mark the start of a round when knitting circularly. Some people might tell you that you need a set of locking stitch markers to use when marking a certain stitch etc, however, I feel that a safety pin or a bit of waste yarn can do the same job.
A small pair of scissors. These will be useful when starting new balls of yarn or weaving in ends.
Crochet hook. These are useful for picking up dropped stitches or mending mistakes. I tend to have a popular size, such as a 4.5mm in my knitting kit.
Tapestry needle. Use this for weaving in ends. There is no need to have lots of different sizes. A medium sized one should do the trick most of the time.
A little drawstring bag. Whilst I use my interchangeable needle case for storing many things, I like to use this simple drawstring bag to keep my knitting kit in when travelling. It even fits a sock project!
Pen and notebook. This is handy for making notes on patterns and to keep track of your row count.
We don't need more stuff to become better knitters
The beauty of knitting is that it doesn't take much to start. Essentially, all you need is a pair of needles and some yarn.
Whilst the suggestions listed above work perfectly for me, they might not be right for you. The key point to take away from this article is that must of us don't need more knitting equipment. We probably don't need more yarn. We just need more knitting time. In the spirit of making some space for the new year, why don't you set aside some time to go through your own stash of supplies and see if you can minimise it?