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After spending months indoors, people are understandably getting a little antsy and looking for a fun, new way to pass the time. This slight case of stir-crazy has led to a cultural resurgence of some of your grandma’s favorite crafts, most notably knitting. The old-fashioned hobby is a guaranteed way to pass the time and create a practical and wearable product.
Beginners may feel deterred from diving into the nitty-gritty of knitting because of the overwhelming amount of tools, options and perceived technical know-how needed to get their project off the ground. While it may look complicated, getting started can be as easy as learning to tie your shoelaces. Soon enough, you’ll be able to distinguish your stitch from your purl.
In its most basic form, knitting requires a pair of needles and high quality yarn that won’t fray or tear. But as you advance in your skills, you can add additional tools and accessories to the mix. Some fix mistakes — a Fix-A-Stitch Tool Set, for example, remedies dropped stitches — and others ensure that your project is as precise as possible. To help get you started with your own journey into knitting, we compiled some of the best knitting tools and accessories on the market, depending on your skill level.
Best knitting tools for beginners
Lambs Pride is an affordable yarn that is available in 31 colors, such as Jaded Green, Cranberry Swirl and Wine Splash. It’s a great pick for those just starting out as it’s soft-yet-durable, which means it won’t fray or tear as you’re learning how to use it.
Wood needles are recommended for beginners as the grain offers a little bit of texture for the yarn to grab onto, unlike metal needles which are slick, causing new knitters to struggle with keeping their project in place. Single-pointed needles are also designed to be used to make flat pieces, which is where most people kick off their knitting journey.
Once you’ve completed your first project, you’ll need a blunt needle to weave the ends, thus keeping them from getting loose and causing your project to unravel. These needles will also come in handy when you graduate to increasingly complicated projects that involve sewing seams.
Best intermediate knitting tools
While most people start out working on single-pointed needles, circular needles are actually the most popular option among amateurs and pros alike. Circular needles are great whether you’re making flat pieces or working in the round. You’re also less likely to drop stitches this way, and this style is great for travel as pieces can be pushed onto the center of the cord and rolled up.
The use of double-pointed needles officially marks the transition from new knitter to intermediate. They’re a necessary tool for circular projects with small circumferences that are too little for circular needles, such as baby items or the top stitches of a hat or mittens. Most are sold in packs of five, but typically you’ll only need four at a time. Seasoned veterans recommend painting the tip of each a different color so you can always keep track of which one you’re working on.
When you realize you dropped a stitch a few rows back, this little plastic tool is going to be your lifesaver. The Fix-A-Stitch has a hook on both ends, making it easier to go back and pick up that dropped stitch and weave it in without having to undo all of the work you did in between.
Best knitting accessories overall
While regular scissors work, investing in a pair of snips allows you to make more precise cuts in small places. The tiny blades slide easily under tight stitches, and they’re designed to trim fabric, thread, floss, yarn and other lightweight materials. The pointed tips of these snips also give you control when cutting, especially at awkward angles.
Whether you’re following a pattern or just want to make sure your pieces fit correctly, a tiny tape measure will come in handy. It allows you to quickly figure out the size of your swatches or gauge your progress. This measuring tape is small enough to fit in your pocket, and its tape is flexible, allowing you to easily measure circular objects.
For the absent-minded knitter, a counter in a must-have. This tool helps you keep track of what row you’re currently on so you’ll never have a miscounting mix up again. This counter only goes up to 99, so you stitch over that number, be sure to keep track elsewhere.
The best thing about knitting as a hobby is that you can take it with you wherever you go. However, that can also mean some of your stitches fall off the needle in transit. These cute and colorful stoppers will help prevent fallen stitches from occurring.
Best intermediate knitting accessories
Now that you’ve mastered baby blankets, scarves and beanies, it’s time to tackle some slightly more complicated knits. But, as the level of difficulty increases, so does the amount of counting involved and the possibility for mistakes. That’s where stitch markers come in, they’ll help you easily keep track of rows, decreases and increases without breaking or snagging on the yarn.
If you’re working on your first knitting project that involves seams, then these small clips can help prevent your fabric from stretching out or moving around as you sew them into place. Kristen Mangus, a knitting expert and the founder of GoodKnitKisses, calls these clips “a third pair of hands” when she’s lining up her knitting work.
For the knitter on-the-go, this bag will help keep your yarn in order. The tote features compartments that can hold up to eight different skeins of yarn with accompanying grommets the yarn can be threaded through to keep them all tangle-free. And the exterior pockets ensure you’ll never be caught without all your knitting accouterments.
Now that you’re a purling expert, add a professional touch to your homemade gift with these chic, customizable leather labels. Choose from 12 font types to add your logo or personalized text to these dark brown vegetable-tanned leather tags.
Best all-in-one knitting kit
If you think knitting a baby blanket from scratch sounds like too much hard work, then you're in luck. Dive headfirst into knitting with help from the beginner-friendly kit from We Are Knitters. The set includes all the necessary needles, yarn and patterns to create a practical gift for expectant parents. Your hardest decision will be deciding between the 30 colors and designs available, including Sprinkled Pink, Hand-painted and Terracotta.
Best knitting how-to book
15. "Knitting for Beginners: The A-Z Guide to Have You Knitting in 3 Days" by Emma Brown
For the total novice, this best selling book will cover all the basics, from how to cast on to how to bind off (and if you don’t know what either of those terms means, that’s a good sign this is the right place to start). The book will help you build your basic tool kit, master the fundamentals of knitting and even help you figure out which yarn is right for which project.
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