Monday, October 3, 2011

Tools of the Trade

Over the years, I've used a number of tools to help me knit. Some I've found useful, others, not so much. Here's my current kit, most of which is easily contained in a mint tin:

I had my kids make me a darning egg: it's a wooden egg (from Michael's craft store, I think), covered with Fimo for decoration, baked, then polished using fine-grade sandpaper. The Fimo is totally optional.

The other tools:
- a variety of stitch markers: locking (the "little padlock"), split-ring, and ring-with-dangly-thingy**. Also a paperclip, which works in emergencies.
- flexible tape measure (my retractable one broke so I now use a cheaper, more compact, and more durable plain tape: inches one side, cm the other).
- "chibi" tube with darning needles of various sizes
- red "puppy" thread snips, with cover, from HiyaHiya
- green DPN point protectors (I lost one so there's only 3)
- row counter
- 2 stitch holders (small)

Not shown: paper strips indicating sock sizes for various family members.

**Those darling beaded stitch markers...lovely I know...but they do snag. The blue arrow shows the little loopy thing that the bead hangs on...this little loop catches the wool constantly and is very annoying. The bead should snug right up to the loop so that the wool can't get under it and into the loop.

[stitch marker that snags]

All this equipment (including my readers!) fits in here:

[my kit bag]

This is a "chalk bag" meant for rock-climbers that I purchased at a local outdoor store (MEC for those in Canada. I'm sure REI has similar.). It cost me less than $15. It's just the right size for a pair of socks. It's stiff and stays open (some kind of plasticky material), it's lined, it can be cinched shut at the top, it has a zipper compartment at the bottom (for the mint tin), and it has a strap just long enough to enable knitting on the go.

Additional tools I frequently use:

a nostepinne, made by my father, for winding center-pull balls, and

a yarn swift (purchased from

Yarn swifts are expensive. I got the cheapest one I could find online - I think it was on the order of $40. It works just fine. There are websites explaining how to make one yourself, for even cheaper.

Nostepinne are available online too, for about $15. Or you can use your own hand, for free! But then you can't stop in the middle to cook dinner.
Then, finally, I have a needle gauge that goes down below 2mm. From the same online retailer where I got my thin-gauge circs.

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