Just as a young ninja trades up from plushie nun-chucks to the real deal, so too will you enter the realm of interchangeable circular needle sets and needle gauges. Meet your new tool set!
1. Interchangeable Circular Needle Set
Not getting an interchangeable circular needle set is my biggest regret when it comes to tooIs. I wish I had purchased them when I was a beginner because I would have saved a lot of time and money.
These sets allow you to pop on and off different sized needle tips onto a nylon cable so that you don’t have to buy separate circular needles in different lengths and sizes. A set usually includes two or three cables (usually a 24″ and a 32″) and needle tips in various sizes. Genius! It’s an economical and practical investment that every knitter should make.
Knit Picks is the king of affordable knitting. Their needle set is celebrated as functional and affordable by pretty much everyone who uses them. Their set comes with two 24″ and 32″ cables and US size 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10.5 and 11 needle tips. There are also options to add different sized needle tips and cable lengths.
Addi Turbos are the Ferraris of knitting needles. They just feel good in your hands. The needles are made of nickel-plated brass and the gold cable is soft and pliable with a nearly seamless join to the needle. It’s a needle that feels expensive. The only caveat is that can be slippery, so beginners beware. Includes cables with lengths of 24″ 32″ and 40.”
2. Set of Double Pointed Needles
If you get into knitting socks, hats, mittens and gloves, investing in a double-pointed needle set can be a real lifesaver. Buying a set is cheaper that buying sizes individually, and having multiple sizes in your home limits your yarn store runs when you’re starting a new project or testing for gauge.
Once again, Knit Picks has great options in plain wood, colourful dyed wood, and nickel plated needles in lengths from 4″ – 6″. I’m partial to wood for DPNs since wood is less slippery and “grippier,” which is an important quality since DPNs have no “stopper” on either ends. I like these 6″ wooden DPNs.
These 6″ bamboo DPNs from Knitter’s Pride are also pretty great. They come in US size 1, 1.5, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.
3. A Case for your Needles
Once you amass a collection of knitting needles, it’s important to keep them organised. At some point, your needles will outgrow that mason jar you keep them in, and they’ll be jostling against each other like puppies in a fruit crate. One or two will escape, never to be seen again, and if they’re part of a DPN set, you’ll let out a guttural “OY VEY” because the whole set becomes less useful with each lost needle. Your squirming needles need a home!
Thankfully, needle cases exist for just his purpose – keeping your needles safe and organised.
This clutch-looking case from knitshearbliss manages to be both functional and chic. It has 36 pockets and a sweet little zip pouch to hold all your notions.
If you’re feeling crafty, you can even make your own needle case and design it to your own specs. For real! The folks over at Design*Sponge have a great step-by-step tutorial. Doing this requires that you have and know how to operate a sewing machine.
4. Needle Gauge
Has this ever happened to you? You need to find a specific needle size. Some of your needles are unmarked, so you end up rifling through them and squinting at each one. Is this a 5mm or a 5.5mm? Can you feel out the size? (not really) Or eyeball it against another marked needle? (possibly). But why put yourself through the agony? The best way to figure out your needle’s size quickly and accurately is with a needle gauge.
This laser cut bass wood needle gauge from Tangerine8 is adorable! There are also options for owls, hedgehogs and foxes, oh my! They also comes in US and Metric sizes.
Or maybe you’re into grinning dolls and robots? These adorable needle gauges by Succaplokki are made in Finland from recycled plastic.
Fancy a needle gauge on the go? Succaplokki also makes a Knit or Die gauge ring. This one in ice blue is BALLIN.
5. Tapestry Needle
Ah, the humble tapestry needle. It’s tiny and not particularly sexy, but don’t let looks deceive you. It’s super handy for knitters. Need to weave in loose ends? Use a tapestry needle. Gotta put in a lifeline? Use a tapestry need. Need to seam pieces together? Tapestry needle. It’s unlikely you won’t need a tapestry needle when you’re knitting.
Any crafts store worth its salt will stock tapestry needles. Or check out these pretty candy-colored ones from Sevenyaks
6. Blocking Pins
Once you start knitting sweaters or anything lace-related, you’ll need to block them into shape. You’ll do this with an army of blocking pins! They’ll keep your project in place while it dries. These flower-headed pins from Clover are cute, sturdy and rust-proof. Alternatively, regular T-pins, like the ones from Churchmouse Yarns and Teas, will work too.
7. Stitch Markers
Stitch markers are essentially a ring that marks the beginning and end of your round or a segment of your knitting. They can be as low-key as a rubber band or as fancy as a silver ring with a decorative crystal. These plastic split ring markers that I use fall somewhere in-between, but for you, stitch markers can be a fun expression of you and your knitting!
There you have it: your knitting ninja tool kit! Did I miss anything? What are you essential knitting tools? Let me know in the comments below!