If you’re new to knitting, one of the most confusing tasks is determining what you need to get started. There are a ton of options available on the market ranging in price from inexpensive to downright shocking. You may feel required to do some serious shopping, but if you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg until you’re sure knitting is something you’d like to continue, then you don’t have to.
What you may not already know is that you don’t really need a lot of supplies or money to start knitting. To prove it, we’ve created this list of items to begin building your very own beginner knitter’s kit.
THE (NOT-SO) OBVIOUS
Most knitters would agree that when it comes to knitting needles, straight needles are the best for beginners and bigger is better, at least as you start out. Learning to knit on thicker than average needles will help ease you into knitting without causing your hands to feel gnarly afterwards.
A size 8 US (5mm) would be considered a medium gauge needle but for some this may be too small to start with which is totally fine. To put things in perspective for those of you who are visual learners, a standard hexagonal pencil has a measured diameter between 6mm and 7mm, which translates to about a 10.5 US (6.5mm) sized needle.
Maybe this is a good starting point for you and maybe it’s not. The thing is, it’s important to get a real feel for what you’ll be working with as this could be the difference between continuing and quitting outright.
Another point to consider is the material of the needle. For many knitters, bamboo is a great choice as it has better surface control with yarn that prevents your stitches from slipping off the needles easily versus metal needles. Again, it all comes down to preference and what feels good to you.
The same belief applies to yarn when choosing one to begin knitting with – bigger is better. It doesn’t have to be super chunky but we wouldn’t recommend you start with anything thinner than a medium weight yarn.
Thicker needles work better with thicker or chunky yarn and are good for beginner projects. Just be sure to check your yarn ball band for best yarn/needle pairing recommendations if you’re not sure. In case you’re not familiar with what a yarn ball band is, it is the wrap that comes around or with your yarn and lists the yarn details and care instructions.
The best part about choosing to use larger needles and chunkier yarn is that you’ll finish your project so much faster than if you were working with smaller needles, and finishing your first project can be incredibly motivating.
TIP: When it comes to choosing a yarn – avoid novelty yarns until you are more comfortable with knitting as some can be incredibly difficult to work with and many do more harm than good.
THE BARE NECESSITIES
In addition to yarn and needles, the following items will carry any new knitter through your first projects.
Bags & Pouches
You’ll want to choose a bag or pouch with ample storage and pockets. Your kit will grow with time so choose something that can grow with you as you learn. If you intend to keep your yarn or project in the bag, try to avoid anything with Velcro as it could snag your yarn.
A sharp pair of pointed scissors for snipping ends or cutting knots.
This must-have, multi-purpose tool is used to determine needle size and also has a small ruler which is great for calibrating stitch size or simply taking small measurements.
A row counter will help you keep track of your rows as you work your pattern. This one is made for thinner needles but there are other row counter options available on the market.
Stitch markers come in a variety of styles, sizes, and are useful in marking rounds, rows, increases/decreases, and sides.
Floss, thread, or scrap yarn, preferably of a different color and a thinner consistency than what you’re working with, is great to have for running a lifeline through your work or as a stitch marker in a pinch.
Tapestry needles or blunt needles are handy for weaving in ends or threading a lifeline through your rows. They are available in plastic and metal.
A tape measure is useful for determining the length of your project or yarn for cast-on, etc. It should read in both inches and centimeters and should extend to a length of at least 5 feet.
Crochet hooks are also used necessary for picking up dropped stitches or weaving in loose ends.
There are some beginner’s kits available with some of the above mentioned accessories already bundled in. Some of these kits don’t include everything you need but, ultimately, they’re worth considering as they may save you additional money as compared to purchasing each item individually.
What all this boils down to is that if you had to buy everything on this list, you could achieve that and for less than $50 tops. That’s good news for you and your wallet. The best part is, these tools will serve you well for years to come. So stop procrastinating and get started now!
What tools do you like to keep handy? Share your favorites in our comments below.