If you’re just learning to knit, it’s a good idea to build your own beginners knitting kit.
We know there are a lot of knitting tools and accessories on the market these days. It can be hard to know which knitting supplies you really need and what can wait.
Today we’re going to simplify this process for you. We’ll tell you exactly what you need in your knitting kit and why.
Keep in mind, starting to knit doesn’t have to cost a small fortune. It’s true. This list of knitting supplies will prove it to you.
Alright. Let’s assemble your knitting starter kit!
Knitting Supplies for Beginners
Ok, so you’re asking: What do I need to buy to start knitting?
You’ll be surprised to learn that it’s a relatively short list of knitting supplies.
Here’s everything you’ll need to start your very own learn to knit kit.
When you’re learning to knit, the first thing you’ll want in your knitting kit is a good set of knitting needles. This is an absolute must.
There are all types of knitting needles but some knitting needles are better to start with. Before we get into all that, allow me to clarify something.
Like most knitters, I learned to knit on straight needles. I preferred bamboo knitting needles over metal ones. They just felt good in my hands.
The longer needles were a little fiddly but eventually I got comfortable with them. After years of knitting, I invested in circular knitting needles.
What I’m saying is this. If you want to keep your cost down in the beginning, I’d start with the classic straight, round knitting needles. But if you choose to invest in a long-term knitting needle set now, that’s totally up to you.
Now let’s talk about what knitting needles are best for beginners and what you should have in your knitting tool kit.
Knitting Needles for Beginners
When it comes to learning to knit, bamboo knitting needles are the best for beginner knitters. There are a couple of reasons why you should learn to knit with bamboo.
First and foremost, bamboo has better surface control with yarn than metal knitting needles. This means your stitches are less likely to slip off your knitting needles. This is pretty important as it could be the difference between continuing to learn to knit and quitting outright.
Secondly, bamboo knitting needles are strong, durable, and an abundant natural resource. In other words, they’re inexpensive and plentiful, which is good for you and your pocketbook.
Both of these brands consistently produce quality products you can count on. That’s just my two cents.
Now, let’s discuss what size knitting needles beginner knitters should start with.
What Size Knitting Needles for Beginners
A great size to start with would be a size 10.5 knitting needle (6.5 mm). This is not just my opinion. It’s based on your standard pencil size, which is about 6-7 mm in diameter.
A standard No. 2 pencil, which I think we’re all comfortable holding, is the size of a medium gauge needle.
You may find this knitting needle size a good fit or you may not. Want to try larger knitting needles? Go for it.
Some knitters say learning to knit on thicker than average needles may help ease you into knitting. It may also reduce the chance of your hands feeling gnarly. Then again, it may not.
If you choose to knit with larger needles, you’ll finish faster, which can be encouraging. On the flip side, they may feel awkward to hold.
What I’m saying is, don’t be afraid to experiment. How will you know unless you try, right?
Now, let’s move on to the next must-have in your knitting kit: yarn.
First, take a look at the yarn weight charts shown below. One is specific to U.S. knitters, the other to our friends across the pond (UK).
You can see on each chart that there are 8 different yarn weights. These are the standard yarn weights as set by the Craft Yarn Council.
The chart has a lot of useful info. It shows the different yarn weights, recommended knitting needle sizes, and knitting stitches per inch.
Here you'll find another handy chart showing stitches per inch.
Now, the average size most beginner knitters start with is a worsted weight yarn. You can see worsted weight yarn number 4 recommends a size 8 knitting needle. If you were to choose the pencil size knitting needle, a 10 or 10.5, then you’d be working with a bulky yarn, also known as chunky yarn.
Now you don’t have to work with this size, I’m just giving you a little perspective.
Personally, I wouldn’t recommend knitting with any yarn weight smaller (thinner) than a worsted weight (4). I’d also discourage knitting with any yarn bigger (thicker) than a bulky/chunky yarn (5), at least in the beginning.
I’d also avoid any novelty yarn like the plague. While very appealing to the eye, novelty yarns tend to be very difficult to work with. But that’s just my humble opinion.
Knitting Yarn for Beginners
If you’ve ever visited your local yarn shop (LYS), you know just how many different types of yarn for knitting are available. If you’ve never been to your LYS or local craft store, I suggest you go immediately.
Look around. Touch and feel the yarn. Put the yarn up to your face, against your skin. You want to get a true sense of feel and color. This is a good start. Then look at prices, yardage / meterage, and decide what’s within your budget.
Some of the most commonly used knitting yarns are wool, acrylic, cotton, and blends of different yarn fibers. Some yarns, like knitting with cotton, come from natural fibers. Others, like acrylic yarn, are made from synthetic fibers. But these things don’t necessarily make them good or bad.
Each type of yarn fiber has its benefits and disadvantages. You’ll just have to experiment to discover what you like and love.
Ultimately, the best knitting yarn for beginners comes down to three factors:
- the cost of the yarn;
- what it’s made of;
- and how it makes you feel.
The best advice I can give you as you learn to knit is to practice with inexpensive yarn. Personally, I started out on acrylic yarn. I did this because I wanted to be committed to knitting before I invested too heavily.
Acrylic yarn made for great practice. Now, I tend to lean towards wool yarn for knitting, but that’s just me.
Only you know what’s important to you and what you’ll want to keep in your knitting kit.
Now let’s talk about how to organize your knitting supplies.
Knitting Kit Bag
Your knitting kit will grow with time so choose something that can grow with you as you learn. It's a good idea to choose a knitting bag or zipper bag with ample storage and pockets.
I use this IKEA zipper bag and find that it is the perfect size for all my tools and knitting notions. It has a wide opening with a wide bottom, which keeps it from falling and scattering the contents. Very handy.
The zipper bag has two small inner pockets to hold small items and there’s a Velcro pocket on the side. This pocket is great for holding my writing tools and things I reach for frequently.
If you intend to keep your yarn or project in the bag, avoid anything with Velcro as it could snag your yarn. I don’t use this as my knitting project bag so I don’t have to worry about that.
There’s any number of totes, bags, and gear designed to hold your knitting supplies. Ultimately, choose one that fits your space and needs.
Of all your knitting notions and supplies, a knitting gauge tool is a must-have.
These multi-purpose tools, like this Akerworks gauge swatch tool, are ideal for checking stitches per inch on a knitting gauge swatch.
These tools also serve as a knitting needle gauge, helping you determine your needle size. If you purchase a knitting needle set, one is often included. Both my Hiya-Hiya set and my Chiaogoo interchangeable set came with one. Or you can always buy one separately.
Some of these knitting gauges also serve as a ruler for taking small measurements. You can learn more about why gauge is so important here.
Beginners should keep a healthy cache of the different types of stitch markers in your knitting supplies.
In case you’re wondering, here’s how stitch markers are used:
- Hold a dropped stitch in place.
- Mark the beginning of a round in knitting.
- Show the right or wrong side of your knitting.
- Keep track of the number of stitches on your needle.
- Show where increases or decreases occur in a knitting pattern.
Stitch markers are available in a variety of sizes, styles, and materials. You can learn all about stitch markers here.
Knitting Needle Point Protectors
Point protectors are just what they seem. They’re designed to cover the tips or points of your knitting needles.
Knitting needle point protectors keep you from getting stabbed with your needles. They keep your knitted piece from slipping off the needles when it’s in your knitting project bag. Point protectors also, well, protect the points of your needle from getting damaged.
Most importantly, knitting needle point protectors help save all the hard work you’ve done on your knitting. I think that’s pretty important. I’m sure you do, too.
They come in different sizes to fit the size of your knitting needles. These are the ones I use. They’re made of silicone and don’t feel sticky or gummy.
Scrap Yarn, Thread, or Floss
Scrap yarn is particularly useful when you need to insert a knitting lifeline. These other items, like this crochet thread, work well in a pinch, too. They’re inexpensive and come in large quantities.
While most knitting gauges include a ruler, they’re usually no bigger than 5 inches. A tape measure is useful in determining the full length or width of your project. It’s also useful if you’re measuring yarn for your cast on.
The tape measure markings should read in both inches and centimeters, and should extend to a length of at least 5 feet.
I prefer a retractable tape measure over a fabric one. It’ll keep things neat, is more durable and, in my experience, seem to be more accurate.
Here’s my tape measure recommendation.
Tapestry needles are used for weaving in ends or yarn tails, or for knitting lifelines. Not to be confused with sewing needles, tapestry needles are blunt. They have large eyes which makes threading yarn through them much easier.
Tapestry needles are available in plastic and metal. They have a blunt tip and are straight or have a bent tip.
Thankfully, when you choose a set, you’ll get an assortment of tapestry needle sizes. This will be useful according to the thickness (or thinness) of your yarn weight.
You’ll definitely want to have these in your knitting kit.
You’ll need a pair of sharp scissors for snipping ends or cutting knots. Plain and simple.
Like these pretty gold bird scissors? You can get them here.
We’ve come a long way in discussing what knitting supplies you need in your beginners knitting kit.
These remaining knitting tools and accessories are not absolutes per se but you may find that they would be beneficial to you. As such, I’ve included them for you to be in the know and decide for yourself.
Crochet hooks are great tools to have in your knitting kit. Typically they’re used to pick up dropped stitches or to weave in yarn tails. You can also use them to add fringe to hand knit scarves and knitted cowls.
If you already know how to crochet, you can now be bistitchual!
But really, this just means it’s one less knitting tool you’ll need to buy if you already crochet.
Don’t own a crochet hook set? Here’s my recommendation.
Knitting Row Counter
Another handy knitting notion to keep with your supplies is a knitting row counter.
If you’ve ever lost count of what row you’re on, this knitting tool might be just what you need. It will help you keep track of your rows as you work your pattern.
These are not the only types of knitting row counters. A quick search will confirm that. Still, if you choose to purchase one, the key to using it is consistency.
Whew! That about sums up all the tools every knitter needs and everything you’ll need for your knitting kit for beginners. Once you’ve gathered all your tools, your knitting kit will serve you well for years to come. So stop procrastinating and learn to knit now!
I hope this deep dive into knitting tools and notions has been useful to you. If so, please let me know. I'd love to hear from you!
Ready to start knitting? Here are some great yarn projects for beginners to inspire you. Enjoy!