Knitting Tools and Accessories
From needles and hooks, to swifts and winders, there are a whole host of accessories to make your knitting and crochet journey easier!
Like any other craft or skill, yarn arts and crafts have a large range of useful and interesting tools and accessories, designed to aid and enhance your knitting experience and development.
Essential Tools for Beginners:
Cables are made by holding a few stitches to the front or back of your knitting, enabling you to create a rope-like twist in the fabric. A cable needle is a short double-pointed needle, sometimes with a kink in it, to hold those few stitches safely until you’re ready to work them.
Counting frames for tension measuring
These handy rulers are to see how many stitches and rows you are knitting per cm, which lets you calculate your tension. Some also have needle-sized holes to measure the circumference of a needle, in case you’re not sure of its size.
These are small rubber or plastic tip caps, that protect your needle tips, stop your knitting from accidentally sliding off the needles when you are not working on it, and can protect you from getting a nasty stab if you inadvertently sit on your knitting needles.
Row counters can be incredibly useful if you need to keep track of stitches or rows. These can be digital, or simple mechanical click counters. Some are made to fit onto one of your needles, while others fit conveniently on your finger. For the really dedicated or busy knitter, a stylish clicker/counting ring might be the perfect gift.The LoveKnitting app has a handy pattern viewer that includes a row counter. You can count rows on several projects at once without getting confused!
For some tasks you may need to use stitch markers to remind you where you are in a certain pattern. These can help with getting complex stitches just right. They slide onto the needles between the stitches, and are used as a counting guide and reminder to do particular things in the right place.
These are used to hold live stitches safely away from the main body of your work while you’re working on other sections. They are often used for working on sleeves or necklines, but can also be used to save a partially finished project if you need to put it aside for a while.
Blunt-ended tapestry needles are essential for sewing neat seams, and for weaving in the ends of fancy colourwork. They are also handy for tidying up those final ends from casting on and off.
Advanced Tools and Accessories:
The more you knit, the more you will become aware of the huge range of accessories and knitting-related activities. Some are really necessary tools, while others are fun and interesting luxuries. What you buy depends on what you want to achieve and what kind of budget you have to spend on knitting.
A drop spindle is the simplest, and oldest, technique for spinning fibre into thread or yarn. It is basically a weighted rod, which when 'dropped ' will twist unspun fleece into a single ply of yarn. Drop spindles come in a wide range of styles and prices, and are a great way to learn to produce hand-spun yarn.
From a small needle wallet to keep your needles clean, secure and orderly; to a large multi-pocketed bag that holds everything you might need for your current project, knitting bags come in all shapes and sizes to suit any taste or purpose.
Needle felting supplies
Needle felted accessories and toys are made from unspun fleece or roving , and they are adorable! There are lots of specialist tools involved in needle felting, from the actual needles (which are not at all similar to knitting needles), to felting claws, felting mats, and fibre blenders. Needle felted flowers and shapes can make wonderful applique additions for hand knits.
Pompoms are a lot fun to make, especially for (and with!) kids. You can use the old school tried-and-tested cardboard ring method, but pompoms are really quick to make with a simple, low cost pompom maker. They can make the perfect finishing touch for lots of projects, especially beanies and scarves.
Just like knitting needles, shawl pins come in just about any material you can imagine from bone to wood, and from metal to plastic. There are as many styles and designs as there are makers, to suit every possible taste.
The spinning wheel has been in use for more than a thousand years, and has made it possible to turn unspun fibre, or roving, into thread or yarn with incredible speed and efficiency. There are several types of spinning wheels that work in slightly different ways. They all do the same job, which is to twist fibres together into a strong, smooth yarn that can then be knitted, knotted, crocheted, or woven into a huge range of textiles.
Tunisian crochet hook
Also known as an Afghan hook, the Tunisian crochet technique is a cross between crochet and knitting and creates a dense, closely woven, firm fabric that is great for making rugs, bags and heavy outer garments.
Knitting looms can be as small and simple as bobbin-style toys. They are used to make anything from a kind of knitted cord , to more complex sock weaving looms and circular hat looms. This can be a simple and fun introduction for children to start working with yarn, or for non-knitters who would like to make socks or hats.
Yarn ball winders
Ball winders are used to turn skeins quickly into easy-to-use centre-pull balls. They are best used with a yarn swift.
A yarn swifts is a collapsible, adjustable, umbrella-like tool that can hold any sized skein of yarn, and is used to wind a skein of yarn into a centre pull ball, quickly and efficiently. This can be done in conjunction with a ball winder, or simply by hand-winding into a ball. The yarn swift helps to keep the skein from getting tangled, and makes ball winding a pleasant and satisfying task.