Assemble Your Own Knitting Starter Kit: Product Checklist

Want to learn to knit but don't know where to start? Begin by learning about the necessary tools of the trade!

One of the great things about knitting is that you don't need a lot of fancy equipment to get started---pick up a pair of knitting needles and a ball of yarn, and you can start knitting right now! Throw in a pair of small scissors for snipping the yarn and a crochet hook for weaving in ends, and you can actually finish off your project, too.

However, if you visit your local yarn store or the yarn section of a craft/hobby store, you'll see that there are many types and styles of these basic tools, and of course, there are lots of other odds and ends that will make your work as a knitter easier. In this article, we'll cover all of the items that you should include in your starter knitting kit.

Needles and Yarn

Knitting needles come in a variety of materials: aluminum, wooden, bamboo, casein, and plastic. Aluminum and plastic are the cheapest, but wooden, bamboo, and casein needles are more flexible to work with. If you try different types of needles, you'll soon find your favorite. Needles also come in different sizes, with most needles ranging between 0 (tiny) to 15 (chunky). If you're a beginning knitter, try needles in the size 8 to 11 range.

Each needle size also has the option of 10-inch or 14-inch length. Some beginning knitters find the 10-inches easier to handle, but the 14-inches allow you to knit wider pieces. To further complicate matters, there are three styles of knitting needles: single-pointed, double-pointed, and circular. For a beginning project, you will most likely work with single-pointed needles (the ones with a point at one end and a knob at the other).

Double-pointed needles have points at both ends and are used for knitting "in the round"; circular needles have two single-pointed needles connected with a plastic tube, and they are used to knit in the round and to knit flat pieces.

At your local yarn store or in the yarn section of your craft store, you can find just about any yarn imaginable. Inexpensive synthetics, delicate mohair, extra chunky wool, angora, cotton, metallics---there's a yarn for everyone! Bulky yarns are typically easier to work with and knit up faster than fine yarns, so they are good for beginners. However, your yarn will most likely be determined by your project. Ask the staff of the yarn or craft store for suggestions and tips for your first yarn purchases.

Knitting is easily portable and doesn't take up much space. However, if you, like most knitters, plan to carry your knitting project around with you, then you'll need a tote bag.

Any canvas or cotton tote bag, like the sort that some people use for shopping bags, works well. If you can sew and you find existing totes boring, you can always make your own bag. Slip your pattern into a plastic sheet protector and carry it around with you, too.

In addition, you will need a way to carry around all of the small odds and ends. Find a fabric makeup bag that you like---thrift and dollar stores have tons of these---and keep the following items inside:

-Scissors. Get a small pair of high quality scissors, and use these only for cutting yarn and fabric. If you use your scissors for cutting paper or other materials, they will get dull quickly.

-Crochet hook. A crochet hook is essential for working in the yarn tails of your knitting, picking up dropped stitches, and tightening loose stitches.

-Tape measure. You'll need to measure all sorts of things, so a tape measure is a necessity.

-Safety pins. If you plan to make items that are knit in separate pieces, you'll need to pin them together at some point.

-Row counter. This device goes on the end of your knitting needle to help you keep track of what row you are on.

-Yarn needle. This is a blunt needle with a very large eye, and you will use it for sewing together pieces.

-Stitch markers. These are small rings that you put in between stitches on your needle to remind you, for example, to increase or decrease at a certain stitch.

-Point protectors. These cover the tips of your needles to keep your knitting from falling off.

Keep the makeup bag with all of those small items in your knitting tote, and you're prepared for just about any knitting emergency. Finally, if you are a novice knitter, then you will probably need some instruction. Find a book that covers all of the basics and some advanced stuff, keep it in your tote bag, and guard it with your life!

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