Thursday, April 08, 2010

Tools of the Trade

I have been relistening to the KnitPicks podcasts recently and rediscovered a great podcast on knitting tools. I am the knitter so is always bringing her WIP with her but always forgetting the important essentials like a ruler to see when I can stop doing garter stitch or extra stitch markers or moisturizer (my hands seem to dry out when I want to knit and have no moisturizer). Anyway, the KnitPicks podcast inspired me not only to create a tool kit to keep with me, but to create three tool kits, so I always have one. I keep one in my living room, one in my purse, and one with my knitting stuff as an emergency back up. I cannot tell you how pleased I have been with my kit! It has almost everything I need (more on that later).

Here is what my kit contains:
  1. a collection of darning needles in various sizes so I can graft, darn, or weave in ends
  2. two different sizes of post-it notes (normal and tiny), so I can write notes or track progress on a chart or set of instructions
  3. a measuring tape
  4. a bottle of travel sized moisturizer so my hands are never dry when I want to knit (I take them from hotels when I travel)
  5. a needle gauge, stitch measurer, and ruler so I can double check that my needle is really a 2.25mm, that my gauge is correct, and that my cloth measuring tape is giving me proper measurements even though it is old and worn
  6. two row counters One attaches to the needle, the other one attaches to me.
  7. a black pen so I always know that I have one because I always seem to need one when I don't have one
  8. two cable needles so that I can cable with a variety of yarn weights. I am a fan of the ones that are shaped like a J; they seem to get the job done without getting in my way
  9. a few price tags (white piece of paper attached to string) so that I can mark a swatch with the gauge or a knitted piece with information that needs to stay with the garment. These are really great to attach to a garment if you know that it is going to the retired WIPs for gauge issues, missing pattern, whatever. This way, when you pick it back up, you can quickly see why you stopped working on it in the first place.
  10. a variety of stitch markers including brass rings, locking stitch markers, and flexible stitch markers (NOTE: I do not keep my fancy stitch markers in these kits just in case they go missing.)
  11. point protectors so I can keep my stitches on the needle when I am not working on my project
  12. a yarn cutter so that I always have something sharp with me to cut the yarn. I like the yarn cutter better than scissors, because it is smaller and cuts better.
  13. a small crochet hook for picking up dropped stitches and for beading
  14. two "ends" and a key to my KnitPicks interchangeable needle set, so that I can take the needles off or un/tighten my needles whenever I need to do so
Believe it or not, but all of these objects fit into a pretty small bag and many of the items fit into an altoid container. Now, there are a few things that I am currently still adding to my kit: (1) I need to add basic knitting instructions like the Kitchener stitch so I have it when I am ready to graft a sock and (2) a bobbin of crochet thread for provisional cast ons and lifeline.

What do you keep in your tool bag?

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