By Alice Seidel
One of the best things about having a hobby is buying everything you need and even some things that you don't! If you are into cars or motorcycles, chances are you spend a lot of extra money on accessories, don't you? Cooking, exercising, camping, gardening, hiking, - you name it, there are accessories for every amusement under the sun!
Knitting is no different. Gadgets abound, and you can get lost in a sea of extras. They all look good, but what is necessary, and what can you leave for another time? Let me tell you about some of the knitting gadgets that are available to knitters, and then I will tell you my top *6* favorite knitting gadgets.
Needles and yarn aside, if you look around there are numerous knitting gadgets. There are stitch markers, used for marking a particular place in your knitting where decreases or increases take place; row counters which keep track of each row as you are knitting; point protectors which are placed on the needle points to protect your work as well as yourself; bobbins, pom-pom makers, stitch gauges, graph paper, yarn swifts and ball winders, which can be useful for certain advanced knitting projects, but will probably spend more time collecting dust for most knitters.
So that is why now we come to my top *6* favorite knitting gadgets,
and why I like them so:
#1 – Tape measure - for knitting, as for sewing, your tape measure will prove to be indispensable. Whatever the project, you always have need to know the length and width of your knitting. Make sure if your tape measure wears out or becomes distorted in any way, that you replace it. This item helps to make you look good!
#2 – Scissors - I like the small variety, especially the ones that fold up. They are handy to take anywhere (well, almost anywhere), and you can expect to use them frequently. But, if you have larger scissors, they work, too. I would not recommend pinking shears, though; they are for sewing projects only.
#3 – Cable needles - as you become more adept at knitting, one of the easiest new stitches to add on is the cable stitch. Cable stitches can be knitted in many variations, but they always need the cable needle in order to utilize the stitch. Cable needles come in various sizes, and are always pointed at both ends. Some have a "bend" in them, and some are "U" shaped, while most are simply straight. They are also shorter than a traditional, straight, knitting needle. So if a pattern calls for cable stitches, better have some cable needles around!
#4 – Stitch holders - these look like giant safety pins. They are especially handy when knitting sweaters and you need to place the neck stitches someplace until you need them again, so on to the stitch holder they go! Stitch holders can be very small (2" or so) up to about 10" in length. There are many varieties, but stay with the simple versions, for best results.
#5 – Yarn needle - aka a tapestry needle. These needles are longer than regular sewing needles, and have blunter points and larger eyes. They are used to join your patterns together when finished. For any knitter, they are a must-have.
#6 – Pins - last but not least, pins! Anyone who sews or knits, needs pins; straight pins, safety pins, T- pins. When you buy straight pins, make sure they have colored tops; these are easiest to see in your knitting. T- pins are great for blocking your patterns, and also good for pinning heavier knits together. Safety pins always make a great substitute for stitch holders, or to mark a spot in your knitting that you need to refer to later on.
So, there you have it! Six gadgets I can't live without when I knit. If you are very serious about knitting, and like to see your project look its best when finished, then these *6* wonderful knitting gadgets should always be close by.