Have you ever gotten halfway through a project but had to stop because you could not find the measuring tape? Your pattern told you to complete a certain number of inches but you need to know how many more rounds to complete before the next step? Whether you knit, crochet or loom here is a list of nine items for any needle crafter and four specialty items for knitters to keep nearby while you work. Some items can be improvised, as well.
Stitch markers mark places that you need to come back to and also mark patterns. There are markers available for sale at any craft retailer. The prices range from $1.99 -$5.99. You can also make your own with small hair scrunchies, small rubber bands or even loose threads. For looms you want markers that will fit the pegs of your loom.
Cable needles hold work aside so you can move stitches. This is useful for cables, whether done in needle knitting, crochet or loom knitting. There are straight cable needles of various sizes. I like the pin style stitch holders that close so the stitches do not get lost. You can get them for around $3.99 at any craft store. In a pinch you can use a large safety pin.
A measuring tape is important to keep track of the size of your project. Yard sticks are great for quilters but for needle crafters a round tape measure or folding tape measure is easier for storage sake.
A row counter is handy for all the needlework projects as well. I use a simple counter that I click after each row. Row counters help track your rows which help you to better gauge the size of your piece and also helps keep track of pattern stitches. It’s very frustrating to come back to a piece and not remember if you’ve done enough knit rows. Row counters cost between $3.99 – $14.99.
Scissors may seem like a no brains tool to have. However, as an experienced crafter I can vouch that it’s frustrating to have to search for a pair of scissors. They often elude me if I do not keep tabs of them. In a pinch I have had to use a steak knife and fingernail clippers as alternatives. If you travel a lot or work in a security conscious building you want to consider what type of cutting tools are allowed so your scissors aren’t taken away by security. For yarn work you do not need special scissors like quilters do but the blades do have to cut your yarn smoothly. You will want something lightweight. A decent pair of scissors can be obtained for less than $5.00. Check your local dollar store before you spend even that much.
A small sewing kit and a large eyed needle are vital for any yarn work. You might have to sew on buttons or seem two sides of a project together. You can get a sewing kit at many dollar stores or make up your own with the needles, threads, pins and buttons you have on hand. Keep it small and simple.
All needle workers need a crochet hook. They come in handy for weaving in loose threads. They help with dropped stitches for knitting. A standard sized hook (E, F, G or H sized) is necessary for your tool kit. You can get one for less than $2.00 at any craft store.
Yarn bobbins cost around $1.99 at many crafts retailers. You can also use rolled up index cards to wind up small yarn balls. If you are working with more than one strand or one color of yarn you will need two balls of yarn. Rather than buy extra skeins of yarn you simply roll some of your current yarn up in an extra ball.
A pocket magnifier is useful for reading patterns and small print of various types. They range in price from $1.00 at the dollar store to $19.99 at some craft retailers. My magnifier lights up which helps in some odd places like the car at night.
Point protectors go on a knitting needle and keep the project in place. They cost between $1.50 and $3.99. You can also use pencil erasers in a pinch, if you poke a hole into the eraser. You can skip these if you don’t needle knit.
Loom clips are specialized items for loom knitters. They are used on long looms to extend the use of the loom. I’ve not found any substitute for loom clips. They cost about $3.99 at most stores that sell looms.
If you loom knit you know that sometimes you have to tap pegs into your loom. A small hammer will help with this process. You can usually find a small craft hammer in the jewelry making section of a craft retailer.
Finally, a small bag of extra pegs of assorted sizes will save the day when you lose one or one gets broken. This is only necessary for loom knitters as well.
These items will make your tool box a power tool box. There are lots of ways of storing them. The key is to keep them together and put them back when you’re finished. Good luck.