Knitting is a craft with a long history although methods, tools, and supplies have changed over the years. Someone interested in learning to knit would first need to learn the basics to include casting on, completing stitches, and picking the best yarn. However, whether a beginner or expert knitter there are three things in particular that an individual should know about when it comes to knitting. These include knitting needles, knitting supplies, and a knitting needle conversion chart. Making the right decision for each of these would make knitting more enjoyable but also successful.
With each of these three items having such a huge impact on a person’s knitting experience, as well as the quality of a finished product, we felt it essential to provide an overview of what is available for purchase today. While it might seem easy to choose needles, supplies, and a conversion chart, because there are so many different options the process can actually be somewhat overwhelming, especially for beginners.
We will first address knitting needles. Obviously, knitting would be impossible without needles so this item alone is critical. In order to create knitted items of any kind an individual would use two needles. One needle is for the left hand and the other for the right hand with both having points on one end. With this end, loops of yarn are pulled through other loops to create the desired pattern. Keep in mind for some knitting stitches, a special box is used to outline the yarn design, which would then be transferred to the needles.
In addition to straight knitting needles, there are also circular needles, which consists of two needles that are connected with a piece of nylon string, and double pointed needles. Based on the project a person would choose appropriate needles accordingly. In addition, needles come in 0.75mm to 25mm thickness. Typically, needles are marked with sizes for the United States, which coordinate with European metric numbers. However, some companies use United Kingdom sizes, although these needles are not as common.
Needles are also made in a variety of materials to include aluminum, nickel-plated aluminum, birch, walnut, bamboo, ebony, plastic, and casein, which is a product made from milk protein. Of these materials, plastic is the cheapest with aluminum and bamboo being considered two of the best. Even though certain materials are stronger than others, the process of choosing knitting needles comes down to what feels most comfortable in a person’s hands.
Next on the list of knitting needles, knitting supplies, and a knitting needle conversion charge we want to focus specifically on supplies. When it comes to supplies, there are certain things that a person must have and other things that would be more of a luxury. As far as actual purchases, this too comes down to what an individual can afford but also what feels and works best while knitting.
Essential Supplies – The items listed below are things that every knitter should have on hand:
- Scissors – For virtually every knitting project yarn will need to be trimmed. A simple but well-made pair of scissors would suffice.
- Crochet Hook – Many people are surprised to learn that a crochet needle is considered an important supply used for knitting but it is. There are several purposes but the most beneficial is picking up dropped stitches.
- Measuring Tape – Most knitters depend on a standard measuring tape for staying on top of progress for knitting projects.
- Point Protectors – For single or double pointed needles, point protectors are small rubber tips that would be placed on top of the tips to keep them from becoming dull or damaged when not in use.
- Yarn – As a beginner, the goal is to choose quality but also affordable yarn in a preferred color or colors but with moderate to advanced skills, much higher quality of varying types and colors would be added to the supply list.
Elective Supplies – Initially, an individual would only need basic supplies. However, as knitting skills improve and projects become more complex, many people find other supplies such as those listed below help.
- Row Counter – For projects that consist of repeating stitch patterns, a row counter is used to help a person keep on track
- Stitch Holder – For placing live stitches on hold while knitting, this tools is extremely helpful to have on hand
- Knitting Clips – If knitting traveling or away from home, these clips would keep all the different pieces of the project held securely in place
- Cable Needle – For cable knit projects, this type of needle is beneficial but in addition, it works to keep a dropped stitch firmly in place until ready for it to be worked
- Knitting Stitch Markers – Made from hard plastic, these markers are an ideal tool for marking the start of a round or repeating pattern
Additional Considerations – The following supplies are discretionary. Some people will use them and others not but it is still nice to know they are an option if interested.
- Notebook or Journal – Great for taking down notes about yarn, projects, stitches, and so on, but also keeping track of where a person is on a particular project
- Lotion – For heavy knitters, it is common for the hands to become dry and cracked so having quality lotion on hand would make knitting more comfortable
- Extra Supplies – Once a person decides to take up knitting as a permanent craft, we suggest purchasing extra needles and yarn
Knitting Needle Conversion Chart
Finally, it is important to learn about the importance of a knitting needle conversion chart. As mentioned above in the knitting needles section, there are different sizes, more formally called gauges. Some of these numbers are based on United States’ standards while others use the metric system. However, gauges are also available for Japanese and Canadian standards.
For someone just learning to knit, converting numbers can be a confusing process. In fact, even expert knitters struggle with this on occasion. To eliminate guesswork, an individual would simply refer to this chart, which eliminates the potential for mistakes. Needle gauge is actually determined by the diameter of the needle and then based on the number the size of the stitch or loop would be small or large.
Below is a small example of what a conversion chart looks like but of course, a full chart would cover all gauges.
Whether interested in knitting simple patterns as a part-time hobby or making elaborate knitted projects as a career, it is essential to choose the right knitting needles, knitting supplies, and the knitting needle conversion chart. Although there are other aspects of knitting considered important, these three rank at the top of the list.