The Sufficient Path – Tools Needed to Knit

Yarn

The most important, (and let me tell ya, the most addictive) part of knitting is the yarn.  Soft, sumptuous, and sometimes, reasonably affordable.  I have went home with a skein simply because of the color and the softness, with no project in mind.  She who dies with the most yarn wins!

yarn ballsSo, let me first say, you have been warned.  Go ahead, clear out a closet now.  You’ll eventually want the free space.  OK, I may be exaggerating a little.  Not everyone uses a whole closet.  Anyways, yarn comes in a variety of weights.

You have:

  • Cobweb lace – Super thin for the most delicate of laces
  • Lace weight – As the name suggests, it works great for lace
  • Fingering weight – This is a step up from lace weight.  It can be used for socks, gloves, colorwork, and, yes, lace
  • Sock weight – Once again, as the name suggests, it works great for socks.  Can also be used for some of the same as fingering weight.
  • Sport or DK weight – This is closer to what most people think of when they think “yarn”.  It is good for hats, scarves, some sweaters, and thicker socks.
  • Worsted weight – This is your middle-of-the-ground weight yarn.  Most beginner patterns will use worsted because it is easy to use, and it produces something in a shorter amount of time.  Can be used for a lot of things.
  • Heavy worsted or Aran weight – This is just a smidge heavier than worsted and can be used for a lot of the same things.
  • Bulky weight – This yarn is thick!  This is good for quick knit scarves and wraps.  I haven’t used this as much, but some knitters really like bulky weight yarn.

If you are just starting out, I would recommend a worsted weight yarn.  You can try Caron Simply Soft if you’re on a budget, which is 100% acrylic.  Lion Brand Wool-ease is also fairly nice to use and is a washable wool blend..  For the pricier end of the spectrum, you can try Louet Riverstone, which is 100% wool.  Of course, my personal favorite is Malabrigo Worsted.  The yarn is unbelievably soft, reasonably priced, and comes in some fantastic colors!

Knitting Needles

Knitting needles are your next item to get.  Needles come in metal and wood/bamboo.  Metal/steel needles are fairly slick, so if you just learning knitting for the first time, I would suggest getting bamboo needles to start with.  They are light weight, very durable, and “stick” to the yarn a bit more.  This means you won’t have stitches slip off your needles in the middle of a project.

My knitting needle collection

For a starter project, like a scarf or washcloth, I would recommend a size 7 or 8 needle.  That is the Goldilocks size – not too big and not too small.  They will work well with a worsted weight yarn.

Finally, for a simple project, I would say a pair of straight needles will work fine.  You will probably go to get these, and see sets of short needles and ones with a cable between the pair of needles.  Just ignore those.  A pair of straight needles are all you will need right now.

Notions 

There are so many extra tools that, one day, you may decide to get to help you with your knitting.  For now, a yarn needle and a pair of scissors are the only other things you need to start knitting.  Scissors are, well, kind of obvious.  You can’t wear a scarf with the yarn ball still attached.  Well, you can, but I don’t think it will start a major fashion trend.  A yarn needle is a fairly big needle, with a big eye that will take yarn and a blunt end so it doesn’t hurt your yarn.  A yarn needle threader could also come in handy, if you don’t want to try to thread a needle with a thick chunk of yarn.  These items can be found anywhere, even the Big Box Megastore down the road.  

Stay Tuned Next Week

Next week, I’ll get us started on casting on a project.  With fall coming up, I think a nice, simple scarf will be a great beginner project.

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