Thursday, April 23, 2015

A few of my favorite knitting tools

Management tools for threads and needles.

We all have our favorite tools for working. I always enjoy hearing about others' favorites, so I thought I'd start by sharing mine--and hope that you will share yours.

Stitch fixes

Knitting machine hook
This little tool at right has been my very favorite hand knitting sidekick for many years. It's a knitting machine tool but the hook end (seen here on the left) is perfect for picking up and manipulating stitches! No bigger than a small crochet hook, it's much more efficient in grabbing miscreant stitches in yarns of nearly all sizes.

I've wondered what I'd do should I lose it, but I am relieved to find options. I found quite a few listed on eBay--all tagged as for knitting machines. Perfect. I also found some other hooks with handles that would probably work well. 

Fix-a-stitch tool
Speaking of picking up dropped stitches, a tool made specifically for picking up pattern stitches beyond stockinette is the Fix-a-Stitch tool. I first saw it at Vogue Knitting Live in New York a couple of years ago and was impressed with the demo. I bought it and keep it in my tool box, but must confess that while I find the design brilliant, I'm not as impressed with the function or feel of the plastic hooks. If I loved them, I wouldn't begrudge the retail cost, which is about $15 for a set of three. (The manufacturing cost must be pennies.) I just wish the material were a little higher quality.
Protective wrap for yarn cake

Cake control

My freebie favorite is for yarn cakes, especially those where the outside end constantly seeks to mate with the working thread, which feeds from the middle of the cake. I've tried to control this with small plastic bags and project bags, but nothing controls the ends like protective wraps such as those used on produce and fruit for protection from bruising. Check the local produce aisle!

Double pointed needle management

I mostly knit with interchangeable circular needles, but still need double pointed needles for some projects. However, they have driven me crazy over the years. They're hard to store and almost always need a needle gauge before using. I've tried fabric cases and the two-part needle holder tubes for sock knitting. Both solutions helped manage the inherent needle messiness, but were less than perfect. 

After seeing a tweet about the recently released double pointed knitting (dpn) needle sorter and gauge tool from HandworkhardwareI jumped online to order one. I was not disappointed. IMHO, it is a triumph of design. The round cardboard storage container with screw-on lid includes a knitting needle gauge and sorter for small double pointed knitting needles (US 000-5/Metric 1.5-3.75mm). It's easy to put away needles and easy to retrieve them. And it provides space efficient storage.

Handworkhardware container
Here's how it works: The flat gauge on the top of the red plastic needle holder (just barely visible at right) is a knitting needle gauge tool. When putting away dpns, you drop the needles through the gauge hole to the storage section below for storage in pie-shaped sections. 

When ready to knit, pull up the internal storage unit to retrieve the needles you want to use. The unit doesn't come all the way out, so the needles don't fall out. They just gracefully 'flower' and enable you to select the ones you want. (The photo on their website shows the entire unit in more detail.)

Do you have a favorite knitting tool? Please share!

No comments:

Post a Comment