Sometimes the simplest of things can make a huge difference…
As a knitter who tends to make things harder than they need to be, I’m excited to tell you about Try-It-On Tubing for needle sizes 2 to 8. It’s just arrived and came highly recommended by Ann Budd when she was here recently. This two-yard long plastic tube fits surprisingly snugly over the tips of your knitting needles (best suited for US sizes 2-8), making it beyond easy to simply slide your stitches from needle to tube and vice versa; this allows you to try your project on without the hassle of scrap yarn or stitch holders. Speaking of stitch holders, this tubing works wonderfully for that as well! And it isn’t just for straight needles, either. Try-It-On Tubing works with circular and double pointed needles too. Just try not to think of this stuff the next time you’re picking stitches up from waste yarn…
While I’m at it, I thought I’d mention a few other items that make life easier for knitters. Quite often you don’t even realize you need or want these notions until you use them – and once you use them it’s hard to go back. A great example that may seem obvious is the wonderfully efficient Knitter's Pride Ball/Wool Winder. I am mildly ashamed to admit that I don’t have a ball winder at home. I do all my winding by hand, and you don’t want to talk to me when I’m winding the last few yards of a lace weight skein. For those of you familiar with the cramped, stiff hands that winding yarn by hand will give you, I very much recommend a ball winder. We even have an Economy Yarn Winding Combo - Swift and Ball Winder Set for starting out. Once you’re really hooked (or if you’re looking for a very fancy gift for someone), check out our Heavy Duty Wooden Ball Winder or the beautiful COMBO-Maine Made Cherry Swift and Wooden Ball Winder.
Something else I use almost every day is the Sweater Stone - Made in USA. This little guy doesn’t just remove pills from your sweaters! I’ve used it on tights, leggings, and even one time to get paint off a sweater here in the store (…oops!), it worked great! Incredibly useful, the Sweater Stone always works.
Speaking of making life easier, we’re all fascinated by the Knitter's Keep Kit Blue, from Cocoknits. This kit consists of a fully adjustable bracelet with a magnet at the center. This magnet is the handiest, most convenient place for the notions that come along with it: cable needles, tapestry needles, and an assortment of stitch markers – all magnetic. This makes it super easy to keep a steady flow while you’re working, not to mention helping keep those little items in one place. Oh yeah, and these bracelets come in three colors: the Blue mentioned above, Green, and Gray.
I’m also noticing a lot of folks using these cute Mini Crochet Hook, Bamboo for picking up dropped stitches and other small fixes. Or if you need multiple sizes there’s also these: 4 Mini Hook Ring sizes 6, 10, 12, 15.
Then, there are the row counters. If you’re ready to put the pencil down and keep your tally an easier way, there’s the Ring Barrel-type Row Counter. This fits on any straight needle up to size US 10.5. The adorable Mini Kacha Knitting Row Counter rides along well in your notions bag, and keeping count is as easy as pressing a button. But if that’s too small for you, there’s the bigger Push-Button Row Counter - Kacha. And if you’re feeling especially fancy and efficient, you might want to take a closer look at the Electronic Row Counter Plus.
The fiber arts community is so full of creative, clever minds, I can’t wait to see what they come up with next. In the meantime, here’s a list of some other helpful and handy doodads:
Micro Clip Light – These little guys are incredibly bright and super useful to have around for close-up project inspection, pattern reading, finding those stitch markers at the bottom of your notions bag…
Key Ring Knit Gauge – It’s always good to be prepared, and with this adorable key chain sized gauge check you can do it in style.
Who doesn’t have a random needle or ten floating around – make sure what size it is and save yourself the hassle of buying new needles when you already have what you need. Both helpful and extremely adorable, try any of these critters: Fox Animal Needle Gauge Hedgehog Animal Needle Gauge Sheep Animal Needle Gauge
The Knit Kit – Speaking of being prepared, this Knit Kit is a Swiss Army style tool every knitter can use. It includes a tape measure, scissors, stitch markers, point protectors, stitch counter, thread cutter, double-sided crochet hook and darning needle, as well as a needle gauge- all tucked away in a small, portable case.
SockDoctor – Here’s another key chain sized tool that has real day-saving potential! Cute enough to be an ornament, these little socks have instructions for the kitchener stitch on the back, the anatomy of a sock on the front, and a little darning needle tucked into the toe.
Sock It To Me Shoe Size to Sock Length Conversion Guide – If you like to knit socks for people, this is an almost indispensable sheet to have. If you know the shoe size of the person you’re making the socks for, this simple tool will assist in inch or centimeter conversions. Complete with rulers around the edges, the laminated card is the perfect bookmark for your sock pattern book. It includes three charts; women, men, infant/child.
When it comes to indispensable references, Ann Budd’s Knitter's Handy Guide to Yarn Requirements should be in every knitter’s bag. You can quickly estimate how much yardage you’ll need in any given pattern and gauge. It includes a huge range of sizes, weights of yarns, and pattern styles, from blankets and accessories to kids and men’s and women’s sweaters. It’s especially handy if you are making yarn substitutions, we use it all the time in the shop to help people make sure they have what they need!
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