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Perhaps you’ve been dreaming about cozy afternoons, knitting your own handmade scarves, hats, and sweaters with a pair of needles and yarn. But with so many knitting tools and supplies to choose from, it can be hard to know where to begin!
I’ve been right where you are, and I promise, it’s not as complicated as it seems. You don’t need to spend a fortune, and you certainly don’t need to buy everything all at once.
To make things easier, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of all the must-have tools that every beginning knitter should have in their knitting kit. We’ll cover everything from the absolute basics you’ll need for your very first project, right up to the handy extras that can make your knitting journey smoother and even more enjoyable.
Must-Have Knitting Tools for Beginners
Here are those 7 essential knitting tools that you’ll need to complete your first project.
- Tapestry Needle
- Stitch Markers
- Gauge Ruler
- Project Bag
Scroll down to the next section where we’ll go through each of these tools in more detail, and give you our recommendations for the best knitting tools for beginners.
Then, we’ll talk about 10 more tools you’ll likely want to add to your collection as you continue your knitting journey.
Building Your Knitting Toolkit
First, let me give you a few tips on building your toolkit. When you’re just getting started with knitting, it can be tempting to rush out and buy a heap of supplies all at once. But, consider collecting tools over time instead. Not only is it more budget-friendly, but it also gives you time to discover what really works for you.
Let me share a story from my own early knitting days. One Christmas, I splurged on a full set of bamboo circular needles for myself: 12 sizes with a variety of cables to match. I was convinced that I was prepared for any and every knitting adventure.
Well, after a few more months, I found I wasn’t as big a fan of the bamboo needles as I had anticipated. Their grippiness, which can be so helpful for beginners, actually slowed me down.
So, I decided to try some stainless steel interchangeable needles, and felt a big difference! The stitches flew from needle to needle, and it was easy to get into a good knitting rhythm. It was like falling in love with knitting all over again. But… I was left with an entire set of bamboo needles that I rarely, if ever, use.
What’s the moral of this story? Start small. Pick a single pair of good-quality straight needles, a ball of medium-weight yarn, a sturdy pair of scissors, and a tapestry needle. That’s all you need to learn how to knit.
As you keep knitting, you’ll figure out which types of projects you gravitate to. As you find what projects you like the most, you can start adding specific tools to your collection.
For example, do you love making socks? Invest in a set of DPNs. Adore cozy sweaters? A set of circular needles could be your next purchase.
Essential Knitting Supplies
Without further ado, here are the 7 most important knitting tools that every beginning knitter should have.
The knitting journey starts with needles. There are several types:
- Straight Needles: Ideal for beginners, straight needles are great for flat pieces like scarves or dishcloths. A US 8 (5mm) is a good starting point. As for materials, we recommend wooden or bamboo needles because of their grip (so you don’t have to stress about your stitches sliding off.)
- Circular Needles: These needles are connected by a flexible cable, so you can knit round pieces like hats. They’re also really useful for larger projects like blankets that might be too big to handle on straight needles. As a beginner, you might not need these right away, but they’re worth exploring as you progress.
- Double Pointed Needles (DPNs): These come in handy for small, circular projects, like socks or the tops of hats. They’re a little trickier to manage at first, but not too difficult once you get the hang of them.
To learn more about needles, check out this handy Knitting Needle Sizes Chart.
And of course, you’ll need some yarn. We recommend starting with a medium-weight yarn, often labeled as a “Category 4” or “worsted weight” yarn. Choose a smooth texture and a lighter color so it will be easy to see your stitches (and fix those inevitable mistakes.)
A good pair of sharp, sturdy scissors is essential for cutting yarn. Any pair will do, but most knitters like to keep a small pair in their knitting project bag.
A tapestry needle is a large-eyed blunt needle that you’ll use to weave in the yarn ends at the end of your project. Choose from straight-tip or bent-tip needles, depending on your preference.
Stitch markers are small metal or plastic rings that you’ll use to mark important stitches in your project. They’ll help you keep track of where you are in your pattern, making sure you don’t miss any important instructions.
A gauge ruler is a small square ruler that you can use to measure your swatches and calculate your knitting gauge. Getting the right knitting gauge is essential if you want your finished project to fit!
A project bag is a safe and organized place to store your current knitting project, keeping your yarn clean and tangle-free. I like a bag with some pockets to store small notions, like extra tapestry needles, stitch markers, and scissors.
Additional Helpful Tools
As you start exploring beyond the basics, here are 10 more tools to consider adding to your toolkit.
Interchangeable Needle Set
Interchangeable needles are a versatile addition to your toolkit, and a great investment as you find yourself knitting more and more. Interchangeable needle sets come with multiple sizes of needle tips and cable lengths that you can combine to create almost any size circular needle. Instead of buying new needles for every project, you can buy an interchangeable needle set once, and have everything you need at your fingertips. No more last-minute runs to the craft store!
Just like the interchangeable needle set, a double-pointed needle set is a good investment as you start tackling smaller-diameter projects like socks or mittens. Most sets come with 5 or 6 sets on DPNs in small sizes, like US 0 (2.0mm) – US 3 (3.25mm).
This is a great place to store your needles, keeping them safe and organized. Sure, some needles come with carrying cases – but as your collection expands, it’s more than worth it to keep everything in the same pace – if only to avoid the frustration of misplaced needles.
This handy tool has a bunch of different-sized holes to measure the size of your knitting needles. You’ll need one of these if the sizing label has rubbed off your favorite pair. Sometimes, you can find a gauge ruler with a needle gauge built in.
These tools hold stitches that you’re not currently working on but will need later – like “pause buttons” for your knitting. For example, you might use them to hold the sleeve stitches while you finish the body of a top-down sweater.
A row counter helps you keep track of how many rows you’ve knitted, which is so helpful when working on more complex patterns.
Needle Point Protectors
These little caps fit onto the ends of your needles, preventing your stitches from sliding off when you’re not knitting.
Blocking Mat and Pins
Blocking is a process that gives your finished project a neater, more professional look. You’ll use pins and blocking mats to shape your work to the right dimensions as it dries.
This specially designed hand-wash detergent is gentle on your woolen items.
Yarn Swift and Ball Winder
These tools make it easy to wind loose hanks of yarn into neat cakes that are easy to knit from. Plus, they’re really fun to use!
Quality over Quantity
As you knit more and more, you’ll find that the quality of your tools profoundly impacts your knitting experience. Investing in good quality tools not only makes the process easier, but also makes the experience that much more enjoyable.
We hope this list of recommendations helps you build a collection of high-quality tools that you will love and will use for years.
More Knitting Articles
If you love knitting as much as we do, you may be interested in the following articles:
- How to Knit: Complete Guide for Beginners
- 24+ Best Gifts for Knitters
- 35+ Different Knitting Stitches with Patterns and Videos
- 25 Free and Easy Knitting Patterns for Beginners
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Sarah Stearns has helped millions of makers find their next craft project with free patterns and step-by-step tutorials on her blog, sarahmaker.com. Read more.
With over a decade of experience in knitting and crochet, she has been featured in prominent publications like The New York Times, Scientific American, Good Housekeeping, Vox, Apartment Therapy, and Lifehacker.