Ten Essential Items For Your Knitting and Crochet Notions Toolkit

Ten Essential Items For Your Knitting and Crochet Notions Toolkit

I'm often asked about the essential tools needed for knitting and crochet, particularly from those new to the pastime. I’ve also put together quite a few kits myself, to give as gifts, so it’s a subject I could talk about forever and a day, but don’t worry, I’ll try to keep this article short and sweet!

Please note that the term Notions is often used to refer to the accessories used by knitters and crocheters. It seems to be prevalent in the US, whereas in the UK we often refer to them somewhat less poetically as just knitting and crochet tools!

Knitting needles, crochet hooks and yarn are not included in my recommended list, simply because these items are specific to the project you’re working on and will change regularly. I’ve focussed on the essential items that I think every knitter and / or crocheter will need in their toolkit all of the time, regardless of the project!

So without further ado, here is what I consider to be the essential toolkit for any knitting or crochet project:

1. Darning Needles

Darning needles - essential for every knitting and crochet kit

Every kit should contain one large and one small darning needle, to cover a wide variety of uses, such as darning in ends, joining seams and grafting sock toes. In the UK they are sometimes referred to as knitter’s needles or bodkins.

They are available in metal and plastic but I much prefer metal needles. This is because they last longer than plastic needles, due to their strength, and they have sharper points, allowing them to slip through the fabric more easily. Why makes things more difficult than they have to be? If you prefer plastic darning needles though, please try and examine them closeup before you buy, if possible. Plastic needles are moulded and so some of them can have a small but visible seam, which can catch the fabric during use.


2. Scissors

Ideal scissors for a knitting or crochet kit

The ideal scissors for your toolkit should be small and sharp. As sharp as possible - again, why not make things as easy as possible? With ease of use comes increased enjoyment! Standard, good-quality embroidery scissors or folding scissors are the best options I’ve found over the years. I always use folding scissors in my own toolkit, simply because when the scissors are folded, the blades are hidden away, so there’s no danger that they could damage the bag which stores your lovely kit, or even worse, prick your fingers when you’re rummaging around!


3. Stitch Markers and Progress Keepers

Stitch marker - an essential part of any knitting or crochet kit bag

Stitch markers are used for marking the beginning of a round when knitting and for indicating where increases, decreases and pattern repeats should happen, so they’re incredibly useful.

Progress keepers are used to denote the front of a piece of work and to show your progress as a piece of work develops. This makes it easier to keep track of your progress through the pattern and greatly reduces any confusion - I’d be stuck without them.

They’re available in a wide range of styles and designs, so there’s something for all tastes - why not coordinate with your project for a bit of fun?


4. Tape Measure

Retractable tape measure - essential for every knitting and crochet project kit

Having a tape measure close at hand when you’re knitting or crocheting is absolutely essential, although anyone who is brand new to these hobbies might not yet know why. Knitting and crochet patterns almost always refer to the sizes of various elements of the pattern - for example a sweater pattern will state something along the lines of ‘knit the arm until it measures 20 inches in length. So, obviously, the use of a tape measure is critical!

For your notions toolkit, I recommend a retractable tape measure because it will keep your notions bag or pouch neat and tidy. Nobody wants to reach inside and find that everything is tangled up.


5. Row Counter

Row counters are used to keep track of the number of rows you’ve completed on a project and are another item I find to be absolutely essential. Ideally, choose a clickable row counter because every time you hear it click, you can be confident that you’ve recorded your progress successfully. Also another top tip - and this comes from a lot of personal experience - is to buy a lockable row counter if you have small children! Trust me, there’s nothing that an enquiring and mischievous toddler loves more than a colourful little clicking toy!


6. Cable Needles

Cable needles - essential for every notions toolkit

These are used when knitting Aran-style cable designs. There are various styles available, including straight, cranked, curved and even spiral cable needles. Whichever you choose is a matter of personal preference but straight or cranked ones are simplest.

Unlike some of the other items in this list of essentials, they may not strictly be needed by every knitter or crocheter but in my opinion, you’re missing out on a whole world of fun if you don’t at least explore cable knitting.


7. 3 mm Crochet Hook

This isn’t for actual crochet work (although it obviously could be!) but I find a 3 mm crochet hook to be the ideal tool for picking up dropped stitches in knitting projects.


8. Pencil
I always have a pencil handy for marking paper patterns and I prefer to use a retractable pencil, sometimes referred to as a technical pencil or mechanical pencil. There are two reasons for this - firstly, the pencil lead can be retracted inside the pencil body, eliminating the possibility of marks (and holes!) covering the inside of your bag and secondly - no sharpening, or the mess that goes with it!

Pencil for knitting and crochet toolkit


9. Needle Gauge
Of course, you need to make sure you’re using the correct needles or hooks for a project, or there could be some frustrating frogging (also known as undoing or backing - basically, unstitching of the pattern) in store! Gauges are particularly useful if the markings on the needles or hooks have worn off.

They come in a variety of sizes and designs and some used to feature imperial as well as metric measurements, but you only need metric measurements, which makes things a bit simpler!


Needle Gauge for Knitting and Crochet Toolkit

10. Small Ball of Scrap Yarn
Scrap yarn is perfect for putting forethought lines into your knitting project, particularly essential when knitting socks. It can also be used for putting stitches on hold. If you don’t yet know what forethought lines are, don’t worry - all will be revealed as you progress through your knitting journey.


Scrap yarn - essential for any knitting or crochet toolkit

Bonus Item - The Notions Bag, Pouch or Container for your Knitting Toolkit
OK, so including the bag itself, I suppose there are 11 items, but I won’t tell if you won’t!

Knitting or Crochet Kit Toolbox Bag

Last but not least, you’re going to need something to keep all your lovely little accessories safe in. There are so many options out there! You can keep it really simple and basic by going for a pencil case or even a small makeup bag, which work perfectly well and can be a great way to repurpose unused bags that you already have.

My personal preference is to go for something a little more special and pretty. There are a lot of bags and pouches available to buy which have been specifically designed to hold knitting and crochet accessories and of course, you can even make your own. I like to occasionally treat myself to one of the lovely bags that are available from numerous independent makers. I just find them more special, more attractive and made with the love and attention to detail of a fellow fibre-crafter, so you know they’ll do the job extremely well!

If you're looking to put together your first knitting or crochet kit, I really hope this has been useful!

If you have any other items that you can't do without in your current kit, I'd love to know what it is and why you find it essential!

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