Essential Knitting Accessories

Essential knitting accessories that will truly improve your Knitting Quality of Life (KQL).

Oh knitters.

Yesterday on the way to preschool, Reed and I were listening to a children’s story podcast about a little girl having an adventure in the forest. The little girl just happened to be wearing a scarf. When the story was over, Reed asked:  Mama, will you knit me a scarf?

My heart pretty much cracked wide open.

Yes, my dear. I will knit you a scarf.

Like many of you, I reserve the large majority of my meager knitting budget for yarn. It just can’t be helped, and I won’t deliberate the matter further. I know you understand.

That said, now and again I come upon a knitting accessory that I covet but continually pass up. Because $XX for a (swift, ball winder, cute stitch markers, blocking mats, blocking wires, FILL IN THE BLANK HERE) could be allocated toward nice yarn. I can’t wear blocking mats, but I can wear socks.

Right?

Right.

I knew things had to change a few weeks ago when I caught myself stuffing a my cowl-in-progress in a paper grocery sack on the way out the door. A paper sack can serve many purposes, but it was a clear sign of desperation on my part.

We all hit rock bottom sometimes.

Lately I have made a few exceptions to my Knitting Budget is For Yarn Only Policy, and they have been game changers. Worth every penny. I am forwarding my discoveries on to you here, in case you also might enjoy the little knitting delights I have stumbled upon of late. (Note anything with an * is an affiliate link, which I wouldn’t include if I didn’t swear by the product and the competitive price whole-heartedly. Thank you for being you!)

Essential knitting accessories to truly improve your Knitting Quality of Life (KQL).

Knitting Pouches

I spontaneously bought my new favorite travel pouch from this Etsy shop  after seeing it on another blog. I had browsed Etsy before for such an item but quickly drowned in the zillion billion gatrillion options. I LOVE this pouch. It is beautiful, it is lined, and it will fit a mid-sized project. Probably not a full size sweater. Maybe a nicely rolled tee without the extra yarn. Definitely a shawl. I no longer need a paper sock for my knitting projects.

I also just invested in this small Go Knit pouch (mine is red!) for my sock projects. I aspire to learn to knit and walk. So far, I have only tried it once. It went okay, but it was in the early morning and my fingers basically froze off. I hope to have more luck with this in the summer when I am less likely to lose a digit to frostbite. That said, this pouch is perfect for play group when I can be quickly be up and down and have my sock in hand (or rather, on wrist) while simultaneously semi-supervising my child. It also lets me keep my knitting on my wrist and off the ground/table/bench without fear of a child impaling themselves on my size 2 needles if I were to unwisely leave my knitting in the wrong spot.

Needles

I have a very random assortment of needles. I hope to someday soon by a set, but I honestly can’t decide on which set to buy. I started swatching my Woolfolk with an older pair of bamboo size 3 (size 3.25 mm)needles. I knew right away it was going to take FOREVER an upgrade was required, so I picked up a new pair of Addi Turbo Lace needles. Typically when I need to buy new needles, this is my go-to brand, as I have found them to make a big difference. I estimate I at least doubled my speed. Seriously. Go get some.

More Accessories

I haven’t bought my swift yet (soon!), but I have my eye on this one. The price is competitive (lower than WEBS), and the reviews seem mostly positive. And as soon as I buy my swift, I want to invest in some stitch dictionaries. I have seen some positive comments floating on the web lately about this Japanese one, which I think is fascinating (although EXPENSIVE).

What knitting accessories have you stumbled upon lately that made a big difference for you? Please share!

Joining Ginny’s Yarn Along and STILL reading The Japanese Lover.

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43 Comments

  • Reply Heather March 2, 2016 at 5:29 am

    Yes, once in a while we have to branch out from the “buy only yarn” thinking. I need to do it too…that little pouch is the cutest thing ever! I keep telling myself I should sew one since I have quite a large stock of fabric, but I never seem to get to it, and I don’t know how to sew on a zipper yet 🙂

    • Reply Andrea @ This Knitted Life March 3, 2016 at 9:04 am

      Thanks Heather. I wish I hadn’t inclination toward sewing, and then I could make them myself. But I don’t, so think goodness for Etsy.

  • Reply fibrefallout March 2, 2016 at 5:46 am

    I love knitting bags……all shapes and sizes. They are so fun! And I agree…it is so awesome when our kids ask for knitted items and wear them!! Happy knitting!

  • Reply Opal @ Threadlover March 2, 2016 at 6:01 am

    I’m currently knitting my daughter a cabled hat. I love cables, she loves them too and asked me to make one for her. Done!

    Let’s see… I did not purchase them recently, since I’ve had them for a few years; however, I love my Hiya Hiya Sharps interchangeable needles and I’m not sure how I managed without my electric ball winder. I always make center pull yarn balls.

    • Reply Andrea @ This Knitted Life March 3, 2016 at 9:03 am

      I didn’t even know there was such a thing as an electric ball winder. Apparently I’ve been living under a rock. Thanks for the tip.

  • Reply chrisknits March 2, 2016 at 6:14 am

    Do not wait on the swift!! Best purchase ever. My Umbrella swift has a broken arm, but it still works, so I muddle on. But I would love to buy an Amish style swift. And a good ball winder. The Lacis is the one I use, blue and cream model. The red and cream ones I have seen are not very good quality.

  • Reply Alina March 2, 2016 at 6:27 am

    I haven’t bought any knitting accessories lately, but one thing I know for sure – I will never knit on cheap plastic needles.I splurged a couple of years ago on ADDI clicks and I never regretted it. Worth every penny!

  • Reply Amber March 2, 2016 at 6:30 am

    Thanks for the suggestions! I do love the little bag and added it to my Etsy favorites. I’m always on the lookout for a nice knitting bag.

    • Reply Andrea @ This Knitted Life March 3, 2016 at 9:04 am

      Yes, nice knitting bags go along way. I guess we just have to treat ourselves every once and again.

  • Reply Vera March 2, 2016 at 6:35 am

    Thanks for the links to your new bags – they look wonderful. My husband gave me that swift this past Christmas. LOVE it (and him). I ended up getting a winder after that. Both have been put to excellent use!

  • Reply bonnyknits March 2, 2016 at 6:39 am

    I know what you mean, but having a swift and ball winder are marvelous!! My husband made me an Amish style swift and I just love being able to wind my yarn myself. When I don’t feel like knitting (haha WHAT?) I find it really soothing to just sit and wind yarn. The right needles definitely make a difference too. I love my 12″ Addi Turbos, but my favorites are my Knitters Pride Karbonz. I have some straights and some circa and they’re fantastic. They let me knit quickly without being too slippery, and they make that fun clicking noise when I knit!

    • Reply Andrea @ This Knitted Life March 3, 2016 at 9:05 am

      Thanks for the new needle tip. I’ll have to try some of those, I’m not sure if my little yarn shop carries them, but I’ll check. And of course, there’s always the Internet…

  • Reply Beth March 2, 2016 at 8:55 am

    One of my go-to tools is a knitter’s rule. It’s a nine inch ruler made of clear acrylic. Down the center of the ruler are graphics of stitch gauges. So you line the stitches of your knitting up to the graphics and you get a quick gauge check without all the counting, etc. Ann Budd has them available on her website and it looks like there are some shops on the web that carry them. They are about $5.00. You will love them! And definitely check out the digital counters that you can wear on your finger! Love, love, love them!

  • Reply Katie March 2, 2016 at 9:15 am

    I resisted buying a swift and ball winder for years, but since I got them I don’t know how I lived without them. I have a knit picks swift and absolutely love it. They’re reasonably priced and frequently go on sale as well.

  • Reply Diane March 2, 2016 at 9:46 am

    Ditto Katie, Love my knit picks swift. I didn’t have to wait long for it to be on sale, then tossed a small box of pins in my cart and also got free shipping. Can’t beat that.

    • Reply Andrea @ This Knitted Life March 3, 2016 at 9:07 am

      Oh waiting for the sale takes a lot of patience. I tend to be more spontaneous. But I’ll try to be wise.

  • Reply Jean Burtsfield March 2, 2016 at 10:21 am

    I have an Amish swift (eBay from somewhere in Ohio) and a Knitpicks winder. Bought it one year for Christmas, handed it to my daughter and told her to wrap it and put From Santa on it! I make nearly all my own bags—I like a plastic front so I can see what’s actually in there. Bought a draw string bag from Purl Soho—-the seams weren’t finished! ! Making my own now 🙂

    • Reply Andrea @ This Knitted Life March 3, 2016 at 9:08 am

      Checking eBay is a great idea! I will definitely keep that in mind. I wish I could sew so I can make my own project backs but every time I even glance at my sewing machine I break out in a huge sweat.

  • Reply Susan Maltman March 2, 2016 at 11:41 am

    Just use zip lock bags for projects. New Knit Pro Zing needles, coloured coded. Have 2 pairs of sock needles; glorious to look at, wonderfully smooth to knit with and easy to find all 4/5!!!!!!

    • Reply Andrea @ This Knitted Life March 3, 2016 at 9:08 am

      Ziploc bags do you go along way I have to admit. Although I think I’m out right now. Where is the grocery list…?

  • Reply ottomomma March 2, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    I also save most of my knitting expenditures for yarn (yarn, yarn, beautiful yarn!), but a couple years ago I decided that if I’m serious about the craft, I have to pay attention to my tools, too! Here are a couple of favorites I settled on after a ton of research and trial and error.

    I really wanted a set of Addi interchangeable needles (actually, I wanted two — the Turbo Lace and the Turbos), but they just weren’t in my budget, so after a lot of research and testing, I settled on Hya Hya. I love my HyaHya interchangeable knitting needles!
    http://www.amazon.com/Steel-Interchangeable-Knitting-Needles-Small/dp/B005FAIBO2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1456944953&sr=8-1&keywords=Hya+Hya+interchangeable.
    They were moderately priced, and I love them almost as much as Addis. The one drawback was that the cables from the large set wouldn’t work with the needles from the small set and vice versa, but now they have adapters, so it really doubles the functionality, and you can also purchase additional cables and tips individually to expand your set without going broke. They’re a really great choice for knitters on a budget.

    My favorite project bags right now are basic muslin, cotton or linen drawstring bags (I don’t like anything with zippers because I’m always getting my yarn caught in them). I just got a great deal on some lovely bags by Augbunny on Amazon:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00QBKTLWG?keywords=augbunny%20cotton%20drawstring&qid=1456944712&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1.
    These are really nice quality and ridiculously low-priced. The size I’ve linked here is great for socks and other small projects, but Augbunny makes them in assorted sizes, and they’ve got a great line of less basic bags as well.

  • Reply Dina March 3, 2016 at 3:50 am

    Please let us know what podcast had such a wonderful story.

    • Reply Andrea @ This Knitted Life March 3, 2016 at 9:10 am

      I think it’s just called the children’s stories podcast or something like that. If you do a search for children’s podcasts your podcast app there are quite a few options that I really enjoy.

  • Reply Megan March 3, 2016 at 4:25 am

    My local yarn store has a swift that we can use on yarn purchased there. This year I began a cabled and basket weave sweater. Stitch markers were essential to divide up all those different sections. And the pretty ones I purchased from Etsy give me joy every time I see them!

    • Reply Andrea @ This Knitted Life March 3, 2016 at 9:10 am

      Another friend of mine recently told me that the yarn shop she used to go to an San Francisco did the same thing. Which I think is really brilliant, although lately I have to meet either in purchasing quite a bit of yarn online, so that’s not an option…

  • Reply pumpkin sunrise March 3, 2016 at 5:37 am

    I am a HUGE fan of chiaogoo needles (I’m butchering the spelling) I love the way they feel and the way the stitches glide. I’m a fan of buying pretty stitch markers and of course project bags.

    • Reply Andrea @ This Knitted Life March 3, 2016 at 9:11 am

      Thanks Karen I’ll keep my eyes open for those. I don’t think my local yarn shop has those, but there is the great universe of the Internet.

  • Reply knittedblissjc March 3, 2016 at 11:54 am

    I love reading these sorts of posts because what one knitter finds indispensable, another doesn’t use at all and doesn’t miss, or conversely was in the market for just that sort of thing and now they know where to get it! Love your project bag, it’s so pretty. I don’t own a swift, and I don’t think I’ll ever buy one- I really, really enjoy hand winding them into balls. I find when yarn is caked it often puts an additional twist into the yarn, which I don’t love. But I’m very much in the minority.

  • Reply Elizabeth March 4, 2016 at 9:45 am

    I love my swift and ball winder. I have been thinking this week that my sock needles are too long and I might investment some shorter ones, maybe metal whereas my current ones are bamboo.

  • Reply caffeinegirl March 4, 2016 at 10:48 am

    Before you buy an umbrella swift, check out the Oregon Woodworker. Oops, I just did. He no longer sells swifts alone, but only in combination with winders. I do love having both, but it costs a lot more!

    I think project bags are a necessity, but I don’t mind my miscellaneous needle collection.

  • Reply Cheryl March 4, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    I love my GoKnit bags! While there are so many cute cloth ones out there, the GoKnit ones are much easier to keep clean. I always keep a sock project bag in my car where the mud and what not also reside, if it gets icky I can just wipe it clean.
    Might I suggest buy them from Simply Sock Yarn Company, http://www.simplysockyarn.com/. She is a small company and I’m sure would appreciate the business.

    • Reply Andrea @ This Knitted Life March 6, 2016 at 11:08 am

      Yes yes Amazon isn’t as groovy as local, but I sure am a sucker for free two day shipping. Will check out your link though, I promise.

  • Reply Andi March 5, 2016 at 8:02 am

    Yes indeed at a certain point we all need knitting companions like a good project bag and needles. For sure you picked one of my favs from Jenna Rose. Well done!
    Definitely a step up from a brown paper bag. 🙂

  • Reply Learn Colorwork The No-Stress, No-Fuss, Easy Way - This Knitted Life March 16, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    […] Before taking my class (course), I went rooting around my scrap piles and found a bunch of Sublime yarn bits that I knit with quite a bit back in the day when it was well stocked in my LYS. The scraps seemed like they might work together and I hoped (fingers cross) there’s enough to manifest that toddler scarf for Reed that he requested. […]

  • Reply Essential Knitting Accessories, Volume 2 - This Knitted Life June 18, 2016 at 4:01 am

    […] Volume 1 is here, in case you missed it. […]

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