The Ultimate New Knitter’s Toolkit – Needles, Yarn, Notions, and Supplies to Buy For Beginning Knitters

Canvas and Leather Mason Bag, Knitting Tote with Sheep, Extra LargeRecently I got the opportunity to go shopping for a ton of knitting stuff because I was buying knitting supplies for my nephew.

He is really into knitting (he's learning from KnitFreedom videos), but he's using old aluminum needles, acrylic yarn, and even plastic shopping bags to hold his projects in.

I decided it was time for him to see how much more fun knitting can be when you have great tools.

So I put together for him what I call the Ultimate New-Knitter's Toolkit, and now I'm sharing it with you. These are my favorite knitting supplies for promising beginners.

CASES, NOTIONS, AND DOODADS

Notions Case


Namaste Better Buddy Crafts Magnetic Needle Case - Pumpkin Spice

A notions case holds your scissors, tapestry needles, stitch markers, and measuring tape.

You can find them at your local yarn store (LYS) or online.

I myself have the Namaste Better Buddy case, and that's what I picked for my nephew as well. The lid is magnetic and the container is small and secure.

To arrange your notion case, try this layout:

Stick one tapestry needle to the magnetic lid, rest sewing scissors and a tape measure on top of the divider, and place a dozen stitch markers (leave them open) underneath the divider. That’s it -- nice and simple.

Tape Measure


Clover Shiro tape measureThis is my favorite: a very simple tailor’s tape measure. You can get cute and furry ones at your local yarn store, but they take up more room and get dirty.

Find one at any craft store, your LYS, or online.

Blunt Tapestry Needle


Blunt Tapestry Needles

I used to like the ones with the curved tip, now I like the ones with the straight tip. The choice is up to you.

You can get them at your local yarn store or here on Amazon.


Sewing Scissors

Embroidery ScissorsYou can get sewing scissors like these in all sorts of "animals." I like the basic stork, but I got these peacock style scissors for my nephew.

You can find embroidery/sewing scissors at any craft store, at your LYS, or online.

 

Stitch Markers


I like to have both the Clover locking stitch markers and split ring markers on hand. They work for marking your stitches, identifying the front of your work, and marking the beginning of the round.

You can find them at any craft store, at your LYS, or online.

Gauge Checker


Susan Bates Knit-Chek Gauge CheckerI like this Knit Chek metal gauge checker by Susan Bates -- it works and it's cheap. You can find it at any craft store, at your LYS, or online.

Of course I also sent my nephew a few of my KnitFreedom gauge checker bookmarks (below) -- if you want me to send you some free ones just fill out the form on this page with your address.

KnitFreedom free gauge-checker bookmark

 

 

 

Knitting Needle Case


della Q Combo Knitting Case for Straight & Double Point & Circular Knitting NeedlesThere are lots of straight needle cases that are made with fabric, and you can even make your own if you are handy with a sewing machine.

Della Q (left) and Lantern Moon make good cloth cases (although not very manly).

You can find cases like these at your LYS or online.

 

 

YARN AND NEEDLES

 Straight Knitting Needles


Signature Needles single points

I decided to order my nephew two pairs of Signature Needle Arts straight needles: US Size 7 (4.5 mm) and Size 9 (5.5mm), which are common sizes that beginners use for flat knitting. You can only get them online.

I’ve blogged about Signature needles here. They are the absolute best needles that I’ve ever knitted with and I know my nephew is going to love them.  I know they are expensive but I felt like spoiling him.

Lantern Moon Single Point - 10-inch - Rosewood - US 9A less-expensive option and my second-favorite brand of straight needles is Lantern Moon needles. Knitting with them is, as Cam, owner of Stix Yarn in Bozeman, says, "a full-body experience."

You can find Lantern Moon needles at your LYS or online.

Circular Knitting Needles


addi Turbo Lace Circular 40-inch (100cm) Knitting Needle; Size US 07 (4.50 mm)I recommend the following 3 needles sizes for the beginner (all available at your LYS or online):

1) 40-inch US Size 10 (6.0 mm) so they can do Magic Loop with bulky yarn. Addi Turbo is the brand I picked, although there are a ton of choices that are all really good; I’ve blogged here about the many good choices that are available.

2) 47-inch US size 7 (4.5 mm) so that they can do two at a time socks with worsted-weight yarn.

3) 47-inch US size 2 (2.75 mm) for when they're ready to knit their first pair of fingering-weight socks.

Yarn for Beginners


Green Malabrigo Chunky - skein

Chunky Yarn: To go with those needles I got my nephew some wonderful basic yarn: two skeins each in two colors of Malabrigo Chunky, which is soft, beautiful, and comes in tons of colors.

For adults you might want to get three skeins so they can make a big long scarf or any kind of biggish project. You can even make a felted bag with three or four skeins of Malabrigo Chunky; you can easily make a hat or a pair of mittens with one skein.

Remember to wind the yarn if it comes in a hank; if your beginning knitter doesn't have access to a ball-winder, he will not be able to knit with the lovely yarn you got him!

Aran-Weight Yarn: I also included two skeins of Malabrigo Twist so that he could make socks or a hat with beautiful stitch texture and nice kettle-dyed colors.

Classic Shades Big Time self-striping yarnSelf-Striping Yarn: Next were a few balls of self-striping worsted-weight yarn (Stella Jacq and Big Time) so that he could make scarfs or hats and get that immediate satisfaction that comes from a self-striping yarn. This is a nice way to get color into your project if you don't know how to do colorwork yet.

Fingering-Weight Yarn: Last I got one skein of washable fingering weight yarn so that he can make socks.

There are millions of choices for sock yarn; I chose MadelineTosh sock yarn, a favorite of many knitters. One skein is plenty to make a pair of socks.

BAGS

Project Bags


lantern moon silk taffeta bagsProject bags are little bags to hold each project and its yarn in while it's on the needles. I love these Lantern Moon taffeta silk knitting bags because they, unlike many project bags, don't have a drawstring.

I can't abide drawstring bags because they spin around and tangle your yarn. These Lantern Moon silk taffeta bags stay open, are nice and small, and come in so many colors you can select them to match your outfit. I myself just ordered eight more of them (splurge!).

Knitting Bags


Canvas and Leather Mason Bag, Knitting Tote with Sheep, Extra LargeLast but not least, this is my favorite part: a knitting bag. You have to have a knitting bag.

Up until now my nephew has been using a plastic shopping bag and that is no way to treat all this gorgeous stuff he’s about to get.

Since he’s a guy I had a harder time finding him a knitting bag but my criteria basically apply whether you are a girl or a guy. I look for:

  • A sturdy, medium-sized bag
  • Handles that stick up on their own (easy to grab)
  • Stays open on its own so you can and sit it on the floor next to you while you knit

Fred Perry Men's Classic Canvas ToteI found these beautiful canvas bags (above) on Etsy. If money were no object I would totally get one for him and also for myself.

After more searching I found this Fred Perry canvas bag (left) on Amazon that is a pretty close second - it comes in four different neutral colors, too.

If you want a more girly choice, I recommend the Namaste vegan leather knitting bags which are so popular and are great as purses as well.

SHOPPING LIST

FYI - I don’t get any money from these companies for promoting any of this stuff. I just picked each thing because I thought it was the best.

I hope you enjoyed this little shopping excursion! Click around - even if you don’t buy anything it's still fun to look.

Leave a Comment

On Monday I'll tell you how I use knitting as a part of my family's holiday traditions - and give you 14 free patterns to help you do the same.

In the mean time, did I leave anything good off? What knitting supplies do you find indispensable? Leave a comment below and let me know.

94 thoughts on “The Ultimate New Knitter’s Toolkit – Needles, Yarn, Notions, and Supplies to Buy For Beginning Knitters”

  1. I also keep a nail file so my nails don’t snag my yarn. I always have a pad & pencil for notes and my knit kit and point protectors.

  2. I keep hand lotion and sanitizer in my kit. It is amazing how dirty hands can get which is a no, no for knitting white yarn. I also like knit Denise needles because you always have the correct size when the urge hits you to knit while traveling.

    1. El Edwards - Customer Happiness

      Great reminder Sandra – thank you! :) Nothing more frustrating that seeing your new white creation covered in marks! ;)

  3. I have had my Tom Binh swift for years (made in USA) it is fantastic. Also, I prefer small blunt-tip scissors in my organizer.

  4. I need a good tape measure., scissors, tapestry needle,tons of knitting needles and crochet hooks in different sizes. I need lots more but the budget prevails…..

  5. I now carry a bit of waste yarn with me which may not be necessary for a beginning knitter but definitely up knitting tree comes mittens pretty quickly and it is useful.

    I also like to have a few old fashioned safety pins. Maybe if I had the wire, coiless removable stitch markers, that would be a good replacement but I use the safety pins with fine gauge knitting since the removable makers you show can be very bulky on fine socks.

    Great list!

  6. I’ve always had Unwaxed dental floss and a floss threader( for braces) in my knitting bag. Comes in handy for life lines and flossing my teeth.

    1. I would dream of using dental floss as a lifeline, it can, and does damage the yarn. I always use crochet thread or perle cotton embroidery thread. I keep a spool of off white and light blue with my knitting kit. Why 2 colors? No matter what color way I may be knitting with either one is always visible. Not only that the thread is so much cheaper than dental floss. 100 yd ~ $3, while dental floss is just about the same price for ~20-25 yards.

  7. List thank you for the list. I use my cable needle all the time whether to poo pick up stitches or fix something or to mark my place. I can and occasionally do cables without the hook but I prefer the safety. I would also include a nice project book or show him how r on use revelry. As for a bag, well I gather all the free cosmetic bags or buy “store” bags with great motto’s (i think you have one). Saves me $$$ so I can buy yarn, needles etc. Wonder if my kids would agree not to eat for a while so I could buy signature needles???? Than know so for all you do for us!!!!

  8. Hélène Lacerte

    Thank you for that list. It comes very handy when my granddaughters call for Grandma to learn knitting. I also like a crochet hook in case I loose a stitch. But I also use the tick that you showed in one of your e-mail.

  9. A small calculator and a 6 inch wooden ruler are useful. I use a clear, sturdy slider loc bag (not zip loc) to hold my items.

  10. Dear Liat,

    Thanks for the article and wish list!
    I had a question though….
    What are the different lengths of Signature circular needles for? Is there a difference for lace knitting, for example? I know the Stiletto is what I would want, but didn’t know what needle length to order!

    1. Hi Magdalena, great question!

      I actually have to write down and refer to my preferred single-point needle length in Evernote because I can’t ever remember it. Apparently, my favorite needle length is 10 inches, and that’s what I’d recommend.

      The differences in length are purely for preference, and maybe depend on the size of project you are making. If you like to knit sweaters on straight needles and you like to cram all your stitches on there, you might order a 14-inch length. For me, 14-inch needles seem long and they run the risk of poking other people sitting next to you. ;)

  11. There are some cool apps for knitters as well. Knit companion for lace projects! wooly app for updating your ravelry page on the move. These are the two I use the most. I also use dropbox to keep current patterns I am working on so I am never with out my patterns if I need them. There are even apps to create charts! Also a pencil so i can mark of rows or make notes on my paper patterns if I want to .
    great list. he is going to be totally spoiled in a great way!!

    1. El Edwards - Customer Happiness

      I’m a massive Dropbox fan too! I hadn’t considered how it could be used for knitting on the move though. Great idea – thank you! :-)

      1. I have downloaded Dropbox onto my tablet and keep my latest projects on it in case I need it while on the bus (or anywhere else for that matter!)

  12. I use the Knit Kit – it has everything I need – I add a few locking stitch markers and I’m ready for anything.

  13. I bought Clover locking stitch markers, and was thoroughly disappointed with them because they kept breaking (no matter how gently they were treated). I wrote to Clover and they were happy to replace the markers. The new ones are no better.

  14. Lauren Brownstein

    I use a toiletry bag for all my notions. There are usually many zippered compartments so I can separate items, as I see fit. AND the internal compartments are usually clear, so I can see exactly what I have and where it is without having to dig through a bigger bag. All of my knitting friends have now switched to toiletry bags as well.

  15. I travel back and forth between two far-apart homes. The most 1. comfortable and 2. affordable needle kits are the HiyaHiya small (2-8) and large 9-15. The small kits allow me to have a small size to pick up ripped stitches easily (thank you Sidna Farley). Before them I was buying replacement needles that were always in the “other place”. Just discovered the HiyaHiya Puppy Snips that easily get through airport security. Since I (re)wind my yarn to easily pull from the center, I LOVE the Buffy Ann yarn cozy that keeps the yarn clean when it drops on the floor of a car, plane or airport.

  16. The crochet hook, nail file and ruler already mentioned are in my bags. I have two – one for small needle accessories and one for large needle accessories. I also enjoy having a row counter. I made one with 4 smaller rings and one large ring with a bead between each. I work it up with the rows passing up to the next higher ring until I get to the large ring(5) that tells me I have done five more rows. Then I use different colors of the locking markers for 10, 20, etc.
    Thanks for sharing your finds. I always learn some thing new.

  17. One of my favorite tools is Fix-A-Stitch. It is a double pointed hook in different sizes for picking up dropped stitches. The tool allows you to pick up knit or purl stitches easily.

  18. I love my Handi fix it tool by Susan Bates. It is small and has a crochet hook at one end and a knitting needle at the other end. It makes fixing my mistakes so much easier! I also like my stackable, clear pill box container. Each compartment screws into the other. It is great for holding different sizes of stitch markers. I found mine at a $ store.

    1. Carla, I am a fan of the Handi fix tool, too. For anyone who wants to see it, it is also called “Silvalume Hand Tool” and for some reason is listed as a scrapbooking tool. It is my indespensible knitting tool for dropped stitches, picking up stitches, so many uses. I’ve never found it at a local craft or LYS, always order spares online because once someone sees it, she wants one!

  19. I was happy to see that I have been using most of your suggestions. I would also like to thank you for your teaching videos, I have learned
    so much and it has helped my confidence as a knitter.

  20. I like sticky notes and they come in many and varied sizes and types. Some to mark where I am, some to count up or down, etc.

  21. I also keep a crochet hook in my knitting bag to pick those little lost (dropped) stitches & some dental floss for nice strong life lines.

    1. El Edwards - Customer Happiness

      I love the idea of supporting small local businesses too. Etsy’s made it super easy to do that :-)

  22. The most useful tools in my arsenal of equipment:
    1. Susan Bates Silvalume Handi Tool
    2. Needle tip protectors
    3. crochet thread for lifelines & US 1 by 20″ circular needle
    4. Turbo Needlegauge-Skacel Collection
    5. Knitfreedom’s gauge check/wraps per inch measure you sent me
    6. Blunt tapestry needle with very, very, very small bead glued to tip (think mini bodkin)
    7. Row counter and stitch markers
    8. Roll up zippered jewelry case to hold equipment
    9. Pen/pencil & paper, sticky notes

  23. Besides all the great things mentioned, I like to use a magnetic pattern holder , esp if you are following several lines or for charts.
    Thank you for all your help, past and present.

  24. What a GREAT gift! I keep all my little odds and ends in current use, like a few stitch markers, some crochet cotton for lifelines, waste yarn and stitch markers, my favorite needle and so forth in a small plastic click clack jar. Also keep a pad and pencil in my bag. And a row counter and some crochet hooks. But you have put together one fabulous gift!

  25. A necessity for me are amongst other things;
    * crochet hooks (1 x large & 1x small),
    * Sticky notes used for marking charts. Place finders and
    * ‘Knitting Handbook’ 2004, Quantum Publishing. (I need all the help I can get!)
    Thanks Liat for all of your wisdom. Greatly appreciated.

  26. Thanks so much for the list and glad I have most of it and a few more . I think the lace circulars are a must have especially for socks – easier to pick up stitches. I keep a highlighter to boldly mark areas on pattern . You are such a great teacher – how lucky he is! Thanks for all you do for us too!

  27. Laura from beautiful West Michigan

    Loved seeing all the suggestions to keep in a knitting bag. I use most of them. In addition, I keep my iPad. I use Dropbox and Notability. Dropbox stores all the patterns I want to work on, and when opened in Notability, you are able to mark up pdf files. Check off rows, keep a tick marker of rows knitted, highlight things to watch for or changes for sizes, etc. A young friend introduced me to it and I absolutely love it. On my notepad, I can also access Ravelry if I want to download a new pattern to Dropbox/Notability. I have Dropbox on my phone also for those times that I have forgotten my iPad. I can’t mark it up, but I can at least see the directions.

    1. El Edwards - Customer Happiness

      I’m a big Dropbox fan too Laura – and I love how you’re using these technology-based tools. Great tips, thank you! :)

  28. Great list dear Liat and thanks!
    One more thing… I have a seam ripper in my little see-through bag because I get sweaters at thrift shops and it gets me going to start unraveling a seam. Also a little magnifying glass …

  29. i am always getting bags..love them…i sometimes use apps on my phone for counting rows,but i always have a tablet for jotting..never know when you are gonna be somewhere and need to write a pattern down..i haven’t used dropbox but i have used evernote..i have so many folders of all my stuff..things i have made and for who along with pictures,patterns,birthdays,everything..it can be used on the computer or phone…my goal is to one day have some really good needles,i use boye as that is all my budget allows..but they are on my wishlist..maybe some of the square ones as i have heard they are good for arthritis and i have to adjust my knitting days because of arthritic hands..i have 1 granddaughter who prefers to crochet(13) and 1 who knits(10)..they both started asking to learn when they were about 5..

    1. Karen, I really like the square wooden Cubics needles from Knitters Pride – they are so easy on my hands and hold the yarn quite nicely – my all time favorites for tired/arthritic fingers.

  30. I love my locking stitch markers. I use them quite a bit in knitting. This list is awesome! I am in love with soft cotton yarn. I am wanting to make myself a sweater out of some soft cotton. Any suggestions!

    1. Hi Deborah,

      I love that you were 54 when you took up knitting! As far as soft cotton goes, I know Malabrigo makes an organic cotton, but your LYS may not carry it.

      I did a search for cotton yarn on Ravelry, and then sorted the list by highest rating. That is always a good way to find yarns that other people have already tried out. You can even click through to the yarn itself and read people’s comments about it, and see what projects people have done with the yarn (to see if you like how they came out).

      I hope this helps!

  31. Thank you so very much for sharing your thoughtful list – this helps me to be organized enough to help my great great nephew & grandson! A perfect list that we can always personalize to get a new knitter excited!! ♥️

  32. I also like “The Perfect Notions Case” from Nancy’s Knit Knacks for holding stitch markers, tapestry needles-I do like the bent tip type- and other small notions. I usually sew my own needle and project storage bags and found several knit themed fabrics at Fabric.com. The free cosmetic bags that come with specials are great for small projects as many have said. I don’t have, but have seen a small, circular thread or yarn cutter that is like a pendant for use on airlines and my Addi-clic interchangeable set has been my go-to for all my projects since I got it. It’s so small and easy to take on trips

  33. I can’ afford the pricy knitting bags, since I have several projects going at one time.
    I found that the colorful recycle bags from the grocery store work great. Most bags cost $1.00 or $2.00.

  34. I also bought several clear plastic zipper pencil cases. I have one in each bag with supplies for the project I am working on.

  35. Thank you so much, have been wondering what would be necessities for any new beginner!! I hope I was able to get in on your gauge offer!! Have the happiest of holidays!!

    1. Hi Gloria,

      Hooray! I’m so glad this post came in handy for you. I had a lot of fun shopping for my nephew and then writing this post.

      If you emailed us with your address, we’ll definitely be sending you out some gauge-checkers. We did get quite a response, though, so it may take us a little longer to get them all sent out.

      {{Hugs}} and happy holidays to you too!

  36. a while back I saw some wooden circular needles in sizes 0,1, and 2 on sale and bought them. They have been invaluable for picking up a row of stitches if I have to frog back. The tiny needles pick up the stitches so easily and don’t accidentally pull a stitch tight so the next one ravels back. Then I simply transfer to my working needle.

    1. Oh, that’s a GREAT idea! I have a couple, but seldom use them because I’m still learning and haven’t tackled socks or very small baby items yet. I will definitely add them to my tool kit! Frogging is inevitable–might as well learn how to best manage it! LOL

  37. I only use my interchangeable circular needles, 3 sets…..so far. :) If I want to use them individually as straight needles, I simply use short cords and put an end cap on each. They don’t stick out and go poking around on the arms of my chair and I find it is more economical than buying individual straights. I use my counter all the time to simply click when counting rows or stitches. Also, rubber or plastic tips to hold my work on the needles when not in use. A pen and note pad, ruler, large eye needles and markers are essential. I find a good old coffee can works great to hold my yarn ball or skein and is very portable too. A good sharp scissors is good. I put the tip into an eraser when not in use so it doesn’t poke holes in the make-up bag I use for take-alongs.

    I love your tutorials and just brushed up last week on purling with circs. Keep up the good work. It is much appreciated and I don’t tell you enough.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    1. Emma, thank you for your great comment! I love your list, it’s fabulous! Truly excellent tips.

      Thank you for your kind words about my videos. I’m really glad they can help you even though you are an experienced knitter.

      Merry Christmas!

  38. I have a bad habit of sticking my needles through my work and have damaged some yarn doing that, so I try to keep needle caps around, also helps keep the stitches from falling off.

  39. Row markers. I saw someone mentioned adding them to the list which was going to be my suggestion. Does anyone have one they really like?? I’m not happy with any I have found so far.

  40. I think my most favorite thing is my Knitter’s Pride Dreamz fixed circular needles. I also have a set of Addi Clicks that I really like, but mostly use the Dreamz. Also at the top of my list are your ebooks and videos. You explain things so well and I am able to see what you are doing. You also do it slow enough so I can get it. Thank you.

    Anita/Idaho

  41. One thing I have to have is a clever little tool (don’t know it’s name) that is 4 inches long with a needle point on one end n a crochet hook on the other end. U can use to repair dropped stitches, live stitches that have gotten off the needle, etc. Also, I have a stitch counter 4 every project. I tie some yarn thru the hole n wear it around my neck.

    1. El Edwards - Customer Happiness

      Hi Jessie :-) That sounds similar to the Susan Bates little needle that Donna mentioned after you. It sounds terrific!

  42. tiny notebook and pencil
    small post it notes for underlining the line of a pattern I am working on
    cotton embroidery thread for lifelines
    crochet hook
    small size circular for unknitting
    small coilless safety pins from ETSY for stitch markers.
    Knitters Pride Dreamz are my favorite needles; sharper and smoother than bamboo/wood but not quite as slippery as metal

  43. For my ultra-small kit I use fingernail clippers instead of scissors. I even have a teensy clipper used for clipping a baby’s fingernails.

  44. I have a great tool my Mum gave me, Patternworks calls it the dentist’s tool. It has the ubiquitous crochet hook on one end and a very fine, but blunt, point on the other, great for picking up stitches, holding stitches, making stitches, or in a pinch holding my place while I count! Best and most used tool in my notions bag! Thanks Liat!

  45. I absolutely love a little needle by Susan Bates. One end is pointed like a knitting needle and the other end is like a crochet hook. It’s about 4 inches long and can also be used as a cable needle in a pinch. I have a few so I always have a backup.

  46. Did you say how old your nephew is? Child or adult?
    I find a couple of crochet hooks of different sizes are very handy. I also crochet, so they are always there, anyway. I also made a small wrist bag to hold my yarn when I fly (after having the ball go rolling down the aisle once) It is handy whenever your are out and about with a project. I also use only circular needles, after having lost a straight one on a plane.
    Merry Christmas!!

    1. El Edwards - Customer Happiness

      hehe, oops! I’ll bet your fellow travellers loved you! :-) A wrist bag is a great idea, thank you for the suggestion :-)

  47. In my short travel around town, I use an old glasses case as a notion case, because financial restrains, I also use a pencil case for long travels or visits to friends. I have all of my notions I need, and also carry a stitch holder, a pencil, scrap yarn for life lines, or home made stitch markers. I have also safety pins, and a tiny pocket knife in my kit. It depends on where I go and how long I stay which kit I take… I also use a plain 60″ tape measure, but use a bread tie to keep it from unravelling. I use a regular summer beach bag ( which suits my finances very well) and I can afford to change this bag every few years.

  48. I use pencil case, and an old glass case for my notions as well as safety pins for stitch markers and scrap yarn for life lines. I find summer totes as an inexpensive bag… I am on a very limited income and got to do with what I have.

  49. Clayton McDaniel

    My granddaughter just switched from a handled diaper bag to a backpack style and I noticed the handled one had pockets all around the outside and inside, and a huge main compartment. Repurposing it as a knitting bag struck me as a great idea once the little one is potty trained. Better than sticking it in a closet!

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