I know many of you who knit are always in search of better tools and things that make our knitting life easier as in our stitches more even and knitting itself smoother. I am always on a hunt for new tools that makes my knitting process enjoyable and finished garments a success!
During my life in Japan I have discovered several interesting items that I haven’t encountered in the US market before and I thought today I would share my new finds as well as my old favorites. With the impending move back to us I made sure to stock up on some, but I really hope that these products will be available in the future in the continental US as well.
As any ideas start from a sketch or a doodle in a notebook, I found these particular notebooks extremely convenient. The dot grid inside allows you to build a grid if you like or to draw a chart or to create a schematic for your design using dots as visual points. A5 compact format allows me to always have it with me. They are from Muji, a Japanese chain store that literally is translated “No Brand”. There are 3 stores and online store in US already, so hopefully you can get your hands on them too.
Erasable pens! Maybe many of you have heard about those, but I discovered them only recently. They are tricky though – make sure you do not expose what you have written to extreme heat, as Wendy of Knit’n’Tonic blog discovered for herself – your writing will vanish!
But these are great “pencils” as they are smudge-proof and have great line definition. Pilot Frixion gel ink in a pen tends to run out quicker than any normal pen, so make sure to get plenty of refills!
Pilot Frixion also has an erasable highlighter marker – isn’t that awesome?! Mark what is necessary and when you are done, just erase it!
And for more permanent result I use Pilot Jetstream. All of the pens above are of my favorite 0.38 mm line gauge. Thin yet, not too thin.
Knitting needles are the #1 tool of any knitter. I have about 60 different kinds and materials and last year I met their replacement. Certainly, I still have the old ones sitting in their case all neatly organized, but I haven’t been using much of them except for the very small sizes since I got my hands on Addi Click Long Lace Tips Interchangeable Needle set.
Holy motherload of knitting needles! Skacel did it!
Besides a fashionably trendy hot pink case there are 8 needle sizes of shiny, smooth, long and POINTY needles. Ranging from size US 4 to US 11 which includes mostly used sizes by me I do not need to use any other needles! It’s so compact that it’s easy to travel with even for a short distances. Interchangeables make life so much easier!
The shiny army of pointy needles is crucial to my knitting because I am a combination knitter or “picker” and having a slick sharp point makes my knitting significantly faster. Skacel created Clicks with several options for the sets, there are bamboo, regular and shorter lace tips – to each their own depending on your preference and needs.
And the cords.. the cords are magical and smart! The tiny holes on both ends of the cord allow you to pull through a strand of yarn if you need to create a lifeline. Just knit a row and the strand of yarn “lifeline” is simultaneously being carried through that row of stitches. Saves time and headache when it comes to ripping lace in case of a mistake.
Skacel has made it available for anyone to purchase extra cords and tips if necessary. My Long Lace tips Clicks set came with SOS cords of different lengths and a connector, but I decided that I needed more cords and the extra cord sets come with an extra connector. Connector essentially helps to create a longer cord in case you need one and you don’t have a 60″ cord in your set, for example.
But I see more useful applications for those connectors. Something that comes in very handy if you need to use that size needle tips for something else but they are occupied in another project. All you need to do is take the needle tips off and secure your stitches by locking the cord with stitches on it into a loop with the help of the connector! Voila! And you have a makeshift stitch holder! Or a funky necklace! 😀
And you bet that me and my Addi Clicks are inseparable! I think regardless the price if you knit a lot and realize how important it is to have quality tools that feel great in your hands, better your knitting experience and result they are worth every penny!
When it comes to notions I am a known fan for Clover products and I use many of them on a regular basis. I have been using Locking stitch markers for years and they are my “work horse” markers as they serve as markers and can be used as pins when I need to hold knit fabric together when seaming.
However, I was given as a gift these Merchant & Mills black bulb pins , that I use to attach tags for my garments during trunk shows, but their unusual shape actually allows me to use them as a handy stitch marker if I don’t have others on me. There is a limitation of course what size of the needle they would fit, but I thought it was cool way to utilize the “universally useful” statement on its box.
The Clover affair continues into my collection of crochet hooks that are either teflon-like covered hooks that come in many sizes and steel hooks that are sometimes are also called “needle hooks” for finer gauge crochet. Or as I discovered they are great to use when you work with beads in your knitting. A while back when I got the steel hooks on etsy they were only available in Japan, but now I know they are widely popular and sold in US. I don’t crochet much these days except for cast on and borders, but their ergonomic handle is quite comfortable!
I prefer to use good old double pointed needles when it comes to knitting in the round of small tubular parts of the garments or accessories. And although I have several Clover Bamboo Takumi Velvet DPNs, I have been using a lot and enjoying my set of Blackthorn DPNs made out of carbon fiber composite. Carbon fiber composite that is used in making some of the jets and airplanes and I guess living on a Naval Air facility for the past 3 years satisfied the geek in me when I am using these. Light as wood but behave like metal, they are very unusual and certainly hoping to grow my collection of these through time.
More about my favorite tools of the trade tomorrow!