If you’ve never knit before you probably have never encountered knitting notions. Notions is a broad term for a variety of small tools and accessories that can be used while knitting. There are a lot of notions out there. A lot. In my years working at the yarn store I got used to the look new knitters gave the wall full of packets of notions.
“Do I need any of these?” they’d ask, clutching their yarn and set of needles and wondering what they got themselves into.
Thankfully you really don’t need many notions as a new beginner. In fact, there are only about 5 that most brand new knitters really need. Let me help you get started:
1. Tape Measure
An easy one! A tape measure should already be familiar to you and you may in fact already have one. You won’t need anything big or heavy duty to measure how far you’ve knit on your scarf, so a nice small one that you can keep with your knitting is perfect.
Scissors are another familiar friend and very essential tool for just about any craft. If you aren’t already a crafter you should know it’s a good idea to have a dedicated pair of a scissors for your knitting so that they don’t become dull or sticky because you use them on thick materials or tape. You don’t need anything large or heavy duty to snip the ends of your yarn, so again a nice small pair that can travel with you is ideal.
The Knitchek is probably the first item on the list you don’t recognize if you’ve never knit. This flat piece of metal with mysterious holes and text will help you both gauge your knitting, and figure out what size needle you’ve got. As a new beginner you probably shouldn’t worry too much about gauge, but know that the funny L shaped cut-out will be your friend later on when you want to knit a sweater that fits.
Meanwhile, that series of holes running diagonally up the center will help you keep track of what needles you’ve got. Not all needles are marked with their size, and even if they are it can sometimes wear off. Start by sticking your needle through the larger holes and keep going down until you can no longer fit it through. The last hole you can stick your needle through tells you what size you’ve got.
4. Darning Needles
Even if you stick to 1-skein projects you’ll still be left with a tail at the beginning and the end that can’t be left to hang free. Tying a knot and cutting close to it with your scissors might seem like a fast and easy solution, but knots can come undone and once that happens -- so can your whole project.
Instead of risking that heartache you’ll want one of these needles, which look like big oversized sewing needles and are completely blunt. You’ll use them to sew the tails into your work.
We've got three kinds for you to choose from. A set of different sized straight darning needles will be great for all kinds of projects in the future. If thick yarn is your thing and you have trouble seeing stitches these large bent tipped ones are good or you can use the smaller bent tipped ones for thinner yarn. All three come with a handy case that will keep you from losing them right away!
5. Point Protectors
If the knitting bug really bites you’ll find yourself dragging it with you around town to pick up anytime you have to wait on someone. Unfortunately travel can lead to traumatic situations where your knitting somehow wiggles off the needles and your project starts to unravel. It’s a new knitter nightmare.
Avoid that mess by getting point protectors and putting them on the end of your needles anytime you’re putting your knitting away. They come in three different sizes, to fit needles US 4-7, US 8-10.5, or US 11-15.
These should be enough to get you started! Of course as you knit more and more don’t be shy about exploring all the fun tools and gadgets that are out there to help you finish your projects.