Posts Tagged ‘knitting tools’

31 Day to Get Organized: Knitting and Crochet Tools

Saturday, January 26th, 2013
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Welcome to the last week of our 31 Days to Get Organized blog series. We’ve all put in a lot of work to get our knitting and crochet yarn, patterns, needles, and hooks organized. We’re in the home stretch now though.

Yesterday we gave you a look inside our knitting and crochet tool kits. Today’s organizing task is a simple one. Collect all of the knitting and crochet tools you can find. Gather all of your stitch markers, cable needles, stitch holders, tape measures, needle and hook gauges, darning needles, craft scissors – all those little tools that we use to help us with our knitting and crochet projects. This might require you to dig through your project bags, sofa cushions, junk drawer, car glove box…all those places these little things start to collect and hide. Of course grab your tool kits too.

Now that you’ve collected all of your tools in one place, spread them out and sort them. You’ll start to notice duplicate items and maybe some things you never use. This is a good time to weed out any of the tools you don’t want or need. Add them to your giveaway pile of yarn and patterns if you haven’t gotten rid of them yet.

Tomorrow we’ll be talking about different ways to organize and store your knitting and crochet tools.

Since we’ll be wrapping up organizing our knitting and crochet this next week, what organizing questions or dilemas do you still have that we haven’t covered already? Leave your question in the comments so we can address as many as we can before wrapping up the series on Friday.

31 Days to Get Organized: Tool Kit Essentials

Friday, January 25th, 2013
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The best part of being organized is having everything you need in one place. When you have a well stocked knitting or crochet tool kit, you’re prepared for any curve ball your pattern may throw at you. Luckily, my co-workers here at WEBS are a lot more organized and prepared than I am! They’ve shared with us their tool kit essentials.

Dena keeps two tool kits. One larger, main tool kit with all the essentials, and a mini kit with the bare necessities when she wants to travel light. On the right, Dena’s mini tool kit includes: Clover Locking Stitch Markers, small ring markers, a tape measure, a crochet hook, two sizes of Clover Bent Tip Tapestry Needles, small scissors, and dental floss. She uses the dental floss as waste yarn and lifelines for lace knitting. So clever!

On the left (her main kit), Dena has her full set Addi crochet hooks, scissors, Clover Soft Stitch Ring Stitch Markers, locking stitch markers, Clover U Cable Stitch Holder, a tape measure, highlighter tape, tapestry needles, Nancy’s Knit Knacks Needle & Hook Gauge and Knit Kards. Highlighter tape is perfect for keeping track of your place in a pattern. You place the tape over the row you’re on so you can easily see your place. Then, you just peel off the tape and move it to your next row!

Greta’s tool kit is in the center. She keeps everything tucked away in her Spud & Chloë case. The case has since been discontinued, but the Namaste Lola Case is a similar size. Her essentials include a crochet hookstitch markers, a yarn needle for weaving in ends, a needle gauge, a cable needle, and pin cushion for sewing needles.

1: Kristin’s tool kit is an adorable vintage chocolate tin. She keeps a row counter, a tape measure, locking stitch markers, darning needles and a yarn cutter pendant. They snip your yarn neatly and don’t have any pointy tips that can poke you.

2 and 3: Sara is so organized, she has two tool kits. She puts my organizational skills to shame! Her tool kit has a small magnet in the lid that all her needles stick to (out of the way so she don’t get stabbed!) She has a tiny pair of scissors, a tape measure, stitch markers and a few random buttons in the top compartment. In the bottom she keep extra darning needles, her business cards and a larger cable stitch holder.

4 and 8: Tina is another organizational pro. She carries most of the regular essentials in her knitting kit: crochet hooks for picking up dropped stitches, a row counter, sticky notes, scissors, a gauge ruler, a tape measure and she prefers straight wooden cable needles. She likes to keep her kit in a clear bag. Our tools are small! So, when trying to find something like a tapestry needle, she likes to be able to visually locate it before diving into the bag. Another thing she finds important is having at least one stitch marker that is a completely different color than the others. If she’s working on a project in the round, with lots of markers, she needs the one that denotes the beginning of the round to stand out from all of the others. That way she doesn’t confuse the beginning of the round with a decrease, for example. (See, I told you she was an organizational pro!)

5: Mary sticks to the bare necessities. She keeps stitch markers and a yarn needle with her.

6: Stephanie likes to be prepared, and keeps practically all her notions with her at all times! She has locking stitch markers, stitch holders, two kinds of tape measures, a pencil, sewing needles, yarn needles, row counters, scissors, a crochet hook, a needle gauge a sewing needle threader and pins. Stephanie and Tina are the only ones here with a pencil in their kit, and it seems like an essential that’s commonly overlooked!

7: Greta keeps her kit in her Lantern Moon cases. We don’t have these specific ones anymore, but these Lantern Moon cases are a similar size. She keeps yarn needles, a tape measure, a stitch holder, a cable needle, locking stitch markers, soft stitch markers and a crochet hook. My favorite part of her tool kit is the Lantern moon cable needle set. It’s beautiful!

What’s in your tool kit? Do you like to be prepared for anything, or just stick to the basics?

Tuesday’s Knitting Tip – Using Unconventional Tools

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012
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Leave it to Kirsten Hipsky for thinking outside the box when she doesn’t have all of her knitting supplies with her. Thanks for sharing your story for this week’s knitting tip.

I had to separate the sleeves on a top-down sweater, but I forgot my tool kit at home! Solution: a tall piece of grass. It was tough enough to slip stitches onto and lasted until I was able to get my kit and transfer them to a stitch holder.

Have you ever used an unconventional item as a knitting or crochet tool before?

The Buzz at WEBS – December 2, 2011

Friday, December 2nd, 2011
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Here’s a few items the WEBS staff is buzzing about this week.

1. Valley Yarns Spotted Christmas Stocking – It’s a really fast, cute knit that’s a great way to welcome a new family member into your Christmas traditions. The main body is in a simple slip-stitch pattern which is easy to customize for different people. This pattern is available for free on our website. And we have stocking kits set up available in two color combinations. > Kirsten H.

2. Autumn Vines Beret in Madelinetosh Tosh Sport (color well water): This yarn was a joy to work with, which is no surprise. This colorway is so often backordered that I jumped at the chance to work it up. The Never Not Knitting pattern (available as a downloadable PDF) was easy to follow and a gratifying knit. Definitely a great gift knit. > Cara S.

3. Knitted Wild Animals by Sarah Keen – After I knitted the monkey from this book, I knew I would do more. I’ve made the zebra, panda, elephant and penguin. I am knitting my way through this great book. The giraffe is the latest. He is Eli and named for my favorite quarterback. All the animals live in Chicago with my family. What shall I make next? > Marion H.

4. Rollie StitchKeepers – Your project never comes off the DPNs with these stitch keepers. Reaching into my knitting bag and pulling out a project is not frightening anymore. > Gail C.

5. Standard Design Timberrr! Animal Prints – I love this new sheep print. Made by a local artist, this cutie would be perfect in a craft room or in the bedroom of a little future fiber-enthusiast! I like the look of the wood grain, and the little sticks as legs is an adorable detail. > Tina M.

Lace Boot Camp

Sunday, July 31st, 2011
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Lace is a not-so-secret obsession of mine. There’s just something about the intricate look, the deceptively easy (or difficult!) stitches, the beautifully delicate yarns. I can’t help but see lace in everything and during the sticky summer months it’s hard not to think of light airy knitting. I mean, what’s more perfect than the portable one skein projects that lace knitting provides?

This obsession within obsessions finds me with an obnoxious stash of lace yarn. I just can’t help myself. Like sock yarns it offers a one skein project buy and it comes in such wonderful hand dyed colors and textures. So it’s really time to get cracking.

While I was sifting through patterns and gift ideas I realized that a lot of customers I talk to are intimidated with the prospect of beginning their first lace project. Somewhere between the delicate hand and complicated look of lace most people pass. But if you can increase and decrease you’re mostly there! To demystify this process a bit I thought I’d pass along a couple of tips and recommendations I’ve found along the way.

Image of Bison Shawlette in 101 Luxury Yarn One Skein Wonders, knit in Jade Sapphire Silk Cashmere #18.

Helpful Tips

First, familiarize yourself with following a chart, Charts Made Simple by JC Briar is a great new resource for just this, and many lace resources offer a good primer as well. I was such a neophyte on my first chart I ended up reworking a lot of sections. Why didn’t I just take the time to learn it? Perhaps I was just impatient to cast on! Learn from my mistakes, please.

Another way to simplify chart visibility is to stock up on highlighter tape. This product is priceless for following tiny charts that so often accompany lace knitting. This semi-tacky tape brightens the line you are concentrating on and easily transfers to the next row without marring your pattern. It helps to enlarge the chart as well, for easy reading. (Your local copy shop can help with this).

Next, choose an appropriate needle for your project. Nothing is more difficult than trying to pierce your stitches with a dull needle. Especially for newbies having adequate tools makes learning easier. I recommend Skacel Addi turbo Lace needles, they have a bit more grip than the standard Addi Turbos to keep from slipping stitches and a much sharper point to allow for ease of knitting. I generally work a US size 5 on lighter yarns, but everyone has a different preference.

One underestimated tool for repetitive charts is stitch markers, allowing you to mark repeats with ease. We have handy lace and sock stitch markers that are smaller in size and have a little grip. You could also try the locking stitch markers to easily move your markers when repeats change.

Finally and most importantly for beginners, the lifeline! Buy a small skein of undyed mercerized cotton yarn, such as Nazli Gelin Garden 3, to strand through your stitches after each repeat or section. A mercerized cotton will not stick to or shed on your knitting (yes, I learned the hard way).With this handy and simple step you can save hours of frustration. If you drop stitches or find yourself impossibly stuck you can rip back to your lifeline and start fresh! I usually include lifelines at the start of a new section or after a sizable section… or when I decide I’d cry if I had to rip back!


If you are looking to start a beginning lace project find a simple repetitive lace stitch, like Valley Yarns pattern 120, Falling Leaves. It utilizes a heavier yarn and allows you to build confidence before working with finer yarns and more complex patterns. Another simple approach is Valley Yarns Basic Triangle Shawl (B6), a simple clearly written shawl with a lace border knit with Valley Yarns Semi-solid Handdyed sock yarn.


There is such a wealth of lace books it’s hard to choose, but here are some of my favorites:

Knitted Lace of Estonia by Nancy Bush
The Haapsalu Shawl by Siiri Reimann and Aime Edasi
Wrapped in Lace by Margaret Stove

Check out individual patterns by Fiber Trends and Fiber Dreams for some truly inspiring lace creations. And yes, Ravelry too!


Most lace patterns use fingering or lighter weight yarns. Generally speaking the more complicated the shawl the less nuanced the color. Let your stitches do the talking and the hand dyes take a back seat, simpler shawls can accommodate lots more color variation. As with other projects there’s a yarn for every color and fiber preference.

Don’t miss our very own Kangaroo Dyer’s 2/14 Alpaca Silk in gorgeous and hefty skeins! Or our new Valley Yarns Charlemont in solid and kettle dyed colors. I personally cannot keep my hands off of Jade Sapphire’s Cashmere Silk blend. The colorways are brilliant and the feel is unmatchable. One of my go-to lace yarns is Classic Elite Silky Alpaca Lace. It comes in beautiful solid and handpaint colors with a polished finish, buoyant drape, and silky hand. The new Juniper Farms Findley is an extremely comparable yarn with bright colors and a merino/silk blend. The new Rowan Fine Lace looks like a lovely alternative as well with an alpaca and merino composition. Most importantly, find one that inspires you.

Happy Knitting!



Yarns listed above:

Top left to right: Jade Sapphire Silk Cashmere in 140, 82 and 69

Middle left to right: Valley Yarns Charlemont in whipple blue, 2/14 Handdyed Alpaca Silk in pansies and atlantis

Bottom left to right: Rowan Fine Lace #926, Juniper Farm Findley 04 and Classic Elite Silky Alpaca Lace 2454

The Buzz at WEBS – July 29, 2011

Friday, July 29th, 2011
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This week the staff is buzzing about…

1. Knitting Workshop by Elizabeth Zimmermann – A powerful book packed with tips and tools for independent knitters. It’s got everything from winding a skein of yarn to designing seamless sweaters. If a knitter were to have just one book, it should probably be this one. > Kirsten H.

2. Westknits Mystery Shawl KAL 2011 – I’ve never done a mystery knitalong before. But I’ve been itching to knit a shawl lately, particularly a westknits pattern. So I’m super excited to join this KAL on August 1st. Now the hard decision…what yarn? Suggested yarns like Fibre Company Road to China Light, Fibre Company Canopy Fingering, Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine, Madelinetosh Pashmina, or Tosh Merino Light would all be wonderful to work with. But I do have plenty of Charlemont from the crochet scarf leftover that would make a shawl with great drape. Hmm, decisions, decisions. > Dena C.

3. Valley Cowl crochet pattern by Doris Chan – I love this cowl designed by Doris Chan. The sample is done in Valley Yarns Deerfield, but there are directions for any gauge yarn, so you can use your favorite Valley Yarns yarn. I’m thinking of making one for myself in Charlemont. It’s also our next crochet-a-long on Ready, Set, Knit, so you can crochet along with Kirsten. > Mary K.-H.

4. Blue Sky Alpacas Five Inch Double Points – I love the feel of these in my hands. They have such a smooth finish that it makes the needles glide easily through the stitches. The tin they come in makes for great storage for these little lovelies! > Karen M.

5. Both of my girls spent a week at our Fiber Camp this year and my youngest daughter fell in love with weaving. While I’m not quite ready to buy her a Baby Wolf, I do want to encourage her weaving. So, as an early present for her birthday she got a Schacht Cricket Loom this past Tuesday. She’s already woven 26 inches and has been flipping pages in my copy of the Weaver’s Idea Book to find her next project! > Sara D.

The Buzz at WEBS – July 22, 2011

Friday, July 22nd, 2011
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This week the staff is buzzing about…

1. Knitting Lace by Susanna E. Lewis – More than just a stitch library, though it does feature a wide variety of common and uncommon lace patterns, this book goes further to teach you about the actual structure of knitted lace. A very good read if you’re interested in designing your own lace patterns. > Kirsten H.

2. Clover Knitting Counter (Mini Kacha-Kacha) – Best way to keep row count. Locks so it will not move. Great to attach to knitted garment so it’s right there. > Marion M.

3. Juniper Moon Farm Willa – I’ve never seen mohair like this! The super kid mohair in Juniper Moon Farm Willa is blended into the yarn, creating a soft hand and beautiful sheen instead of that familiar fuzzy mohair halo. The fresh, bright colors would be perfect for children’s projects…Who am I kidding, they’d be perfect for projects for me! > Emma W.

4. Sock Summit 2011 – WEBS will be at Sock Summit in Portland, OR next week! Stop by booths 502-508 and say hi to me, Cara, Kirsten & Tina! We’ll have an amazing selection of yarns from Madelinetosh, Malabrigo, Lorna’s Laces, Dream in Color, Shalimar Yarns plus our own Valley Yarns and many more! In addition to great yarns, we’ll be playing Sock Summit Plinko in the booth for some fun prizes AND if you stop by and are wearing a pair of hand knit socks, we’ll take a picture of your socks and add them to our Wall of Fame! Who will you be wearing?? Marketplace hours are Thursday 4:30-6:30 (registered students only) Friday & Saturday 9-6 and Sunday 9-4. Hope to see you there! > Kathy E.

5. Broomstick Lace Headband pattern by Sara Delaney – I used a skein of the Manos Maxima in the Chrysanthemum colorway, #9644 for the headband project in our recent Broomstick Lace class. The yarn is SO soft and squishy when worked up into the twisted broomstick loops and the color just sings! I may have to make these for everyone on my family for the holidays this year. > Sara D.

The Buzz at WEBS – July 8, 2011

Friday, July 8th, 2011
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This week the staff is buzzing about…

1. Little Red in the City: An Ysolda Knitwear Collection – This is a great collection of patterns for women of all shapes and sizes. But it’s the other details found in the book that make it extra special. Wonderful illustrations and photography, each pattern offered in a huge range of sizes, and a hefty resource section to help you achieve success with each sweater you knit. > Dena C.

2. Rollie StitchKeepers – Great to keep your stitches from sliding off your double point needles, and to hold the heel flap when turning the heel. > Gail C.

3. Sara’s daughter has finished crocheting the Monkey with a Fez from Creepy Cute Crochet. Way too cute!

4. Apparently humans aren’t the only ones excited when a new WEBS catalog arrives in the mail. Milo the cat loves our catalog too!

5. Tulip ETIMO Crochet Hook Set – Fantastic! Ergonomic grip handles are comfortable for long use and the set has scissors, yarn needle & ruler in with a transparent zippered pouch all wrapped up in an elegant looking snapped clutch!! I could be stranded for days with just this set , my Addi Lace Interchangeable needles and just one bin from my stash. > Lisa G.