June 26th, 2012

Tuesday’s Knitting Tip – Using Unconventional Tools

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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.
-Kirsten

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

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Dena

Ecommerce Marketing Manager at WEBS - America’s Yarn Store
Dena started working at WEBS in 2006, shortly after she learned to knit. She also dabbles in crochet and weaving. She finds knitting complements her marathon and triathlon training really well.
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  • Molly Nichol

    yup!  stranded at a body-building show with a baby sweater to knit….made better time than i thought i would and suddenly needed to do a three needle bind-off.  I ONLY HAD TWO NEEDLES! but i did have a ball point pen – which sacrificed its innards to fill in for the missing needle…got my fingers a bit inky, but kept the wool clean!

  • http://knitlittwit.blogspot.com/ Joanna

     I’ve used soda can tabs as stitch markers in an emergency, since there are usually a few of those around no matter where I am.  Not ideal because of the sharpness, but you gotta do what you gotta do.  I’ve also done some specialized bending of a paper clip to use as a tapestry needle when I finished a project during my lunch break at my desk and needed to get the end of the yarn through my remaining stitches.

  • http://www.fibril.net malvina

    i once used a pen and crochet hook as needles to bind off a piece of machine knitting in a pinch. 

    i’ve used rubber bands to protect stitches from falling off as well. 

    i once used my headphone cord as a stitch holder on the train.

    i once used mismatched needle sizes, but knit tighter on the larger needle to finish a hat.

  • Lucinda Burris

    I learned to purl using two kids’ watercolor brushes. We were in Sunday School and my co-teacher wanted to show me NOW. I had learned the knit stitch the day before. That was about 10 years ago and I was immediately hooked!

  • Liz

    I used the tine of a plastic fork for a cable needle. 

  • http://www.stormcoastcreations.steamwolfstudios.com/ Jen

    I’ve used hair elastics as stitch markers and to keep my stitches from falling off my needle. I’ve used a small piece of paper bent in half as a tapestry needle.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1284855305 Kath Gilliam

    Gum wrappers for stitch markers!  Dental floss to hold stitches.

  • Amanda

    I am currently using two binder clips to hold the ends of my circulars when I’m not knitting (not ON the tips…around the needle) — bonus: they come in multiple sizes, and now even in colors & fun patterns!  I’ve also used a bent piece of florist wire as tapestry needle.  And cardboard from any number of things (tubes, flats — as long as it’s not too big) to wrap a hank of yarn when it was not convenient to wrap a center pull ball.  And who can forget the legs of an upside down chair as a yarn swift!

  • Sarah Morrison

    I like using those tiny hair elastics – you know, the ones that barely fit around the tip of your pinky finger that you used on your dolls?  They make great stitch markers for delicate items because they take up less space and so don’t leave as much of a noticible line between the stitches.  Plus, it’s easier not to lose them when you need to remove them in the field because you can slip them over your finger :)

    And I was also once desperate for stitch holder for sleeves…not quite as original as grass, but all I had at hand was cooking twine.

  • Grawey6

    Many years ago, really bored in detention while in High School, I used a paperclip as a crochet hook. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=786042291 Adelle Tilton

    I’ve used those long pink stick thingies that you put into brush curlers to hold them on to hold seams together as I stitch.  Also the old fashioned pin curl clips work well for the same purpose in a lightweight knit.  Bobby pins to mark stitches.  I think the hair aisle has provided me with the most “off the cuff” items for knitting.  

  • KarenJ

    One of the all time greats is a standard bobby pin.  I’ve used them to mark rows and stitches, as improvised cable needles – this is really good as the yarn won’t slip off when you don’t want it to,- as bobbins, even as a needle once to assemble a worsted weight sweater. Also good for holding dropped stitches while repairing damage/errors.  Oh yeah, they also can hold hems in place while you stitch them.

  • Kathryn

    Since pins easily slip out of knitting, I’ve used binder clips to hold pieces together for seaming.

  • Laurynn McKamey

    Pen innards also double as decent cable needles!

  • Ellen

    My daughter’s tiny rubber bands for her hair work perfect as stitch markers.  A toothpick works great as a cable needle, plus they were my first knitting needles – the ones with end caps for single point and the ones with points at both ends for dpns.  My first few toys were all knit with toothpicks before I branched out and bought some real knitting needles. 

  • Christine Chen

    This is awesome! I found this throught a pin on pinterest and had to pass it on! I also had to use an unconventional tool this week. I have misplaced my cable needles, so… I used one of those tiny straws from my children’s Capri Sun packet! Worked like a charm on the little C4B I was doing!

  • Pyfairy

    Cable needles = toothpicks, my child’s pick-up sticks, paperclips, pencils, crochet hooks, yarn needles, double pointed knitting needles…
    Stitch holders = dental floss, sewing thread, scrap yarn, cotton string, cables from my Option needles…
    Stitch markers = paperclips, rubber bands, my rings, o-rings, plastic drinking straw cut into small sections, scrap yarn, ponytail holders…
    Never used grass…great idea!

  • http://www.facebook.com/lil.sis143 Anne Stacey

    Gosh, trying to remember everything I’ve done! LOL. I’ve used twist ties for needles to weave in ends, and also to stitch together projects. At a dull party once, where I was gifted some yarn, I embarassed my sweetheart by using plastic drinking straws to knit with. Must be careful, and NOT knit tight, or the straws collapse. I have perfected the art of knitting and crocheting with just my fingers and hands. Don’t really end up with a good finished project, but good when stranded with yarn and no tools. I am slightly ADD and a HORRIBLE fidgeter. I don’t cope well without yarn in my hands. I’ve been experimenting with giant knitting lately, with 1 1/4 inch wooden dowels. I haven’t tried yet, but I want to pick up some 2 inch PVC pipe to try some even larger projects. Chopsticks and pens are very common ones as well. I’m sure I’m forgetting some, but that’s about all that comes to mind at the moment.