Knitting Essentials

Knitting is a great creative outlet and can help you save money on household items and clothing. This knitting essentials guide outlines the items you’ll need for almost any project.

Knitting Essentials 101

Knitting is a fun and useful hobby. With the help of a wide variety of knitting patterns, you can make anything from everyday clothing items (hats, scarves, mittens, sweaters), and art (wall hangings), to personalized gifts (baby blankets, pillows, handbags) and home decor (tea cozies, dishcloths). Whether you’re always taking on new projects or just learning how to knit, you’ll need a handy supply of essential knitting tools and materials to make each exciting project become a reality.

10 Knitting Essentials


Knitting Needles

Knitting needles come in a variety of styles, materials and sizes to suit different projects and personal preferences. Bamboo or wood knitting needles are good for beginners because they provide a better grip than plastic or metal knitting needles so you won’t drop stitches. Single point needles keep stitches in a straight line and are good for flat knitting projects like scarves. Double point knitting needles allow you to knit from either end to create small tubes for hats, mittens and socks. Circular needles are joined by a flexible plastic cord so you can knit in a circular pattern for sweaters and hats. Narrower needles can be used for knitting delicate items, while big and bulky knitting projects call for thicker needles with a larger diameter. Some knitters forego needles altogether and knit with their fingers (finger knitting). 


Yarn comes in many fibres, weights and colours and your knitting pattern will list the type you need. Beginners should start with wool because it hides mistakes better than other kinds of yarn. Cotton yarn works for most projects but, like wool, can shrink in the wash. Acrylic wool is the most durable and versatile. The weight of the yarn you choose also depends on your project. Light yarn is best for baby items, socks and light sweaters. Medium yarn is the most common and ideal for projects like scarves, hats, mittens, shawls, pillows and bags. Heavy yarn is recommended for large projects like rugs, blankets, chunky sweaters and cold weather items.

Crochet Hook

Most often used for crochet patterns, a crochet hook can also be used in almost all knitting projects and is a great tool for beginners. A crochet hook will help you finish seams when you cast off knitting and can also be used to correct dropped stitches. As you gain more experience, you can also use crochet hooks to add fancy details like a crochet border to your knitted items.

Knitting Gauge

A knitting gauge has slots that correspond to the size of each knitting needle, so you can confirm the size of your needles and crochet hooks. It also measures how many stitches and rows you have per inch, which is useful when you’re knitting clothing so you can make sure that the item you knit is the right size. 


Buying a small pair of scissors to use for your knitting projects will ensure that you always have them on hand when you’re working. Try to find scissors with blades that can fold in —these will store safely in your knitting bag without snagging on your projects.

Measuring Tape

A measuring tape works for large knitting projects when you need to knit by inches not numbers or rows and a knitting gauge is too small. Buy a measuring tape that’s meant for sewing because it’s more flexible and will provide an accurate measurement. This will also ensure that it folds for easy storage in your knitting bag, ready for use at home or on the go. 

Tapestry Needle

A tapestry needle is a large sewing needle that you use to weave in the ends of your projects for a finished seam. Tapestry needles can also be used to stitch pieces of your knitting project together. When shopping for a tapestry needle, buy one that has an eye large enough for the yarn you’re using to easily pass through. 

Stitch Markers

These small plastic rings are used to mark places in your knitting pattern that you need to come back to later. If you’re a beginner, stitch markers can help you keep track of your stitches, so you can see right away if you’ve missed or dropped a stitch. This will help you avoid making holes in your project.

Stitch Holder

A stitch holder looks like a large safety pin and is used to hold stitches aside to return to later in your knitting pattern. A stitch holder prevents them from unravelling as you continue your knitting project. 

Row Counter

A row counter has a dial that you turn to count the number of rows you’ve already knitted, so you don’t have to rely on your memory. Some row counters can fit on the end of your knitting needle for quick reference as you knit. Your row counter will also help you keep your place, so you know where you are when you pick up your knitting project again.

Yarn Buying Tips:

• Choose light yarns for lightweight garments and heavy yarn for cold weather items
• Consider the type of fibre you prefer: synthetic, animal or blended
• Learn the symbols on yarn labels to understand which type is best for each project
• Some types of yarn can be expensive, so create a yarn budget
• To avoid shrinkage in the wash, choose acrylic or blended yarns over wool and cotton
• Choose clothing yarn in colours and textures that match your wardrobe

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Knitting Tips:

  • Your working yarn always goes in your right hand
  • Hold your knitting needles loosely and let the yarn hang down so your stitches don’t get too tight
  • Avoid knitting on the tip of the needle to prevent tight or dropped stitches
  • Always keep your working yarn below your knitting needle when starting a new row
  • When you’re knitting stitches, keep your working yarn behind your knitting needles
  • Keep your working yarn in front of your knitting needles when you purl stitch
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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