Knitting is one of the oldest arts that is still widely practiced. For centuries, people have been using a variety of fibers to spin yarn and knit clothing for themselves and their families. The tools needed to knit have advanced slightly over time, but the core utensils are similar to those that have been used for ages.
Yarn is the most essential component needed for any type of knitting, as it is what the knitting is made of. There are several types of knitting yarn available today, made of a multitude of fibers -- some animal, some plant-based and some man-made. Yarn is available in several different sizes, or gauges, from cobweb lace weight to super bulky. Each gauge of yarn is best suited for a specific range of knitting needle size, which is often listed on the yarn's label.
Knitting needles are more diverse than the average non-knitter might think. There are standard straight needles, which are the type that most people recognize most readily, but there are other needles specifically made for knitting larger and seamless garments. Double point knitting needles are specifically for knitting smaller garments that cannot have a seam, such as socks. Circular needles connect two needles with a cable that allows the knitter to knit large shawls, hats, blankets and more. All three needle types can be made of metal, wood or plastic, and are available in several gauges to work with different weights of yarn.
Looms and Machines
Some people learn to knit on a knitting loom, which combines peg weaving with knit stitching. There are round looms, for knitting in the round on objects like hats; rake looms for flat knitting and knitting boards for creating double-knit fabric. Knitting machines combine the general idea of knitting looms with mechanics to quickly manufacture knit fabric. Many knit manufacturers use large knitting machines to make socks, shirts, sweaters and blankets.
Many knitters prefer to have a few accessories at their disposal to make knitting a little easier. One accessory many knitters have is a crochet hook, which is used to help when binding off knitted pieces. A yarn and needle gauge card is also convenient to have for determining the gauge of your needles and yarn. Darning needles and darning eggs are good to have for repairing knit fabric that has worn down, such as on hand-knitted socks. Stitch markers, which are small rings with either seed beads or dangling jewelry, are also popular for when you are knitting a complex piece because they help you keep track of your stitches as you go.
- Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images