Best Knitting Supplies for Knitters of Every Level
When you first learn to knit it seems like the list of supplies needed is pretty short: just yarn and needles. Fabulous! And then you come across a pattern that mentions stitch markers... and then a cable needle... and blocking mats... and suddenly you realize there's a whole slew of knitting supplies available! How do you choose the best option for your experience level and your budget?
Well, let's start with the basics: knitting supplies for beginners. Yep, that's the knitting needles and yarn.
But first, a little caveat.
I know this makes picking out your knitting supplies a little more difficult, but I do want you to know that there's a reason there are so many different options: everyone has a different preference when it comes to their knitting supplies. Especially their yarn and needles. That also means there is no right or wrong selection, and there is no "best option." As knitters, we each have a different tension, and different ways of holding our needles and yarn.
Another thing that I want to point out, which may seem a bit obvious, is that cheapest isn't necessarily always the best route to go. If a knitting tool that you're using is making your knitting process frustrating or irritating, it may be a good idea to start looking at an alternative tool, which often requires a bigger investment.
This year I finally invested in some new knitting supplies that have been absolute game-changers. The decision to purchase these products was something I had been hmm'ing and ha'ing over for multiple months. I finally let myself invest in these knitting supplies, and it truly makes my knitting so much more enjoyable. The investments I made this year were my Chiagoo interchangeable needles and my yarn swift and ball winder (don't worry, I talk all about them later on!), and now I don't have to dread getting my yarn ready for my next project; nor do I have to fight my old broken knitting needles as I work on a project. It feels so good.
Selecting Your Knitting Needles
Ok, so let's get into picking out your knitting needles. That seems like it should be an easy enough task, right? Yes, until you find out there are straight knitting needles, circular knitting needles (including interchangeable knitting needles), and double pointed knitting needles... as well as bamboo knitting needles, metal knitting needles, and plastic knitting needles! Oof -- so many options! Don't worry; I won't get into all of them here; but if you are interested in all the information, head over to this blog post all about selecting your knitting needles.
In that blog post I include several options (with a bit of discussion around the options) including different materials, types, and price levels, but the top three knitting needles that I always recommend are an inexpensive set of straight bamboo needles, an inexpensive set of circular bamboo needles, and a high-quality set of metal interchangeable knitting needles.
Note: this blog post may contain affiliate links (so, if you purchase using the link, and the product qualifies, I may receive a small monetary compensation for recommending the product; it does not change the cost of the product for you), but I continue to recommend the exact same products that I've always recommended!
Straight Knitting Needles for Beginner Knitters
If you're an absolute beginner knitter with a small budget, I recommend a simple pair of straight bamboo needles, like this set with 18 pairs from Amazon, which currently costs $10 USD.
Circular Needles for Knitters New to Working in the Round
If you're just wanting to try out circular needles and you have a limited budget, I recommend this bamboo circular knitting needle set on Amazon.with 18 needles, a case, and a few additional knitting supplies for $18 USD.
Interchangeable Knitting Needles for the Knitter Ready to Invest in High Quality Needles They'll Have Forever
My absolute favorite needles are from Chiagoo's Red Lace Twist interchangeable knitting needle set. You can get the Twist set with 5 inch needle tips or with 4 inch needle tips, available on Amazon for $160 USD and $165 USD, respectively. Both sets include 6 cables and 13 needle sizes, and a few additional knitting supplies.
Choosing Your Yarn
Talking all about different yarn options is going to take a few more blog posts (I'll come back and link them when they're up!), but here are a few of my favorite yarns (and my go-to staples) for beginner knitters and/or those with a limited yarn budget.
Lily Sugar 'n Cream
This is the first yarn I ever worked with, and I still come back to it when I need an inexpensive cotton yarn. It's not an all-purpose yarn, though. Lily Sugar 'n Cream is 100% cotton, and it's not the softest yarn to work with, but it's perfect for working up dishcloths and towels!
Loops & Threads Charisma
If you're familiar with the My Favorite Cable Headband knitting pattern, you'll recognize this yarn! Loops & Threads Charisma is an extremely soft and fuzzy 100% acrylic yarn that is exactly what you want to feel next to your skin during the cold winter months! I also knit up the gray Nestled Diamonds Blanket with this yarn.
Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick
This 80% acrylic, 20% wool blend is my go-to cozy yarn for super bulky knits. It knits up quickly, looks great (and is available in many different color options) and is machine washable, making it a great yarn for gift knitting! Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick is also the yarn that I used for the My Favorite Simple Knit Hat and With Love From the North Mittens knitting patterns.
Lion Brand Heartland
Oh my goodness. This is another super amazing 100% acrylic yarn. Lion Brand Heartland is a worsted weight yarn that looks absolutely beautiful knit up. I used to use it held double for some of the hats that I sold on Etsy, and I have plans of someday designing a knit blanket with this yarn. I definitely recommend!
Darning Needle / Tapestry Needle
Alright, so that's the bare necessities of your knitting supplies: the yarn and the needles! The other knitting supply you really need is a sewing, tapestry, or darning needle to weave in your ends at the end of your project. While a metal darning needle feels a bit sturdier, there really isn't anything wrong with a plastic darning needle. You won't be using this needle for nearly as long as you'll be using your knitting needles either!
If you're already making a purchase from Knit Picks, I recommend picking up this set of two metal darning needles with a case on Knit Picks for $5.95 USD. These needles, with the bent end, can be really handy for trying to get into the stitches while weaving in your ends.
Otherwise, you can get a set of 15 straight metal sewing needles of varying sizes with a nice wooden case on Amazon for $6.79 USD, a set of 18 metal tapestry and sewing needles (half of them have a bent end) in varying sizes with a clear box on Amazon for $7.99 USD, or a set of 30 plastic sewing needles (with no bent ends and no case) on Amazon for $4.49 USD.
So, those are the most important knitting supplies for beginners, but as you begin to invest more of your time in knitting, you will likely want to add a few more knitting supplies to your collection, to enhance your knitting experience.
Other Knitting Supplies You Want to Have On Hand
You can find yourself in all sorts of rabbit holes discovering adorable knitting supplies, but at the core, the tools you'll need are quite simple, and can be relatively inexpensive. The other knitting supplies I strongly recommend you get are needle protectors, stitch markers, a cable needle, and a measuring tape or gauge ruler. You won't need the cable needle until you start working on a project that uses cables, but the others will be useful starting with your first knitting project!
Knitting Needle Protectors
Have you ever had your needles poke through your knitting project bag, or much worse, had your stitches fall off your needles when you weren't working on the project? Using needle protectors fixes both of those issues by covering the tips of your needles! Needle protectors can generally be categorized as either needle stoppers or needle keepers (also referred to as a needle minder or a needle cozy). Needle stoppers are just placed on the tip of your needles, while a cover or case is placed around the entire needle. (If you're working with circular needles, the cable part will hang outside the cover, but the needle portion will fit inside the cover)
Knit Picks sells needle stoppers as a set of two pairs for just over $1 USD per pair. Do note that there are different sizes, so you may want to get a set of the small size and a set of the large size!
Amazon has an option with 20 needle stoppers (10 small and 10 large) and a storage container for just over $5 USD.
The needle stoppers that I have came from Michael's. It's this set with two pairs for about $4 USD. Really, I think they will all be very similar, so it's most just a matter of where you're already buying your other supplies from, for the sake of shipping!
I've primarily found the knitting needle keepers from handmade sellers. There are a few plastic and cardboard tube options, but I don't like the bulkiness of those versions for storing in my project bag. Below I've selected a few shops from Etsy that I would purchase a needle keeper from. This includes KnitterBag from Lithuania, MarasScarves from Australia, KnittingBagAndCase from the United Kingdom, and FlyYarns from the United States. These options range from $8 to $14 USD.
Knitting Stitch Markers
As you begin to work more complicated patterns, stitch markers can be so helpful! You'll mostly use them to mark the beginning of a round (for a circular project) and to mark the beginning of each repeat within a pattern. You can find super cute handmade stitch markers with all sorts of decoration, but the simple shapes (I mostly use circle and lightbulb shapes) are actually my favorite, because then I don't have the extras getting in my way. If you're also a crocheter, you'll want the locking stitch markers (which allows you to remove the stitch marker from a stitch). They are also referred to as removeable stitch markers. As a knitter, you'll place the stitch marker on the needle and just slide the marker off when you approach it on the needle.
I haven't ever used the flexible stitch markers, but I love working with the metal stitch markers... in part just because I feel more sophisticated with them, and in part because they aren't as bulky!
Amazon has several inexpensive options such as this metallic set with multiple sizes of circles plus lightbulb shaped markers for $10 USD, this set of 150 plastic removeable stitch markers for $6 USD, and these adorable fabric yarn ball stitch markers for $8 USD.
Knit Picks also has multiple options including a set of 100 metal stitch markers, a set of 30 flexible stitch markers in two sizes, and a set of 20 locking stitch markers, ranging from $2 to $3 USD per set.
Cable Needle or Knitting Stitch Holder
To work cables, you'll need a cable needle, which is basically like a double pointed needle that is bent so it can hold stitches temporarily. My top recommendation for purchasing a cable needle is this set on Amazon that includes 9 different metal stitch holder options in varying sizes. This will allow you try all of the options in a durable material. If you prefer a plastic material, my top picks are this package of plastic U-cable stitch holders (which look like a hook) or this package of plastic needles with an indent for holding your stitches, both on Amazon.
Measuring Tape or Knitting Gauge Ruler
The last item that I think is an absolute necessity for your knitting supplies list is a measuring tape or gauge ruler. You'll use this for checking your gauge and any time you are working to a specific measurement. My favorite is a simple flexible measuring tapes that fits in my notions pouch easily, but a gauge ruler is very handy for checking your gauge on a swatch! I have a few simple tape measurers like this one on Amazon, or you could get this set on Amazon, which includes a soft tape and a retractable tape!
When looking at a gauge ruler, I prefer the square version that has the inside cut out, so you can easily count your rows and stitches. You can find several options on Etsy, and this cute wooden gauge ruler on Amazon that has "KNIT" cut out of the wood, or it can be customized with the design of your choice.
Knitting Supplies Kit
If you're needing to purchase multiple small knitting supplies, there is a kit on Amazon that includes round stitch markers, interlocking stitch markers, darning needles, needle point protectors, a measuring tape, and a small portable pair of scissors for $10 USD.
Optional Knitting Supplies
The last several knitting supplies are tools that make your knitting experience more enjoyable, or easier, but aren't necessary for a beautiful finished project. This list includes progress keepers, row counters, yarn guides, blocking mats and pins, a yarn swift with ball winder, and a gleener.
Knitting Progress Keeper
A progress keeper looks a lot like a cute decorative piece of knitting jewelry, but it can actually be quite useful! Many knitters will use a progress keeper to track how much progress they make in a given amount of time. For example, you can place a progress keeper each day to show how much you knit on your project in a day. The reason I typically use a progress keeper, however, it is to mark the right side of my work. This is especially helpful in the beginning stages of a project when the fabric textures aren't obvious, or when you're working with a reversible stitch pattern. If you've never used a progress keeper before, I have a video all about it.
Picking out a progress keeper can be pretty specific to your taste, so I definitely recommend looking at other options if these aren't your style! This set is from Amazon and includes four knitting progress keepers with "happy thoughts." If you're looking for something cute and unique, be sure to check out the options on Etsy to find some progress keepers that fit your style!
Note: You can also use a removable stitch marker as a progress keeper! The set linked above can double as stitch markers or progress keepers. Some progress keepers, however, use a clasp that doesn't work as well for a stitch marker.
Do you have a hard time keeping track of what row you're on in a pattern, leading to lots of ripping back and your precious knitting time being wasted? A row counter just might be your new best friend. I've never used one because I know I'd forget to click the button at the end of each row, but I've heard really good things about how helpful they are!
You can find row counters that you use like a stitch marker, wear like a ring, or can just set on any surface. You can also choose between digital counters or dial counters. I would likely prefer the digital counter that you wear on your finger, because it wouldn't get in the way of my knitting and wouldn't require much fiddling with. You can currently find a pack of four digital watch-style row counters on Amazon for $6.50 USD. The ring version is the most durable and longest-lasting version; it is available on Amazon for $22-$29 USD. If you go this route, make sure you get the right size! Since you'll have to move it at the beginning of every row or round, the stitch marker version may help you remember to track your rows, but it may also be the most in-the-way and be more annoying to work with.
Guides for Knitting Colorwork
If you work stranded colorwork, have trouble tensioning your yarn, and only use one hand to work both strands of yarn, you may benefit from a guide that's intended for tensioning your colorwork yarn -- and keeping the strands separate. There are primarily two versions: a metal version with two loops, and a plastic version with a rectangular portion that divides the strands of yarn. I use the metal version and have found it quite helpful, but every time I pick it up, it takes me a little while of knitting to figure out how it best works for me.
Blocking Mat and Pins
While blankets, towels, and yoga mats work well for blocking your projects, I find it's really nice to have the blocking mats for straight lines and getting your pins to actually stay in place well! If you choose to buy your pins separately, be sure that they won't rust. This is the set of blocking mats that I purchased on Amazon (currently $37 USD). It includes 9 blocking mats, a case, and two boxes of blocking pins.
(If you're blocking acrylic fibers, you'll also want a steamer or iron with steam for your blocking process.)
Yarn Swift and Ball Winder
If you purchase yarn in hanks or skeins (which is especially common for hand dyed yarns), you will need to wind the yarn into cakes or balls before working with it. (Otherwise, you'll find your yarn tangles terribly!) You can wind your yarn by hand, using your knees or a chair, but if you work with a lot of yarn, you will realize that you spend a lot of time winding it. The solution to that is a yarn swift and ball winder. After 2.5 years of running a knitting business full-time, I finally invested in a swift and winder -- and now I wonder why I waited so long! (The reason why is that it's a bit of an investment -- but if it's in your budget, it's totally worth it!) My yarn winding takes less than one fourth the time now -- especially if I'm winding more than one skein at once, because half of the time is spent setting up the swift and winder!
I purchased the Basic Winding Station from Knit Picks, in their Onyx color, which includes a yarn swift, yarn ball winder, and a yarn bowl. The set typically costs $125 USD, but I frequently see it on a 33% off sale -- and then I used an introductory 15% off coupon for joining their email list on top of that! You can also purchase the yarn swift and ball winder separately, for $80 and $20 USD, respectively.
Surprisingly, there aren't a lot of yarn swift and ball winder sets available on Amazon, but there is this set with a more elastic fabric on the swift for $50 USD.
The last knitting supply that I recommend -- which has been on my Amazon Wish List for over two years -- is a gleener. A fabric gleener removes the pilling from your fabric to keep it looking like new, which is especially helpful for garments and socks that get a lot of wear! The gleener on my list is currently $20 USD on Amazon.
And that's it! How do you feel? How many new knitting supplies will you be adding to your cart today? I'd love to hear which tools you'll be adding to your list of life-changing accessories!
If you're feeling a bit overwhelmed and want an easy way to keep track of your knitting supplies, download this free knitting supplies checklist so you know you didn't forget anything!
Now that you have all of your knitting supplies, do you need a way to organize them? Read all about my favorite accessories for my knitting supplies, including project bags, needle cases, yarn bowls, and more.
A Pro Tip: If you're new to shopping with Michael's and Knit Picks, you can wait for a pop up to appear so you can sign up for their emails and get an additional discount on your new knitting supplies!
**Notes About This Blog Post: As an Amazon Associate, and affiliate with Knit Picks, I earn from qualifying purchases. All product photos are the photos from the website with exception to the ball and winder set from Knit Picks.