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As we hunker down for the knitting season, we’ve taken a moment to share our thoughts on the beloved tools that carry us through our making — from the repair hooks that lend their helping hands, to the measuring tapes that mark our humble triumphs, and to the heirlooms that remind us of our roots and strengthen our branches.

We invite you to reflect on and share stories about your own essential and sentimental tools as you read on below!

While utilitarian by nature, some tools embody more than just the suggestion of a helping hand. A special bag purchased to both support an independent maker and commemorate a fiber event; a needle sizer that’s used less for its practical purpose and kept more for its inherent beauty; a stitch marker tin, and stitch makers inside, gifted by friends and loved ones; coilless pins in constant and myriad use ever since recommended by a knitting guru; simple thread and waste yarn at the ready to mend or assist with a provisional cast on — these simple objects embody not only their private, respective purposes but also their projected, future potential for participating in the crafting and making of something other, something rich and warm and woolly, something greater and bigger than the mere sum of its parts. — Jen Hurley, Office Manager

The brown puppy pouch was a sweet gift from a friend, and it’s housed all of my tools for quite some time now. Inside of that pouch are many useful treasures given to me over the years — some washi tape, a pair folding scissors, darning and cable needles, repair hooks, chapstick, and an assortment of measuring gadgets. The little red pouch was sent to me by my youngest brother while he was living in South Korea; that’s where I store my mish-mash of stitch markers, at least when I remember to put them away. My tool kit perfectly represents my “sentimental utilitarian” maker identity; each thing has a purpose, a place, and a story (though, I’m not so sure how the bobby pin made it in there). — Jamie Maccarthy, Customer & Community Relations Specialist

I inherited my grandmother’s scissors almost a decade after she passed. I like to think that they were waiting for me and that there’s some maternal magic in them, encouraging me to keep working with my hands as she did and her mother before her. — Christina Rondepierre, Marketing Manager

I’m a firm believer in always having the right tools. In knitting we focus foremost on the yarn, what it feels in our hands while we are knitting with it and thinking about what it will be like to wear. It could be a special skein from a trip or maybe we even spun it ourselves. But I think the tools we use to bring our projects to life should be equally considered and carefully collected, they often spend just as much time in our hands as the yarn does and they play many important roles.

My notions pouch itself was a gift, and is a perfectly sized waxed canvas carry-all made in Colorado. Cable needles and stitch fixers, in a range of sizes. Always pencils and erasers, as I’m a print-copy-with-tons-of-notes type of knitter. Multiple ways to measure, multiple ways to cut and snip. There are a few special items — a rosewood stitch marker case, fragrant skin salve, and scissors that belonged to my mother. But mostly it’s just the basics, every item making it’s way into the pouch for a reason and staying because it’s proven itself useful time and time again. — Lis Smith, Design Coordinator

Sentiment and I are good friends indeed, but I also like to travel light! Nowadays, I leave my tender things at home and walk out the door with only my bare essentials and just-in-case items (see: one Eucalan stain wipe). I will say though, that I have a strong, perhaps unreasonable attachment to those tiny hinged cases (found at The Container Store) wherein my stitch markers now live. — Korina Yoo, Marketing Coordinator

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11 responses to “Growing Together: Our Essential & Sentimental Knitting Tools”

  1. I always have way too much stuff in my knitting bag – all the above but add crochet hooks, sticky notes, more stitch markers than I need, a small calculator, a mechanical pencil, an emery board, and hand lotion.

  2. What a wonderful idea to showcase this! So interesting and informative as well, not to mention the joy of seeing what other knitters love to have with them, their sentimental as well as useful values. Thank you!

  3. Loved this article, for many reasons. I’ve gone over it several times! The new black and white “making” zine has a pattern for a little bag like this. It will be perfect for my stash.
    Thank you.

  4. i really love seeing this part of a maker’s process. my tools are essential and i don’t like to have to improvise so they are usually with me! the history of knitting in a family is powerful too- how many of us have a tool that we treasure that’s been passed down? a lovely feature, thank you!

  5. My favorite possession is an ivory crochet hook I inherited from my mother. It Is a small gauge, with a small carved egg shape on the end. It is warm to handle, and I’ve used it many times to repair errors in my knitting. Using it as my mother did, makes me feel her connection to the craft she loved most, and which I have carried on for over sixty years.

  6. Thank you for sharing. I use a leather pouch given to me by an aunt when I was a teen. I treasured it but never found a use for it until I began knitting 15 years later. 25 years after that it is my treasure holder and travels with me and my current project wherever I go.

  7. I recently acquired a small project pouch from Shetland Wool Week and will use it for my essentials as opposed to using my field bag for everything.

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