Knitting is a great hobby for beginners because all you need to start are needles and wool, keeping the cost of entry delightfully low. Of course, once you get going, there’s almost no end of things to buy if you’re so inclined, from books to yarn, needles and notions and other equipment.
Good equipment can make things easier or faster, or sometimes simply brighten a mood by giving you something special to work with. Here are some of my favourite non-yarn, non-needle knitting paraphernalia.
Ball winder and swift: I bought my ball winder second hand from a friend a few years ago, and bought the swift more recently. While sometimes I like to wind by hand, being able to automate the process is very useful, particularly when you’re trying to wind a kilometer or more of fine lace weight. My swift is one of the amish style, a wooden cross with dowels that spins on top of my table. I have to admit, I prefer them to umbrella swifts, but that’s partly my personal prejudice against umbrellas. When I think of umbrellas, I don’t think of something I want my yarn anywhere near.
Swifts and ball winders can be pricy, so if you’re only able to buy one, I recommend buying a swift. Handwinding a ball off a swift is a reasonably pleasant option, but a ball winder without a swift requires a friend or improvised DIY for operation.
Chart keeper: This is a magnetic board with three small magnets to hold your chart (or other instructions) in place, and a long magnet to mark your line. I usually knit straight off the computer screen, but for more complex charts, I find this really useful for keeping track. It folds over like a book for easy travel, and has a pocket for a few extra pages or notes you’re not currently using.
Spinning wheel: This is the most expensive non-computerised thing I currently own. I spindle spun for a while, then borrowed a wheel from a friend to try it out. For me, wheel spinning is so much faster than spindle, so I really wanted to get one of my own. I usually spin in the summer, as I sit in the window, so I’m hoping to get the wheel out and dusted of now that the sun has come out.