Knitting is an ancient craft which continues in popularity. Many people find knitting to be both relaxing and productive, as well as extremely portable. Anyone who wants to learn this craft will need a variety of tools which can dramatically range in price. The basic knitting tools can usually be found at craft stores for reasonable prices, and include knitting needles, stitch markers, tapestry needles, scissors, and a crochet hook. Of course, in order to begin knitting, you will also need yarn, which is not so much a tool as a medium for the art.
The first and most obvious tool needed to begin knitting is a pair of knitting needles. Knitting needles, which usually resemble sharpened sticks more than sewing needles, are available in a wide variety of sizes, styles, and materials. The two main styles of needles are straight and circular, with circular needles being more versatile but less traditional. Choosing between the two is partially a matter of the piece being knitted, and partly one of personal preference.
Further options for knitting needles include different sizes and materials. Measurements vary according to country, but knitting needles do come in set sizes according to diameter. In general, the thicker your yarn, the larger you want your needles. This is not always the case, however, especially if you choose to knit something with an open lace pattern.
Needles can be made of metal, wood, plastic, and even bone. Most knitters have a preferred material and brand of needles that work best for their style of knitting. When you begin knitting, it is a good idea to ask someone at the yarn store which needles would work best with the yarn that you have chosen.
After you have gathered your yarn and needles, you may need more tools before you begin knitting. Stitch markers are often useful if you are knitting a repeating pattern or are trying to keep track of how many stitches you have. Stitch markers are usually small circles made of metal or plastic that are slipped along the needles in order to mark a place or a pattern repeat. While many knitters buy stitch markers, objects such as safety pins, paper clips, and even rubber bands can be used.
Tapestry needles are another important type of knitting tool. These look like sewing needles, but are generally thicker, with a wider eye. They are used to sew in dangling pieces of yarn or "ends" when the project is done. Tapestry needles can also be used to sew together parts of a project, such as sewing the sleeves of a sweater onto the main body. These needles come in varying thicknesses to be used with different weights of yarn.
A few other tools round out the supply box of anyone who wants to begin knitting. Scissors are vital; any scissors used on fabric and yarn should not also be used on paper, which can dull them. A crochet hook can be indispensable for anyone who drops a stitch during a knitting project. Point protectors are rubber objects that are attached onto the point of the knitting needles, and do not protect the points as much as stop the stitches from sliding off of the needle.
Although many people who are only beginning to knit may not realize it, common dental floss can be used as a safety measure. The floss can be woven among the "live" stitches which are still on the knitting needle, using a sewing or tapestry needle. If the knitter should need to take out, or "rip back" part of the knitting, the dental floss will ensure that not too much gets lost.