Naknicromo day 13: Favorite tool of the trade

Though I often claim I’m not really a technology person, I do like my devices. I have a MacBook Pro, an iPad, an iPhone and a Kindle. I wear a MisFit activity tracker (which has told me lately that I REALLY need to start moving more), and I rely on apps for everything from monitoring my investments, to paying my credit card bills, to refilling prescriptions, and storing boarding passes for travel. So, yes, I do love my technology.

But, my favorite tools for knitting are decidedly low-tech. First there’s one of the oldest tools I own: my needle sizer/gauge checker.

File Mar 13, 3 07 53 PM

It’s a pretty sturdy metal, Susan Bates “Knit-Chek,” and I couldn’t live without it. On most of my wooden needles, those little numbers etched into the shaft have worn off, so I can’t tell what size they are without this handy-dandy item. And, for making sure my gauge is spot on, the little window with the ruler is super. My eyes have a hard time following the stitches when just holding the swatch against a tape measure, so this little helper, plus a needle I use as a pointer while counting, has been invaluable.

My other favorite tool is a recent find: coiless safety pins.

File Mar 13, 3 06 58 PM

These were practically essential at the start of my Swirl sweater. The cast on was 569 stitches, and the first three rows were worked flat. When then joining the piece in the round, the thing was so huge that the best way to ensure there were no twists was to basically fold the piece in half once at the midpoint (wrong sides together) and then pin at intervals until reaching the sides of the work. This kept everything in place to join with no fear of twists (and an inevitable frogging of a 569 stitch, 3-row start!). Using these large, coiless pins was much easier than either the smaller-size stitch holders or the standard coiled safety pins.

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