Even if you never leave your favorite spot on the sofa, you need a knitting bag. Sure, you can use an old tote bag but most don't have enough pockets to hold your tools, so the needles sink to the bottom of the bag and the yarn becomes hopelessly tangled. Once you move beyond one skein of yarn and two needles for knitting, you need to get organized.
I have found the Yarn Boss Yarn Bag to be my absolute favorite bag for home use and knitting on-the-go. Made from durable canvas with an attached handle and an adjustable shoulder strap, the bag is small enough to carry easily (10.5-inches high by 10-inches wide) but large enough to hold most any work in progress and all the needed supplies.
The top of the bag unzips so you can access everything inside where it is organized with a removable divider (no Velcro to snag yarn). When the bag is closed, there are six grommet holes that you can use to feed the yarn through smoothly. Three large pockets hold smaller tools securely while four "pencil pockets" hold needles.
The Yarn Boss is designed to hold six skeins (3-6 ounces) of yarn or three one-pound skeins. While it won't hold yarn and a nearly completed throw, it will hold dozens of small squares or a sweater, as well as the yarn.
Pros: Sturdy container with no Velcro or rough edges to snag yarn, roomy enough to hold six skeins of yarn, multiple pockets, handle and adjustable shoulder strap
Cons: Not large enough to hold a nearly completed blanket, only available in gray
The top of the bag unzips so you can access everything inside where it is organized with a removable divider (no Velcro to snag yarn). When the bag is closed, there are six grommet holes that you can use to feed the yarn through smoothly. Three large pockets hold smaller tools securely while four pencil pockets hold needles.
Like most novice knitters, I began with a scarf that was basically knitting and purling back and forth, back and forth. Even with this most simple of projects, I spent a great deal of time counting to make sure I had the right number of stitches. I had no idea that HiMo Stitch Markers even existed to help with counting.
I also remember my first encounter with a pattern that called for me to mark a certain spot so I could change the stitch. I didn't think that was very important; surely, I could remember where I needed to adjust. Trust me, you can't remember. I first tried tying a different colored yarn in the spot. The yarn either fell off or got tangled. Then I did some research and discovered stitch markers.
There are two kinds of markers: those that are a solid ring and those that open similar to a safety pin. I have found the latter much easier to work with.
The locking HiMo markers come in eight bright colors (13 of each) so they are easy to see and come in a small compartmentalized plastic storage case. The plastic markers are slightly flexible for ease in opening and large enough to slide over a US size 10 knitting needle.
With 104 markers at your fingertips, you will have plenty for even the largest project when you're casting on dozens of stitches.
Pros: Markers lock securely, flexible plastic, multiple colors, storage case
Cons: Small items can cause a choking hazard for a child or pet
When you cast-on stitches, change yarn colors, and cast-off, you are left with tails of yarn dangling from your work. I've known knitters that finished a piece and never used it because they hated weaving-in the ends so much. Outus Large Blunt Eye Needles are my go-to needles that make that final step much less tedious.
The needles come in a handy resealable capsule that slips into your knitting bag easily. Their most important feature is that the metal needles are sleek stainless steel and don't snag. You get nine instruments of three different-sized blunt -tip needles with various sized eyes. With such a variety of sizes, almost any type of yarn will slide right through so you can weave in ends or sew seams in any knitted piece.
The only complaint from some Amazon buyers is that the needles won't hold a novelty yarn like a bobble, but no needle will. Use a crochet hook!
Pros: Three sizes of needles included, resealable case, smooth stainless steel
Cons: Needles do not accommodate every type of novelty yarn
Knitting is all about counting and repetition. It is that repetition that makes it so relaxing and takes your mind away from the worries of life. Well, it's relaxing until you lose count of the rows and realize that the arms of your sweater would fit an orangutan. You need a counter.
I've tried the little plastic counters that fit on the ends of my needles. Inevitably, the little wheel gets turned by accident and I lose count. Then, I tried a digital counter that fit on my finger. I spent more time trying to keep the yarn from tangling in that thing than I did knitting.
Finally, I went back to the tried-and-true Horsky Tally Counter (yes, this is the same counter used at events). It is a basic manual counter you click each time a knitting row is finished. I even use it when casting-on to count stitches in groups of 10.
Made from stainless steel with a mechanical counting action, it doesn't use a battery or change the count if it is accidentally bumped. It is compact and lightweight enough you can keep it in the palm of your hand while knitting. When you're done, press the reset button and you're ready to begin a new section.
Pros: Solidly built, reliable counter, no battery needed, compact and easy to use
Cons: Can be bulky in the hand while knitting
At several points in your work, you'll need to cut some yarn. You can hunt down scissors, gnaw the yarn into submission with your teeth, or make it easy with the Fiskars Crafts Premier Ultra-Sharp Thread Snips tucked in your yarn bag.
I am in love with these snips and own three pairs. I keep one with my knitting, one stays in the bedroom closet to snip loose threads I find on clothes, and one stays with my sewing supplies. The stainless steel blades on the snips are razor-sharp because they aren't used to cut paper, plastic, or whatever thing the men in my life think needs to be cut. This tool is perfect for making exact cuts on yarn.
At only 5-inches long, these trimmers are ideal for an on-the-go knitting bag. The built-in blade-guard helps prevent accidents and there's no protective cap to get lost. The handles are coated with a molded plastic that helps them conform to your hand giving you a good grip when snipping.
One innovative Amazon buyer found a way to keep them at hand: she attached them to a lanyard and wears them around her neck.
Pros: Sharp, stainless steel blades, built-in safety guard, easy to use, money-back guarantee
Cons: Only comes in white, tips can break if dropped with the safety guard disengaged