Tools of the trade

In my opinion, ready-made notions kits are great in theory, but not so great in practice. But this may be more of a reflection of me and my specific tastes/needs than it is on the kits themselves.

notions-knitkit

A few years back I got a Knit Kit from the in-laws as part of my Christmas gift. Mine came with a thread cutter, stitch counter, double-ended crochet hook, folding scissors, point protectors, stitch markers, darning needle, and tape measure. (The thread cutter is no longer included in the current version, which is just as well, because mine never cut worth a damn anyway.) The stitch counter is also a dud on mine – the 10s digit doesn’t increment, but since I don’t use mechanical counters anyway it doesn’t really matter to me.

As you can see, I replaced the stitch markers, point protectors, and darning needle. The former was just due to personal preference – I originally subbed in some smaller soft ring stitch markers, but I’ve since replaced them with some snag-free markers T’s aunt gave me, along with a couple of locking markers. The latter two were due to size – the stock point protectors fell right off most of my frequently-used needle sizes, and I needed more variety with needle sizes (I have an entire Clover set in there, and almost never use the largest one).

I liked the convenience of having everything all in one package, and none of the TSA agents I encountered while traveling ever took an issue with the thread cutter or scissors. One of my biggest problems with this kit, though, is that not all components are easily replaceable. When the tape measure inevitably stretched out, this just became an overly bulky carrying case.

I mean, it’s not a bad first notions kit. It’s just not a great one, and it doesn’t hold up over time.

notions-tooltin1

I also own a standard Knitter’s Tool Tin, which was my prize from last year’s Puck This! Stanley Cup pool. As pictured above, this came with a tape measure, tiny yarn snips, stitch holder, double-ended crochet hook, cable needle, a set of three needles, and five stitch markers.

The tin, not surprisingly, is more durable than the plastic Knit Kit casing, and it’s more compact, which is a nod in its favor. Also, you can replace everything inside it, which is great for longer-term use. So if I had to pick a pre-made notions kit for a newer knitter, or for an experienced knitter I didn’t know well, this would absolutely be my choice.

However, the thing is, notions kits aren’t totally one-knitter-fits-all. So once you have a good idea of what you like to knit, or what tools work best for you, you may find yourself replacing parts of your existing kit… like I did with the Knitter’s Tool Tin.

I replaced the yarn snips with collapsible scissors very quickly. The snips I got don’t cut very well. It’s possible I got a dud, and I probably could have gotten a replacement, but… I also just found them uncomfortable to use so there was no point for me personally.

Also, the default stitch markers are very cute but not ideal for me. The rings are a little thicker than I like, and I find that the stars tend to get in my way as I knit (granted, this last bit may be knitter error). But the bigger problem for me is that the rings aren’t snag-free. So I’ve replaced these with a couple of locking stitch markers and several snag-free markers.

I also replaced the needles, because two of the three aren’t what I need in a notions kit. For example, I need a small darning needle, not a small sewing needle.

For comparison’s sake:

notions-components

In both cases, the original Knitter’s Tool Tin component is on the left, while my component of choice is on the right.

I also took out the cable needle since I knit cables without one. And, I’m considering removing the stitch holder; there’s nothing wrong with it, I just don’t use holders much. On the flip side I added a couple of things. I threw in a small bobbin of fine crochet cotton for lifelines, provisional cast ons, and so forth. I also added a pair of point protectors, though they actually spend far more time out of the tin in use.

So here’s what my kit looks like now:

notions-tooltin2

Ah, better. Much more suited to my needs.

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One Response to Tools of the trade

  1. Austin says:

    Hi, I’m just wondering what the best way to reach out to you would be to talk about antinomic.com

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