More that Wool
Hello again! Isn't it strange to think that it's March already? For the past couple of months we have focused a lot on wool and buying it. However, there is more to being a crafter than just wool - if you want to be a knitter (or crocheter, if that is a word!), there are also a few pieces of haberdashery that I would definitely recommend getting before you start a new project, and today I will be ranking my personal top ten items.
10: A Pattern
If you already know your knit and purl stitches or your crochet stitches, getting a pattern to make a jumper or cardigan is a great next step as it allows you to learn different ways to use these stitches as well as how to do shaping. However, I would argue that a pattern is not essential, particularly not if you are knitting for the first time. Instead, once you know how to cast on and do the basic knit stitch, it is easy to make something such as a scarf without a pattern. Also, there are many other ways of learning apart from patterns, which is something that I will be looking at later in this series of posts.
9, 8 and 7: Pins, Foam Mats and Wool Wash
You may be wondering why I have grouped these three. Mainly, I did it so that it made more sense, as they are all used for a technique known as blocking, where you wash wool in warm water and wool wash (a type of soap for wool), pin it out on foam to the shape that you want and leave it to dry overnight. It is very effective but only necessary for some projects, such as lace projects so that they curl less.
6: A Sewing Up Needle
This piece is absolutely essential; the only reason I put it quite this low down on the list was because very few crafters enjoy sewing up their ends at the end of a project! Also, before you get one, I recommend finding a safe place to put your needles so you don't end up losing them and later finding them as they prick you when you least expect!
5. Fabric Scissors
As I mentioned earlier, very few people enjoy sewing in ends, so scissors often come in handy if you have a long end. This means that instead of having to weave the whole end in, you can weave it a little, double knot it and then chop the rest off. Also, you need scissors when casting off your projects, or else you will end up having all your projects still attached to the rest of the ball!
4: A Row Counter
Row counters are always great fun, because whilst you can tally the amount of rows you do, it is much more fun to twist a knob or click a button and see the number change as you finish a row. You can also get row counter apps, which are very satisfying as some tell you how many stitches you have done in your time using that app.
3. A Project Bag
I have to say, considering that I have put this in my top three, I really don't use project bags enough! So many of my projects are chaotically shoved on shelves, in baskets and across the floor. However, the projects that I do put in bags are so much more organised, meaning I don't end up losing or breaking things. It also makes it more portable - whenever I go on holiday I always have a project bag full to the brim, even if I'm only going away for a couple days!
2: A Tape Measure
Having a tape measure is vital - it's important to to measure yourself up, measure your knitting up and make slipknots in your tape measure when you're too tired to knit (or maybe that's just me). Make sure you put it in your project bag though, because despite the size, they are quite easy to lose!
1. A Notebook
The project notebook had to come out on top. They are so useful - you can write down measurements and numbers of rows as well as to-do lists and deadlines if you are crafting a gift. If you keep your notebook for a long time, it can also be something for you to look back at when you are older with pride and happy memories.
You can buy all of of these things from us apart from foam mats, which you can easily get online (just search for "play mats for children" and you should find packs of foam blocks that look a little like puzzle pieces).
That's all for today! Next week, I'll be rounding off this section and doing a Q&A on yarn shopping and shopping with us, so do send your questions in either as a comment or an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Until then, happy crafting!
My name is Sharon the Sheep, the owner of Avicraft Wool Shop in Bromley Kent..