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Crafty Living

Buy basics for knitting, crochet

It’s fall. And with cooler weather comes the desire to pull out the knitting or crocheting that was ignored during the summer heat and drought (at least, the knitting and crocheting I ignored because of the heat).

I find this time of year perfect for covering up in that big afghan you’re working on, letting it keep you warm as you work.

And, as Lara Neel, who writes the online Crafty Living: Math4Knitters blog, likes to point out, you have a mere 12-ish weeks until Christmas to get your handmade gifts done.

But today’s column isn’t intended for experienced knitters and crocheters. I wanted to provide a little help to anyone who has contemplated taking up either craft by providing a list of must-haves for both crafts.

Lara, who is my co-conspirator in craft, provided me with the basics for knitting. I’m going to give you what I believe are the basics for crochet.

First, the knitting list. This is what Lara says you need to have to get started. I’d suggest, given the first item, that you know what you want to make and have a pattern in hand when you go shopping.

•Needles, in the size suggested in the pattern you want to use, plus one size up and one size down

•Scissors or airplane-friendly cutters such as the Clover cutter pendant

•Darning needles

•Some manner of ruler or tape measure

•A small amount of spare cotton yarn, to hold stitches or make stitch markers (cotton is important, since it’s less likely to shed and end up leaving bits of itself in your project). Stitch markers can be made by cutting off a length of yarn and tying a knot to make a small loop.

You will notice some crossover in what you also need for crochet. Again, I suggest that you have a pattern in mind, preferably a beginner or easy pattern, when you go shopping for supplies.

•Crochet hooks, in the size suggested, as well as one size up and one size down (or, better yet, buy a set that ranges from size D to K)

•Scissors or cutters

•Darning needles

•A ruler or tape measure

The reason for getting different-size hooks and needles is that you should have the right size to match gauge. Gauge is really important in knitting, especially if you’re knitting a wearable. If you knit or crochet too tightly, you should go up a hook/needle size. Too loosely, go down a size.

And, of course, you’ll need yarn. If you’re just beginning, it is probably best that you purchase the yarn suggested in the pattern you have chosen to make.

It is fairly simple to teach yourself either craft if you are determined. There are fantastic resources online at, but you can also always find a class at a local yarn store or chain craft store.

Joyce McCartney is not a craft expert. She is, however, interested in crafting of all types. She shares her experiences and those of area crafters. To reach her, call 461-8364 or email Also, visit her blog at There, you will also find the weekly knitting podcast Math4Knitters.