Please note this post contains affiliate links.
I am one of those people who discovers a new hobby and dives right in. If I had a million dollars this would mean buying all the doodads right off the bat. However, like most people, I can’t afford to sink a bunch of money into a hobby when I don’t know if I’ll stick with it. I love knitting and think it’s one of those hobbies you don’t have to spend a lot to enjoy, so I’d like to share my hacks for knitting on the cheap.
In an ideal world, you could have a closet full of every kind of knitting needle. But when you have to buy a whole new set of needles for a project it might be the difference between being able to afford it or not. One tip is to transform double-pointed needles for straight back-and-forth work by sticking a rubber band on the end to prevent the stitches from sliding off. You can also get fancy caps that do the same thing (like these or these).
DIY Stitch markers
Another thing that I didn’t have the money for for a long time was stitch markers. The ones I have now are great because they lock and unlock so you can remove them at any time (so you don’t have to wait until you come back around to the stitch where you placed it). Before I got those though I used paper clips I bent into a circle. One paper clip can make two circles, which was perfect because I was mostly just making thumb gussets and needed to mark each end. I never inserted them into the stitches like I do now with the unlocking ones but I put them right before or after stitches to mark them. If you do get some, make sure you get the removable kind, like this or this.
Cable needle substitute
I think cabling is one of the most beautiful techniques in knitting. I have cable needles now, but before I sprung for those I used safety pins to hold my cable stitches while I worked. It’s not ideal because I found I split the yarn a lot inserting the pins but when it’s all you’ve got it’s good enough!
I still don’t have one of those little gadgets you can use to count stitches or rows – you know, kind of like bouncers use to count people coming into the bar, where you press each time someone comes in? Except with stitches! Another way to count that’s free is to just write the stitches or rows on a piece of paper and move the paper clip as you count. That’s what I’m doing for this beautiful pattern I’m currently working on (it’s free!).
And one thing you CAN’T do without…
I have since purchased a set of metal darning needles , but for a long time I used orange plastic ones that I got for fifty cents at Michaels. Weaving in the ends is the absolute worst part of any project (God forbid you use multiple colours!) but it has to be done.
If I had it to do all over again I would probably just purchase a knitting tool kit and get a bunch of gadgets at once, but I had already bought some of them by the time I came across one.
If you have any frugal knitting hacks that I missed post them in the comments!