"Write about your favorite knitting or crochet (or spinning, etc.) tool."
I am not a big tool collector, probably due to the organic nature by which I became a knitter. I am completely self-taught. I learned how to knit out of a sold at a gift shop I managed back in college and I usually learn new techniques based on the pattern I am currently knitting. So it took a while for me to realize that you can have more than just sticks and string and that sometimes these extras help you to be a more effective knitter.
November of 2010 my family came to me for Thanksgiving because my comprehensive examination was the following week. On Thanksgiving Day I wanted to start a new project, so I brought the yarn with me to wind up. After watching me struggle for a while to wind the yarn with my knees my dad took pity on me and offered to hold the yarn for me (his mother was a knitter and had taught him how). My poor father spent the entire football game holding the yarn for me while I hand wound it into a ball.
Fast forward a month and I am home for Christmas. Our family traditionally does assorted smaller gifts and then one large gift at the end. My dad hands me a box, the look on his face so excited, he just can't wait for me to open it. Inside was a swift!
Turns out that my darling father vowed never to help me handwind a skein of yarn again and had specifically picked out this gift from Knit Picks. In their own way, buying me a real "knitting tool" was my family's signal to me that they had accepted that knitting was now a part of my life and not a passing hobby.
Over the past two years I have gotten a ton of mileage out of this swift. It has sat proudly on tables and bookcases in every apartment, and I have knit 86 projects since receiving it, most using yarn it has wound and some using multiple skeins. Some could argue that my ballwinder is more useful. I find it impossible to use a ballwinder without a swift, but I can quite happily hand wind off of the swift. It's getting a little tight and squeaky, so I have started to look at others. Maybe I'll ask for an upgrade for Christmas.
*Knit and Crochet Blog Week is an annual event hosted by Eskimimi Makes. To find the rest of the posts, type today's tag 4KCBWDAY6 into Google or your preferred search engine.