(Other bloggers have joined in a similar exercise: read more at Triskele Designs and The Knitter's Handbook.)
4 basics & 1 luxury item
This thought intrigued me and I wondered what exactly I would take with me or what I would want to have if I ever got stranded on an island and had to stay indefinitely. So I gave it some thought and made a list of what I consider to be the most important items for such an eventuality.
The island would have vegetation, I assume, otherwise survival would be impossible in the long run. I could probably find some plants that I could knit with instead of using yarn, but I think that I just like the smoothness of wool and, assuming it isn't scorchingly hot all the time, I would rather knit with wool than vegetation - at least until I figured out a process to extract plant fibre. So the first thing I'd take along with me is a sheep, probably merino. I could shear it and use its wool while having a bit of company at the same time.
Obviously I'd need a drum carder to process the fleece from my sheep so that is definitely an item I must have. Working it would probably give me a bit of muscle too so that would help with life on the island. I would produce nice spinnable batts and be sad that nobody but Mable the sheep would be around to admire it.
I guess you can see where this is going. Once I have nice batts of Mable's wool, I'd need a spinning wheel, so that is my third item. I have a nice compact Ashford Traveller, so I'd take it along after having replaced the rather rickety mother-of-all and perhaps adding a lace kit just in case. I'd rather have the wheel than my spindles because it is more relaxing, less taxing and faster to work with.
Of course, I will need some decent knitting needles. I think I would only take circulars with me because I can use them instead of straight needles and DPNs. That gives me lots of flexibility and I could knit all sorts of things. With time, I could whittle my own needles from wood on the island, I suppose.
Luxury item: acid dye kit
My luxury item really isn't something that is absolutely necessary, but I love colour and would probably get tired of only having white yarn after a while. (Sorry, Mable.) So I'd choose a good acid dye kit to add a bit of colour to my knits. I am not keen on dyeing with plants, though that would definitely be something I'd try on the island, but for ease of use I'd opt for acid dyes.
And with that, I think I'd be set for years! I'd have everything I need for making something from sheep to garment. What would you choose? I look forward to hearing what your desert island choices would be. Let me know in the comments!