slowly, over the past 3 years that I have been seriously knitting, I have started to collect needles and notions that I love. When I started out, I used whatever I could find in thrift stores, or in my mother's stash that she no longer needed. I have tried plastic, metal, wood...I've tried circular, straight, and double pointed. I've tried it all. And I've come up with a few staple favorites.
One of the first things I learned about knitting tools was that I do NOT enjoy knitting with metal needles. They are heavy and noisy and cold. I'm also not a huge fan of plastic, although I do have some small plastic crochet hooks that I don't mind. (plus the colour options of plastic needles are pretty fun!) I have to say, my favorite needles to knit with are always bamboo. I love how light they are, and how effortlessly they move through the wool. (yes, I've spent ages thinking about this). Plus they just look pretty. I also love knitting with circular needles. They aren't as heavy as straight ones, and are cleaner than DPN's. It has taken me these full 3 years to make peace with double pointed needles. We've got a bit of a love-hate thing going on. If it weren't for my love of fingerless gloves, I might give them up entirely. That being said, I know people who love them- my mom included. To me, there is just too much going on when I'm trying to hold 4+ needles at once!
In terms of crochet hooks, I tend to use bamboo too. Especially for larger sized needles. As I mentioned, I do use some plastic hooks, and find these work well for me as long as they have a handle. Gripping a small hook with no handle is torture on my wrists. Recently my mom gave me some wooden hooks made by her friend from branches of an oak tree. (shop is Heaven Spun Creations on Etsy). I love them and have been using them almost non-stop since she gave them to me.
There are a few other tools I can't craft without: my notions pouches, (I use ones handmade in India by Dalit women, purchased from Dalit Freedom Network Canada), my large tapestry needle, and coloured paper clips to use as stitch markers. And that's about it so far. Always adding to my collection though, so I'm sure in a few months, it will be different!