Although a blacksmith worked with soft iron, a swordsmith or bladesmith had to take numerous steps to heat iron into steel and forge the blade properly before polishing and cleaning. A separate skilled laborer -- called a hiltmaker -- would fashion the handle of the sword, so you get an idea of how complex it is. As you can see in the picture above, Medieval swords appeared in a variety of forms, but generally had a long, wide, straight, double-edged blade with a simple cross-guard (or "cruciform" hilt).
Daggers and knives, however, were made of steel and widely carried as a secondary weapon to be used alongside the sword in close combat. But knights weren't the only ones who wielded these weapons. Given how easy it is to produce even a rudimentary blade, they were commonly used as a form of personal protection.