Knitting and I have had a funny relationship for many years.
The first time I tried knitting I was in the throes of a very long very drawn out breakup. It was my first Christmas “alone” and my mom decided to teach me to knit to give me something to take my mind off my little broken heart. Me being me, I was impatient to learn and threatened at least twice to throw my knitting in the fire when my brain couldn’t process how to switch between knitting and purling. Many many curse words later I think I may have managed to knit a small lopsided square.
I gave up on it for a bit.
A year or so later my dear friend Amber tried to teach me again and while I seemed to understand it much better this go round, I didn’t stick with it beyond knitting Roxy a very smart looking scarf.
I gave up on it for a bit.
Another breakup occurs and I decide that (obviously) I should take up knitting..again. It works! It works! I fall really in love and began to create small projects for friends and loved ones. People start to consider me (ME!) a knitter.
After almost 5 years of knitting, I do find that my ability to immerse myself in yarn and needles really ebbs and flows. I go through obsessive periods where all I want to do in my spare time in have the TV on in the background and some knitting in my lap. I also go through periods where my three latest projects all rest around the house gathering a little dust. I have found that summertime I feel less pulled to knit until about late August when thoughts of cool days and nights compels me to pull out my double points and knit away with a cup of tea.
I think knitting is fantastic for many reasons. Here’s a few…
- Its fairly easy to learn. Truly I swear. I will give you many resources below to help you get your knit on without huge amounts of cursing or throwing it into a fireplace a la Genevieve.
- You can do it anywhere! I often carry smaller projects with me in a big slouchy purse and knit in between clients or at a doctor appointment or even in the car if we were taking a trip (No worries I was never driving and knitting)
- It’s calming. I should preface that in the beginning it isn’t. It will take some time to find yourself relaxing your shoulders as well as your grip on your needles but it will happen. Knitting to me is very zen-like especially with a simple pattern. I can zone out a little while I knit and enjoy the rhythmic motions of the stitches required. Occasionally these zone outs can lead to mistakes but like life, you figure out how to fix the mistakes without too much frustration.
- You can make new friends. I have had the fortune of helping start a knitting group made up of new knitters along with much more experienced knitters. We met at Panera on Monday evenings every few weeks and talked and taught each other tricks while drinking hot drinks by the fire. It’s very gratifying to pass on your knowledge to someone else while being able to get another knitter’s help on something that you just can’t quite get. We even knit chemo hats for the American Cancer Society which was a fun project to do all together (great project for an early knitter, do not attempt these as your very first project though).
- Its a wonderful way to make gifts. I LOVE making my loved one gifts through my knitting. It’s personal and really fun to create something that is wearable. People also really love gifts that are made specifically for them. Budget-wise it can cheaper as well. I can knit a friend a cute cabled beanie for less than 20$ where something like this would cost much more if store-bought.
So how DO you get started!!??
They often offer classes and will be a great resource in the months ahead as you may run into issues that you may need someone to look at. Here is a link to help you find one in your area. If there are no local yarn stores you can also check out Michaels, JoAnn Fabric, and Hobby Lobby. The downside is larger chain stores may not hire people who are really knowledgable about knitting and may not be able to help you that much.
I was very lucky to have someone help me first-hand (Big ups to my boo Amber) but of course when she left after our girl’s weekend I sat there with my knitting stuff and said to myself “CRAP what happens if I get messed up with this scarf”
Back in the olden days when the dinosaurs roamed with the cavemen, one bought magazines with patterns on them. One of the most popular was Vogue Knitting. This magazine has evolved over the years but is still a fantastic resource for new and old knitters. My first knitting book was this Vogue Knitting Quick Reference: The Ultimate Portable Compendium. Another great one is Knit Fix because lets be real, stuff is going to get messed up. I got this as a gift from Amber and its been really great in helping me sort out what “I did wrong” and how I am going to fix it. Lastly I would suggest picking up Stitionary. I received this book a few years ago and its really lovely. You will be able to peruse over 300 stitches from the Vogue Knitting archives with directions and charts.
Videos of knitting helped me IMMENSELY when I first started out and I rely upon them still when I taught myself to knit with double pointed needles, when I was learning to cable, and numerous other things that I needed to understand or teach myself. I often have to watch and rewatch the video to understand what they are doing but it really makes a huge difference as I sometimes have a difficult time understanding pictures in knitting books.
I could go on and on about Ravelry. It is a free incredible resource to those of us who knit and crochet. It’s includes a large number of things from patterns (their selection of free patterns is incredible), ways to keep track/share your yarns and needles, and being able to share your projects as you work on them. I really love being able to see who else is using the same pattern and seeing what suggestions they have along with being able to actually contact the person who wrote the pattern.
It’s super easy to start browsing the internet for ideas and patterns and get sucked into this vortex of doing some amazing hat as your first project. DON’T. Seriously, don’t. Get started just getting used to casting on, knitting stitches, binding off, as well how different needles are for specific yarns. Get used to doing rows of knitting, get used to do rows of purling, and then get used to going between the two. Let your first project just to knit a square. Then try your hands at a scarf and let it build from there. Everybody loves scarves and there’s tons of easy ways to make lovely scarves as a beginner just in the yarn you use, the pattern, or switching between colors.
A great project that I really loved once I got a little more comfortable was this “Mock Brioche Mock the Cold” Cowl. It teaches you to create button holes and is a super quick knit that looks very cute. GREAT gift idea!
The world is really your oyster once you have got the basics down. You will find that you may really love knitting socks or you may find that you LOVE chunky wool and only want to knit thick cushy scarves and cowls. The fun thing is trying different things out and seeing where your passions feel most ignited.
I cannot begin to say how knitting has fulfilled me. On the days that I feel horrible, it gives me something to do that feels productive and on the better days, its just another thing that fills me up and allows me to be creative. You can put it down and pick it up and as I said earlier, it’s hobby that is easily carried with you on any adventure.
Other stuff to help you get your knit on:
Knitting glossary– Patterns have abbrevations that will make NO sense. Here’s how to figure out what they mean.
KnitPicks– Lots of yarn, needles, patterns and knitting bags! They have sales pretty often which is awesome.
Etsy-Hopefully by now you know what Etsy is but if you don’t, go go go there ASAP! They are a fantastic site in general but specifically fantastic because they have a lot of affordable patterns for sale, hand made needles, knitting bowls, and yarns.
Lion Brand Yarn– I use their yarn a lot for certain projects because its affordable and easily found. They also have tons of free patterns.
Interchangeable Circular Needles-These guys are a great investment once you get into knitting hats. I now prefer to do a lot of knitting on double points but this set has been great (Thanks to my mom for giving it to me <3 )
Some of my projects over the years
I am far from an advanced knitter but slowly making my way to more complex projects. I will admit so far I really love to knit hats and still find myself loving to knit scarves and cowls. Fall will be here before we know it, perfect for beginning your knitting hobby!
Give knitting a try or if you are like me…give it a few tries.