Back when I was in high school, I took this class called Advanced Project Exploration. The purpose of the class was to help gifted students use their giftedness to explore areas in which they were interested. My dad was in charge of creating this class as curriculum director. So, I'm not really sure if I was actually gifted or if I had to be in the class because my dad created it. We'll go with me being gifted. Anyways, I chose to teach myself how to knit as one of my projects.
My grandma is an avid knitter and crocheter. So, I wanted learn how to knit just like my grandma. The problem was, she lived 5 hours away, and we were never there long enough for her to teach me. So, I bought a "Teach Yourself to Knit" kit at Wal-Mart. It was WORTHLESS...mostly. My teacher for this class knew a little bit about knitting, so she helped me along with some of the basics. This was before You Tube was anything other than a place for idiots to showcase themselves. So, I tried to knit, and did a pretty miserable job of it.
This past spring, thanks to Pinterest, I found a knitting tutorial page on Hurray! It's Megan. All of my supplies for knitting were sitting in my closet at my parents' house, so I went out to Michael's and stocked up on some basic knitting supplies. After watching the tutorials I found on You Tube( thanks to Megan's blog), I was able to master the basics.
Here are some materials you'll need:
- Regular, worsted weight yarn. This is found at any craft store or even Wal-Mart.
- Two straight knitting needles. You will want some that are about a foot long and about the width of a pencil. You'll want to use something between a 6 and a 10. I prefer size 8. There are metal, bamboo, and plastic needles. I prefer metal because that's what my grandma used, and they make cool clicking sounds. Girls who knit to be cool usually use wooden needles. ; )
- Blunt-end tapestry needle. I couldn't find metal ones when I was looking, so I have plastic needles. Either works fine.
- Scissors. Any type will do.
- Patience (I always need extra dosages of this). : )
Don't Buy (at least until you have serious knitting skillz):
- Super huge or super tiny needles
- Fancy novelty yarn. My first scarf in high school was on boa yarn. I made soooooo many mistakes because I couldn't see my stitches to count them. It was a nightmare and a half!
- Cheap-o "Teach Yourself to Knit" books. It's a big waste of money, trust me!
Here are some links to video tutorials that really helped me:
- This is how you get the yarn on your needle
- Knit Stitch and Purl Stitch
- These two stitches are the basis for almost all types of knitting
- Stockinette Stitch
- This is actually a combination of the knit stitch and the purl stitch. (Sorry about the sound quality of the video, if you can ignore it, it's really helpful!)
- Binding Off
- I had a really hard time with binding off until I found this video. If you don't use this stitch, your work will unravel resulting in extreme sadness and/or anger. : (
- Weaving in the Ends
- After binding off, you will have ends left over that need to be woven into the fabric.
- Here's a good site that lists the abbreviations and what they mean. It also has links to some videos to go along with the abbreviations.
- I still have a hard time with reading patterns. I usually do a You Tube or Google search when I get stuck. Works every time!
Basic Beginner Project- Dishcloths
- One of the main reasons I wanted to take up knitting again was my grandma "retired" from knitting dishcloths. My mom has used nothing but knitted dishcloths for almost her entire adult life. When my grandma turned over her knitting stuff to my mom because she wasn't going to knit anymore, my mom panicked (well, was concerned anyways). She had no desire to figure out how to knit, so passed on the stuff to me.
- When I took one look at this pattern that my grandma had been using since 1985, I couldn't figure it out. So, I Googled "knitted dishcloth patterns for beginners" and this lovely tutorial popped up. This woman is a certified Level 1 Master Knitter (which I think sounds incredibly cool). She writes her own patterns and posts them on Ravelry and her own website/blog. She has a very calm and matter-of-fact manner about her. I learned how to knit dishcloths in no time. My first one took 7 hours, but I've really shaved off a lot of time since then. It's great TV knitting.
- When knitting dishcloths, you will also need to purchase some cotton yarn. One of the most common brands of cotton yarn is called Sugar 'n Cream. My grandma has been using this yarn since 1985.
- Also, the video tutorial for dishcloths doesn't tell you how to end the dishcloth. When you have four stitches left on your needle after decreasing, knit a row of four stitches, then bind off the four stitches, then weave in the ends like the video says.
I hope this post helps you in your endeavors as a knitter! Let me know if you have questions, and I can use Google try to answer your questions as best I can.
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