Nicki over at Domestic Cents is starting a new series for the new year…Almost Lost Domestic Arts. I am really excited about this series because I see many of these arts making a comeback! This week, she is talking about Knitting. For this edition, I decided to share some of the resources and tips I turn to whenever I knit.
When I first started knitting, I went to the local library and basically cleaned out their whole section. I brought home books on everything from how to’s to advanced techniques.
One of the most helpful books that I found was The Knitter’s Book of Yarn, by Clara Parkes. She goes through all the different types of materials used to make yarn, as well as the differences between plys and spin techniques. This book helps you choose the right yarn for the job. It also includes some great patterns that you can try with your yarn selections.
Another book I really enjoyed was Joelle Hoverston’s Last Minute Knitted Gifts. When you are first starting out, this is a great little book to have because there are a ton of projects that can be done in a short amount of time (granted, it may take longer to make each thing if you haven’t been doing it for long…I know it definitely took me more time when I was just starting to learn). If you are looking for a confidence builder, this is definitely the book for you.
For basic tutorials, none of the books at my library were very helpful. Instead, when I was stuck, I would visit Lion Brand Yarn’s website. They have some great, free, step-by-step tutorials. They also have some free patterns that you can try out. I did one of them here. For the patterns, you have to sign-up for an account, but it is free to join. This is great if you are looking to keep the cost down.
Some important things to remember when you are first starting out:
It is very important to do a gauge swatch. Doing a gauge swatch will ensure that your finished product is the right size. It also ensures that you have enough yarn to finish your project. Usually a pattern will say what the gauge is. For example, a pattern will say 24 sts=4 in. (10 cm). This means that with the needles specified in the pattern, if you knit 24 sts, you will have 4 inches. If you have more than four inches for the needles specified, try using a smaller pair of needles. If you have less than four inches, try using larger needles. Continue adjusting until you get the right size of swatch. For more information on how to make a swatch, visit this website. *Stay tuned for a detailed tutorial on how to make a gauge swatch*
If you are using re-purposed yarn, make sure all the knots are out before you start. I know from first hand experience that this can be a huge pain!
Start with something easy. Something like a scarf is a good thing to start out with. It doesn’t matter if you make it a little too long, or a little too short. A scarf is very forgiving. If you have done that, move on to something a little more challenging, like the blanket I did here.
Your first project will not be perfect, and that is okay! With each project you do, you will get better and better. I have even grown to love the things I did when I was just learning. Don’t be too hard on yourself! Knitting takes a lot of patience (something that I had to learn when first starting out).
When you are first starting out, count your stitches often to make sure you have not accidentally dropped some.
If you are looking for something on the easier side to start out with, try my knit cuff below!
Gauge: 8 sts = 1 in.
What you’ll need:
3.5 mm knitting needles (US size 4)
2 safety pins (I could only find 1 safety pin, so I used one safety pin and one bobby pin)
Cast on = CO
Knit = K
Purl = P
Bind off = BO
Measure around your wrist. This will be the length from the starting edge to where you start your button hole.
CO 10 stitches. K2 rows. *P1, K1. Repeat from [*] until length of fabric measures the same as your wrist, finishing with K1. Transfer 5 stitches over to one safety pin.
With remaining stitches, *P1, K1. Repeat from [*] until button hole is slightly smaller than the width of the button, finish with K1.
Transfer these 5 stitches over to another safety pin. With first safety pin, transfer stitches back to your knitting needle. *P1, K1. Repeat from [*] until you have reached the same number of rows as the other side of the button hole. Transfer these 5 stitches back to the safety pin. Transfer all stitches to your knitting needles. *P1, K1. Repeat from [*] 2 more times. K1. BO.
Sew button onto cuff with yarn. Weave in loose ends.