Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Knitting Words of Wisdom

If I were a new knitter I wish someone would have told me:

  • Buy bamboo needles. They are more expensive but way worth it in my opinion. You'll have them forever, they create just enough friction so your stitches don't slip off but not too much to where they wouldn't slide off easily, they are easy on the hands, and they make less noise.

  • When you're doing mittens etc. cast on with needles one size up. The reason for this is because people typically cast on very tightly which you don't want, one needle size up solves that problem.

  • Use the knit on cast on method. Others may disagree, however I believe this is the nicest method. You don't have to worry about making a long enough tail for the long tail cast on, you don't have to remember how to do the long tail cast on, and knitting the stitches on is supposed to be a stretchier cast on (thanks Grammie for teaching me this method!)

  • Be patient. Easier said than done. In the beginning you will get frustrated with your knitting. Your tension will be off with your first project, for instance if you make a scarf, one end will be less wide than the other. That's OK. You seriously get so much better with every project, no joke. By the way I kinda think there are naturals at it (M) and others who may take a little longer to grasp it (ahem me), but just be patient, you will learn.

  • Don't be afraid to try something that looks intimidating. Once again, easier said than done. But really most things that look intimidating really aren't. Once you have the basics down you can really do anything, you just have to have the courage to try and fail and the patience to keep working at it until you get it right.

Fun Fact: When M and I were little my Grandma was knitting alot (she just picked it back up again recently because of us!). I distinctly remember seeing her knit with double pointed needles and telling her that looked SO impossible and that I would never be able to do that (she was teaching us how to knit at the time). She proceeded to tell me that some day I would, and guess what, I AM and I love it and it's not hard!

On my courage list currently is: colorwork (stranding specifically), knitting with circulars, magic loop method, sock knitting, learning to knit from a chart, learning more crochet (M is really good at crocheting), and learning to write my own patterns.

  • You can teach yourself almost everything on the Internet! There are so many resources out there on the WWW for knitting help. Everything from tutorials to free patterns galore. Grammie taught M and I when we were little (I'll post a pic of my first scarf someday) how to knit but that was the extent of it. Then about 2 years ago M and I had a seasonal job at a local nursery and a lady we worked with was a knitter. So she started to teach M again who in turn taught me again and that's how it all started. The rest we learned on the Internet!
Here are some great websites to reference:
Knitting Pattern Central
Knitting Help
  • If it's not right, rip it out. This is painful but in reality when it's finished you will only see the mistake(s) and probably won't wear it because of it. Now for some these things aren't a big deal (ahem M) but for the perfectionists out there (ahem me) it is. Think of it this way, it's better to rip it out and make it perfect than leave it with mistakes and never wear it, just saying.

  • Knitting is supposed to be a stress reliever and not a stress creator. Chill out. Relax. It's supposed to be fun. Once again this may not be an issue for everyone.

  • Pay attention to your mood. Tension is everything. If you knit on a day that you're in a good mood then your project will be a "normal" tension. If you knit on a day where you're stressed out or upset then your tension will be tighter, creating differences in your garment which you don't want.

  • There are other places to buy yarn at other than your local craft shop. Check it out! Look for knit shops in your area. They will carry specialty yarns ranging anywhere from alpaca wool to cashmere, even to yak! I'll warn you though once you get the nice stuff you turn into a bit of a yarn snob and you'll hate going back to that cheap acrylic stuff that fills your local yarn isle. But like you have seen with my recent projects, sometimes you can't afford the good stuff, and the bright side of acrylic is that it's machine washable, otherwise wool will felt (we'll leave that for another post, o ya add that to my courage list will ya?).
That's all I can extract from my brain at the moment, but I can promise you there will be more to come. You're probably sick of reading anyway.

Nighty night,


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