Friday, September 02, 2005

learning to knit

i thought i'd give some basic info on learning to knit, in case anyone stops by who is interested in taking it up.

although a friend in my dc vegan knitting group taught me how to do a basic knit stitch, i've primarily taught myself to knit using books and the internet. i was impressed how much free help is available on the internet - instructions on how to do a basic knit stitch, how to purl, various cast-on methods, make a buttonhole, translate knitting pattern-speak, pretty much anything you want to know you can find it online.

in addition to the internet, i used two books: the ubiquitous "stitch 'n bitch: the knitter's handbook," by debbie stoller, and "teen knitting club: chill out and knit some cool stuff," by jennifer wenger. (both are available from powell's books, see link in sidebar.) i have found both of them invaluable. stitch n' bitch is more comprehensive in its information, but teen knitting club breaks the basics down in a more easy-to-follow manner and has very simple patterns to get started with.

when starting your first project, use fat needles and VERY thick yarn that does not split easily. i didn't do this, and it made learning much harder. for my second project i made leg warmers with thick yarn and it was SOOO much easier to work with than the lion homespun i had used for my first project. also, thick yarn will knit up faster so you don't get bored taking 3 weeks to finish your first project. for the legwarmers i used lion jiffy and it was a great acrylic yarn for beginners.

i only used very inexpensive yarn for my first few projects, because i have a slow learning curve and didn't want to screw up some $12 a skein yarn. in fact, the project i'm working on now is the first one in which i've used a fancier yarn. (when i get a chance, i'm going to post some photos of my yarn stash. yum, yarn.)

i think a lot of knitters are anxious to "get to the good stuff," but i've actually been pretty surprised at how nice a lot of the cheaper non-animal yarns are. for as much as i love yarn, i'm not at all a yarn snob. which is good, because knitting is an expensive enough hobby as it is. if you are like me and you want to try to keep the costs down, the best place i've found for cheaper yarns, knitting needles, and other accessories is AC Moore.

if anyone is getting started knitting and wants some help, feel free to email me through my profile and i'll do my best. if nothing else, i can probably direct you to a website that will answer your question.


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