I want to talk about knitting today but I don’t know where to start.
There’s just so so much to gush about when it comes to this beautiful craft and I’m putting myself in the danger of turning this post into a jumble of blab. Give me a chance anyway?
So, the reason for this post really is to encourage you (if you haven’t yet immersed yourself in handmade goodness) to join in the knitting renaissance and start using those hands baybee! I can’t recall the exact day or reason that prompted me to knit (no one in my family falls under the crafty category) but what I do remember is that desperation to create something. Maybe I didn’t want to be that bystander anymore, purely gleaning another person’s creativity through their beautifully curated Instagram photos -no strings attached method. I felt like getting my hands dirty and guess what, I’ve never looked back since, much like WLLWPROJECT.
I don’t think throwing you a long-winded essay on my entire knitting+yarn journey (which is really only less than a year old) would do you any good. What I would like to do though is to give you key points on some of the lessons that I’ve learnt along the way as a newbie. The one thing that I need to emphasise is that knitting or any other form of craft is a very personal journey so flexibility and adaption are important to make your experience a meaningful one.
Are you ready?
Tip #1. Invest on good materials. Yes, right from the beginning.
Like most people, I made countless trips to Lincraft and purchased the cheapest materials (did I hear plastic needles and acrylic yarn? aiks) that I could lay my hands on. I definitely see the beauty of going cheap due to uncertainties but if the tactile experience isn’t as good as it could be right from the beginning, justice would not be done to the craft. My personal recommendations would be to go with 100% wool yarn (even if it’s a little scratchy) and some wooden needles (I like those by Knit Pro). I find 5mm needles extremely easy to handle and they are perfect for a heavier weight or fatter yarn which you might like to begin with. You could totally be brave and start with circular needles instead of straight ones as they are a much better investment in the long run. Trust me on this.
Tip #2. Turn yourself into a Youtube junkie.
It is possible to teach yourself to knit, just watch lots of Youtube videos and follow along! If you’re into the social side of knitting however, classes are definitely your best bet. Coming back to the virtual side of things, there are some pretty awesome videos available and I used Expression Fiber Art’s Absolute Beginner Knitting video as my stepping stone. Pause and rewind as much as you like as nobody’s going to know! The other channel that I found to be tremendously useful is by Staci of Very Pink. Her tutorials and technique tips are so clear, concise and well done. Just remember one thing though, up that internet quota because you would most likely go through every single one of her video!
Tip #3. Chunky vs Thin
Try and start with a semi-chunky yarn. DK (double knit) or worsted weight yarn are good weights to play with. I know those 2 terminologies might freak you out a little but really, they are merely a reference to the thickness of the yarn. Thicker yarns could be manoeuvred more easily and create larger stitches to ease visual examination. Try and utilise only wool as they generally create stretchier fabrics. Try and ignore cotton and linen yarns especially because they are not beginner friendly. I foolishly went down the cotton path in fingering weight and needless to say, that wasn’t a good start.
Tip #4. Don’t fall into the scarf bandwagon!
Scarf knitting could be exciting initially but after awhile, it could become a bit of a drag. Opt for a chunky weight hat instead as they are quick to knit up. Knitting in the round isn’t any harder than knitting flat so why not break the beginner’s rules?
Tip #5. Ravelry
Ravelry is like giant digital pattern resource so head over that way if you would like to download some awesome patterns. There are lots of free ones floating around and I tend to gravitate towards those with high ratings (as one normally does). I didn’t use to understand the fuss about this website but now I could spend hours there browsing and dreaming up my next project. Uber dangerous I must say.
Tip #6. Perfection DOES NOT exist
I’m still trying to tell myself that. I couldn’t resist ripping things out every time something looks wonky, even when it’s barely noticeable. I remember those days when I spent the entire day making stitches only to have them ripped out by the end of the night because I made some silly mistake and didn’t know how to fix it. All the hard work would go down the drain and that feeling was excruciatingly painful and deflating. Those days were difficult mentally and emotional but remember though, they are necessary and with time, you would get better (unless you’re born to be superb in knitting).
Tip #7. Explore and indulge
Trawl through instagram and look at what people are creating all over the world. The visual feast is definitely a great motivator for me. I also like to indulge in knitting video podcasts on Youtube and the ones I follow are Molly of A Homespun House, Melody of Mandarine’s, Jennie of tiny paper foxes to name a few. When I’m exercising or driving though, I would normally tune into audio podcasts by Helen of Curious Handmade or Kate of A Playful Day. Knitting is no longer only for little old ladies. These cool girls are rocking it and they certainly made me appreciate the simpler things in life.
Tip #8. Get that tension right and power on!
Just keep going no matter what. Once you get the tension right, you could classify yourself as a knitter! Keep the craft alive and pass it on to your future generations!
Some useful links, especially if you’re in Australia:
- Morris and Sons for everything you need for crafting.
- Skein Yarn for lush, beautiful hand-dyed yarn.
- Zigo Zago for a variety of popular brands and good bargains.
- Knit Picks is a good starting point for those who are unwilling to spend big.
- Woolarium the yarn heaven!
- Yarnhaus stocks Quince and Co. Nuff’ said.
- Bendigo Woollen Mills for affordable yarn in bulk.
Go on and get those hands moving! Do leave me a comment if you would love to share anything about knitting at all. Always love a good story/tip!