i thought i would dedicate a series of posts to learning how to knit! anyone can do it. i really mean that.
first off, let me tell you that knitting is not scary. its just string and two sticks. it's really not something to
be intimidated by. yes, you will mess up. you will curse under your breath. you will get frustrated, just like you would with learning any new skill. and even though it might be confusing, it's very easy to get the hang of.
here's the thing, knitting is as hard or as easy as you want it to be. there are very complicated patterns
that you wouldn't want to tackle unless you understand knitting at a higher level (but even the hardest of patterns are very manageable). then there are very easy patterns that a small child could easily handle with some supervision. so as long as you start at the bottom and work your way up, you can easily learn how to knit.
i taught myself how to knit. i didn't really think it through at first and it was much harder than it needed to be.
through trial and error, i figured out how best to go about teaching yourself.
what not to do : do not go into barnes and noble, grab a random knitting book (i picked the one with the cutest patterns) and expect it to be the best book to teach you. i did that. it didn't go over so well.
what to do: well, i'm going to tell you!
for your first project, you shouldn't worry too much about needles and yarn. instead focusing on the how, instead of what you are using. we will be making something so, so simple - a bookmark. nothing groundbreaking.
throughout the tutorial i will be referring to a variety of you tube videos. that was the easiest way for me to learn, instead of just seeing pictures and reading words in a book. the best way would be to read about the techniques and then watch the video and use them together.
i will also explain knitting pattern lingo that goes along with every step. to save space and time, knitting pattern writers abbreviate a lot of things.
let's get started.
1. gather your supplies.
what you need:
-regular yarn. average stuff that you can buy at joanns or michaels. don't overthink it.
-two straight knitting needles, about a foot long. go for the ones that are slightly less than the width of a
pencil. if you want a specific size to go for, shoot for between a 6 and a 10. i liked bamboo or plastic when
i first started, but metal would be just fine. there really isn't a superior needle, it just depends on personal preference. mine are size 10 bamboo needles.
-a blunt end tapestry needle
(if you go to joanns or michaels, don't forget your forty percent off coupon! they always have them.)
DO NOT use:
-novelty yarn. anything bumpy or that has ridges. you want plain vanilla, straight yarn so you can really see your stitches.
-long knitting needles. they can really get in the way at first. these needles are only for bigger projects.
2. cast on.
you will be using a long tail cast on. there are various types of cast on techniques and this is one of them
watch this video. or if that confuses you this one. or perhaps this one?
cast on 5 - 15 stitches, depending on how wide you want your book mark.
(when you read a pattern, instead of it reading: cast on 10 stitches, the pattern will abbreviate cast on to co and stitches to st. so it will read: co 10 st.)
you will be using the knit stitch over and over. every row, every stitch.
this type of stitch pattern is referred to as the garter stitch.
to learn how to do this stitch and knit your first row, go here and to do your second row go here
or go here .
make sure you are using your working yarn (the yarn connected to the yarn ball) and not the long tail that is left over from your cast on.
keep knitting rows back and forth until your book mark is as long as you want it to be.
(in a pattern, knit will be abbrieviated to k. so, it will say k 10 st. to mean knit 10 stitches. or it might say k
every row, to mean knit every row.)
make sure your working yarn is always in the front of your work when you start a new row.
4. bind off and weave in ends.
when a stitch is on the needle, it is referred to as 'live.' you don't want any live stitches when you are done
with a project because they easily unravel. so you use a bind off method. the one you will be learning is a basic bind off (there are many variations, just like casting on.)
learn how to do this here. cut the yarn so that it is no longer connected to your ball.
(patterns abbrieviate binding off to bo. so, a pattern would say bo 10 st, to mean bind off 10 stitches.)
weave in your ends (the tail at the beginning and end). the video i am linking shows someone weavng inthe ends of a different stitch pattern, but it's very similar to the garter stitch and it's the same concept.
learn how to do that here.
5. make a fancy tassle.
because, well, why not?
cut a few of the same length pieces of yarn.
match em, all up and fold em in half. if you have a crochet hook, it would come in handy for this part, but i'm just going to use a knitting needles. poke your needle/hook through your work in the top middle of the bookmark.
put the pointy edge of the needle/hook through the middle of the loop of the folded strands of yarn, and pull it back through your work, through the hole that you made by sticking your needle into your work.
take the ends of the yarn and put them through the loop on the other side (the loop that you just pulled through) and pull snuggly.
admire your fancy tassle.
now go mark your place in a book! i know the end result isn't super impressive, but the point was not to make a breathtaking work of art, but rather to learn the basics of knitting.
and be glad you didn't knit a scarf for your first project (like i did) because scarves take a realllllly long time to knit. for your first project instant gratification is a nice confidence boost.
and that is it. that is knitting. guess what? there is only one other stitch (the purl stitch) that you need to
learn and then every thing else is a variation upon everything that you already know (pretty much).
two more things.
if you want to read a book to learn more about knitting, read "knitting rules" by stephanie pearl mcphee. it was my favorite, maybe you'll enjoy it, too.
and there is an awesome knitting community site that you should sign up for called ravelry.
stay tuned for the next tutorial!