I know a few people who read my blog are wanting to start knitting and feel daunted by the whole process and so I thought some posts from a fairly recent starter might be just the thing to get more people on the road to yarnsville. All advice in here is my opinion, and, as I know knitters can be a finicky bunch, I’d like to state that I’m more than happy to be corrected (phnar) at any time.
So – why did I start? Well, I’ve needed some kind of creative outlet for a while as my job can be very repetitive. I tried dressmaking and while I do enjoy it there are a lot of drawbacks that stop it being an ideal hobby for me:
- it requires a lot of space for laying out fabric
- it needs fairly expensive equipment that can often go wrong
- unless you have a dedicated sewing space (and if you do I’m green with envy) it needs preparation
- it isn’t portable.
As a result I decided that knitting and crochet would be my hobbies of note: portable, little equipment needed and very useful, given how tough it can be finding vintage knits in good condition, let alone in a wearable size.
I hadn’t used either of these crafts since school but was confident I could pick it back up again and so borrowed my flatmates old knitting needles and bought some yarn and gave it a try.
What a disaster! I couldn’t even cast on, and after several attempts where the yarn either tangled or slipped off the needles I gave up, amid some hot, fat tears.
It took me another year to try again, and what prompted me to give it another try was stumbling across some YouTube videos. Wow! I never know YouTube was so full of useful stuff, I thought it was all teenagers whining about Britney, cats falling over and 80’s music videos.
After watching a few knitting videos I decided to pay a visit to Loop, a local knitting shop based in Angel Islington, and treated myself to some bamboo needles and a gorgeous skein of worsted weight (i.e. pretty darn thick) yarn.
This time it finally seemed to click. I’ll be honest, casting on is still a chore and possible my least favourite bit about the whole knitting process, but I can do it, and once I got the cast on down I found it fairly simple to pick up the two major stitches, knit and purl, as well as a basic increase and decrease.
To help cement my fledgling skills I also took a beginners knitting course at Fabrications (and their blog) a lovely little knitting shop near my home. It was a great course, quite unstructured and more of a drop in session but I learned a lot. Barley Massey, who runs the course, is an angel. Barley - if you are reading this I owe you £1 for some seaming needles :)
Since then I’ve finished a scarf, a knitted snood, and a couple of sweaters.
If you want to start I'd advise getting hold of some bamboo needles (4 or 5mm, bamboo is best as it isn's slippy) and some DK or worsted weight yarn (I'd go cheap acrylic to start with) and just persevere and noodle about with cast on, knit, purl and cast off. It will click. If I can do it, you can!
I'll share my favourite YouTube knitting videos and knitting sites in a future blog.