Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Beginning knitting

I post on facebook and instagram about my knitting which led to some friends thinking that they would like to give this handwork a try. So I put together just a small guide of where I might go if I wanted to learn today. First up goes without saying, if you have a local yarn store that gives beginning classes this may be your best bet. Nothing like someone sitting beside you as you get comfortable with those two sticks and yarn.

So to those who asked and anyone who is considering trying their hand at knitting....There are paid courses on bluprint but first I think you need to know if you enjoy it at all. I think very pink knits does a great job with her slow motion videos. You can find the list here

If you do embrace it and want to learn everything, I recommend Patty Lyons as a great technical knitter. I think the Sally Melville videos also do a good job. Both designers are technically very good but both have styles a little less eclectic than I might want to knit. Having said that Patty Lyons does two sweater KAL's (knit alongs)a year with video assists for every step of the construction. If you want to explore further she has a lot to offer in the learning department.

I also think that Debbie Bliss's The Knitters Book of Knowledge is a comprehensive reference book and the illustrations are large and very easy to understand.

For starting I would pick a worsted weight wool like a malabrigo on size 7 or 8 needles. A great scarf with lot's of texture which requires only the knit stitch (you can and should learn purl, but this is a good starting scarf) can be found at Purl soho

This would look great in one of the tonal malabrigo yarns. If you don't have a local yarn store Malabrigo can be purchased on Webs or Jimmy Beans

For needles, my current favorite are Lykke, but there are many to choose from. For this scarf I would use a 24 inch cable circular. You can knit flat on circulars and they can be easier to manage (no dropped needles) and on larger pieces they keep the weight of the piece off your hands.

If I had to learn today I would start out trying to learn the continental way, sometimes referred to as picking, german or European knitting. You manage your working thread with your left hand. It is thought to be faster. (The very pink knits videos show both ways, alt hough I hold my yarn opposite to how she is showing it for wrapping. Every person needs to work out the best way for them. It will get natural over time.

I work by what is called English, throwing or wrapping the yarn with my right hand. I've tried continental and can reliably knit that way but I can't adjust to the purl stitch after 50 years of knitting my way. Interestingly, without the benefit of the internet or the advantage of any knitting friends, I never knew there was another way until one time I saw my mother in law knitting socks. She was of German descent and knit continental. I couldn't fathom what she was doing!

You might also try watching a few Vlog's (video blogs) on you tube for inspiration about what you may want to knit. A few of my favorites are the Grocery Girls, The Chelsea Purls, Espace Tricot, Kristy Glass Knits. GGMadeit and Fruity Knitting. They all have different styles but they all present a plethora of knitty goodness. Kristy Glass and Fruity knitting tend to interview other knitters. The Grocery Girls are two Canadian sisters who design and are plain fun. The Chelsesa Purls are a yarn store owner in New Jersey who dyes yarn and her friend in knitting, Miriam. The Fruity Knitting vlog is hosted by a married couple. Wife Andrea is a very technically competent knitter and she also interviews a lot of guest artists so you get a wide smattering of knitting styles. Espace Tricot are business partners in the Canadian store by the same name and are a treat to watch. GGmadeit loves all things orange and has many words of wisdom to impart plus her enthusiasm is contagious. There are many many more, not all good, but you may discover some that speak best to you.

If you are not already a member sign up for Ravelry. The amount of information here is incredible. You can search on and buy patterns, you can browse and add patterns to your queue to review later, you can join groups inline with your interests, you can explore how many knitters have made a project your interested in and see photo results in different yarns on different body types.

I hope that you will give knitting a try and find comfort in the relaxation it brings (eventually!) and are happy with the many beautiful things you can make.


Unknown said...

Thank you Marcia!! This is awesome!


Robbie said...

You have to try Portuguese knitting technique. I have RA/arthritis and couldn't move my fingers/hands after knitting for an hour or two. I now knit using Portuguese knitting shown by Andrea Wong (She's on Blueprint and has great videos as well as Youtube). My knitting tension has never been so even!!! Do check this technique out (Pink Knits also has video's).

Marcia DeCoster said...

I did give it a try a few years back and I like it ok, but still old habits, and I don't really have a problem with throwing.