05 August 2010

Knitting Season Is Upon Us

The midpoint of the summer season means the beginning of knitting season. It's the time of year when knitters feel the urge to prepare for winter by beginning projects for the holidays and coming colder days.
It's always the time of year when I crave the feel of needles and yarn in my hands.

If you have been thinking about learning to knit, but just haven't done it yet, here are some tips to get you going.

1. You can take a class in one of the many knitting shops that have popped up over the past ten years. Search your local shops online and then check to see if they teach classes.

2. Or you can find a simple Learn to Knit book and learn basic stitches in a day. I still rely on my basic beginners book to remind me of different small tasks I need to walk through to complete projects. It's great to have as a reference.

3. Invest in wood or bamboo needles. They feel so nice to the hands and are much easier to manipulate than slippery metal needles.

4. Start simply. There are many great basic hat and scarf patterns online. Check craft store sites, yarn manufacturer sites and places like marthastewart.com and knitting blogs for ideas and inspiration.

5. Experiment with different yarns and learn the different textures and sizes. There are some absolutely delicious yarns around. Don't rely on the basic brands you see in a big fabric store.

6. Warning: You can spend a fortune on amazing yarns, a wide range of needles, accessories and books. Buy what you need for specific projects. Don't buy just because something is pretty or feels nice with the idea that you'll figure out how to use it later. Many seamstresses and knitters I know have a pile of fabrics and yarns they think they are going to use that ends up being clutter.

7. Warning: Be prepared to take apart all your hard work to fix dropped stitches. It happens to most knitters. I learned from a wise knitter once that taking apart to make it right is part of the process and should not be looked at unfavorably. Just consider it as much a part of knitting as creating stitches.

At most knitting shops there are open knitting nights where you can go and gather with other knitters and all work on your individual projects together. It's a great way to get involved in the community and get to know some new people. They can also be of help answering your questions and teaching you new tricks. The best part is that you know you are going to have time to totally focus on your project without distraction, other than maybe a little laughing.

Welcome knitting season. I'm looking at my yarn baskets now, thinking about starting up something soon. If you've been wanting to learn, remember that all knitting is created by just two stitches: knit and purl. Once you've mastered these two stitches you can open up a whole new world. Happy Knitting Season!

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