Monday, August 29, 2011

Learn to Knit in a Week

Several people I know have expressed a desire to knit, but they're afraid they're too old, that knitting is too complicated, or that it takes a patience they don't have. I once clung to all excuses, but three and a half years ago, I realized I had a choice—learn to knit or forget about it.

And I wanted to knit.

I searched our area for classes, but like Olive Garden and Red Lobster, there were none. While in Michael's one day, I found a "Learn to Knit" kit that contained needles, an instructional booklet, and accessories. And in another rack, a knitting basics pamphlet. I bought both.

It took awhile to decipher directions, but I managed. I cast on successfully—after a couple of tries—and then knitted several rows! But knowing nothing of tension, the stitches were too tight. So tight, it almost looked like felting. A friend from another city, a knitter herself, stopped over one day, and when she saw the swatch, she squinted and asked, "What is it?"

Okay, so it wasn't great, but it was an effort. I spent about five minutes every day casting on and knitting a few rows, trying to loosen my tension and figure out what the stitches were supposed to look like.

A friend sent me a knitting book, and that helped considerably. She also sent me a link to an online instructional video. I'm a visual learner, so watching someone, and listening to the explanation helped. I was finally knitting!

And I knitted. Scarves. About a dozen of them. Fuzzy ones that hid my mistakes.

It fast became boring. I needed to branch out or abandon my efforts. That meant learning more than the knit and purl stitch. About that time, Lion Brand—makers of a variety of yarn—began posting knitting videos to YouTube. At that point, I realized I didn't have to learn every stitch in the book. I only had to know what the pattern called for. And that's precisely what I did.

Fingerless gloves were next on the list. For that, I had to learn circular knitting. After throwing the tangled mass of needles across the room a few times, I finally achieved my goal. Five pair of fingerless gloves followed. Hats came next.

Then the ultimate, in my opinion: Socks.

Love it!

Years have passed and I'm still knitting. And I've learned countless others are as well. Knitting is huge, and not just among the elderly. Young women are heavily involved in the craft, knitting and designing sweaters, socks, outerwear and more. They congregate on Facebook, Twitter, and Ravelry. No pun intended, but knitters tend to cluster together to chat about the craft, and to learn from one another.

And that's the point behind this post. Because I endured a lot of frustration in my effort to learn how to knit, I want to help others. So this week, I'm posting several videos that show the basics: knit, purl, cast on and cast off. Once you learn those techniques, you can do anything.

The videos also show how easy knitting is. Serious! If you can tie a shoe, you can knit. One winds yarn around a needle as they would a shoelace with the thumb.

So if you're interested, grab a pair of knitting needles (size seven or up) and yarn(the thicker the needles, the thicker the yarn) and prepare to knit.

First up: Casting On. Join me!

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