Learning How to Knit

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I have been crocheting since I was around 9 or 10 years old. It wasn’t exactly a cool hobby for a teenager but I stuck with it anyway. All in all, I have been making crocheted pieces for over 2 decades which seems insane to me.

When I was in college I continued to crochet and would sometimes get some good natured teasing about how in line my personality is with “a granny”. It was also in college that I heard about Julia Roberts and her affinity for knitting on  set. Suddenly, playing with yarn was cool.

While I have been an avid hooker (someone who uses a hook to crochet) in all of my years I had never, ever considered trying to knit.  After all, I had been crocheting so long… But when I was making my 2013 New Year Resolutions, I decided to just do it. The only thing is, it isn’t like I can pick up some needles and start getting after it, is it? In comes tons and tons of research about how I can tackle this resolution that I’m now going to share with you:

Local Yarn Store

If you aren’t already into yarn crafting you may not even know that these places exist. These stores are a mecca for people like me with yarn for days in every possible weight, color, you name it. The interiors often look more like an auntie’s over-sized living room with comfy couches to hang out in. It’s kind of like a coffee house where knitters and crocheters can not just shop but socialize.

Your local yarn store is going to offer a nice selection of classes. Some may cost, like in smaller markets, and in big cities, they might be free. Either way, you’re going to learn skills from somebody who loves knitting enough to not only teach the courses, but work in a yarn store for a living. That is commitment.

Craft Store

Now not all craft stores offer knitting courses. Basically, there has to be a knitter who wants to use the store’s classrooms to teach and if nobody locally has any interest there won’t be courses available. But, it doesn’t hurt to ask the next time you’re in while buying your 30th shade of glitter.

Vocational Technology Center

This may come as a surprise to a lot of you. Vocational Technology Centers, or vo-techs, don’t just offer cosmetology degrees anymore. Often scheduled for evenings and weekends, there are a lot of “hobbyist” courses that can be offered for very, very reasonable tuition rates. The plus side is that you will attend the course every week for several – making new knitting buddies out of classmates at the same time.

The courses often revolve around a single project… for example: Learn to Knit a Scarf, Piecing a Nine Patch Quilt, those types of things.

Nursing Home

So, yeah – I’m the type of girl who learned a couple of embroidery stitches in her current repertoire from a nursing home. What?! I used to volunteer at a nursing home in my free time.  I didn’t do anything too serious, in fact, I just talked to residents and tried to help lift spirits of those who didn’t get so many visitors. When I wasn’t proudly being shown photo albums, it was a natural thing for me to bring in my embroidery hoop so that I could keep my hands busy while chatting.

One of the nurses informed me that I should get with a particular resident who was very experienced at my past-time. In my time spent with Mrs. Reynolds, I learned a lot of stitches that I may not know otherwise. She gave me knowledge in return for companionship. I’m not sure who made out better on the deal, but take this to heart: there are lots of people in nursing homes with skills that are quickly becoming extinct and there are plenty of kind and willing senior citizens who would love nothing more than to make a new, young friend and pass their knowledge on for another generation.

Books

I have learned an awful lot from books I’ve borrowed from the library. Library books are free and you can often find out of print books you can no longer purchase. Take a spin online to find some books that have good reviews and see if available at your local library. Guide books can be pricey and not all of them work for everyone. If you find a book that works really well for you, it just might be worth the investment.

YouTube

So many of my crafting skills are to be because of YouTube. Whether I’m learning a really complicated tie dye pattern for the first time or trying to remember the particulars of a stitch I haven’t used in a while, YouTube is worth its weight in crafty gold if you ask me. The great news is that there are so many videos to choose from that you  are bound to find a presenter you like the style of teaching and personality off. Basically, there is no reason to listen to a boring person drone on in a voice that you can’t stand because there are bound to be a dozen more videos teaching you the exact same skill by a dozen other people.

Learn to Knit Kits

One of the most daunting things about picking up a new hobby is knowing what you  need and what you don’t when beginning. Take the stress out of figuring it out by buying a pre-made kit with needles, yarn, etc. It may not be the color of yarn you want, or needles you’ll want to use forever, but at the very least you know that what you have in front of you will definitely work for knitting.

So, if you’re considering learning to knit in 2013, what method will you use to learn your new skills? I’d love to have any other ideas you might have!

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Allison

A crafter since her earliest years, Allison spends a little time every day making something. She crafts, sews, paints, glues things onto other things, and is a firm believer that a life spent creating is a life worth living. Visit Allison's blog, Dream {a Little} BIGGER.

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7 Responses to “Learning How to Knit”

  1. #
    Mommy from Scratch — January 8, 2013 at 8:00 am

    I learnt to knit when I was little from my grandmother and used to be really good when I was younger! Now all I can knit is square and rectangular shaped items (I knit lots of scarves and blankets ). That is getting old and I would love to learn new techniques and broaden my knitting diapason! Thank you for bringing up this topic and sharing the resources for learning. Also, I can’t help but comment: I think you would love the book “Friday Night knitting club” (it’s fiction, but it’s written in this cozy way with all these knitting details…)

    [Reply]

    • Allison replied: — January 8th, 2013 @ 12:06 pm

      I am an avid reader and I’m almost finished with my current book, so I’ll be sure to check that out next. Thanks for the recommendation :)

      [Reply]

  2. #
    Andrea Kruse — January 8, 2013 at 11:57 am

    I love knitting. Some of the best tutorials (free) can be found on knitpicks.com. They also sell beautiful products online, but the tutorials alone are worth checking out. The clearest, step-by-step instructions with close-up video. I have been a knitter since I was 7, but I am rusty on some techniques and have been using their tutorials. :)

    [Reply]

    • Allison replied: — January 8th, 2013 @ 12:07 pm

      That is great advice, Andrea – it sounds like an excellent resource!

      [Reply]

    • Mel Lockcuff replied: — January 23rd, 2013 @ 7:24 am

      Andrea, I’ll have to check that website out. I’ve really been wanting to learn how to knit; my sister is a pro and can knit just about anything. She amazes me. I just think it’d be so relaxing, once I had the technique down….

      [Reply]

  3. #
    Lisa — January 8, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    I just re-learned to crochet a few months ago! YouTube was heaven sent, with a vast trove of left-handed versions… I know that I’ll be picking up knitting soon enough, and I’ll be scouring YouTube again, and hitting the local yarn store. I hadn’t thought to check in the library for books, but I’ll try that too!

    [Reply]

    • Allison replied: — January 9th, 2013 @ 12:14 pm

      Library books can be such a lifesaver when you’re home and your internet is running slowly as mine sometimes does! Jumpy videos don’t do me a whole lot of good!

      [Reply]

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