Learning to Knit

picture of knitted hat & scarf
My first knitting project - A hat & scarf for my daughter
This past fall, I started knitting. Oh sure, I knitted a scarf or a pot holder or something when I was 12, but this was the first time I’d given it a go as an adult. Armed with a copy of Patons Next Steps, a pair of size 10 bamboo needles, and a couple of skeins of wool, I jumped right in on scarves, hats & mittens for my children. I’m lucky to have several friends (both here in town and far away) who knit, and their guidance was invaluable while I was learning, but at a certain point, you can’t have a knitting lesson with 800 children running around and have to find another resource.

Well, I’m here to tell you about some of my favorites. If you’ve always wanted to knit (did I mention that it’s very meditative???), these resources can help! I’ve now been knitting for six months or so and have graduated from scarves and hats to more complicated projects with the help of the following resources. I still consider myself a beginner, but I’m a beginner who is ready to tackle a few new stitches and techniques.

Best How-Tos – YouTube
Learning from reading out of a book is really hard for me, as a kinesthetic learner, so I really love looking up knitting how-to videos on YouTube. Once I discovered The Knit Witch, I knew I was set! What I love about learning to knit on YouTube is that the videos are short (1-3 minutes) and typically cover a single technique. So I can watch and then do, and then watch again until I get it right. Just my style!

Best Free Patterns – It’s a Tie!
I really love Lion Brand & KnitPicks for free patterns, but since I can find most of there patterns–and more–on Ravelry, I think I’ll have to declare it a three-way tie. What, you’ve never heard of Ravelry? It’s like Facebook for knitters and is totally addictive. You can find me at JulieArtz. Check it out immediately!

Best Knitting Magazine – Knitty
A friend introduced me to Knitty and I just have to mention it here. An online magazine for all things knitting, it is full of gorgeous inspiration…

Best Local Yarn Shop
You knew there had to be a local angle, didn’t you? I probably wouldn’t pick up a new hobby if there wasn’t, and Boulder County residents will not be disappointed with their local yarn shop, Shuttles, Spindles & Skeins. They have everything from straight acrylic to superwash wool/acrylic blends to an immense variety of handspun yarns made from all different materials. Needles, patterns, spinning supplies, and expert advice are also on hand.

I’d love to know if you have a local yarn shop in your neck of the woods! My mother-in-law introduced me to a great one in her town called The Dancing Ewe, but I love to browse yarn shops when I travel, so please post a link to your favorites in the comments section!

Best Yarn? Hand-spun of course!
Now that I’m spinning my own yarn, I really prefer to knit hand-spun. Sure, it’s not as even in texture and thickness as machine-spun stuff, but knitting hand-spun is an organic experience and one that I have enjoyed. There are so many artisan spinners out there and they’re doing such good work not only with preserving the art of spinning itself and the ancient tools of the craft, but in some cases preserving varieties of sheep that would otherwise be extinct. Machine-spun is definitely cheaper, so if you’re still trying to figure out if you love the hobby, shop sales and by all means buy machine-spun. But if you catch the bug, I bet you’ll be moving to hand-spun as quickly as I did 🙂 Happy Knitting!

One thought on “Learning to Knit

  1. You have to have inherited this from the Altman side, certainly not from me! I’m glad you like it and I love the pictures of the kids in their hats and scarves!

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