This week we have a treat for you, Vanessa, the creator behind Geekdom Knits has written us a guest post all about knitting. I hope that you enjoy it! Don't forget to shop Geekdom Knits this month as everything is 10% off from October 1 - 31, 2016.
Knitting: Not Just for Grandmas Anymore
Written by Vanessa Sit, creator of Geekdom Knits
It used to be that when people thought of knitting, they thought of grandmotherly types making up itchy sweaters that no one wanted to wear, but that’s not the case anymore. These days, knitting is a trendy hobby that anyone can pick up and you won’t feel weird knitting up a scarf or a pair of socks while in a public place.
I think the popularity of knitting has surged thanks to the Internet. Personally, I learned to knit by watching how-to videos on YouTube. Just Google “how to knit” and you’ll come up with a ton of hits. It’s so much easier to learn when you can watch someone else doing the action rather than trying to understand some written instructions in a book. Seriously, I don’t know how anyone learned to do anything before the creation of the Internet.
Crafting handmade goods is also a big thing right now and knitting taps right into that. We all want that one-of-a-kind item that no one else can find in the store and knitting allows you to create whatever you want in any size, colour, or style that you desire. Also, the sense of achievement you feel when you finish making something for yourself or a friend or loved one is amazing. You made that hat or sweater and all you started with was some yarn and a pair of knitting needles.
But where do you start if you want to learn to knit? Here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way:
- Create an account at Ravelry (ravelry.com). Ravelry is a great repository for all things knitting. It has thousands and thousands of patterns you can search through, a huge database of yarns to consult, and a great forum area where you can post if you have problems or meet other people also interested in knitting. The sub forums seem endless and they cover a wide variety of interests or topics. For example, I belong to the Doctor Who Scarf Support Group, a group dedicated to helping people knit the Fourth Doctor’s iconic scarf. The patterns are easy to search through, too. You can search by the weight of yarn or the size of the needles, by age group, design techniques, and so on. This comes in handy when you’re trying to decide on your very first knitting project.
- Start with a practice project first. While there are tons of videos demonstrating how to do the knit stitch and the purl stitch, you shouldn’t just leap into a project after watching a few videos. You may love the idea of knitting, but once you get started, you may end up hating knitting all together. So buy some cheap yarn and cheap knitting needles from Michaels or Wal-Mart and just practice your knits and purls. If you can get through a decent sized swatch without wanting to hurl your yarn and needles across the room, then you’re probably ready to move on to a real project.
- Keep things simple. Most beginners start with a scarf or a dish cloth as their first proper project and I was no different. It’s a great way to keep practicing and to gain confidence, but you also end up with something you can use at the end. I still use the very first scarf I ever knitted. I would recommend starting with a chunkier yarn and big needles; that way the stitches are nice and big and you can catch any mistakes.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment. You may end up enjoying knitting scarves, but there are so many other things you can make. Are you bound to make mistakes? Yes. But mistakes are how you learn. Ripping out stitches and starting over is a part of knitting that you will never leave behind no matter how good you become.
- Have fun. It’s easy to customize projects once you get the hang of things. I made these Captain America themed fingerless gloves after finding a plain pattern on Ravelry:
Hopefully I’ve piqued your interest in knitting. If you’re giving serious consideration to starting a new hobby, Calgary has five knitting stores (that I’m aware of): The Loop, Pudding Yarn, Stash Lounge, The Knitting Room, and Gina Brown’s. Every one of these stores has a great selection of yarn and it will be better than the mid-range stuff you will find at Michaels or Wal-Mart.
And just remember. We live in Canada where it’s winter for like six months of the year. You can never have too many knitted items.