New Year’s Resolutions: Knitting
It’s the beginning of the year, a time for making New Year’s Resolutions and we have also come up with some ideas to inspire you this January! Starting with knitting….
You’d think knitting is a fairly new invention, however nobody really knows who put two needles together for the first time, or when. Fun facts we do know are that knitting most likely originated from Egypt, it used to be a male-only profession and the first knitting machine was invented towards the end of 16th century. Many developments in the field have occurred since then!
We’ve enlisted some of the most popular knitters online in the UK to share their tips and stories with knitting-wannabes.
Nadia Majid from Abso-knitting-lutely starts with a warning:
“Knitting is a dangerous business. Once you get started, there is no stopping and knitting will lead you to more and more woolly hobbies, if you aren’t careful. There is so much temptation and information available now and the knitting community is quite large and connected both on- and offline. You may think all you want to do is knit a scarf and – woops! – now you’ve ended up knitting everything under the sun, spun your own yarn, dyed it, and somehow acquired a sheep and three alpacas.”
“There are many wool fairs all across the country for knitters to indulge in. You always discover something new. You meet likeminded people, see the animals from whom your yarn has come, you can even join workshops and classes to learn a new technique or skill.”
“I have learned so much: knitted nearly everything there is to knit, tried so many different types of wool, dyed my own yarn, spun my own yarn and designed my own pieces. And this isn’t even the end of it – I know that there will be many more new things to learn in the future.”
Jennifer Macleod of LoveKnitting recommends to start easy:
“The best first project? Knit a simple scarf. Choose a chunky yarn in a colour you love and some 6mm needles. Knitting with chunky yarn is great for beginners because it grows quickly, and it’s easy to see the stitches and keep an eye on what you’re doing.”
“If you can, knit with a group. There are lots of knitting groups, check online or with your local library for details.”
“Explore all the colours of the rainbow and shades in-between, in different weight yarns from the finest lace weight yarn to giant cosy strands of super chunky! There are different fibres too, from cool cottons and bamboo to cosy merino wool and alpaca – as well as a wide range of acrylic yarn for people with allergies.”
Jennifer emphasises the health benefits of knitting and how it helps with mental issues: “Learning to knit is therapeutic on many levels. It is well-known as being helpful for our mental health and a great help for anxiety, depression and pain management.”
Another knitting-focused website, Tin Can Knits, offers free in-depth photo tutorials for 8 different patterns: a scarf, blanket, hat, cowl, mitts, socks and 2 sweaters. Each pattern has an accompanying in-depth photo tutorial on how to work each step and each technique involved. Alexa Ludeman from Tin Can Knits advices: “Head to your LYS (local yarn shop). The wonderful people there can help you find classes if that’s what you are looking for, or just help you put together the right combination of pattern, needles, and yarn.”
Talking about the yarn… Vivienne Bell from Green Rabbit Designs emphasises the need for good quality:
“Use the best needles and yarn you can afford. Some people use cheap acrylic yarn to practice their first stitches on but if you’re going to fall in love with knitting it won’t happen with squeaky cheap yarn! Also, there is nothing like the feel of beautiful needles in your hands. You can always rip your knitting back and reuse the yarn when your knitting improves so you’re not wasting it.”
Six ladies from Essex-based The Craft Club Yarnbombers add: “Teach yourself. You Tube has an amazing array of tutorial videos that show you how to knit, which is how Craft Club learned their yarny skills. It’s brilliant you can learn whenever you’re ready, where ever you are and find a teacher whose style you understand.”
“Learn with your friends. It’s great to learn as a group, it keeps you motivated when you’re struggling and there is someone to turn to for advice. We set up Show Off Tuesday for lunchtime, when we would all bring in our latest makes! Even if you can’t physically get together, group messaging apps are ideal for sharing photos within a group if you’re too shy to share them on social media.”
“Don’t give up. You will definitely get better with practise, keep a record of your makes and in a couple of months you will see what you have achieved!”
We’d love to see your knitting beginnings! Tweet us @LoveToHq using #lovetoKNIT or share on Facebook using @LoveTo / #lovetoKNIT and inspire others!
Remember the #lovetoKNIT month is April. For our full 2016 #LoveTo calendar go to www.lovetohq.org.