Friday, March 9, 2012

Knitting Tips for Beginners - by Renée Lamoureux

Creating something with your own hands is utterly divine. The simple satisfaction of using or wearing something you have knitted with your own hands merits its own rewards.  With heaps of practice you will notice a marked change in you skills and techniques each time you pick up the knitting needles. Eventually you might even make your own patterns: Imagine the possibilities!!

Start with a small, simple pattern. Learn how to knit first, then you can move on to purling and other stitches. Once you master the basic stitches you can expand your knitting with new stitches and techniques. But before that happens, get used to making a lot of scarves!
Excellent videos to start you off: Knitting Tips by Judy , Knitting Help
A great place to find patterns: Knitting Pattern Central
How to read a pattern and other very helpful information: Craft Yarn Council

Start with needles big enough to see your work (and your mistakes!). Sizes 6-8 mm (US 10-11) are perfect for beginners. Metal and plastic needles can cause stitches to slip, so if possible, choose wooden needles to start: The wood tends to ‘grip’ the yarn better. You may even go back to wooden needles after trying out the other needle compositions 

Choose the right yarn. Humble your desires to purchase an expensive bit of yarn. I know it is tempting to jump right in and get that super soft, perfectly-dyed skein of yarn, but you WILL unravel and re-knit plenty of times, so it is better to practice with something less pricey.

Dye lots. Always buy the necessary amount of yarn from the same dye lot. Colors may look the same, but if they were dyed at different times the colors from varying dye lots will be noticeable when knitting one garment.

The internet will be your best friend. It is true. Every single knitting conundrum, stitch and technique can be found on the internet. There are countless videos to watch and to learn from, blogs to read, in-depth instructions to follow and loads of photos and diagrams. 

Gauge. It cannot be emphasized enough how important checking your gauge is to achieving the best results with your project. The gauge allows you to adjust the needle sizes to get the right size for the finished product. Very helpful website about gauge.
Yarn label symbols. Every ball, hank or skein of yarn has the following information on each label: brand, color name or number, dye lot, care instructions, gauge and needle size.

Knitting language. Every pattern will use knitting abbreviations: Some patterns offer an abbreviation guide…some, do not. This is another area where a quick internet search will be helpful. Here are a few basics you will notice right away: K (knit), P (purl), CO (cast on), BO (bind off).

Pen and paper. You will need it. Keep it handy to track row counts, reminders, make notes, etc.

Practice often! Whether you can practice with a knitter friend or relative or carve out some time in your schedule by yourself, the more you try...the faster your progress will be.

Remember: Part of knitting is unknitting. You will make mistakes. You will split a stitch or mess up a pattern. It is inevitable. It is even possible to learn more about knitting through unravelling your work, picking up missed stitches…and unknitting. Know what your mistake was and learn from it.

Remain calm and knit on. Knitting is about making beautiful things, of course, but it has also been described as meditative, calming and focusing. Find yourself a comfy chair and get ready to experience pure happiness.

This was written by Renée Lamoureux and published on her behalf. All photos shown here are property of the author and not to be copied or duplicated in any form without prior consent.

To see more of Renée Lamoureux's work visit:
Her Etsy Shop - spellitwithPEAS
Facebook Page

Get the right knitting needles for you.

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