Wednesday, December 24

a yarn or two

Okay, as recently mentioned I've decided on knitting. Thanks lovely bloggy friends.

How did I come to that decision? Well, as usual, I listen to the world around me. After writing that post, I went about my day and knitting just popped into my mind. I found that interesting considering that I have never even contemplated it before, and it had always felt like an old lady's craft. But something about it felt right. Then I read the responses and knitting came out on top. And then I stumbled onto blogs of which three were knitting-focused or mentioned knitting a lot. Don't you just love synchronicity.?

I was dutifully educated, on those blogs and many other sites, that knitting is anything but an old lady's craft. There are some gorgeous and very hip (I never use that word) items out there!


So bloggy friends, now I need two things, two recommendations. Firstly, a website and secondly a book. I have googled +knitting +beginners, and have read things like;

The gauge, or the number of stitches or rows per inch, normally is determined by the size of the needles and the weight of the yarn. Always work a gauge swatch to see if your tension equals the gauge specified in your instructions. The test swatch should ideally be at least 4"/10cm square, using the yarn and needle size
called for in the pattern.

This is a beginner's site, on the first page. I need help with: rows per inch, work a guage, tension, tension equals the guage, test swatch, yarn, needle.

Okay, the last two I'm okay with. But seriously. Needing a beginner's site means I haven't a CLUE so, walk me through it, take my hand dear website owner. I need Knitting for Extra Dumb Dummies.

My Mercury is in Virgo, so I need to understand the details (so that then I can ignore them and do my own thing).

So if you have a true beginner's site you can recommend, please do. If you know of a really simple, how-to book that would be great too. I always love an excuse to buy another book.

Oh, I guess thirdly, what is the bare minimum I'll need to start my knitting adventure?

Some time later:

Oh, just found a few vids over at expertvillage. I understand guage now. Still, would love those recommendations...


  1. the book that got me started was "stitch n bitch: the knitter's handbook" by debbie stoller. i've found it very helpful. and at the back she's got loads of online resources to choose from for when/if you get stuck. i've also found youtube to be of great help for when i simply couldn't understand a new stitch by reading about it. i typed in "knitting in the round for beginners" for example and discovered loads of tutorials.
    here's a website you might want to check out as well
    and there are loads of free patterns o nthe internet. try you'll find lots of patterns for beginners.

    happy stitching!

  2. With a title like 'stitch n bitch' I have to take a look. lol Thanks

  3. I'm looking at getting into knitting too, so I'll be really interested to see what you use and find helpful.

    Mercury in Virgo? You'll probably be really good at knitting!

  4. I will second _Stitch 'n Bitch_ as a good book with lots of basic instructions. I also like anything that starts with _Yarn Girls Guide..._ pretty well, and since I'm old (38! lol), I prefer their patterns to the uber-hip SNB ones. I also recommend a real basic like any Vogue guides to knitting, to have near you when you are trying to follow a pattern and need to look something up (kind of like a knitting dictionary). Oh, and _Kids Knitting_ by Melanie Falick is a big fave of mine. I actually learned to purl out of that book. I figure if the instructions are for kids, I can figure it out. Anything by Melanie Falick is beautiful!

    I don't use knitting websites much, but years ago I spent some time at the Knitter's Review forum. I think that's a pretty good site. As is

    And oh, I've found that my mind gets too boggled if I try to understand everything about knitting or a pattern. I really have to take it line by line, just following the directions as the pattern gives them, or I get cross-eyed reading ahead and trying to figure it out. And that works! Not sure how that's part of my birth chart, but that's how I am. With sewing patterns too.

    Don't let a pattern intimidate you! And take it one step at a time...first you knit and get it down well, then you purl and get it to a habit. Then you make a scarf, then you follow a simple pattern--maybe a hat with circular needles. Then on and on from there. Or at least, that's how it worked for me! I'm sure that's just one way to do it, though. Something about my Leo, Scorpio rising, moon in Libra and whatever else there is in there...(I have a birth chart done but I don't really keep it in mind...)

  5. Hi Mon, I'm not a knitter but I heard about urban knitting awhile ago and thought you might like a bit of inspiration: :D

  6. Another vote for stitch'n'bitch and loads of 'how to' videos that you can watch over and over again :)

  7. I just got back into knitting after 10 years of not picking up yarn (I got too intimidated by patterns and books). I second the vote for Kids Knitting. It's a cute book with easy directions and great patterns. I'd gotten it for my daughter, but use it more myself.

    I would also highly recommend joining a knitting group or taking a beginners class. It is SOOOO much easier to learn when you can see how someone else does things, and more fun too.

    Oh, and what you need to get started... a little yarn and one set of needles. Start with a simple scarf pattern and you will be inspired from there. Then you can figure out if you need different size needles or more expensive yarns.

    Also, I like the site It has some nice videos of how to do certain stitches and stuff. Helpful!

    Have fun!

  8. I second what Maria said: it's so much easier to have people there with you to show you things than to read a book.

    OK, so hopefully this isn't too repetitive to what you've already found:

    To do a pattern that is very size/shape dependent (a sweater as opposed to a scarf) you need to know how big the yarn/needle combination you have will knit up, and how tight or loose (tension) you knit. That's the gauge: the number of stitches per inch across, and rows per inch vertically.

    So you knit up a little sample (I usually do about 25 to 30 stitches in a square shape, with all garter (knitting only) around the edges and all stockinette (knit one side, purl the other) in the center -- the garter keeps the swatch from curling up too much.

    Then you can measure how many stitches per inch and rows per inch you are knitting, and adjust your pattern if necessary (or just be aware your version will come out bigger or smaller!)

    A sweet and simple book I like is A First Book of Knitting for Children by Bonnie Gosse and Jill Allerton. I have Knitting for Dummies and it's pretty good actually. I got it from someone after I already knew how to knit, but it seems really clear. I could even send it to you!

  9. Oh, and when each new project requires a size of needles you don't have or can't find, just remember that every time DIY Dad starts a new project he needs some screws or a different tool for something or other. And don't feel bad!


No comment is too long or short around here.

Comment moderation on posts older than 7 days.