Monday, January 27, 2014

Learning to Knit?

As the dead of winter sets in I'm looking for ways to stay warm and things to do besides binge on Hulu and wait for spring to show up.  Learning to knit seems like it hits both of those needs and I'm looking for some suggestions on how to get started.  Books?  Online tutorials?  I'm sort of short on time to go out, but would you suggest some sort of knitting circle (I never once made it to a "Stitch and Bitch" knitting group at Bates but now I'm wishing I had!)?

Will often wears these beautiful sweaters my grandmother knit 20+ years ago for my siblings and me.  They have so much detail work and have held up all these years (I especially love the sailboat buttons on this blue sweater which must have been knit for my brother):

My grandmother passed away last January (I don't think I ever mentioned this on the blog) and I really regret not learning to knit from her.  She was very talented and made some beautiful things for my family throughout the years.  I love knowing that even though Will never met his Great Grandma Stella, he's still wearing things she lovingly handmade so long ago.

Will also has a beautiful blanket that was knit for him by a friend of my father.  It's gorgeous, soft cable-knit green and it's just about the epitome of cozy.  We call it his "Grandparents' Blanket" since he cuddles up in it with my parents whenever he sees them (which, luckily, is often).  It was the first non-hospital blanket he was ever bundled up in and I'd love to be able to make a beautiful gift like this for somebody:

Obviously I can't start out with cable knits, intricate collars, and buttons, but does anybody have suggestions on where a total knitting beginner can get started?  Let me know and stay cozy homey!


  1. Hi Caitlin! I learned to knit using the "Stitch and Bitch" book series. They have easy to follow tutorials and their first books contain easy to follow patterns. From there, you can branch out to sites like PurlBee and Craftsy for patterns and video tutorials. It is so much fun and very relaxing. There is nothing like making something by hand for someone you love.

  2. Love your timing, Caitlin - I just signed up to take a super beginner knitting class on Saturday at this adorable little shop in my neighborhood. They have Paper Source-esque gifts, and a huge selection of yarn and fabric. I'm hoping some of their good taste rubs off on me :) Keep me posted on your progress!!

  3. I just started knitting last year. I took a beginner's class at a local store, which if you have one, is a good option. The Stitch & Bitch series is a good resource. YouTube and both sites listed above are also good resources. Finding a knitting circle is definitely something to consider...outside of just getting out if the house, it's nice to have more seasoned knitters to help you with your current project, with shortcuts and with different ways to tackle things.

    I'm still working in a class project (we won't say how long ago the class ended) and even though I'm no wiz, I'm still plugging along. I do enjoy it. I should have made a stronger commitment to keeping up with the knitting nights at the local store-it would have kept me motivated in the very least.

    Good luck and I look forward to seeing what you do.

  4. I haven't been knitting for very long, but I'd recommend taking a class (or finding a knitting friend) to learn the basics. It was easiest to learn the first few stitches in person, and since then I've been able to use Knittinghelp and other websites to learn new stitches. Ravelry is my favorite knitting site for getting ideas and saving your projects. It's fantastic!

  5. Local yarn shops are always giving free knitting and crocheting classes and there are classes offered through continuing education centers or community colleges, or YMCA and YWCA also. I learned through a continuing education center that offered it at a church years ago and the instructor turned out to be a book published knitter. Learned many lovely things from her. I also learned to weave from the same continuing education center and you can also make many lovely things that way for your home and family. You can also ask at local craft stores as some times people will teach you one on one just for the companionship of another fellow knitter. I learned to crochet that way as I lived too far away from my paternal Grandmother and my maternal Great-grandmother. Good luck and I think within about 6 lessons I was able to do cable knitting just as well as the instructor, it really does not take that long to pick it up and then you can learn more from books and videos. So you don't necessarily need to take more than the beginning classes unless you like the companionship of fellow learning knitters.


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