For some people, knitting is arguably one of the most worth-while activities you can do in your spare time. A lot of people get hooked (pun intended) to knitting because it’s very easy to learn and doesn’t cost much to pursue. All you need are a pair of needles, a nice ball of yarn, and your creative hands to create beautiful and useful crafts such as scarves, socks, and sweaters.
In this edition of Tree Classics’ New Year’s Resolution series, we present to you the fine art of knitting. As you welcome the beginnings of a new year, let us teach you the basics of this wonderful hobby so you can start your resolution by picking up another helpful.
What You Need
- Knitting needles
There are three basic types of knitting needles you can use depending on their material. These are metal, plastic and bamboo.
For beginners, you can use plastic needles as they are inexpensive and can easily be found in most crafting stores. Afterwards, once you get the hang of knitting, you can then switch to the more durable metal needles. For some knitters, they prefer to use bamboo needles because they are more comfortable use.
Knitting needles also come in different sizes. The most popular one for beginners is the size 7-9 needle. You can check out other measurements of knitting needles here.
Whichever pair of needles you choose, the important thing is to get familiar in using them as much as possible so you can achieve a consistent look for your crafts.
In choosing the right yarn to use, it is important to know the different types of strings according to their color, their size and thickness, and their fiber composition.
To help create colorful knitting projects, yarns are made available in various hues. This is achieved by coloring strings through the use of natural or artificial dyes. And while most yarns are dyed in a single hue, some strings are also offered in multi-colored variants. Some examples of variegated yarns are:
- Tweed or heathered – These are yarns with spots of different colored fiber.
- Ombre – This type of variegated yarn has light and dark shades of a single hue.
- Multicolored – This variegated yarn features a combination of two or more distinct hues.
- Self-striping – This type of yarn is dyed in different color lengths in order to create stripes in a knitted object.
- Marled – This yarn is made from strands of multi-colored strings twisted together. They often feature closely-related hues.
Yarns also come in a multitude of sizes and thickness commonly known as weights. Some well-known weights include:
- Lace (two-ply yarn) – This yarn is often used for shawls or doilies.
- Fingering yarn (four-ply yarn)
- Sport yarn (five-ply yarn)
- Double-knit yarn (eight-ply yarn) – This weight is perfect for knitting socks and children’s clothes.
- Worsted yarn (ten-ply yarn) – Also known as the Aran, this common weight is a great choice for people who are only starting to learn how to knit. This is often used to make scarves and hats.
When you buy your first set of yarns, the store clerk might also ask you for the type of fiber you want to use. This is important because the fiber of your yarn determines whether your knitting project is going to be machine-washable or can be only cleaned through hand wash.
- Animal-based fibers – A popular choice for its good insulating properties, this type of yarn fiber is very absorbent and retains its shape well no matter how many times it is used. However, this yarn can only be hand washed and must be laid flat to dry. An example of this yarn is the lambswool.
- Plant fibers – These fibers are known for their softness and durability. They are also very breathable, making them a perfect choice for knitting summer and children’s clothes. Compared to animal-based fibers, plant fibers can be machine washed. Linen and cotton are some examples of this type of yarn.
- Synthetic fibers – Also known as acrylic fibers, these materials are cheap and easy to wash. This makes them the perfect choice for knitting baby clothes and other fashion items. They can be machine washed and placed in a dryer. Some common synthetic fibers include polyester and nylon.
Learning How to Knit
Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the tools of your new craft, it’s time to begin your first knitting project. For starters, let’s try knitting a basic scarf.
Gather your materials
For beginners, it is always advisable to use thick needles and bulky yarn. This is to make your knitting faster and easier. If you want to create a multi-colored scarf, try using a variegated yarn instead of combining two colored strings together. Also, make sure to have at least 200 yards (182.9 m) of yarn so you wouldn’t run out.
Find a comfortable position
Knitting takes a considerable amount of time. While this is going to be your first project, it would be best to get yourself comfortable before you start. Find a perfect spot in your home where you can do your knitting. This can be in your living room, dining room, or even in your bedroom. Wherever your knitting post may be, make sure that it is well-lit and well-ventilated so you can work on your project peacefully.
Cast on your yarn
Next, cast on around 10-40 stitches of yarn on your needles, depending on the desired size of your scarf. Since this is your first try at knitting, let’s keep the size of the scarf small for now. Once you’ve mastered the basics of knitting, you can continue with bigger and more elaborate projects.
- After casting on your yarn, you can now start knitting. Make sure that each knit is tight and secure before proceeding to the next row. Also, avoid leaving a knit in the middle of a row or else it would pull funny once you start working on it again.
- If you’re looking to create a multi-colored scarf, try to finish at least 12 rows using your first color. Afterwards, cut the yarn at the end of the 12th row. Leave a 6-inch tail to which you can attach the next colored yarn.
- Connect the two colored yarns by aligning the end of the first string with the beginning of the second. Hold the two yarns with your left hand, away from the thread of the new color that you’ll be knitting. Continue knitting the next 12 rows using the second color. Follow this step with your other colored yarns until you finish the desired length of your scarf.
- Once you’re through knitting your scarf, cast off your stitches. You can use a crochet hook to stitch the loose ends of your scarf so that no knot is left.
This ends your first lesson in knitting. Wrap your scarf around your neck and check out the final product.
Start off the New Year by expanding your knowledge of different crafts. By learning the basics of knitting, not only are you enriching you know how, but you’re also picking up a very helpful skill you can use to start a budding business with.
Photo by storebukkebruse via Flickr. CC BY 2.0