Regular readers will know that I’ve recently started teaching myself how to knit. It’s going well so far! I’m now pretty confident at the basics, so I thought I’d share some purls of wisdom (knitting joke there… I do apologise) I’ve picked up along the way – hopefully this will be a handy read for any fellow knitting newbies…
1. Knitting is surprisingly brutal. When I began, I got blisters on my fingertips from pushing the pointy end of the needle through my loops. Actual blisters. On a few occasions, my hands even cramped from being held in a claw-like shape for prolonged periods. And there I was thinking it would be a walk in the park! Luckily, these little mishaps are now few and far between – I’m much more comfortable with holding the needles and my thumbs seem to have toughened up to my bamboo needle of pain..!
2. Changing wool to a new yarn isn’t as mystical as it seems. In fact, it’s pretty easy. For the first few weeks of learning to knit, I lived in constant fear of my yarn running out (gasp!). But it’s actually dead easy to swap in a new one – I’ve even used the technique to knit multiple colours into one project, check me out! So yeah, there was no need for me to worry after all, my bad.
3. Dropping a stitch feels like a punch to the guts. Seriously. It’s horrible. There you are, merrily knitting along having the time of your life. Then BAM you lose concentration for a split second… and you slip a stitch. This is typically followed by a few swear words, a moment of quiet devastation and then a stressful attempt at hooking the stitch back onto the needle before you lose it among the mass of loops and threads that it’s sneakily nestled itself it. Sometimes, this is successful and you feel like a king… sometimes it is not.
4. It’s not as difficult as it looks! The core techniques of knitting are the simple knit and purl stitch, which are basically the same stitch just on opposite sides. They are pretty fiddly to start off with, but once you knitted a handful of them, you can develop a sort of mechanical routine and build them into your muscle memory – then there’s no stopping you! Once you’ve mastered these two simple knits, you’ve got the skills to knit a whole load of things – such as my basket weave cushion, which uses the opposing sides of the knit and purl stitch to build a checker-board type pattern.
5. But then again, knitting is also insanely complicated. Just to completely contradict my previous point, knitting can also be mind-meltingly confusing. For example, I really want to knit a cable knit jumper. After completing a bunch of smaller projects, I thought I was ready to take the plunge. OH NO, I WAS SO WRONG. I researched lots of basic jumper knitting patterns and to be perfectly honest, I struggled to even read most of them, let alone knit them! There’s a lot of jargon and complex techniques that I think you need to have explained to you in person… I’ll let you know if I get anywhere with understanding them!
6. The knitting community is amazing! I was so happy with all the positive comments and feedback I got on my previous knitting posts. I want to say a big, genuine thank you to all you guys out there who have followed my knitting adventures (and to those who are just joining me today!), it was great to read your comments and know that I’m not alone in my experiences/difficulties/thoughts. Keep the comments coming – I really do like reading them!
7. And finally, knitting is insanely addictive! I’ve found myself grabbing my needles and knitting a handful of stitches whenever I get a spare 5 minutes. It’s the perfect way to do something productive when you’re short on time. Waiting for the kettle to boil? Knit. Watching the TV? Knit. Talking on the phone? Knit. Can’t sleep? You guessed it – knit!
If you’re a knitting newbie (or a seasoned pro!), share your thoughts in the comments box below – it would be great to hear what you’ve learned along the way. Thanks for reading!