Lots of people find knitting a particularly relaxing craft and it has enjoyed a huge revival over the last ten or fifteen years, seen everywhere from Parisian knitting cafés to Olympic teams backstage to Hollywood stars in rather surprising publicity shots.
The good thing about knitting is you can pick it up and make progress whenever you have a spare half hour. And if you’re not doing anything too complicated, you can do it while chatting to friends or watching TV.
Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can knit anything you like. You can be at the cutting edge with giant knitting; you can knit your own pet or perhaps celebrity; or you can even try a bit of yarnbombing.
How to start
Before you begin, you need knitting needles and wool. Start with cheap wool. If you don’t have a craft shop near you, try Poundland or similar; or look online (see below). The wool wrapper will tell you the right size of knitting needles for that wool.
The easiest way to learn knitting is from watching someone else, but if you don’t have a handy mother/grandmother/neighbour you can find a very clear video on John Lewis taking you through the basics. You can then move up to more advanced videos on online retailers such as Deramores or Wool and the Gang.
Once you have learnt the basics, and want to make an actual thing, you need a pattern which will tell you exactly what you need to do to make that thing – how many stitches, what kind of stitches, how many rows, which needles, which wool.
You can buy traditionally printed patterns from craft shops, or download them as a PDF after payment from online retailers. Most will have a section on beginners’ patterns – it is better to begin with something very simple and you can work up to more complex projects.
Some bloggers and craft sites make simple patterns available free online: you could try this simple hairband or snood to start off (they basically require you to knit a rectangle and then sew up the ends).
Wool varies enormously in quality and price. If you don’t have a wool shop near you, there is a huge range available online, so have a good browse and find something you like at a price that suits you – wool is everywhere now, from long-established yarn retailers like Black Sheep Wools, to online communities like loveknitting, to the super-hipster site Wool and the Gang.
Knitting kits can be expensive but quite a fun way to start your knitting career. They include everything you need. Try:
- Knitting your own boyfriend
- A block-coloured cushion cover at Stitch & Story
- A luxury scarf at Warm Pixie DIY
- Knitted bunting at Nervous Stitch
Don’t forget to check out our other craft pages as well: