Let’s Talk Knitting.

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There is a tender history to knitting needles.  When I see them now in thrift stores, I wonder how long they were owned before they were dropped off. I’m not typically sentimental about objects (journals aside), but for some reason I feel like used knitting needles should be kept in a mason jar on a homey shelf and nowhere else.

I began knitting in 2005. I had just gotten married in the spring of that year, was fresh out of college, got my first “real” job, and was eager to pick up some domestic skills now that I was a new wife.  It’s hard to believe that was 8 years ago.

My mom is the one who intially taught me how to knit–the library, blogs, and other knitters took me the rest of the way. I remember asking her, sounding almost accusatory, why she didn’t teach me knitting sooner. We were each curled up in LazyBoy chairs, concentrating on our yarn. She smirked and said, “You had absolutely no interest.” I think she also added, “And you thought you knew everything already!” I’m sure I did. The young adult years are not humble, are they? I’m glad they’re not forever, ugh. I’m grateful we finally had a chance to work together on something, found a creative common ground.  We even made a baby blanket when I was preggo with Liv. {We each knit squares on our own time, then seamed them together. We were so proud when we finished it!) It’s all part of my history now, and a very special little piece of it.

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2005 is also the year I memorized my library card number. (If you didn’t know it by now, you are in good nerdly company. ;) I’d request a bunch of knitting books online to be pulled that I could pick up later in the week on my way home. Early on, I was obsessed with knitting books–loved the pictures, loved the texture, loved the inspiration. It’s good to fuel the fire when you’re learning sometimes; it just makes picking it up easier, or it did for me.

Once I got the basics down and had a good handle on things, I couldn’t wait to share it. There is beauty in sharing skills and having fun along the way–laughing at mess ups and whooping at successes.  It has been a joy for me to sit with about 20 people thus far, bring them some needles and scrap yarn, and show them how to knit. Or how to make cables. Or seam. Or whatever they want to learn how to do. I don’t know it all, but what I do know, I love to share.  Having someone dig in their bag to show me a project in process makes my day.

It’s exciting to see knitting really click with someone, so much so that they are suddenly knitting crazyawesomegood and are attempting things I haven’t even tried yet.  Now, in turn, they can bring me along. And on and on. It’s a wonderful thing. Iron sharpening iron in the knitting world. :)

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If You Want To Learn To Knit:

Try, try again. I say this to everyone I sit down with: If you’re not ready to fail, or muster up the patience to keep trying until you get it, maybe now’s not the time to learn. Or maybe you just need to be exposed to it several times before it takes, which has been the case with a few friends.  Learning to knit can be really frustrating, although some people snatch it up fast. It took me two weeks to get the regular knit stitch down. Most people probably don’t take this long. I did. :) {I had a group of friends over once to teach them, and one girl was so frustrated she threw her needles across the room. It was funny at the time, but she has not touched a knitting needle since!}

Find a friend or family member who can teach you. Or take a class–having somebody show you and answer questions keeps you encouraged.

Join a Knitter’s Group. Lots of knitting stores host weekly or monthly groups that meet up and knit and gab. This is a great place to meet other people who most likely will be happy to help you along in your quest.

Look online. You can type general terms (“how to knit”) or specific terms (“what does SSK mean?”) into YouTube and come up with a slew of videos from knitters everywhere. Same for Pinterest. There are blogs galore on the subject. The Purl Bee is a favorite of mine, as is KnittingHelp. <–This one helped me bigtime when I first began–she has videos for how to do almost everything. I’m sure I wore out most of her videos. :)

Use light-colored, simple yarn. Don’t spend money on the nice stuff–use the cheapo Red Heart yarn, or Sugar n’ Cream cotton yarn, in cream or beige. It’s easy to see your stitches and any mistakes (vs. dark colored yarn). The friend who threw her needles above also insisted on using fancy fringy yarn… I would’ve probably given up too!

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And If You Want to Teach Knitting:

I am not a certified teacher; I just make some tea and share what I know. :) I do think it’s easier to teach individually than in groups, although if there are other knitters there, it’s fun to share the load with a group.

I tend to pick up inexpensive needles now and then at Walmart to have on hand for when people want to learn, and use skeins in my stash to teach with. It’s a great way to move your yarn out! I also always show my First Ever Knitting, which is atrociously awful, but wonderful to my heart because it was the first thing I completed, humble and all:

FirstProject1

Yup, this was supposed to be a thin scarf. Wow, I know. Eventually, I learned how to cast on, bind off, and keep my stitches even.  Seriously. If you keep trying, it will happen. And if you’ve been knitting for awhile and decide to teach someone else (I hope you will!), you will just know it better all the more. Good stuff. Happy Knitting!

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