Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Knitting Basics

Thursday morning I am teaching some members of the Kingwood Area Quilt Guild how to knit. Although I have gathered a lot of donated knitting needles and yarn and even made a few knitting bags, I realized that adults, unlike middle schoolers, like things in writing so I came up with the following.

Knitting 101

Basic Tools

Two sticks – normally called knitting needles but chop sticks or pencils will do in a pinch
String – also called yarn

Other Tools (in order of extravagance)

Scissors – used for cutting string

Pen and paper – for making pattern notes

Yarn Needles – for weaving in ends of string

Crochet hook – to help with fixing dropped stitches

Row Counter – neat little tool to count your rows instead of keeping track of them on paper

Markers – can be anything from a paper clip to fancy beads on an ‘O” ring to keep track of stitches

Tape measure - for checking the length and/or width of your projects

Metal Needle gauge - needed to find out the size of your needles and for establishing your gauge/tension of a swatch of knitting

Project bag – to hold your projects and tools, can be anything from a zip lock bag to a leather suitcase

Reference materials – I like ‘The Knitting Answer Book’ but there are others like ‘Knitting and Crocheting for Dummies’

Ball winder – for helping with transforming skeins to balls before knitting

Swift – holds your skein of yarn while winding (instead of using a volunteer)

Project One

Book Mark
Cast on 18 stitches
Knit eight rows
Bind off
Tie bound off yarn to yarn from cast on for a tail

Basic Skills

Cast on – Reverse Loop Cast On
Knit – Pull string towards you
Purl – Pull string away from you
Increase – Knit one in the front of the loop and one into the back of the same loop
Decrease - Knit two stitches together
Bind off – Knit two stitches, take first stitch and loop over second stitch so that only second stitch remains on your right hand needle

Internet resources

http://www.knittinghelp.com/ - I think this is the place with the best videos on different knitting skills

http://www.ravelry.com/ - an online community of knitters. I don’t go there a lot except when I am looking for a pattern. My name there is knittyalice.

http://www.youtube.com/ - just write in the search box what you need and up pops thousands of videos. Many of the videos are poorly made but there are some real gems out there.

http://www.knitpicks.com/knitting.cfm - great place to spend a lot of money on all things knitting. Excellent prices on tools and I like their self branded needles a lot.

http://elann.com/ - incredible yarns at incredibly good prices.

http://www.lionbrand.com/ - one of the best places to find free patterns from famous designers. JoAnn’s carries their yarns.

Local Stores

Twisted Yarns – On the road into Old Town Spring from I45 - http://twistedyarnstexas.com/

The Hen House – On Louetta, west of I45 - http://www.thehenhousetx.com/

Knitting in the the Loop – north of 59, east of 610, just south of Westheimer -

Yarns 2 Ewe - south of I10, going North on Shepherd -

Other Resources

Knit at Night Guild – meets all over the city. Closest meeting is in Spring (Knitters North of Town = KNOT) on the fourth Thursday from 6:30 – 8:30 PM. http://www.knitatnight.org/

Yarn it! Darn it! – Sponsored by the Kingwood Branch of the Harris County Library System. Meets the third Saturday of the month from 10:00 AM – Noon.

Friday Morning Knitters – every Friday at 10:00 AM some of us meet at the Town Center Starbucks to talk and knit. Everyone is welcome to join us. Show and Tell is always welcome and advice is always available for free.

I hope the quilters enjoy learning a new skill. Some of them are such talented sewers that I think they will surpass their knitting teacher in no time at all.

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