Next Steps for New Knitters

So you took up knitting recently...let me just say that it absolutely thrills me that you have! Knitting has been such a lifesaver for me and I honestly can't imagine life without it.

After you take some classes and get some finished projects off your needles, what next? If you have a thirst for more and want to really immerse yourself in the world of knitting, here are some ideas to get you started. This is by no means an exhaustive list!

1. Read all the books. OK, maybe not all of them, at least not at once. Check your local library for knitting books so you can find the writers whose styles suit you. My favorites: Melissa Leapman (Stashbuster Knits and a zillion others), Sally Melville (The Knit Stitch and more), Debbie Stoller (Stitch n' Bitch and Stitch n' Bitch Superstar Knitting), Maggie Righetti (Knitting in Plain English). Then, do yourself (and the writers) a favor: buy the books you like. You will have moments in the middle of a long weekend when you will NEED a certain pattern or knitting tip that you saw and it will be better for everyone if you've got the book on your shelf already. Trust me.

2. Follow some blogs. Of course I hope you follow this one :)  These are a few to consider: Mason-Dixon Knitting, The Yarn Harlot, Ann Budd, KnitPicks, Patty Lyons, The Grandmother Gig, Spinsjal, KnittyKnittyChainChain, The Knitting Needle and the Damage Done, and of course The Feisty Redhead. (I know I've left some blog followers out there--feel free to comment with links to blogs you've found helpful!)

3. Join (or start) a knitting group. When I learned to knit, I couldn't find a knitting group in my area, so I started one. Check Meet Up, Google "knitting group" for your area, or look on Ravelry.

4. Keep knitting. I mean it. Don't stop. Find something you like to knit (sweaters, scarves, socks, mittens, blankets, dishcloths, etc) and knit it. Find a technique you love (stockinette, basket-weave, cables, lace, intarsia) and knit it. Find a charity you want to support (Red Scarf Project, Knit Your Bit, etc) and knit for it. The more you knit, the better you'll get and the more enjoyable it will be. If you get stuck on a project, for heaven's sake, CALL me and we'll get through it together. Don't give up.

5. Take more classes, but don't overdo it. I have a friend who says her first knitting project was a Fair Isle sweater. Her. First. Project. There followed a number of years in which she knit nothing, although she did eventually pick it back up. It's easy to take on too much at first. Just because the woman sitting next to you at knitting group is knitting a lace shawl that she designed, (link included because this actually happened to me!) doesn't mean you are any less legit as a knitter because you are making a garter stitch scarf. What I'm saying is: learn more but don't burn out, thinking you have to knit all the things. You don't.

6. I assume you've already joined Ravelry. You have, right? So get involved! Join some groups (like, say, KnitOasis) and chat about patterns and yarn and movies and family and weather and whatever! Post your projects to your Notebook. Believe me, on days when you doubt yourself, it's so helpful to pull up your Notebook and see that yes, you ARE capable of something.

There you have it--a few ways to help make knitting your life, even more than it already is. Hopefully your family will understand...



Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Simple Knitting Tips: Estimate Yarn for Binding Off

In honor of the inaugural session of my new class "Finishin' Strong: Bind-offs and (Some) Seaming, today's Simple Knitting Tip is all about making sure you have enough yarn to bind off.

The first thing to consider if you want to make sure you have enough yarn is this:  buy more yarn than you think you might need. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes you are just knitting a scarf and want to use up ALL the yarn, but if you can, buy extra yarn to save yourself some stress.

BUT. If you are in the situation that requires some careful consideration about the amount of yarn leftover, here's a simple rule of thumb trick for estimating how much yarn you'll need to bind off your project.

Wrap the working yarn l-o-o-s-e-l-y around the project 3 times (wrap 4 times if you're paranoid). The amount of yarn it takes to wrap the width of your project those three times is how much yarn you will need to bind off.


Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Simple Knitting Tips: The Side Marker

When I posted this Simple Knitting Tip last week about adding a loop of yarn to your row counter and securing it with a locking stitch marker, I remembered that time I wrote about another fun use for a locking stitch marker, then realized that it was nowhere on this website. It was an awkward moment.

And so I ask you to bear with me if you've read this before, because here again, with a few improvements and maybe for the first time, is this....

Simple Knitting Tip: The Side Marker

When I am knitting a project, and I need to know the right side from the wrong side, and I don't want to expend too much energy re-thinking the answer to that question over and over, I attach a marker (like the one pictured) to the right side of the work. You could attach it to the wrong side if you prefer, and I promise it won't hurt my feelings, but I strongly suggest you pick one side and stick with it. You can also tie a piece of contrasting color yarn, if you don't have a stitch marker handy that opens and closes, or if you're like me and it's just easier to cut a random piece of yarn and tie it on, because there is yarn everywhere around here.

Obviously this isn't something you'll need to use all that often, but if you're wanting to simplify things (like say you're at knitting group and there's wine involved, just a For Instance...), this can be a super quick fix. A great example of a pattern where a side marker comes in handy is my Reversible Cable Shawl, a free pattern available from Red Heart Yarns. Because it is reversible, it's not always easy to know which row you're on or which side you're on, unless you're working overtime to pay attention.  Work smarter, not harder--attach a marker to the right side and cut down on the time needed to find your place, thereby spending more time knitting, and isn't that what it's all about?

I don't recommend branching out to other types of markers, beyond the locking kind or the loop of yarn securely knotted. I have tried the non-locking type and they don't always stay on and, well, chaos. And, depending on how much wine you've had at knit night, using the stitch markers that do not open at all is really just funny for your friends to watch.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

The KnitOasis(news) Newsletter: Volume 3 Coming Soon!

As I am working on the KnitOasis(news) Newsletter for November, I wonder, did you see September and October? I got a lot of great feedback on September's issue, and none for October, so of course, it makes one wonder...the internet can be a capricious place.

In case you missed it, here is the Knitting Tip from October's issue.

Knitting Tip:
Decreases! Can’t live without them, right? Ever wanted a simple way to remember which one leans which way?
When you work a K2tog decrease, your right, or working, needle points to the right, and that will be a right leaning decrease. When you work an SSK, your right needles points to the left, and you guessed, makes a left leaning decrease. It all boils down to learning to “read” your knitting. And practice! Knitting socks is a great way to practice your right and left leaning decreases. Try my (Mostly)Ridge Rib or any other top down sock pattern.

If you are on the mailing list already, can I ask you to do me a favor? Would you think of a knitter you know who would love to get knitting news delivered free to their inbox once a month, and forward your copy of the November newsletter to them? I would appreciate it!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin