A Basic Guide to Taking Up Knitting as a Pastime

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We have all had far too much time at home in the past twelve months, thanks to the Covid crisis and for many people, this was the opportunity to find a new hobby or interest. Arts and crafts in general have always been popular with the older generations and there is one specific traditional pastime that we are reviving; namely, knitting. Not only is this a relaxing thing to do, the end result is a lovely scarf or cardigan, which makes for a perfect gift – the fat that you put in so much work for their gift is not lost on the recipient.

If you would like to spend your free time productively, here is our guide to knitting.

The Equipment

All you really need is a pair of knitting needles and a ball of yarn, or circular knitting needles, which are much easier to use and are allowed on public transport. Finding quality needles and yarn is easy with a Google search and for a few dollars, you are pretty much good to go! You could try using merino wool roving if you want to knit yourself something really soft.

 Check out the many guides and ‘how to’ videos on the Internet, which will give you the basics and, like everything, the more you knit, the better you become. Start with something simple, such as a scarf and the only thing to be careful about is the number of stitches on the row (it is easy to add, or drop one).

The Process

There are three processes in knitting, cast on, knit stitch, and cast off, so it is not complicated; start slowly and copy the YouTube videos that clearly show how to complete the process and repeat. Basically, you are creating a row of stitches and adding layers of stiches on top and so on, and each time you finish a row, the knitted wool gets longer. One thing to watch for is dropping or adding stitches, which results in an uneven line and don’t try to break any world records for speed, rather focus on keeping things uniform. Learning to knit is a bit like riding a bicycle in as much as you cannot be ‘taught’ how to do it, rather you simply keep doing it until you have mastered the process. It might be that crochet appeals more to you; this is working one stitch at a time, rather than a row of stitches, and a hook is used.

Online Solutions

Simply find an arts & crafts website that covers knitting, crochet and weaving and you can get everything you need in a single shop. There are many kinds of yarn and trial and error will help you understand what works for specific garments, plus you can source patterns online.

Things to Avoid

The two things to avoid are acrylic and cheap wool; if you find an online supplier of quality items, you will never encounter these. Yarn quality varies greatly and the saying ‘you get what you pay for’ certainly applies to wool.

Knitting has a calming effect and there’s a lot of satisfaction to be gained from creating a beautiful sweater with your own two hands, which is all part of the attraction of the ancient art of knitting.

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