In Part One of this mini-series, I took you through all the equipment you need to get started knitting. Now, let’s look at some super helpful resources to have you knitting without getting up from the couch!
KnittingHelp – this site has close up videos showing you how to do all the different stitches, cast on, bind off, increases and decreases that are mentioned in your pattern. I would not be able to knit without this site! This is the place to go to actually learn how to do all the stitches and learn to knit. It also has a forum so you can ask any knitting questions.
Ravelry – Ravelry is an online knitting community and place for you to record everything about your knitting. In your profile you can upload photos and notes on your projects, make a note of all the yarn and needles in your stash, and also tag your favourite patterns. The best bit about Ravelry is that you can also look at what everyone else is knitting. This means you can read reviews of patterns and yarns, which can saves you time if it turns out the pattern isn’t great. Browsing the pattern library is a great way to find a new project. Ravelry now has over 3 million members so for me it’s always the first place I look before I start a new pattern.
YouTube – While I haven’t looked there as such, there are a heap of how to videos for knitting, so if you’re stuck on something and it isn’t in KnittingHelp, type it into youtube and you will probably get a solution.
Knitty – Knitty is an online knitting magazine full of free patterns and reviews and tutorials. They have great, modern patterns.
MarthaStewart – Is there anything Martha can’t do? Like everything on the MS site, there are a heap of lovely projects, I just wish there were more reviews.
AllFreeKnitting – Like the name says, this site is full of free knitting patterns…lots of them!
Blogs – If you’re here reading this then you probably like blogs and there are lots of knitting blogs out there. Some are helpful and some inspiring. Here are a few of my favourites – Yarn Harlot, My Sister’s Knitter, Knitted Bliss, Knit and Tonic, The Purl Bee and Suzy Hausfrau
(Bootees above are from Erika Knight’s Simple Knits for Cherished Babies)
There are literally millions of knitting patterns out there! I have two, Baby Knitted Uggs and a Baby Beanie here on the blog. The Knitted Uggs is my most popular post! If you don’t already have a pattern, sign up to Ravelry and you can begin to wade through the patterns they have. It’s a great starting point.
Most people seem to think a scarf is a great first knitting pattern, but I disagree. While they’re usually pretty simple, they are generally repetitive, boring and take ages! A sure way to put a lot of people off! I think slightly trickier but quicker patterns are better to start off with. Projects for babies are great! They don’t take long, so if you muck it up you wont have wasted too much time. Beanies are also good. I’ve made myself a LOT of beanies and hats!
Patterns are written in words or with charts (or both, see this pattern here). I tend to prefer the wordy patterns. At the start of the pattern you will also find the suggested needle size, yarn weight and how many balls you’ll need. Patterns also mention the gauge or tension needed. This is how many stitches and rows fit into a 1 or 2 or 4 inch square. If you find that your gauge square is too small, then you need to go up a needle size, and if your square is too big, go down a size. This will ensure that your finished product will turn out the correct size and match the measurements on the pattern. This doesn’t usually matter with scarves and sometimes hats.
Knitting patterns have a lot of abbreviations which can be confusing at first…another reason I like the wordy patterns. KnittingHelp has a good list of abbreviations here. There’s also one on Knitty here.
That should be enough information to get your mind spinning and your needles knitting! Is there anything else about knitting you’d like to know?
In Part 3 of this series, I’ll introduce you to some specific patterns that are great for beginners.