One important aspect of my life that I don’t talk about here very much is knitting. I keep my knitting out of my blog because even though I could read about an after thought heel for hours, most non-knitters would be bored out of their minds. I’m relatively new to the knitting world and have only been knitting and purling for about five or six years. My Mom, who has been knitting for over 35 years, tried to teach me how to knit quite a long time ago, but I got frustrated and put it aside. When I picked my knitting up again I had the Internet to supplement when my Mom couldn’t be there to answer my tentative questions, so it was easier to move forward with projects. Sometimes when we read patterns we both look at each other and wish my Grandma was still alive because we just know she would understand everything. She called knitting mistakes design enhancements. Grandma was an amazing woman.
My knitting started with a scarf and continued on with dozens and dozens of cotton washcloths. I moved to hats and mittens and then to baby sweaters and then adult sweaters and eventually I was modifying patterns, knitting socks, felting and selling my hats and mittens. Knitting has become a soothing activity for my hands while I wait and I do a whole lot of waiting. Waiting for Care-A-Van, waiting for doctors, waiting for medicine to work, waiting for the pharmacy, waiting for nurses, waiting for test results, waiting, waiting, waiting.
Most of the time I find myself knitting without a specific person because I don’t have a client through my website or I can’t make up my mind what I want to knit for myself, so I start knitting for other people. For the past three years I have sent packages to a local hospital of knitted hats, knitted legwarmers and knitted shoes. These packages are incredibly important to me because this hospital takes fantastically good care of me, so in return I love giving back just a little bit. I know these hats, shoes and legwarmers will go to good use and they keep my hands busy while I am waiting.
The most common question I get asked when I’m knitting is about how difficult it is. When I started knitting I would have told everyone who was listening that knitting was the worst hobby imaginable, but it’s actually quite simple once you get the hang of a few basic stitches and concepts. Knitting can be done almost anywhere and it’s a useful pastime for any age group. The supplies needed for knitting can feel overwhelming, but the initial costs for a good knitting kit are less than $200. While I wouldn’t start ordering until I knew knitting was a sure thing, these are my top picks for a solid knitting kit:
- Knit Picks Options Interchangeable Needles: This is by far the best needle set I have ever used. The cables don’t kink and the needles are pointy, without being too sharp which is helpful for lighter yarns. I would recommend buying two sets of these needles, so you can knit in the round without using magic loop. The cost for two sets is $100.00.
- Knit Picks Options Needles sizes 2 and 3: Knit Picks is unable to make their interchangeable needles in sizes 2 and 3 because they are simply too skinny to be interchangeable. In order to have a complete set of needles to knit socks, lace projects, sweaters, and the millions of other amazing things, it costs about $23.00 for four more needles.
- Measuring tape: I prefer my sheep measuring tape, but honestly any tape will do as long as it has inches on one side, centimeters on the other and is flexible. The cost is about $10.00.
- Stitch markers: Stitch markers are an absolute must for a knitter. These little rings help mark the way with patterns, count stitches and keep track of which stitch goes where. You can never have too many stitch markers. These are around $2.00.
- Scissors: I have a pair of four inch Gingher scissors that my Mom gave me that I absolutely love. These little silver scissors are only allowed to cut yarn, fabric and thread and they do their job like a dream. You can buy them on Amazon for less than $9.00.
- Needles, pins, safety pins: To properly start a project, maintain a project and finish a project you will need needles. You don’t necessarily have to buy them from any particular store, just make sure you have a couple different sizes of each and when buying sewing needles look for a tapestry needle with a crooked end and a regular needle with a straight end. Altogether needles and pins should cost less than $10.00.
With the Internet the way it is there are tutorials on every knitting webpage around, but I’ve found the most helpful site is Very Pink. The lessons I learned from the two socks at once tutorial on YouTube is worth knitting gold because now I actually finish both socks when I knit them. You can even learn to knit from Very Pink, so if you’re starting from the very beginning I suggest you look there first. I also recommend a free Ravelry subscription. Ravelry is a website where knitters and crocheters can post photos, get ideas, and submit patterns, all in a crafty environment where questions are encouraged and you know help is just an experienced knitter away.
My last project I finished, a green cardigan, I knit simply because I liked the pattern and I had extra yarn leftover. It was so unbelievably adorable when I finished it, that I started another one in pink the instant I bound off. I have a feeling I’ll be sending 25 cardigans to the hospital this fall for their newborns. I may not be able to drive, or go to work, but while I wait I can knit and it’s my contribution and that is important to me and I think my Grandma would be proud, even if I do enhance designs.