Knitting Has Made a Comeback as a Trendy Hobby

Knitting is a fun and important form of art. It's a fiber art. This means that like weaving or crochet, threat and yarn are used to make fabrics in appealing patterns. While often associated with gifts like baby blankets and knit hats, knitting is a versatile craft that allows a knitter to create anything from clothing and household items to sportswear and jewelry. The popularity of knitting tends to fluctuate from generation to generation, but new knitters are picking up their first sets of needles every day.

One of the most important traits any knitter can have is a passion for experimentation, which can take a beginner past the basics of "knit" and "purl" and into the world of cabled sweaters and delicate lace shawls. Anyone interested in knitting should be able to learn to knit with time and effort, and once someone learns the two basic stitches of knit and purl, they should be able to create anything they might want. 

What Do You Need to Start Knitting?

At an absolute minimum, every beginning knitter needs knitting needles and yarn. Needles come in various types and sizes and yarns have even more variety. Most beginners tend to start with straight needles, two long cylindrical pieces of wood with a point on one end and a cap on the other, in plastic, metal, or wood.

  • Plastic - Cheapest option, slightly more likely to bend or break. Not as hard on the hands.
  • Metal - Usually a mid-price option, sturdy and slippery, which is good for quick knitters. Hardest on the hands.
  • Wood - Can be reasonably priced or more expensive. Tends to grip the yarn more, but is also easier on the hands.

Circular needles are often a popular option when a knitter begins making things like shawls and blankets.

As for yarn, acrylic is fairly cheap and often recommended to beginners as a good starting yarn. It's an infamously scratchy yarn to work with though. Some knitters prefer to use cotton, which is optimal for household items and other kitchen knits, or baby soft acrylics, which usually feels better on the hands and is safer for very young children or sensitive skin.

Social Knitting

Knitting is generally viewed in media as a solitary activity, but many knitters actually enjoy working on their projects in groups. Local yarn stores often have "knit nights", while community organizations might try to put together a group knitting night. Social knitting is understood by the knitting community to be an opportunity to get together and talk about life, knitting, and problems with projects that knitters might be working on.

These meetings are a good way for new knitters to get more experience as well as meet the wider local knitting community. While not every participant is of the same level of skill or willingness to help, chances are a stumped knitter will be able to find someone with the knowledge and ability to offer their assistance. For knitters who prefer a slightly smaller event, some local yarn stores will also be willing to offer information about local knitting circles, or advice on starting a new one.

Finding Knitting Patterns Online

There are various sites dedicated to collecting and distributing knitting patterns. Ravelry is one of the most widely known and widely used, with many patterns on the site being available or translated into multiple languages. These patterns range from beginner friendly to expert tier, which makes Ravelry a great site to find a starting point as well as set a future goal.

Some yarn companies will also post free knitting patterns to their websites, usually meant to go along with one of their lines of yarn. While most of these patterns will call for the use of a particular type of yarn that the company itself sells, it can be fairly easy to look up the yarn online and find a suitable substitute. The majority of these patterns are fairly beginner friendly, and should provide opportunities to learn new stitches and practice ones a knitter might already know.

Blogs are another good place to find patterns online. There might be less information on the difficulty level of the pattern in general, but many knitting bloggers will include a few tips on how to get the more intricate stitches done. Pattern blogs are a great resource for accessing a wide variety of project ideas while still keeping in a similar theme or style. Many blogs will feature a few free patterns, while offering access to their more popular or distinctive ones for a small fee.

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