To a prospective knitter, the craft of knitting can look intimidating. Just seeing cables crisscrossing each other or a myriad of different colors in a Fair Isle sweater might be enough to discourage someone from taking up the craft. But here’s a little secret. All of those complex and intricate looking techniques boil down to four things: casting on, the knit stitch, the purl stitch, and binding off. Once you have mastered those four basic techniques, the sky’s the limit.
In order to get started knitting, obviously you will need a set of knitting needles and some yarn. But you will also need patience and realistic expectations. Knitting is a skill that improves the more you practice. You cannot go into knitting expecting to learn how to knit a Fair Isle sweater in the round and cut a steek to add the sleeves right after you knit your first scarf. Scarves sound boring, but every single person who knits started out making scarves.
When you’re first starting out, don’t worry about breaking the bank for needles and yarn. Purchase an inexpensive set of needles at first. If you decide after you’ve tried knitting that you absolutely love it and want to pursue the craft further, then invest in some higher quality tools. There is no sense in spending a lot of money on something when you don’t know yet if you like it.
Yarn is a slightly different story. Knitting is a very tactile experience and part of that is working with materials that feel good in your hands. I don’t recommend dropping a lot of money for cashmere yarn right out of the gate. Go to a craft store, pick up the yarns, and see how it feels to the touch. Buy the yarn that feels good to you.
You have the yarn and the needles. Now what? There are many avenues to take when learning to knit. You could have a family member or a friend who knits show you what to do.
You can also learn to knit from books. Some books are better than others in how they explain knitting. The public library has many books on knitting. Peruse the knitting section and see what books you think will be the most helpful to you. Using the public library is also a good way to check out a book before you buy it.
In recent years, the Internet has offered a wealth of knitting resources. One only has to go to You Tube and do a search for knitting videos to find what they need. Knittinghelp.com is another site that is highly recommended. Along with video tutorials on knitting techniques, the community will be more than happy to answer any questions you might have.
Many local yarn stores (LYS’s as they are called by knitters) offer knitting classes. A few local LYS’s that offer classes are listed below.
- Yarns by Design, 123 Wisconsin Ave, Neenah, WI 54956. Phone 1-888-559-2767.
- Iris Fine Yarns, 132 E. Wisconsin Ave, Appleton, 54911. Phone 1-800-773-5199
- Monterey Yarn, 1541 Bellevue Street, Green Bay, WI 54311 Phone (920) 884-5258
- The Knitting Room, 28 North Main Street, Fond du Lac, WI Phone (920)906-4800
Contact them for more information on class offerings, fees, materials, etc. or sign up to be on their mailing lists. Periodically, these stores send out newsletters with information regarding classes.