Learning how to knit has been on my list of things I want to learn for a long time. I learned to crochet on a school trip to Italy in 2001. There was a yarn store right by our flat, so I bought a crochet hook and some yarn and a classmate taught me whatever the basic crochet stitch is. I started a scarf, that I worked on during our long bus trips around the country. I never did finish that scarf. It’s been sitting in box full of craft supplies for the last eleven years and when I tried to pick it up again recently I had forgotten how to crochet.
My co-worker and friend Lauren, who is an awesomely talented knitter and seamstress (she used to own her own yarn store and make children’s clothes), tried to reteach me. For some reason, the new stitches weren’t matching up (probably because I was doing it wrong all along), so I decided to ditch that scarf once and for all and learn how to knit instead.
I have been super inspired by the hand knit sweaters I have seen on Lauren Taylor’s blog Lladybird. The goal is to be able to make cute sweaters like her, but in the meantime, I figured I start with a beginning knitting class and an easy scarf.
The class I took at my local neighborhood yarn store, Seattle Yarn. It was a three class series (three Tuesday evenings in November) and thanks to my lovely teacher, Rachel, I was knitting by my last class.
Well, I was technically knitting by the first class, but for every three rows I would knit I would have to pull out two and start over, so I wasn’t really getting anywhere until the third class.
Lauren helped me tremendously too. I would knit at night, make a mistake and then bring it in to work in the morning to have Lauren fix it and tell me what I did wrong.
I also picked up Debbie Stoller’s (of Bust magazine fame) classic book Stitch ‘n Bitch: The Knitter’s Handbook (I told you I love books). I learn well by having someone show me how to do something and then having a book for when I forget what I was told. Not only does this book have great knitting projects in it, but the instructions and diagrams and easy to understand. She even has cute little cartoon drawings of which way a stitch should face when it’s on your needle (which was super helpful for all those times I pulled out a whole row of stitches) and what knit stitches and purl stitches look like.
The above scarf is the first project in Stitch n’ Bitch and is called the “Go-Go Garter Stitch Scarf” and it is all knit stitches. It uses chunky yarn and big needles, so it knits up super fast.This was a great project to start with because I feel like I really have my knit stitch down now and it felt good to finish something. The yarn, while a bit on the expensive side (I didn’t know any better), is super soft and delicious. It 98% merino wool, so I guess you get what you pay for.
Speaking of ridiculously expensive first scarves, if you like this scarf and live in the Seattle area, it will be for sale at the Holiday Bazaar at the Highland Park Improvement club this Saturday. Come support me and buy this scarf or some of my hand sewn items that will also be for sale. Now that I am hooked on knitting, mommy needs new yarn!
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