the hard way.....

I think I've said before that I started knitting about 10 years ago, but none of it really made sense until 2007 when I did two things.

1. I took a begining sock class


2. I signed up my niece for begining knitting and took it with her.

My theory is that you always learn something different the second time around.

That being said I have decided to unleash on you most of what I have learned or where I learned it from. This all sparked from a friend, a very very dear friend of mine who said "i knit a couple years ago and I've thought about taking it up again", she might as well have waved carrots in front of a stallion! Luckily for her she lives in Minnesota preventing me from showing up on her door step in a U-Haul full of yarn and other assorted knitterly items........Instead I emailed her this.........

Top Books Every Knitter should want, need, and have (according to me)
The Book of Yarn: Tells you everything you ever needed to know about yarn, weight, gauge, fiber content etc.
Stitch ‘n’ Bitch: Best guide for new knitters with some fun and easy patterns to work with.
Knitting Rules by Stephanie Pearl McPhee: Read this and realize, it really is just knitting.
The Knitting Circle, by Ann Hood

Here are some other knitting tips that I learned by default and by reading books about knitting:
Buy the best yarn you can afford, really I can't stress this point enough, because if you are knitting with yarn that doesn't feel good, doesn't look good, then why would you keep going?

1. Buy from a yarn shop not a craft store, a yarn shop is more willing to help you when you run into a snag with a project when you’ve bought the yarn from them. That being said, I've bought plenty of yarn from miscellaneous craft stores in the area and been fine, but it only takes one yarn shop employee to snub you when you ask them what the project is talking about and they barely acknowledge that you breath let alone can knit.......of course the disclaimer is that not all yarn shops are snobby but I have rejoiced when particular shops have closed down after visiting them and was treated surprise that they closed.
2. Pick a project that you love, if you don't love it you won't knit it. You'll try, you'll want to because someone else loves it, but the end result is this. If you don't love it it will not get knit.
3. Bite your tongue before offering to knit things for friends and family, especially if you post this comment on a social networking site, you don't know what you're saying and the requests will be vast and crazy. Please see number 2.
4. In the begining I would advise not buying yarn online and only then buy the yarns you are familiar with, and if they sell the yarn at your local yarn shop then I would suggest only buying it online if it's a screaming sale like I discovered a couple years ago on Cascade 220 and bought 16 skeins of it. I still haven't used it but I saved a bundle.......
Websites Every Knitter Should know….
1. Ravelry: It’s free to sign up, you can search for new patterns, track your own projects, catalogue your knitting books so you aren’t buying the same one over and over again (trust me, I’ve done it) You can catalogue what needles you have at home and print out a handy dandy wallet size card so when you’re at the yarn shop you’ll know whether you need those size 2 DPN’s or not (I have chosen not to do this because even if I do have the needles at home it’s a pretty sure bet they are either involved with some yarn or I don’t know where they are) Lastly you can look up projects to knit with that wayward skein of yarn you bought without a project in mind. It’s free to sign up and an excellent resources for all knitters.
2. Knitty: Free Patterns that are simply awesome. They put out a new Knitty each quarter so check back. They also add new patterns randomly, so even though you think you’ve seen them all, you probably haven’t.
3. The Oo Kingdom: Ever wonder just how much yarn you have but it’s in meters not yards? If you’re like me math was not your forte in school. This web site does the calculation for you. Type in meters and convert to yards.
4. Google: If you’re going out of town and want to know where a local yarn shop is, you can’t do better than google. It’ll not only pin point them for you, you can print a map of every single location, not to mention browse their websites and see what they have in store for you.
5. You Tube: You can search for knitting instruction. Anything from Casting on, binding off, quite possibly intarsia and so on. This is what you use when you run into a problem at 3:45 a.m. and the yarn store is closed. I’m pretty sure that a 24 hour yarn shop would do quite well….
6. Berrocco: Not only do they have free patterns on this website that aren’t cheesie or old timey they also have all their yarns listed by Name and you can check yardage and color before you buy from your LYS, so you go in with confidence!
7. Lion Brand: the yarn has gotten better and is pretty well priced, their cashmere is very affordable although I haven’t knit with it. I have used their cashmere blend which is pretty fab too. Their patterns are hard to search through and sometimes can be a pain to read. They are ranked in order of difficulty and some have some very old timey pictures associated with them.
- I personally avoid the novelty yarns, the end result is always a lot of swearing for little gratification. Now, don't get me wrong, novelty yarns have their place, they add some bling and fun to a felted project and can be used to create a fun edging, however, I have found that knitting with eye lash, fun fur, loopy yarn, and squiggle to be the biggest pain in the arse I’ve ever experienced, mostly because you can’t see your stitches so you either drop a ton or add a ton.
- Cabling is easy. So easy in fact that I can teach you with one scarf, no joke.
- Sometimes when you’re reading a pattern and what they say doesn’t make sense, try it first. I promise you, 9 out of 10 times it’ll all work out in the end. Unless you are knitting from a European Magazine that has been translated into English, chances are that the person who did the translating doesn’t knit and has no idea they’re talking about.
- Learn Gauge it’ll save you from knitting something that is so tight that you can’t bend it (which is good for toys but if you are prone to carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis this will inevitably exacerbate it) Plus it’ll keep you from knitting fingering weight yarn on size 15 needles……(unless that's the look you're going for....)

- Lace Weight: used for knitting shawls that look like they were spun with spider thread. Makes you want to pull your hair out unless your into that sort of thing
- Fingering Weight: used primarily for socks that you can wear with every day shoes a few sweaters call for it, there are a lot of books with kids patterns that call for it. knit with size 0-2.75 needles (tooth picks)
- Sport Weight: used for thicker socks, size 3-5 needles, lots of kids patterns, scarves, hats, mittens, etc. The thing to remember is the smaller the needles and yarn the longer some things will take
- DK Weight: basically the same as sport size 4-6 needles, I make most of my socks out of this because I tend to be too tight with the fingering weight.
- Worsted Weight: 5 stitches to the inch knit on 7-9 needles.
- Aran Weight: 4.5 stitches to the inch. A little bit heavier than worsted knit on size 9-10.5 needles
- Chunky: size 10-11 needles for sure, 3.5 stitches p/inch, the purple sweater I made that you have is chunky wool
- Bulky : same as chunky just a different name
- Super Bulky: Zach’s hat is make with super bulky yarn. 2-2.5 stitchs p/inch size 13-17 needles knits super fast! SUPER FAST and is SUPER WARM never ever knit a sweater in super bulky if you don’t want to faint.
Here is a good guide for gauge because I don’t explain it right.
the bottom line is that you aren’t even going to want to knit bulky yarn on a size 6 needle and you won’t want to knit fingering weight on a size 13 unless you’re going for a lacey look, which unless you have a specific idea never looks good.
I'll admit it, I'm an enabler.........


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