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Not Your Mama's Knitting : The Cool and Creative Way to Pick Up Sticks
New Releases. Today, handicrafts are back in vogue. If only I had been born in this decade, I would be so much cooler in my original, lovingly created outfits. Even mass-produced items are being churned out with details giving them a homemade look. New yarn shops are springing up all over the place. Knitting is no longer a hobby you practice only in your living room. This is big business! I knit on the subway, while waiting in line at the bank or post office—I even knit while walking the streets of Manhattan and nobody seems to bat an eyelid.
Groups of knitters are gathering all over the world to share their hobby and their lives with other like-minded people. Internet groups have members thousands strong, swapping patterns and tips. Large numbers of these knitters are older ladies, for whom completing a sweater for little Jimmy, religiously following their patterns, is reward enough, but the army of new knitters whose numbers are growing daily want something more. More exquisite yarn, more exciting patterns.
Knitters today have never had it better. Now that you know a little about knitting history, I hope this book will entice you into becoming a more inventive, more fearless knitter as you experiment and enjoy taking knitting into the future.
Not Your Mama's Knitting: The Cool and Creative Way to Pick Up Sticks
So you wanna knit, but what do you need to get started? Well, you can knit with your fingers and a packet of Twizzlers, but a pair of knitting needles and some nice smooth yarn will make things so much easier! There are many different types of needles out there. You can buy straights, circulars, or double points, all of which come in a wide variety of materials and sizes.
With so many choices, how can you possibly know which needles to buy? Keep in mind that with time and practice, you will develop a preference. These are what spring to mind when you hear the words knitting needles. These are long straight needles with a point at one end and a knob at the other to stop the stitches from falling off.
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These are ideal for flat knitting and what I recommend beginners start with, because they can be easier to control if you have never knitted before. They are sold in pairs and come in a variety of lengths—most commonly 10 and 14 inches. Commonly known as dpns, these are straight needles with—surprise, surprise—a point at both ends. If you need to knit tubular items with a small circumference, then this is what you will most likely use although I find these glorified toothpicks too cumbersome and much prefer to use a long circular needle and the Magic Loop method—but more about that in Chapter 3, Beginners, Start Your Engines: Basic Techniques.
Double-pointed needles are sold in sets of four or five and are usually shorter in length than straights. Their length varies depending on the manufacturer and materials. These babies are a pair of short straight needles joined by a flexible cord. They were originally used only for knitting larger tubular items, but they are also great for straight knitting, especially heavy items with lots of stitches, because the cord takes the bulk from the needles and lets it lay neatly in your lap.
Circulars come in a variety of lengths, most commonly 16, 24, 29, and 36 inches. Aluminum needles are often coated with chrome, nickel, or Teflon for a slick finish. That smooth surface helps those stitches fly off the needles. But beginners beware: The smooth finish that helps those stitches fly off the needles may mean you end up dropping your stitches!
Good-quality, plastic circulars are my needles of choice. Bamboo is a little cheaper.
These warm wooden needles are comfortable to hold and not as slippery as their metal and plastic counterparts, making them another good choice for beginners. They do need to be treated with care, though, because splintering will cause your yarn to snag, which can be a real pain in the neck! Get the dowel cut to the required length, sharpen the point at one end you could use a pencil sharpener or a craft knife for this , and stick a decorative knob on the other end.
Knob options include buttons, marbles, and beads—or have a go at making your own, but you will need something to stop your precious stitches from slipping off the end. Your own unique, handmade needles! See the following table for the dowel diameters needed for your needle size. Please note: Because these are handmade needles, the sizes may vary, so please make sure you knit a gauge swatch before plunging headfirst into your project.
The larger the girth of your needle, the bigger your stitches will be; therefore, needles come in loads of different widths.
The smaller the needle size and stitch, the slower the knitting will grow. I prefer projects with chunky stitches, using fatter needles, because the project gets finished more quickly.
I mean,. But it does make a difference—just you try it! There are three different ways of sizing knitting needles: metric, Old English, and American. If you find or inherit some Old English needles and patterns pre-decimalization , the patterns will quote Old English-size needles.
Today, needles are made only in metric and American sizes, so a conversion table like the one shown in the appendix is a useful guide to check exactly what size you will need to complete a project. You can also keep track of which needles you own by marking them off on this handy table. Of course, you can squash a lot of stitches on a short needle, just like you can knit on a great big long needle with only a few stitches. A large project such as an afghan would require a lot of stitches compared to something narrow like a necktie, which would only have a few stitches per row.
Some people like to hold the end of one needle under their arm as they knit. I remember my grandmother knitting like this when I was little, but I never could get the hang of it. It all comes down to personal preference, and, in a lot of cases, what you already have in your kit! Yarn, yarn, glorious yarn! The fabulous stuff we love to knit with comes in a huge array of fibers and colors, not just wool as some people think. In England all yarn is commonly known as wool and yarn stores are still wool shops, which, being a Brit, I find oddly comforting.
When you first step into a yarn store, you may be amazed by the enormity of the selection, but stay calm. This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue? Upload Sign In Join. Save For Later.
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