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Knitting used to be considered essential but as the time has passed many now see knitting as a rather out- dated hobby. But due to the rising cost of living I feel that there are a few who are picking up their knitting needles again, maybe some for the first time. Knitting is a relaxing pastime, unless you are battling with an intricate pattern. It is also a hobby that demands little space and requires very little equipment. If you are going to knit then literally all that you need will be the wool, the knitting pattern and the needles, you don't need a study to knit in or a quiet room to allow you to concentrate, all you need is a comfy armchair to sit in.
Choosing wool, needles and knitting patterns. There are many different types of knitting wool to choose from, you can buy acrylic fibres, wool mi x, mohair, pure wool, lambswool to name but a few and then you have to choose whether you would like to knit in just the one colour, incorporate a few colours or use wool that has different colours woven into it. Knitting wool has different `plys`, there is 2 ply, that is very fine and makes perfect vests for newborn babies, then each time you move up a `ply` the knitting wool gets a little thicker. I would imagine that double knitting wool is the most popular. A few years ago chunky wool was all the rage and it was highly fashionable to knit using chunky wool on huge wooden knitting needles, the garment that you were knitting took no time at all to finish ! There are also many types of knitting needle available too, I prefer to use metal knitting needles but you can buy plastic and wooden knitting needles too. When you are choosing your knitting needles then make sure that you take the overall length of your arm into the equation, I only need medium length knitting needles and they are very comfortable for me to work with but buy the length that you think would be comfortable for you to work with. When you visit the wool shop you will find the the knitting patterns are usually well organised, there are separate folders for men, ladies, children's and babies knits. If you are a novice then take time to explain that to the assistant and I am sure that they will help you to pick a knitting pattern that you will be able to cope with. It is no good trying to run before you can walk, master the simple stitches first and the remainder will soon click into place. Maybe the last thing on the agenda would be to find yourself a bag to keep your knitting altogether. Using a bag helps to keep the wool from tangling, the stitches from falling off of the needles and the piece of knitting ending up looking like you have stored it in the `coal hole`!
Basic Knitting Stitches. The two basic knitting stitches are plain and purl, once you have mastered both of those and you are confident that you can complete a few rows of each without dropping your stitches then you are able to move on confidently. The second issue with knitting is tension and the more you knit the better your tension will become, good tension makes neat knitting. When you first start to knit then it is wise to kick off making something very simple,knitting some squares to join together to make a cushion is a great way to learn. Woollen cushions are fashionable and they cost a fortune in the stores so why not try and knit one for yourself? If you start with knitting something that isn't going to frustrate you then you will be less likely to throw in the towel after a few inches.
The Abbreviations used in knitting. When you first look at the abbreviations that are used in the instructions of a knitting pattern it can be really puzzling. Each command will be written in code- for example- S1,K1,PSSO. The instructions look complicated but all that means is that you slip one stitch, then knit the next stitch, then pass the slipped stitch over the needle. If you are unsure then there are many internet sites that you can look at for guidance. But don't be put off by the abbreviations, their bark is worse then their bite !
On the Hunt for Inexpensive Wool? You can often find cheaper wool in the local Charity shops, if you are cheeky enough and ask the volunteer then they will often go and hunt some out for you. Sometimes you will be lucky and be offered a good few balls of the same wool and another time you may only find a few `odd` balls. But the odd balls of wool have their uses, they make good woollen covers for beds and chairs. If you look on EBay you will pay quite a bit for what they call a `Granny blanket`. Ebay is another good source and I have been able to buy some good `job lots` of wool from the auctions. In our local wool shop they often sell off wool that is discontinued, if you are a regular visitor then you will get used to looking for those reductions. If you are looking for different sized knitting needles then make sure that you take a look in the charity shops, they often have bundles of knitting needles going for a song.
Is Knitting Making a Comeback? I must admit that I don't see many babies or children wearing home knitteds, or even adults if it comes to that But I have seen some beautiful knitting patterns in the shops, the children's knits have been really super, so colourful and very trendy. I was taught to knit when I was a child and I am pleased that I was ! I have knitted endless jumpers for all of the family from baby knits to Grandpa knits and on the whole I have really enjoyed knitting them. Maybe with money being as precious as it is at the present time knitting will come back into fashion. I can buy enough good quality knitting wool for £5 to knit myself a sweater. That sweater doesn't have to be `grannified`, it can be an Aran jumper or a Guernsey sweater and as long as hand knitted garments are washed carefully then they will last you for years.
What is the most unusual Knitted Item you have ever seen? The most unusual item that I have ever seen being knitted was a shopping bag. But this was no ordinary shopping bag it was being knitted from thick strips of plastic carrier bags! The knitter was using huge wooden knitting pins and she was knitting the strips of plastic carrier bag together to form the body of the shopping bag. I saw one that she had already done and it looked great, apparently the money that was raised from the sales was being donated to a worthy charity.
Have Courage If you would like to learn to knit but feel that it is all a bit too `scary` then just jump in and have a bash. Accept that your first few offerings are not goping to be masterpieces but build your knowledge slowly. If you come unstuck then either ask someone who is a `knitter` or go to one of the many websites that are jam packed with helpful information, patterns and diagrams. You never know you may find it relaxing too.