I got the inspiration for this post title from one of my favourite good ol’ games, Quest For Glory: So you want to be a hero.
I am a addicted yarncrafter, I bring my knitting or crochet everywhere with me. If I have to wait in a line, for an appointment, on hold on the phone, etc.; I am working on a project. Often I get people looking at me with varying expressions when I am knitting in public. One of the nicer ones is wistful, usually accompanied by “I wish I could make something like that”.
The short answer is, “you can!” This conversation usually goes the same way with varying reasons why it can’t be done; not enough time, looks to difficult, how do I learn, etc.
Sometimes I get a “well I can sort of knit scarves”. I was there once. We all were there once. I gave up trying to knit for years because I couldn’t figure out how to do more. Then I started to crochet and I learned about project construction. I found some awesome tutorials. Then I tried knitting again and it just clicked. Google is your friend, and so is Ravelry.
There are so many tutorials out there, but I thought I would try my hand at some! I am not really a video learner, I hate pausing, going back and forth, I like a good photo that I can print out with instructions or save to my phone for offline use. So that’s what I will give you!
Lesson 1: Pick your project
I could start at the basics and talk about your material and equipment. I actually had a good chunk written out for that line of thinking, but then I remembered that is one of the reasons why it took me so long to pick things up.
You can certainly pick up some needles and yarn and just swatch, that is, to make the small squares that you see as samples in yarn stores or when knitters are trying to figure out what size needle they need to get gauge – we will discuss this concept later.
I got bored of that really quickly. I felt helpless because I couldn’t picture how what I was doing would make things easier. I found the jump in with a project right away and learn as I went method actually made it easier. I could apply concept to something that was becoming an actual thing!
Also, I found out that I absolutely love knitting in the round and with my double pointed needles (DPN’s) or circular needles (circs).
Getting back to the lesson at hand, you need to pick a project that appeals to you, but with a difficulty level that will allow you to get to the finish line with a good chance of success. Think of trying to run a marathon without training, you could probably do a small portion, but the overall goal would be overwhelming.
I know I promote Ravelry a lot, but really, this is what kick-started my yarn crafting to another level altogether. What I would suggest is go to the patterns section and click on the advanced search feature.
I decided to apply a number of filters (look along the left hand side of the page):
- Availability: Free (we don’t need to look into paying for patterns yet)
- Craft: Knitting (the same logic applies to crochet, but this is a knit themed post)
- Difficulty: 1 or 2 (the easiest patterns)
- Has photo: yes (I like to be able to picture what I knit and for beginners, it makes things a whole lot easier if you can see what it should look like)
- Keywords: tutorial (This is a filter I applied, you can look for patterns with keywords tagged)
Now, after spending way too much time ogling the photos, lets choose a pattern. I have knit a few of the Tincanknits patterns and they are well written, have a ton of photos and they are pretty cute to boot! My first adult sweater was a pattern of theirs. They also have a lot of extras on their website for the various elements of their patterns.
I have chosen a simple cowl to introduce you to knitting in the round, its easy and addicting!
I have added this to my library (see the upper left of the photo) and next is downloading the pattern. This pattern is available as a Ravelry download (pdf). Just follow the link to download.
This ends lesson 1, choosing your project.
Please follow along with lesson 2, setting up your project and the requirements.