People often ask me what the best way to go about learning how to knit is. Maybe they ask because I carry my knitting with me everywhere I go and onlookers are curious. Or, perhaps it is because I am constantly in your face posting and blogging about knitting (hello Vicky, my forever friend). At any rate, I thought I would write a post for those interested in giving knitting a try and include plenty of resources for you. The internet has brought us into a new level of learning, one that wasn’t available when I brought knitting back into my life.
I am a self-taught knitter and learned from looking at pictures in knitting books. This is not an ideal way to learn and I’ve had to re-learn a few techniques because of this methodology. You, on the other hand, are fortunate enough to be able to learn in an environment rich with resources that are, for the most part, free and available 24 hours a day. I’m going to share a few of those resources with you, these will be the ones I feel are a cut above and the ones I wish I had learned from. I am in no way affiliated with any of these resources so will not benefit other than knowing I have passed along a good resource to you to help you along the path of becoming a skilled knitter. Also, they are not listed in any preference order so any of these can be an excellent stand alone resource should you choose to pick only one.
1. Building Blocks because who doesn’t want to cuddle under a beautiful afghan?
2. Craftsy because who doesn’t want to have your very own teacher and watch classes over and over again that are yours for the rest of your life?
3. Knittinghelp.com because who doesn’t want to watch a video on a technique multiple times until you know for certain you are doing it right?
4. Books written by Elizabeth Zimmerman because she is, after all, Elizabeth Zimmerman – the greatest knitter who ever lived and whose witticisms will make you smile from ear to ear and when you are finished reading you will feel like you can tackle just about any kind of knitting there is and if you make a mistake – well – oh, wells – mistakes happen and they are part of art.
5. TKGA Basic Skills Course because who would not want to participate in something like 4-H for adults and have an expert evaluate your work?
This is an excellent resource that many knitting stores use to teach the basics of knitting. The author, Michelle Hunter, was once a teacher so her style reflects that. Basic knitting techniques are taught by knitting a sampler afghan. Each square builds upon skills taught in previous squares. Michelle includes video links demonstrating the skills taught in each square so you are not left on your own to decipher the instructions. In the end you have a beautiful afghan to snuggle under. I know at least three knitters who have soared in their knitting abilities and confidence after working through this book. You don’t have to make a full blown afghan, just choose the squares you like most and make a baby blanket or pillows.
If you decide to work through Building Blocks then my one word of advice is to make sure you use a washable yarn. I used the yarn recommended in the book which is a lovely yarn but it makes for a pricey afghan. If you don’t wish to invest that much money then go for a cheaper alternative like Berocco Comfort, Berocco Vintage or Plymouth Galway.
CRAFTSY is another amazing venue that has surfaced in the last five years. The platform is such that you purchase a class and it is yours for life. You can find classes for just about any hobby you can think of on Craftsy. I have purchased classes on photography, sewing, cooking, quilting and of course, knitting. Some of my favorite knitting designers have taught Craftsy classes so I have been thrilled to sit in on their classes without purchasing airplane tickets or investing deeply into my wallet. You might remember when I knit my Portaluca Cardigan with one of my favorite designers, Carol Feller. Ms. Feller walked me through each step of this sweater and I knit it with confidence as she shared many tips. I wore it with pride in Dublin when I went to the knitting store she teaches at and they recognized it immediately.
I believe there are at least 70 knitting classes now on Craftsy and the beginning class I would recommend is Knit Lab with Stephanie Jabal. Craftsy is constantly running specials on their classes so if it is full price when you check it out you might want to wait until the next sale which will be right around the corner.
By the way, I can now make a pretty decent pie crust thanks to a Pie Crust class I took on Craftsy!
The other three resources I mentioned above are pretty much self-explanatory and you can click on the links to find out more about them. I hope this post helps inspire some of you who want to learn to knit. I encourage you to give it a try. Elizabeth Zimmerman used to always say that you only have to learn two stitches – how to knit, how to purl, and everything else was just a combination of those. In today’s age, with all these amazing resources at our fingertips, I truly believe ANYONE can learn to knit. If you have any more questions then feel free to always leave them in the comment section. I will be writing another post soon on my favorite knitting tools. Happy Knitting!