Once considered a hobby for the retired and elderly, knitting has seen a resurgence of popularity in the last three years, particularly among teens and young adults. Knitting is a creative activity that rewards you with homemade gifts for self, friends and family (and a sense of accomplishment.) If you've not tried knitting yet, or simply need a refresher, here's a stash of sites that will show you how.
Although experts say the Continental knitting method (holding the yarn in your left hand) is faster, holding the yarn in your right hand (called English) is the most popular method in the States. English is also the easiest style for kids to learn. Knitting Help showcases both schools with their how-to-knit videos, found in Getting Started, Basic Techniques and Advanced Techniques. They also host a very active discussion forum, a few pages of free patterns, and a glossary of knitting abbreviations.
Although I usually shy away from link directories, Knitting Pattern Central is a terrific example of the kind of directory I do like: one that specializes. Knitting Pattern Central "is an online directory featuring thousands of links to free knitting patterns, currently with over fifty categories from which to choose, including hats, sweaters, afghans, ponchos, mittens and gloves, kitchen items, toys, and much more." Another fun section is Tips â€˜n Tricks with over eight pages of reader-submitted knitting tips.
Knitty ("little purls of wisdom") is an online knitting magazine with a fun, hip attitude. Instead of the usual difficulty ratings that range from easy to hard, knitting patterns at Knitty are rated mellow, tangy, piquant or extra spicy. Is this food or knitting? Although there are no beginner tutorials at Knitty.com, there are regular columnists and featured articles that address all aspects of knitting. I was intrigued by an article about making bags from old sweaters. "Bags are really fun to make, because you can hardly go wrong. They are a great place to experiment, they don't have to fit, it's okay to have lots of them and they make great gifts."
Why do twenty-four million people love knitting and crocheting? Learn to Knit (sponsored by the Craft Yarn Council of America) lists fourteen reasons, including its calming effect, and the balance it adds to a high-tech lifestyle. Learn To Knit also answers the common questions: How is knitting different from crocheting, and which one should I learn? But the best reasons to visit are the introductory lessons found in the Basics section: basic knitting, basic crocheting, and how to read a pattern.
"Remember, you should have fun with your knitting. If you get stuck, take a deep breath, but keep at it!" This twenty-nine page illustrated Learn to Knit guide is my favorite tutorial because it goes beyond basic knitting and purling to cover increasing, decreasing, making a cable, ribbing and more. Other great clicks are the Learn to Crochet guide, patterns (which require free registration with name, address, and email), and an article archive from past Lion Brand Yarn newsletters.