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So, today's craft focus is on ... knitting! If you've always wanted to knit but never got round to learning then there's loads of ways you could go about it.

It depends on what your learning style is - some people prefer to be shown, some people prefer to read it in a book or online, some like to learn in a group and others want to work it out on their own. There's places for each of these, and plenty of resources to help you on your way.



Here's just a few:

Knittinghelp.com is a free website, with videos, dedicated to helping people to learn how to knit.

Ravelry is "a community site, an organisational tool, and a yarn & pattern database for knitters and crocheters". You do need to sign up if you want to join them, but it's worth it. Be warned - it is awesome but will eat your free time!

If you like to go and meet up with people to have tea / beer and do knitting, then there are lots of groups around the world who would be most pleased to see you. Have a look at http://stitchnbitch.org/, who also have a range of books http://www.knithappens.com/. Also do go and visit your local department store's haberdashery department, as some of them host local knitting groups. Other useful organisations are the W.I. and the UK Hand Knitting Association, who recently teamed up to break the Guinness World Record for "the most people knitting simultaneously for fifteen minutes".

In terms of books, have a think about the sort of book you want ... do you want a list of techniques and stitches or do you want a book of projects you can make? Or both!



This is one my husband knitted for me from this book. It's great for small things to knit, which can also be used as embellishments on larger projects.

Do you want something you can wear, something you can use, or something geeky and awesome?



This fabulous Dalek was knitted by my husband for my birthday! He found the pattern on the internet. He's happiest with a few balls of different coloured 4 ply and will sometimes make up his own patterns, while I like to just "sit and knit" and own far too many pretty fluffy scarves as a result!

Knitting is great. You can knit what you want, when you want (apart from on the aeroplane - grr!). You don't have to know loads of fancy stitches or be able to follow a pattern to make a basic scarf - I've had loads of compliments on this one and it's just 3 balls of wool, done on 7.5mm needles, with normal knit stitch. Fabulous yarn can make up for a lot of technical shortcomings! :)



There's also a worldwide "Knit in Public Day" http://www.wwkipday.com/ which happens in June.

There's loads of types of wool out there, from standard sheep to bamboo, from silk to polyamide and everything in between. You can even get wool made out of recycled denim! Check out your local independent shops as well as larger stores and online. When you're just starting out it's a good idea to pop into a shop and get them to advise you on what you need. The internet is fabulous at advice too, but you can't feel the wool on a picture! I find that touch is the most important thing for me when choosing a new wool - I need to know that I like the feel of it or I won't want to wear it.

Knitting needles come in several types - you can get them in metal, plastic or bamboo. I like metal needles in the smaller sizes and plastic in the larger sizes. However, I recently tried bamboo needles and was pleasantly surprised.

I do like knitting - it's not something I would ever do professionally but I enjoy the satisfaction of having made a big fluffy scarf and the way that you can just sit and knit a few rows if you only have a few minutes! With a lot of the other artwork I do it's a "one way" process - knitting is great because you can go back and pick up stitches or unpick your mistakes, or just undo it all and start again if you need to! I made this one last month while we were on holiday - it gave me something relaxing to do in the evenings and the wool was just £1 per ball in the sale bin! It doesn't have to be an expensive hobby ...



Do you have a favourite resource I haven't mentioned, or some hints for someone just starting out as a knitter? Do pop a note in the comments!

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janecameron

September 2015

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