This week I received a comment from Clio where she asked:
“I’m thinking about picking up knitting this Autumn – it would be nice to have a hobby I could do on the couch! Do you have any suggestions for beginner books or DVD’s or websites that might be a good resource for a beginner who is a bit intimidated? Thanks for any suggestions!”
I couldn’t agree more with Clio. I love crisp autumn evenings spent on the sofa with a babes asleep upstairs, husband ensconced next to me, a fire, a glass of something warming and the perfect knitting project. It’s one of the most lovely ways to spend time. So I thought I’d share my favourite resources here with you all.
First up has to be Ravelry. This is always my first stop for patterns as there is an enormous selection, many of which you can download for free. And if, for example, you want to knit a ladies lace cardigan in 4 ply, then you can narrow the search parameters to find just what you’re looking for. The advance search facility has been invaluable for me in knitting up my stash as you can also search for patterns for the 700m of aran yarn you have in your stash! Brilliant.
Ravelry also has a great community and as well as patterns you can find yarn and groups of likeminded people…either locally or globally.
AND you can track your projects and stash and share them with the world.
Whilst we’re on the topic of community…for new knitters I can’t recommend enough searching out your local knitting group. You can search on Ravelry, at your local library, your local yarn shop or at Stitch ‘n’ Bitch. Knitters are fabulous people and are always happy to welcome newcomers, however inexperienced. They are also always happy to share their expertise.
So now you have a pattern and some knitting friends, obviously you need some yarn. When I started knitting about 30 years ago the selection was limited to what your local yarn shop stocked, and my local yarn shop stocked acrylic or scratchy wool.
We’ve come a long way baby!
Now you can get yarn in everything from alpaca to steel, and a myriad of fibers inbetween. It’s all down to personal taste and, of course, budget as to what you buy. My rule of thumb is to buy the best I can afford as I’m putting a lot of time, effort and love into each project.
My absolutely favourite yarn shop is Brownberry Yarns. I’ve mentioned Sarah’s shop here many times before and with good reason. She stocks lovely yarns and is just delightful. I know her from my knitting group and can’t recommend her highly enough.
I also use MCA who stock more mainstream yarns and provide a fabulous service. The Black Sheep was recommended to me by my knitting group and I’ve just placed an order with them saving 50% on the cost of the yarn. Bargain!
I must also mention a couple of ladies I know who are independent yarn producers. Krafty Koala dyed the yarn for my wedding shrugs and Laal Bear produced the alpaca/silk blend for my Gingko Shoulderette Shawl.
Now you have your yarn and pattern, should you need to find out how to cast on, or shape an armhole, or knit an icord, I invariably turn to either YouTube or Vogue Knitting:
There are, of course, so many other resources out there….Vogue Knitting Magazine, The Knitter Magazine, Twist Collective, Interweave Knits….the list goes on. But you’ve got to start somewhere, so I hope this collection of my “go-to” knitting spots will have you happily tucked up on the sofa with the rest of us.