Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Knitterly Question

So, I'm browsing through my absolute favorite place in the world yesterday - a used bookstore - when I find an entire section devoted to knitting! Books on knitting basics, Debbie Bliss books on sweaters, ponchos and hats (oh, my!). All kinds of knitting goodies. I didn't buy anything, though, because I thought: But, I'm not very good yet. So I left there with no knitting books, but when I got home, I thought again: I'm an idiot. I should have bought some of those books anyway!

So my knitterly question is this: Should I practice knitting by making dishcloth after dishcloth, or scarves, or just swatching all the time? Or should I just pick a book of easy patterns and start already? I'm the kind of person who doesn't like to start slow. (Bet'cha didn't know that! wink, wink) If I'm going to do something, I just want to dive right in and do it already! So what do you think? Practice first, or just go ahead and start (and plan on lots of frogging?)


Steph said...

As a knitter, I can't say it emphatically enough: Get the pattern book! Ditch the dishclothes! If you can make a scarf, you can make a poncho or a hat, and sweaters are not nearly as hard as people think. Go for it. If you have specific questions, go to a yarn store and ask for advice, or hit up Suze or me for help. Even if you mess up at first, that's how you get better. You learn by doing. Good luck!

BTW, is a good source of free patterns. There is some stuff that is pretty tricky on there, but once you're ready for easy sweaters, it's a great place to look.

Becca said...

Not a knitter, but I would highly recommend scouring ThriftTown and Goodwill for knitting books and materials. I come across a ton of crafting supplies from would-be hobbyists when I visit GW, as well as books and patterns. all for a fraction of what you'd pay at Michael's or even a used bookstore.

That way, if you decide to splurge on those items, the cost might be something you're a bit more comfortable with. If you can't find any stuff in the thrift stores near you, you'll just have to drive here and check out my local Goodwills :D

Suze said...

I say, dive right in! It's way more fun when you're making things other than dishcloths (unless you really LIKE making dishcloths of course), and like Steph said, you can always ask for help. Knitting a sweater doesn't have to be much more complicated than knitting a scarf, actually. Esp for a smart cookie like yourself. And a lot of knitting books rate patterns according to difficulty. Debbie Bliss, for example, has lots of simple knits and her books tend to have a whole section on "how to knit" in case you forget how to do something.

If you find a book with patterns you like at a used bookstore, by all means, pick it up! Remember, too, that there are tons of patterns available online, many of them free. Check out for patterns (which are rated according to difficulty) and articles with all kinds of useful information.

Tara said...

I would start with ONE simple book rather than loading up a bookshelf. That way you're not overwhelmed with the choices when you're ready to start your big project.

Myself, I'd be happy to learn how to do a scarf or dishcloth!

AnnaMarie said...

I love the One Skein books because you can make something cool without spending a lot of dough. I think the one mistake I made when I learned to knit was to buy crappy yarn for my first project. You want to buy some yarn that you want to work with, not some synthetic crap.

Knitters unite!

Jessi said...

I can honestly say that I didn't really know how to crochet until I started using patterns. I thought I knew how to crochet, but I only knew how to do two stitches. It takes working from a pattern (in my opinion) to develop your skill. I don't know if that's how it is for knitting, too, but I imagine it is.

Suze said...

Yup, Jessi, you're right. A pattern is a really good way to start. And Anna Marie is right about yarn. Use wool, EVEN in San Antonio! Good basic wool is not expensive and it is way more forgiving than acrylic or plant fibers, plus easier on your hands. If you don't like how it looks, you can always felt it (unless the wool is superwash) to be a coaster :)