Saturday, June 9, 2012

Purls of Wisdom: Part 1 - getting started and knit stitch with GARTER STITCH HEADBAND project

Many people admire my knit-work in the jumper I wear all the time, or just in little bits and bobs I make or am in the process of making.  These friends don't knit themselves because they believe it is too hard and intricate.  Here I would like to debunk that myth and provide you with the tools to start knitting: it is actually really simple and after only learning the basics I could make a jumper!  I have to thank my mum for being a huge influence on my knitting and for always helping me when things get more difficult.  So here let me be your mum and show you how to get started!  Trust me: it's a hobby you'll never regret starting.

You will need a pair of needles and some wool: I like to use 4mm needles and 8ply wool simply because that is the size used for a lot of jumpers and it's a size not too small that it's fiddly and not too large that you can't make small projects with.  As well as these two essentials you will need a pair of scissors (you can get knitting scissors at this online store or you can just pop into any crafty store, or you can just use regular scissors) and a mattress needle: this is the big needle that fits wool in the eye.

The first thing to do, for any project, is know how to turn that thread of yarn into stitches to start knitting from.  There are many different methods of casting on and I feel the one I choose to use produces a really nice scalloped edging.  I thought the best way to explain would be through a video and against all my instincts I started a YouTube channel in order to enable myself to share my videos here.  I'm pretty subconscious about recording myself; but I really wanted to share it.  So grab some wool and cast on!  I realised when teaching a friend to knit, that what feels natural to me is actually very difficult the first time around.  So I'm sorry if I glossed over how to hold the needles in that first video; I hope this will be helpful if you're having trouble.

Next: get knitting!! The knit stitch is the first stitch we'll learn; and the good news is there are only 2 stitches in total.

Last of all is casting off.  This method is done on the same side that you started on, so the scalloped edging of both ends are both on the same side.

Actually, last of all was second last of all, because now you have a piece of knitted work many projects call for it to be attached, either to itself, or to another piece (unless you're making a scarf or something very regular).  So let's learn how to join up our work: seemingly seamlessly.

Now you know these 3 knitting techniques it's time to use them.  Here is a pattern for a very simple headband in Garter Stitch.  Garter stitch is where you only knit using the knit stitch (as opposed to purl) and gives a flexible, stretchy result which is perfect for a headband.
I measure it to be 41cm for my head, but it may be bigger or smaller than your head, so I suggest when you reach 41cm, before casting off, try it around your head for size.

When If you try this project please send me some photos!

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