Thursday, 12 June 2008

Knitting - An Introduction

To get things rolling, I reckon I should start with what I know best and what most people find a little weird – I knit.

I get a lot of strange reactions to this confession. Most of them are positive but usually they’re a little baffled too. People treat knitting like some kind of alchemy; a secret, ancient ritual they don’t understand – kind of like hopscotch. The only secret about it is that it’s really not that hard. So here are some ideas to get you started:

The classic knitting bible these days is Stitch ‘n’ Bitch, which I can highly recommend as a place to start. If you want help from a person, rather than a book, pop into your local yarn store (yes, you do have one somewhere, trust me). In London there’s the wonderful Loop, where I feel like I’m in one of those retro sweet shops with jars of coloured goodies everywhere; or the charming and helpful I Knit. Both run classes from the shop and I Knit is also a well-known knitting group that meets in a pub each week. Pop along, say hello, and some kind soul will show you how to work the needles.

Supplies can easily be found online – the fabulous Texere stocks anything to do with fibre, so if you want to knit, weave, spin, make rugs or paper this is a one-stop-shop, but there are loads of others out there.

If you're looking for patterns there are freebies over at Knitty and an endless choice of magazines and books from places like Rowan and Interweave. (Although remember, any pattern free or otherwise, is still someone else's design so you can't sell it or the garment you make from it - respect the copyright, people).

And if you need a little inspiration take a look at the fantastic Keep and Share. Ethically sourced, carbon-neutral, beautifully handmade, designer knitwear. I’m still saving my pennies for one of these beauties. Sigh. So if you thought knitwear was only about matching Arran sweaters, this should put that myth to rest. All the way over in New York you’ll find Brooklyn Tweed, proving that knitting isn’t just for girls. His Cobblestone Sweater is probably the best knitted gift I’ve made and his yarn photography makes me drool – just beautiful.

Once the knitting bug catches you, find a fellow obsessive in the Yarn Harlot. This Canadian author always makes me chuckle and her talks all over the States give you an idea of just how many knitters are out there…

And finally, once you are One of Us, head on over to Ravelry and prepare to be amazed. Sort of like MySpace for knitting.

Knitting will be a recurring theme here in Hoxton Towers, so why not give it a go? I’ll be posting some of my very own patterns too, once I get my camera working…

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