Friday, September 19, 2014

Lesson 4: The Purl Stitch

Now that you've been practicing your knit stitch, you should have a square of knitting, something like this:

Now you're ready to learn the purl stitch. The purl stitch is essentially the reverse of the knit stitch. Instead of holding the yarn at the back and pulling the loop through the left stitch toward you, you'll hold the yarn in front of your work and pull the working yarn through the loop away from you. Here's a video, so you can see it in action:

(I think I'm starting to get better at videos. You can hear me breathing in this one, and for that I apologize. I rigged up a harness to hold my real camera on my chest, instead of sitting my laptop backward and using the built in web cam. Better video, worse sound. But I'm getting valuable practice!)

Now you have your first two rows of your second stitch pattern. This is called stockinette stitch, and is going to be one of your most used stitch patterns. Knit a row when the smooth side is facing you, and purl a row when the bumpy side is facing you. It's that simple. As you work, you will find your stockinette knitting curls up on you. That's okay. It's normal for it to do that, because all the "weight" of the stitches is on the back side of the fabric. You can even use that tendency to add design elements like rolled hems and cuffs. For now, just let it do its thing.

Keep going with your stockinette pattern until you have a square of stockinette on top of your square of garter stitch. It will take you fewer rows than you knitted in garter to get a square. Make your last row a purl row, and we will be ready to move on to the next lesson, where we will be learning how to take our knitting off of the needles without unraveling it all, which is a pretty handy thing to know, don't you think? Then we'll look at some fun things you can do with combining knit and purl stitches to make interesting textures. Remember to stay relaxed and enjoy your knitting. And if you're following along, feel free to ask questions, or just show off your first square!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Lesson 3.5: Mistakes Are Inevitable, and That's Okay.

One of my favorite places in the world is Epcot (Or, as it's still called in my head, EPCOT Center,) at Walt Disney World. I have great memories of the place. My dad and I used to spend so much time wandering around there when I was a kid.

What does this have to do with knitting? Well, the Moroccan Pavilion. The back half of Epcot is the World Showcase. Little tastes of 11 different countries, with the architecture, food, fashion, and culture of that country represented in a little pavilion. Even the people working there are college students from those countries. The king of Morocco sent his own craftsmen to create the gorgeous tile mosaics that cover a large part of mini-Morocco. Mosaics like this one:

Wow, right?!

Lesson 3: Making Knit Stitches.

It's time to knit! Yay!

Start with another of my brilliantly made and edited videos:

I forgot to mention when wrapping the yarn around the working needle, wrap from front to back.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Lesson 2: Let's Put String On Sticks.

Now that we have yarn, and we have needles, we need to put them together. Making a base of stitches for knitting to go into is called casting on. There are several techniques for casting on. In this lesson, I'm going to show you the long tail cast on. Your Auntie is not the most tech savvy person, but here's a video that I hope will help you visualize how it's done. Watch, then try to follow along.

Lesson One; Let's Go Shopping!

Alright, the first thing we need if we're going to knit is some supplies. There are hundreds of specialized tools available to knitters. We will get to most of those later. There's no need to go drop a pile of cash at the craft store on stuff. To begin, we only need a few basic tools.

You will need yarn, a pair of knitting needles, scissors, and a yarn needle or tapestry needle. That's it. Don't let all the shiny bits and bobs on the knitting aisle confuse you. You'll learn about all that later. There are one or two extras you may opt to pick up, but they're really not necessary yet. You should be able to get everything you need for less than $20 in most craft stores or yarn stores.


Hello, new friend! Let me introduce myself. I'm Emmy, Auntie Em to my nieces and nephews, and I love knitting. And crochet, and all forms of fiber arts. And I love to teach other people to enjoy these passions of mine. As my circle of students keeps growing, a blog they can reference for concepts and techniques seemed like a valuable tool. And opening it up to anyone who can web search isn't any harder than making a closed one. So, here you are, and I hope we will have a lot of fun.

Let's call this our mission statement. My goal with this blog is to take the absolute beginner from never having touched a knitting needle to designing their first custom sweater. How long will that take? Well, that depends on how fast you learn, and how much time you have to devote to practicing. But, don't worry. This is a hobby, not a competition, and you will get there. The most important thing is to relax, enjoy the process, and not let yourself get frustrated.

As of today, August 31, 2014, this blog is just a baby. It's my intention to post a lesson every week or two. If you're starting now, I may move more slowly than you'd like. You may finish lessons before I post the next one. In that case, feel free to work ahead. There is a wealth of instructional videos on YouTube, and plenty of other knitting blogs that you can use to learn more advanced techniques. Some of them do things differently than I will teach you. There is no wrong way to knit, as long as you get the results you want. Try several methods, and use the one you like best. If you have questions about something I've covered, or need clarification, speak up. Leave a comment on the post, or contact me directly. I'm always happy to answer.

If you're coming along after there are enough posts to keep you busy, well, the same advice still applies. Try other methods, too. It could be one of them clicks better for you.

Are you excited? I am! Let's learn to knit!