On the Seventh Day of Christmas, I give you a shopping list for your favorite beginner knitter.
My grandmother taught me to knit as a teenager. I think it was fall 1988? There was this great sweater pattern in Seventeen Magazine. It was a fisherman style in ecru wool with a bauble and cable pattern down the front. They paired it with a long, plaid skirt and granny boots. I really wanted it but couldn't knit. My grandmother showed me how but I never really got the hang of it. (She knit the sweater for me.)
In college, I took some knitting lessons and it finally clicked. (I didn't tell my grandmother that I took these lessons!) I have continued to knit on and off throughout the years. While I will never be spectacular at it, I do find comfort in the meditative rhythm and warmth.
Like any craft, knitting requires just a few items to begin. Here is a list that any young knitter would love!
I like these needles for their small size and two colors. This makes it a bit easier to explain where to hold your left and right hands in relation to each other. You can show them that the right hand holds the right needle and the left hand holds the left needle. The right hand can grip the left needle when it's in the X of a knit stitch. I use this rhyme when walking kids through knitting: In though the front door, around the back, out through the window, and off jumps Jack. Knitting isn't hard but it can be a bit tricky to learn, this just makes it a bit easier. I prefer natural wood needles, with the exception of one pair of metal ones that I happen to love.
Yarn. There is yarn and then there is yarn. If you have a local yarn shop, I recommend starting there. In Norfolk, Baa Baa Sheep has an excellent selection, and friendly and knowledgable staff and full service. Otherwise, check out Purl or any chain craft or fabric shop. Yarn is organized and sold by color, fiber and weight (stitches per inch).
yarn bowl I didn't get one of these until last year. I wish that I had it earlier. Before then, I always kept my yarn in a bag on the floor but would often have to tug or unwind it. The bowl controls the tension better and keeps your yarn clean and tangle free.
Yarn Ball Winder You can wind your yarn by hand but this does make the process a bit quicker and with the manual crank your child can control the speed. Like everything else, there are much fancier versions available.
Sometimes you have to put your knitting project down. These point protectors keep your stitches from falling off of the needle when you place your work aside.
Yarn needle These large eye blunt needles are great for weaving in ends and sewing seams on your knitting projects.
When following a pattern or trying to knit to an exact measurement, a Stitch counter is a gift. There are many types of counters or registers, but this one gets the job done.
This stitch gauge hasn't changed much but is essential to your knitting bag. This handy tool helps determine both the size of the needle you are using and the number of stitches you have stitched per inch of work.
I think that Kids Knitting: Projects for kids of alI ages by Melanie Falick is one of the best beginner knitting instruction books available. I can guarantee any book written or edited by Melanie Falick will be virtually foolproof. This is a process-driven book with step by step photos and illustrations. It is sure to be a pleaser.
There are also many free pattern available on the internet. Some easy beginner projects include: a scarf, boot toppers, phone case, or a sampling of small squares that can later be stitched together lined and filled with rice and lavender to make hand warmers.
One of the great things about Holiday and Summer vacation for kids is that they have some time to explore things they might not during the hectic school year. This winter might be the perfect time for you and your child to pick up some needles, yarn and learn to knit!