How To Knit
One of the oldest craft-forms to still exist in modern times, knowing how to knit is all about being able to turn mere yarn into a fantastic bit of cloth. Whether done by hand or machine, knitting is a wonderful craft that requires a bit of practice but is something that anyone can do quite easily. The practice of knitting uses needles and yarn combined using specific knitting techniques that entangle the yarn in beautiful patterns, creating a variety of garments in the process.
Originating from the Dutch word "Knutten", knitting goes back as far as the Egyptian civilization in the 1st century AD. Surprisingly, the men were the first to learn how to knit and slowly, as knitting became a non-essential craft, women started entering the trade. Soon, hand-knitting became a leisure activity while machine knitting took over the commercial side. Today, only those people who really want to learn how to knit are the ones who take it up, whether as a hobby or as a profession.
Knitting needs some specific tools that are neither expensive nor too difficult to find. Knitting needles are available extremely easily and yarn or wool is very easy to find as well. So, getting started just requires a tiny amount of money although you could do with a lot of patience. Each yarn comes with a specified needle-size mentioned on their label, so either buy the needle accordingly or pick a yarn that goes with the needle you have.
To begin, pick something that's greater than the size 8 (American) needles because that's too fine and will take you hours to make anything significant out of it. What you are looking for is something that's big, with a lot of volume, and will help you create something very quickly. Take two straight needles to get started - nothing fancy - and get circular needle as well. This is great if you are looking to knit something in a circular pattern.
The First Knitting Project
The first thing you should start with is something extremely simple. Since we don't really have woollen handkerchiefs, if you want to make something meaningful then learn how to knit by making a scarf. You can even try making a purse or something like a sleeve for your laptop or phone, but a scarf is something that you can also use, personally, so it is often the most popular choice.
What you basically need to do is use some simple stitching techniques and combine them to create something that's not too complicated in terms of shape and size.
The Knitting Basics
What you need to know are three basic things - how to cast the yarn onto the needle; how to knit or the various kinds of patterns that you can use to knit, and how to close a design or "cast off" as they say. Casting on is all about ensuring that the yarn stays on the needle and doesn't slide off while you are knitting. When you are learning how to knit, this is one of the first and most important things that will be taught to you so learn it well.
Knitting patterns are the next thing in line and there are plenty of stitching styles and techniques for you to learn. To know how to knit, you need to know what these patterns are and a few basic ones should be good enough to get you started off. Make sure you practice your stitches as much as possible, ensuring that when it becomes almost mechanical for you to knit with the yarn.
Finally, casting off is all about taking your final creation off the needles without unraveling all your hard work. It is also quite important to do this properly because you might just end up weakening your design or, worse, ruining it in the process.
Once you start getting the hang of knitting, you need to start practicing. As you go about practicing how to knit, you will find several different patterns and stitching techniques for you to try. Give them all a shot until you find something that suits you well. You need to like what you are doing and the pattern that becomes your favourite can also become your trademark in the future.
Most people who learn how to knit are started off on the English-style of knitting. The other kind, called Continental style, is less popular mainly because of its reduced usage during the mid-20th century. While in England, knitting continued at regular pace, Europeans stopped using this craft as machinery took over the hand-knitting style. Germany was the hub of continental knitting but during the First World War, people began having second thoughts about this German craft.
Depending on what style you prefer, pick one and find a way to include its techniques into your work. Soon, you will find that learning how to knit is one of the best ways to spend your free time!