Want to keep your hands busy watching your evening show?
(In NYC people are very friendly in the subway when you take out your knitting!).
So why not take up knitting?!
Making things makes us proud! And that’s good for morale!
And considering the price of a hat, it’s better to do it yourself, isn’t it ?
And especially knitting has rejuvenate a lot these last few years. Between new ways of doing things, knitting cocktail parties, knitting brunch, it has become a very social activity!
Knitting is for me, my moment of relaxation – my yoga!
I’m rather very impulsive but knitting allows me to calm down, relativize and relax.
And where do you find the right knitting pattern to start?
For several years now, the “knitting community” has been on the Ravelry website.
There are patterns for everyone and for all tastes: layette, adult sweaters, mittens, panties (yes, yes!),…
On this platform there is also a community aspect where people exchange around patterns they knit at the same time (KAL = knit along).
To start with, don’t hesitate tochoose free patterns.The choice is very wide.
And above all, you avoid starting with a 3 m long scarf project. A horror as soon as you pass 50 cm. It seems INTERMININABLE!
I advise you to use small objects like a headband. The Frida by Emilie Luis is perfect :
She’s one of the most famous French designers ! Her patterns are clear and detailed.
The layette with hats or slippers are also perfect. You learn very quickly the basic techniques and you progress quickly.
And how do I go about doing that?
I select a pattern and look at the advice for the size of the needles, the quantity and quality of the wool and the small material.
Be careful between the French and American sizes – yard, meter, millimeter, … We work well on the conversions at least !
On Ravelry, everything is indicated in the two measuring systems in general.
Then,I watch tutorials on YouTube to visualize the techniques.
My friend Gaëlle’s channel is very good to learn.
And of course, I buy my equipment.
The right equipment?
Now it gets a bit complicated: straight needles, circular needles, metal, plastic, wood,… The offer is more full than the chips shelf in your supermarket.
I’ll give you some guidance.
We all have in mind the grandmothers with needles stuck under their arms : it’s FINISHED !
We’re now knitting with circular needles. It allows you to limit or even stop sewing at the end of a sweater or hatfor example.
The grip is very good and more ergonomic. If you have straight needles you can, of course, use them. But even if you buy them, you might as well start off on the right foot.
After, the differences are on the materials, there are :
plastic : very uncomfortable from the first stitches – To run away !
metal: it slips well – a lot even: perfect when you start to master it.
wood : the right material to start with. It slips but not too much and it’s comfortable to hold.
The very good brands are among others Knit Pro or Chiaogoo.
Wools slide well on it. And above all, the material is resistant over time!
The right wool?
As for needles, there are different qualities:
acrylic : it is machine washable and ironable and it is not expensive. Well, it’s not wool but oil. Very attractive price!
industrial wools :such as Phildar for the well known French brand or Lion Brand in the USA. The qualities are variable: from 100% pure wool to blends with acrylic and wool. Attractive prices.
natural materials : cotton, linen, hemp, … perfect for summer knits. These materials are less easy to handle because they are stiffer but the prices are very affordable and the manufacturers make very nice colours.
hand-dyed wools : with various colours, different wool origins (yak, merino, mohair, …). It’s beautiful, it shines, it’s soft, but it’s much more expensive! I recommend them for later when you will be more comfortable!And last advice, we’ll see if it’s superwash or not.
Basically, if it’s not, it means your knitwear will have to be hand washed. When you’re knitting layette for example, superwash is more than recommended!
And where do I get that?
You have several choices. The “big” brands such as Michael’s, Joann, Flying Tigers have a lot of choice in wool and small materials.
The specialized shops (certainly more expensive) will have plenty of advice to give you.
Here are some cool addresses in NYC :
Annie and Co
SW corner of E 92nd Street and 2nd Avenue
W 79th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue
Broome Street between Mercer and Greene Streets
Brooklyn General Store
128 Union Street Brooklyn, NY 11231
String Thing Studio
54 7th Avenue – Brooklyn, NY, 11217
And a very cool shop in NJ:
495 Cedar Ln, Teaneck, NJ 07666
The list is of course not exhaustive!
So, are we on?
I’ll quickly prepare a tutorial to make your knitted sponges: simple stitches and a little gesture for the planet!