Knitting could be more soothing to some of us during stay home periods!!
I learned how to knit from my friends’s mom more than 10 years ago. I still have a beautiful afghan on my bed that she knitted. (Hi!) During times of stress, I find knitting soothing.
I don’t do anything difficult. No lacework, no intarsia, just a little bit of cabling when I’m feeling fancy. The idea is that I should be able to just bang out row after row while watching something else; I am most likely to knit during a Zoom meeting, for instance. So that leaves me with the basics: garter stitch, stockinette, ribbing, moss stitch. The things you can do on autopilot.
Which is probably why I’m knitting so much — it’s nice to fidget while my brain is focused on somewhere else. Zoom meetings tire me; it’s difficult to figure out when to speak without interrupting someone else, and unless there’s a clear structure or an obvious reason to speak, I mostly keep my mouth shut. (During a friend’s birthday party, her sister asked if I was on the call. I was knitting in silence. I unmuted to say hello, re-muted, then went back to knitting.)
Lately, I have been knitting a surprise for a friend’s one-year-old son. It would be cheaper — and definitely easier — for me to purchase a machine-made version of what I’m making. I am essentially paying extra money to create something that won’t be as “perfect,” but what I am really buying is relaxation.
To get started knitting — it is not difficult — you can check out this tutorial from Purl Soho, which will show you how to cast on. Then, you can start knitting. If you want, you can learn the other major stitch, the purl for which the shop is named, and just go to town. Purl Soho also has excellent free patterns if you’re looking for a project. If you want to cast a wider net, Ravelry, which has a comforting Old Internet feel, is an enormous archive of knitting projects. There are also forums if you need help.
You will need materials. You can, if you like, order these online. You could also see if there’s a local crafts store or yarn store that you can support. Good yarn is expensive; for your first project, it’s probably best to use the cheap stuff. — Liz Lopatto, deputy editor
We’re not saying you’ll be knitting 2017’s top gif anytime soon, but it’s okay to dream big.
I had a friend — hEY, BUNMI!—teach me knitting last year so I’d stop playing Dead Cells while I was watching TV. (Yes, it was that strangely specific.) I love it because it’s so forgiving — if you screw up, you can unravel the yarn and start over. My biggest early challenge was actually buying needles. I had no idea just how many there are for different kinds of projects, and I didn’t want to waste lots of space and money on a new hobby or get stuck knitting flat rectangles for the rest of my life.
The best strategy for me has been working up a difficulty curve. Start with simple scarves, which use two classic single-pointed needles. (You can buy cheap bamboo multi-packs to have a few sizes on hand.) After that, get some double-pointed needles for knitting small round things like fingerless mitts and gloves. I bought a cool swappable circular needle set for larger projects under quarantine, but there’s no reason to jump on a huge kit right away.
Ravelry is incredibly helpful here. It’s basically a knitter’s clearinghouse where you can search by needle size and yarn weight to find projects you can actually make. It also keeps a good updated list of local yarn stores that are still shipping during the pandemic.