Tips, patterns and tutorials from two knitting experts so you can get started with the perfect winter crafts

To learn a skill like knitting, you must immerse yourself in the process and embrace the virtue of patience. But Jenny Benjamin thinks quick wins are also important.

“A scarf seems like a great, simple knitting project. Go straight ahead and continue. But to make a scarf long enough, you might need six balls of yarn. For a slow beginner this will take a while. Some people will get bored and never finish, ”she said. Large format sheet.

That’s why the co-owner of The Selvedge Society fabric store in Stanmore, Sydney, says to start small. “I’m busy; I have three kids. What gives me the most fun are the quick stuff. The tea towels are fantastic. You knit 20 or 30 rows and you’re done. You get such a buzz, not to mention the fact that you create something lasting, I like to give them to friends as gifts.

A Google search will bring up an overwhelming list of tea towel designs, so Benjamin created a cute and simple dish towel design for Large format sheet. A $ 7 ball of Selvedge Society Australian-made cotton yarn or similar will make three.

Deb McDonald, co-owner of The Skein Sisters wool store in Dulwich Hill in Sydney, also warns against the scarf, but suggests another neck garment for a first draft. “To make a scarf worth it, [it] takes a huge amount of knitting. With something like a hood, you only need it once around the neck, so it’s a nice little project. Don’t do things that take too long or you’ll get bored and discouraged.

First steps
Before embarking on a project, a beginner needs the basics: how to cast on (put the yarn on the needle), how to knit or garter stitches (vertical crisscross stitches that look the same on both sides) and how to make stitches purl or stockinette stitches (stitches that look like rows of horizontal Vs). The Purl Soho US store website has a beginners section with easy-to-follow tutorials and notes to help you practice.

It is inevitable that your first draft will not be perfect. For example, while you are your technique, your tension – that is, the force with which you pull the yarn as you knit – can be inconsistent, resulting in uneven and uneven work and a lot of frustration. At this point, it is best to put down the needles and seek inspiration. “I always recommend people to visit Purl Soho online,” says Benjamin. “The products themselves are quite expensive, but they have great free templates, video tutorials, and they’re very organized so you don’t get overwhelmed. The photography is really well done and it’s nice to spend time there.

Another strategy is to go for a wool suitable for beginners that forgives a bit of uneven tension. “Soft and thick yarns can be knitted loosely. They drape well and hide tension issues, ”says McDonald. What if you are wrong? “You’re the only one who knows there’s a mistake,” she said. “Don’t cancel it unless it is obvious. Everyone will think you have done an amazing thing. Nothing that is mine is ever perfect.

Some projects
While the cost to start knitting is low – often less than $ 20 for a ball of yarn and a set of needles – it’s easy to get sucked into buying nice yarn and attempting overly ambitious projects. “Knitting can be an expensive thing to go wrong.”

The Skein Sisters (who trade online purely because of Covid-19) and The Selvedge Society both have startup projects that combine a cool pattern with the right yarn to keep costs down.

This could be a hood made from a thick terra cotta thread that knits quickly because it is thick. The Selvedge Society sells a classic beanie kit with Australian-made wool in contemporary colors such as sage green. Benjamin also offers pom pom makers to add a classic mattress topper to your beanie.

A template to start
Selvedge Society Easy Dish Towel Knitting Pattern
1 ball of 8 cotton threads
knitting needles 4 mm
Cast on 40 stitches
Row 1 to 3: Knit (plain) all stitches
Row 4: Knit all stitches
Row 5: Knit all stitches
Row 6: Knit 6 stitches then purl until there are 6 stitches left, then knit these 6 stitches
Row 7: Knit all stitches
Row 8: Knit 6 stitches then purl until there are 6 stitches left, then knit these 6 stitches
Row 9: Knit all stitches
(Rows 4 to 9 form the pattern)
Repeat this pattern 7 more times
Row 52 to 55: Knit all stitches

Cast off and use a wool needle thread in the ends

About Tracy G. Larimore

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