Knitting is a classic hobby that is being newly encountered and re-imagined by a new generation of hobbyists.
There has never been a better time to get involved in this cozy and comforting hobby that you will return to again and again.
You may have seen the larger-than-life arm knitting or stylish yarn-addict Pinterest boards and want to know more.
Knitting's endurance as a pastime stems from its original necessity for furnishing a household with warm clothing for the winter months.
It is also incredibly cheap and as long as you can create yarn from a material, you can more or less knit with anything.
For a new hobbyist, nothing can beat the satisfaction of creating something yourself, and knitting delivers every time!
Projects abound for every age, skill-level, and taste. Plus, once you have mastered the basics you can experiment and create to your heart's content.
Don’t fuss over dropped stitches, enjoy the pleasure of being able to be productive and creative wherever and whenever.
So, join us for our complete guide to the wonderful world of knitting!
We have endeavored to cram in everything you will need to succeed in your knitting hobby, with loads of appetites and resources to motivate and inspire you to see this hobby through.
Hands and knitting needles at the ready?
Yes, knitting is the hobby of the moment and the yarn crafts movement is gaining unstoppable momentum across the globe.
According to stats, almost 30 million Americans were knitting in 2016, with the vast majority being beginners or intermediate knitters (AKA newbies) accounting for almost 80 percent.
In the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, knitting is a firm favorite as a pastime beloved of all ages, and the craftsmanship with knitting and yarn is appreciated across the globe.
From a distance, the frantic movements and clicking sounds of an avid knitter can seem quite daunting but the skill can be readily broken down into simple steps and mastered in an afternoon with focus.
From there, practice makes perfect, and as you use and extend your knitting skills you will see an improvement in the quality of your work.
Trying out the various yarns, learning more about natural and synthetic fibers, and how clothing is created, are all part of the joy of this traditional handicraft.
Hoarders out there will love collecting elegant skeins of heritage wool or niche embellishments for projects.
Knitting is a noun and a verb; you create knitting by knitting: the art of deftly looping yarn to create lengths of fabric.
These loops or stitches are created one by one to create progressively lengthening rows or tubes of yarn. This can be done in a variety of ways including using implements called needles, your fingers and arms, pins, or looms.
Yarn used in the knitting process is usually made from a series of natural or synthetic interlocked fibers, but can also be made from solid materials, such as shredded plastic or fabric.
The knitted fabrics produced can therefore vary widely in composition, weight, stretch, and texture.
A considered selection of yarn for knitting projects can produce items that are warm or water-resistant, depending on the results you want to achieve.
Variations in the type and style of knitting produce beautiful fabrics that can be purposed in different ways.
Most often knitting is used for clothing, such as jumpers, scarves, and headwear, but knitting can also be purposed for the creation of soft furnishings, bags, rugs, and more.
As with many creative pastimes the limit is your imagination and effort.
As with many crafts, the precise origins of knitting are hard to pinpoint as evidence of industry with yarn crafts exist all over the world, most likely following the migration of shepherds and traders of wool.
According to the Victoria and Albert museum, hand knitting was first undertaken using implements made from bone, twigs, and ivory.
A famous example of early knitting is a rather smart looking pair of socks from Egypt, with North Africa and the Middle East having some superb examples of knitted fabrics.
The word knitting can be traced back to an Old English word “cnyttan” meaning to knot.
The act of hand knitting using knitting needles became incorporated into the English language in the 16th century with “knitting” as it is now commonly understood being introduced from the mid-19th century.
Knitting is again incredibly culturally diverse. If you follow the yarn you will find some beautiful and highly detailed styles of knitting evident in cultures across the globe.
It’s not all women’s work; both men and women are skilled artisans with knitting. For example:
We think knitting is one of the best hobbies to take up, whatever your age. It has such a low barrier to entry that anyone can start completing a fantastic project in almost no time.
Here are some top reasons for unleashing your inner yarn addict.
Knitting only requires yarn and the tools to manipulate it. Beyond that, just about everything you do with your knitting hobby will be up to you.
As a form of weaving to create a textile fabric, you will be able to use knitting to complete a range of projects from clothing like hats, cardigans, and jumpers to soft toys and even handy scrubbers for washing your dishes.
If you are curious about how wool is processed you can go the whole hog and source fleeces and grade, card, spin and dye your yarn too!
Keep reading and we will share some ingenious first knitting projects further on.
If you like the thought of keeping your hands busy, but sewing or quilting feels beyond you, knitting is a simple way of keeping yourself productive.
Once you get into your zone with knitting you will find that you can relax and unwind while doing this pastime.
Knitting is great for socializing too and you can talk with friends or fellow knitters in a knitting group while keeping those fingers on the move.
Best of all, you will have the satisfaction of completing some great knitted items to wear, gift, and share!
Whether you are a fashionista or a prepper at heart, being able to knit your clothes adds major creativity and resourcefulness to your life.
It’s great to be able to make one-of-a-kind items or the kind of warm heavy jumper that would cost big bucks at the store.
Sure, it may take time to make clothing, but you can start by rocking a home knit scarf or beanie with the yarns you love.
Experiment, to find a style of knitting that looks great on you or perhaps make smaller pieces for younger members of your family.
Once you learn how to read patterns you can start to knit the clothes you want, customized with the colors and embellishments of your choice.
We may be looking at this from a mercurial angle, but if you know how to knit well and can produce beautiful, knitted items, you may find your work in demand.
People are always going to appreciate something unique and made with love. A prolific skilled knitter is therefore going to be able to not only generate a serious output of projects but potentially profits too.
Take a look at Etsy, Ravelry, or some of the amazing knitting blogs we share below, and you will see that there is income to be made, not only from selling knitted clothing and accessories but also from designing and authoring knitting patterns too.
Knitting is one of the few examples of a pastime where you can make something that looks a million bucks from items carried in your local dollar store.
Even if you have no yarn, you can shred up an old t-shirt and knit with that, so there is no excuse not to get started now.
The affordability of knitting is one of the key reasons that it never fully goes out of style.
If you want to persevere at establishing some expertise in your new hobby, the price of yarn, knitting needles, and the other basics we share should not hold you back.
You can get out your yarn and get a few stitches of your knitting in wherever you are. On the train, or soaking up the sun in your backyard, it’s easy to do this simple portable hobby.
Also completing your project requires patience, without a knitting machine you are going to take things one stitch at a time.
You can work on your knitting in any pockets of time you have as it does not need any space and it is the perfect detox from screen time before bed.
However, you may find that knitting is strangely addictive and soon you will be devoting more and more of your time to your new favorite hobby, especially if you are in a hurry to finish that new pair of socks!
If you are looking for a way to give back, knitting provides the opportunity to share your hard work with those who are less fortunate.
Why not make an impact by knitting for charity?
The opportunity to exercise your skill is plentiful with participation in projects where you may be responsible for making a small part of a bigger object (like a blanket) or creating whole knitted items like octopus hats and cardigans for premature babies at the local hospital.
Here are some great US knitting charities you may want to knit for once you are up and running:
It’s great that knitting does not require complicated or expensive equipment to get started. We recommend starting with knitting needles and yarn.
As you progress with your hobby you will come across additional items that you will need, as well as yarns or extras to experiment with as you gain greater skill and experience.
Here are some common items that most hobby knitters have to hand:
For many hobby knitters, choosing and working with different yarns is one of the best parts of knitting.
You can never run out of types, colors, weights, and textures of yarn and they inform the type of knitting you want to do.
Visiting a knitting shop is a hobbyist’s dream as you are surrounded by a kaleidoscope of color.
Beware - you may find that yarn can soak up a lot of your budget as buying yarn is very moreish.
Nowadays most people can purchase well-spun and reliable yarn either at the store or online. Yarn is purchased either as a tidy ball or hank or skein that you will have to wind yourself.
The yarn is typically described by weight, to indicate the amount of fiber in it. The quality of the yarn will determine the longevity of the finished project and how well it copes with washing.
Here are some key types of yarn the hobby knitter will be working with:
Believe it or not, you can even knit with wool from sheepdogs!
The key styles of hand knitting are usually based on the type of stitch used. You can begin to learn these classic stitch patterns over time, or you may encounter them as you follow a knitting pattern.
This selection of easy-to-follow tutorials for beginners from yarn barn Sheep and Stitch are more than enough to get you underway with your new hobby.
Basic garter stitch
Yes, these are variations of the theme of a simple garter or stockinette stitch, but despite their simplicity with great yarn and accuracy, you can achieve great results quickly!
If you head to your local knitting shop or haberdashery or take a look at a knitting pattern, you will probably come across a whole host of unfamiliar terms.
Don't let that dissuade you. Read on for a concise glossary of key knitting terminology to help you on your way as a hobby knitter.
We hope you have not been too exhausted by our tour of the fabulous hobby of knitting. All that remains is to have a go!
Read blogs, try out tutorials, and visit your local yarn store which is great for when you get things in a tangle.
Knitting is a great skill to have to hand and one that does not always have to be continuously maintained, but once you pick it up, we are sure that you will enjoy it so much that you won't want to drop a stitch!