Come on, how about giving knitting a go. My mother introduced me to knitting, crocheting, sewing, many crafts when I was a young girl and I am eternally grateful.
It is the best therapy to forget about stuff and chill out. I find it calming as I do with any of my hobbies. Now is the perfect time to address your I have always wanted to knit idea, seeing we are home isolating for a while and our Australian winter looms.
To this day with my sister Annie, we share our making things addiction. We talk, swap, talk. For those who know us this comes naturally, we are passionate about our crafts and there is ample to cover. My sister is also an artist with years of teaching behind her. As expected, I take full advantage of her skills.
Videoconferencing is wonderful seeing one lives in Tasmanian, the other in Queensland. Plus, we send each other close-up pics of problem bits. Well to be honest, it’s mainly me sending shots of my mistakes which my sister ALWAYS finds. I smile as I imagine her now, she will be using thumb and finger to expand the mobile picture to find IT or THEM.
We create all sorts of things and with the cooler weather on its way we are sharing and trialling lots of new patterns. We both have a hoard of wool but we still like to shop and Annie has found some wonderful online wool sites.
I have introduced some of my younger friends to knitting squares and they love it. Even though they are a continual WIP (Work In Progress), it doesn’t matter. They find it easier to work on a smallish square, one at a time. Later, they can sew them all together and make any size throw or blanket depending on how many squares they make.
1 Things to consider before you begin
Decide what you want and keep it simple. I suggest either squares to join together for a throw or a scarf. Today my instructions are for squares to make it small and easy. Be in a position for comfortable access to computer, iPad or mobile as you will need help.
2 What you need
A pattern, wool, knitting needles, darning needle (later), measuring tape, YouTube and patience.
For learning it is easier to manage with a medium wool thickness and needles that are not too long. Decide on colour, you may prefer more than one shade to sew the squares in a patchwork pattern. My square is knitted using 8 Ply wool with 5mm diameter, 25cm length size needles. I use metal, plastic or bamboo needles. It’s a personal choice.
3 Where to buy materials
With the present social distancing restrictions in place you can buy everything online. If you are able to visit a store, even better. For beginners, Spotlight is a great place to start, other shops like Kmart or those bargain stores have basic wool and needles.
4 Lessons on YouTube:
If you are learning on your own, you will need YouTube, my favourite site for many projects. It even taught me how to rethread my complicated overlocking machine.
Type in How To Knit for Beginners in Plain or Garter Stitch. There are wonderful women and men who provide SLOW lessons. Important not to rush, view a few sites to find the one you are comfortable with.
5 The Knitting pattern
I have included pictures of the basic square I knitted using these instructions:
Beginners Knitted Squares in Plain/Garter Stitch
- Cast on stitches 25 stitches. This is where you begin your YouTube search How to Cast on Knitting Stitches. There are different methods, choose one that looks simple for you.
- First row after your cast on. Knit in garter (another name for plain) stitch to the end of the row as you follow your chosen YouTube video How to Knit Plain or Garter Stitch for Beginners.
- Avoid pulling the wool too tightly with each stitch otherwise it is difficult to put your other needle through the next stitch. The line of stitches should slide easily across the knitting needle.
- Continue to repeat each row until your work measures 16cm in length which equates to around 42 rows, depending on how tight or loose your knitting is. I am a medium tension knitter.
- Measure your length of rows to match your width of stitches across. My square is 16cm x 16cm.
- Cast off watching YouTube video How to cast off plain knitting, secure the end of the last stitch and woo hoo, you have completed your first knitted square!!
- Repeat pattern to make as many squares as you like and yes, you have it, YouTube How to join knitted garter stitch squares together. I find it easy using blanket stitch.
- Hint, keep everything in a zip-lock bag. Leave bag open to pull the wool strand out as you knit.
- Good luck ☺
On the birth of her two grandsons, Ruth Greening experienced an awakening in her life and entering Gen GP (Generation Grandparent) she was given the moniker Nanny Babe as her ‘grandmother’ title. She found things had changed since her child rearing days, and an adjustment to new parenting concepts was required. Hence the birth of the Nanny Babe blog from a baby boomers perspective.
Ruth holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology & Philosophy, completing this degree while working as a hairdresser and supporting her two children as a single mother. Ruth has worked in the corporate world for approximately thirty years and has recently retired to address her artistic passions.
She is experienced in senior management positions, marketing, modelling, commercials, film, community radio and writing.
Nanny Babe is active with her hobbies—fitness, writing, blogging, jewellery, crafts, singing, dancing, memoirs, mentoring and now faces diversity and self-discovery on her recent ‘retirement’ path. Connect with Nanny Babe on her blog – hit the link above!