my grandmother in india used to spend hours knitting, in dim lighting might i add. she would knit up sweaters and footies, overalls and hats, even clothes for our tiny dolls. the sweater i wore home from the hospital was one she knit and my boys both wore it home from the hospital in recent years.
something about expecting a baby makes me want to knit (nesting anyone??). i first attempted knitting while waiting for my second baby to arrive. i knit up a few pairs of booties and a hat. i didn’t learn about gauge and types of yarn, instead i just went to a local craft store and bought whatever looked good. the baby arrived five days late and about three pounds heavier than his older brother and needless to say, the booties and hat would not fit him at all. this is why gauge, needle size and yarn all matter.
this time, i decided to do my research. i spent some time reading about the various yarns, fibers and needles. i decided to buy quality yarn and needles at purl soho (a must visit for all crafters if you are in NYC or if not, online). i even watched countless videos on youtube showing me knitting techniques that i had not mastered before. i highly recommend this for self-teaching. next, i ordered a few books with patterns that i loved and would actually buy even if i wasn’t knitting them, like: vintage knits for the modern baby by hadley fierlinger and baby knits for beginners by debbie bliss. for free patterns, check out thepurlbee.com, tipnut.com and craftzine.com among others.
if you shy away from knitting because you think its old fashioned or too vintage for your tastes, take a look around purl soho and see the array of colors and types of yarn that you can create from. also, shop around for clean lines in patterns and simple silhouettes. and if you are not expecting a new bundle of joy any time soon, knitting up gifts for a child, a friend or for yourself can be just as fun and rewarding!
i do want to share a few tips, one of the most important being that if you are like me in any way (have a house full of noisy little ones and own your own business-which means answer all emails and calls) you will need quiet time for knitting. there is a lot of counting and memorizing involved. i also recommend that if you are taking on the challenge of a more complex pattern, that you right down which rows you have completed as you go along. also use those nifty yarn markers or pins to help you remember when to switch a stitch, a change in pattern etc.
the photos above: a gorgeous pattern for a sweater by debbie bliss, a free online crochet pattern (crochet is cool too) by herbst handmade at craftzine for a baby rattle, beautiful hand knit booties by pleasantly plump knits on etsy (for those who appreciate the art from afar), colorful skeins of yarn to choose from and only the best needles from purl soho (love the circular needles for everything i must say, great for putting the knitting work down and not having it unravel)…. and the last image is my own knitting work, a pair of booties i knit recently, pattern from vintage knits for the modern baby.
there is a peaceful and relaxing side to knitting. like anything handmade, it is amazing to see something take shape right before your eyes as you create it. and if at the very least, it reminds you of why a cashmere, hand knit sweater costs so much the next time you are shopping!