Monday, March 23, 2020

By Emilyn Linden

A little more than four years ago, my family moved to Wisconsin for my husband’s career. I moved without a job and found myself with quite a lot of time on my hands during the very contentious 2016 election season. I was spending much too much time reading election coverage, and it took a toll on my mental health. With no friends in the area and no job to keep me busy, I decided I needed to find a hobby that would keep me off my computer. That’s when I pulled out the knitting book and supplies my sister gifted me a few years before.

Normally I’d be linking to all sorts of books from our library shelves that contain cool patterns, but I’ll skip those since we can’t get to them right now. If you really want to use a book to learn, there are many available on Libby. A book isn’t necessary to teach yourself to knit, though. There are lots of knitters out there who are tech-savvy and want to share their skills and love of knitting with others.

Knitting Help is a wonderful resource with great videos for new and more experienced knitters. There’s a thorough video showing you how to cast on (knitter-speak for the first row of stitches you put on the needle) and get started knitting. If that isn’t the video for you, just try a search for How to Knit and you’ll find all sorts of different knitters who have created tutorials and videos. Don’t be surprised if you have to look up multiple videos to get a technique down. Sometimes the camera angle isn’t great for what you’re having trouble with, and sometimes the presenter’s technique just won’t be right for every knitter.

Some very helpful Youtube channels are VeryPink Knits, New Stitch a Day and Knitpicks. I also like the tutorials Purl Soho has on their website since they include videos and still photos. The still photos are great if you’re having trouble learning a technique from watching a video and want to see it broken down into its component parts.

Once you’ve watched some videos and are looking for some beginner project ideas (after your obligatory first scarf or pot holder), I recommend creating a free account on Ravelry. Knitters from all over the world share their projects, tips and tricks on Ravelry. There are all sorts of free patterns available for people trying to build their knitting skills. Good luck! 

And when the library reopens, I suggest you check out the everyone’s-welcome/all skill levels casual group Yarn Crafters, which meets every second and third Thursdays at the downtown Main Library. 

Emilyn Linden is a librarian at FDL Public Library and warns you not to blame her when your yarn stash gets out of control.