Here are some of the reasons why you should learn knitting, crocheting and crafting with yarn:
- Create sweaters and accessories for yourself.
- Bazaars and shows — sell your finished items for extra income.
- Express yourself– design original garments and accessories.
- Gifts “you make yourself” for family members and friends have special meaning.
- Cost-effective hobby — you can spend a lot or a little!
- Provides a sense of accomplishment when you complete a project.
- Maximizes your time while you watch TV or travel.
- It’s portable — take it anywhere.
- Adds balance to a high-tech, fast-paced lifestyle.
- It has a calming effect — helps relieve stress.
Crochet – is an extremely versatile and popular technique for making a variety of fashion and home decor accessories. By combining basic crochet stitches and lighter weight or softer yarns, you create a delicate, drapable fabric; a thicker yarn produces a sturdy fabric. Beautiful textured and raised stitches are especially easy to make in crochet.
Knitting – Knitting has long been the favorite technique for sweater making because of the detailing and color patterning that is possible, and the supple, drapable fabric the stitches produce. The two basic stitches–knit and purl–can be worked alone or together and form the basis of dozens of designs as well as other stitches. Knitting requires two needles and a continuous strand of yarn. You begin by making a slip knot on one needle and “casting on” the number of stitches you need for the project. (That’s the term for creating the foundation row on one needle.) The basic stitches are created using both needles, wrapping the yarn over one needle and drawing the wrapped yarn through loops on the other needle.
Crafting with Yarn – Wrapping, twisting and braiding yarn provide endless home-dec and fashion possibilities. Make amazing silk tassels, twist multiple strands of yarn into holiday wreaths, braid boucle yarns to trim a favorite outfit, or just have fun wrapping gift boxes. The possibilities are endless, fast and fun.
Yarn – One of the pleasures of crocheting and knitting is working with beautiful yarn colors and textures. All yarn patterns require specific types of yarn, some mention a specific brand of yarn. There are five basic types of yarn:
- worsted weight
Each type of yarn has a different thickness or “weight,” with fingering being the finest. The term “ply,” frequently seen on labels, refers to the number of strands that were twisted together to form the yarn. Yarn content or “fiber content” tells what the yarn is made of: synthetic or natural fibers or combinations of the two. Synthetic yarns, such as acrylics, are easier to wash and can be worn by people sensitive to wool.
Yarns have labels that provide all the information that you will need to know, such as the type of yarn it is, the amount and/or yardage in the ball or skein, gauge, fiber content and care instructions. Many labels also include free patterns, which are printed on the inside.
Crochet Hooks – As its name suggests, the “crochet hook” has a notch at one end for catching loops of yarn and drawing them through stitches. Aluminum, plastic and wood crochet hooks are the most commonly used, and often use the letter system for size marking. They range from B (2.25 mm) to S (19 mm), the largest, and come in 6″ lengths.
For fine work, such as crocheted lace and doilies, “steel crochet hooks” are used. They have a different sizing range, using numbers from 00 (3.5 mm), the largest, to 14 (.75 mm), the smallest.
Knitting Needles – Straight knitting needles, which come in aluminum, plastic or wood, are the most commonly used. They come in varying sizes, from 0 (2 mm), the smallest, to size 15 (10 mm) and larger; they are sold in pairs, and come in 10″ or 14″ lengths. There is a point at one end of the needle, and a knob at the other, which prevents stitches from slipping off.
For large projects like afghans, or sweaters that can be worked in a tube without a seam, “circular knitting needles” can be used. These are long flexible needles with points at both ends. For smaller projects that do not have seams (socks and mittens) “double-pointed knitting needles” are used. These come in sets of four and as their name suggests, there is a point on each end.
Basic Crochet Instructions
The instructions will show you how to make a foundation row and a single crochet stitch. If you follow them exactly, you’ll complete a 7″ by 9″ block. Learn how your block can be joined with others to create an afghan to warm up someone in need. With these basics, you can make a scarf, hat, pillow, bag or any number of projects. Click here for graphical instructions
How to read patterns
The first time you look at a crochet or knitting pattern, you’ll probably think you’re looking at a foreign language, because patterns traditionally are written using abbreviations. Most magazines or books will have a key explaining these abbreviations, but following is a helpful reference list. Click here for list of pattern abbreviations and definitions
Basis Knit Instructions
The instructions will show you how to cast on and to make a knit stitch, also known as garter stitch. If you follow them exactly, you’ll complete a 7″ by 9″ block. Learn how your block can be joined with others to create an afghan to warm up someone in need. With these basics, you can make a scarf, hat, pillow, bag or any number of projects. Click here for graphical instructions
Quick projects you can make
They are designed to be fast and easy to complete because they feature one or more of the following characteristics:
- easy stitches,
- multiply strands of yarn,
- large-size needles or hook, size 10-1/2 or larger, and
- simple shapes that require minimal assembly.
Remember, your first project should be both easy and fun. It’s a good idea to pick a project that requires little or no shaping such as a scarf or pillow. Hats and cute bags, like the hot crocheted “sacks,” are other ideas that require little or no shaping and depending on the patterns, simple sweaters and vests, shrugs and ponchos also make great first projects. Click here for list of easy projects
Note: Supplies and materials can be purchased at any arts and crafts store.