Friday, September 28, 2012

Gotta Have Its

The other day someone asked me.... "what exactly do I need to start knitting?"
I of course laughed and told her, "oh.. about a million dollars!" Really I did. If I took the time and really thought about *which I don't really want too...* I have probably spent close to that already and really I'm still a beginner. I did think about it a little bit though... see the smoke? Yeah...
What do you need to start knitting? What are the true 'gotta haves'? Just the basics of course.  There's lots of extras that I think I gotta have, but really the basic things to start are pretty few!
Where should we start?
How about at the beginning...... WHY do you want to knit? Are you knitting for a reason? For a gift or to make something specific? Are you doing it because it looks like fun and you really want to try? Uh oh... we're getting into grey areas here! Because... if you think it looks like fun and you just want to try..... that means an entirely different set of 'gotta haves'! IF you have a specific purpose in mind, say for example, a baby blanket for your new baby, that changes things. Much easier to pick out those 'gotta haves'.
Let's start there.... we want to make something specific. Let's say a scarf for Grandma for Christmas. Easy peasy. First thing that you gotta have has been accomplished. A desire. A reason. A purpose! Now....
 Sigh....... this is where the whole process for me goes wrong. Seriously wrong. AND it's where the million dollars come in! Don't worry! This is also the very best part of knitting... oh wait... that's supposed to be the part where you give the gift you made and the recipient loves you forever.... yeah... I'm goin' with the yarn!
Go to the yarn store (or craft store) and look at the yarn. There's a lot there isn't there. Start by picking your favorite color (or Grandma's ~to score points!) and then start feeling those yummy little things skeins right up! Found one in a color and texture you like? Yay!! Pick it up and read the label (that will be another post!) Find where it says 'gauge'... see it? It should say something like so many stitches per inch, using.. #something. Needles! If your yarn label shows #9 , head over to the knitting needles and look at all those needles hanging there.  Uh oh... more choices!
I probably should have prefaced this list of things you need with a more specific requirement for the whole process.... someone to teach you the ropes!! Enlist the help of your knitter friends, or in my case, my favorite Aunt G!
As you're standing there looking at all the needles and gadgets & gizmo's... you're probably a little overwhelmed right? Yeah. Me too.
I've only been knitting for about 5 years now and although I probably have (probably?) most yarn gadgets available, the following picture shows you those that I use the most AND those that I really think are the most important.... after the yarn of course!
From the left... stitch markers. Different shapes & sizes. As you expand your knitting you'll see why you need different types. For now. Either the locking or just the little circular kind will do.  Needles... These are dpn's (double pointed needles) and the funky thing with a cable is a circular needle. I used to think you had to have those long pointy sticks that clicked and clacked, but.. now I usually go with either of these type. A measuring tape! Gotta have! It's a must! If your pattern says, knit for x amount of stitches; how you gonna know when you get there? Scissors. Yep. Also a must. Sometimes even my superhero strength can't break yarn.   Stitch holders. Once again it's a necessary thing when you've moved beyond the basics. A crochet hook. A what? Crochet hook. Really. It's how I pick up dropped stitches & fix stuff! Laugh if you want to, but I can't knit without it!  Last but not least, the bottom left corner is my favorite kind of darning needle. It's for sewing in those loose ends and finishing everything up! Definitely you'll want one of those!
I think that's it for the basics. My 'gotta have its'. Then of course comes the extras.... the bag(s) to put it all in. A project bag(s) for each project. Fancy schmancy needles and a case for each type. Special scissors. Fancy and sometimes adorable stitch markers. The list goes on and on (and on...)
Oh! I forgot another very important thing to your 'gotta haves' for knitting....
Check out your local facebook pages for a knitting group near you! You can also ask around at coffee shops and the library! Or better yet... ask the people in your favorite yarn store!