So you want to get back to basics! To learn a new skill and make delicious woolly goodies for yourself, your family and friends. To practice mindful meditation, to slow down and relax. Maybe you are in home isolation and have some time on your hands!
There are so many reasons to take up knitting & crochet. All are fabulous and we hope we can point you in the right direction.
The main considerations :
Project : What do you want to knit? A scarf is great beginner project, cotton washers are very practical and good opportunity to practice stitch patterns, a blanket is super cosy and can be small for a baby or giant for your whole family!
Yarn Fibre : wool, cotton, linen etc... what do you like? We try to stock mostly 100% natural fibres that are ethically farmed and produced. We also like to support Australian producers where possible.
Yarn weight : can be light and delicate all the way up to chunky and robust. DK / 8 ply is right in the middle. Chunky yarn knits faster - instant gratification - however speed is not everything!
Needle Size : Matching the needles to your yarn and project/pattern is worth spending time on. Each yarn will give a recommended needle/hook size which when worked will produce a gauge of the number of stitches/rows achieved over 10x10cm swatch. A pattern will also give a recommendation for needle size.
However, we all knit differently with different tension. It's all good.
As a rule increasing needle size will give more drape. Decreasing needle size makes for a tighter weave.
Care : machine washable vs handwash. Depends on your needs, lifestyle!
Project suggestions : We aim to provide useful specifications for all of the yarns we stock along with pattern suggestions and links to Ravelry patterns that use the yarn. This should be included in the description section of each yarn. We LOVE Ravelry. More on that later.
We also have a MAKE / MADE blog where we list project notes and photos of the projects we have been working on.
Some of our favourites recommendations for beginners :
You can't beat a comfort knit like our beginner scarf in Concept by Katia Ultralight Merino. Grab a set of 7-8mm needles and get knitting - this is a very quick knit. Or perhaps you might enjoy taking it slower with beautiful hand dyed Malabrigo Rios and 6mm needles? Play with stitch patterns and or keep it simple - a scarf is the perfect place to start.
The generous people at Tin Can Knits have a whole range of projects designed to grow and develop your skills - The Simple Collection Start with a scarf and move to beanies, socks, shawls and sweaters.
We are always recommending the Wheat scarf with 2 skeins of the Malabrigo Rios yarn (hand dyed and machine washable) and 5mm needles. Or choose some super soft Australian wool from Millpost Merino or Australian Organic WOOLganic
For a bigger project and one of our most popular to awaken your knitting mojo is the Beginner Throw. Chunky wool and chunky needles - instant gratification.
knitted cotton washers / flannels are the perfect project for beginner knitters. They knit up quickly and allow you the opportunity to focus on basic skills, swatch stitch patterns plus they are practical and make excellent gifts. The range of Erika Knight Gossypium Cotton and Fibra Natura Cottonwood are perfect on 4mm needles. Grab some coordinating colours and get knitting - practice techniques, experiment and have fun.
Elsewhere for inspiration :
We love Purl Soho for inspiration and tutorials. The colour combos are beautiful - pure eye candy.
There are lots of beautiful free patterns form Hedgehog Fibres that suit fingering weight (4ply) yarn. A personal favourite is Outline which is a two row pattern repeat and you can have so much fun with colours.
Ravelry is one of our favourite resources for finding patterns. Most designers have their patterns available through the site - for free or for purchase. It is a valuable resource and is free to use - thanks to the wonderful team at Ravelry and the community that have embraced it.
You can save your favourite patterns, collate them in bundles and add them to your queue. You are also welcome to add your own projects - with notes and photos which act as a notebook for you. This is perhaps the most useful feature as you can see how a pattern perform by makers around the world. Different yarns, colours, sizes and body shapes. The search facility is amazing and I'm always finding new and useful criteria and feature. We also have a Cast off Collective group on Ravelry to share projects. You could join us too.
Elsewhere for help & tutorials :
We collated all our favourite ONLINE help & tutorials and hope they will keep you out of trouble.Thank goodness for the internet and google.
We hope this helps. Relax and have fun.