I have a passion for knitting. I get great satisfaction in creating something from nothing. With a pair of needles and a piece of yarn, suddenly a beautiful piece is created!
I learned to knit thanks to the generous and wonderful hands and mind of Katie Aziz (along with additional assistance from her sister). She showed me the basic stitches and helped me learn to fix my mistakes. She helped me to decode the sometimes complex directions, and best of all, she shared in my delight as I finished my first projects. Thank you, Katie!
Knitting has so many great benefits. In addition to creating beautiful and functional pieces of artistry, it easily travels anywhere. I knit in the passenger seat when we are driving and knit at the homes of relatives when we have a family gathering. Many knitting projects don’t require you to be fully focused, so if you select one such project, then it is easy to knit away while still actively and attentively participating in any conversations. Sometimes people don’t get it, though, so you have to figure that out in advance!
Knitting relaxes you. Knitting has played a key role in helping me to dispel anxiety. Pick up those needles and start to work, and suddenly, you’ve distracted your brain and feel the relaxation take over and the worries fly away. I’ve read in several books that doctors recommend knitting to patients who have anxiety issues because of its power to heal and transform.
In addition to the yarn and needles, there are a few handy items that I recommend for the avid knitter. The first and most important is a yarn winder. It was quite a surprise when I learned that some yarn requires the knitter to wind it! When you buy yarn, it either comes in balls or skeins. Balls are ready to go and nothing more is required. But, skeins require the knitter, or in my case the knitter plus husband, to wind the skein into a knittable ball. My husband thoughtfully researched the various yarn winders and found an excellent one. Then, he sweetly assists each time I need one of the skeins wound into a ball. Thank you, Knitter’s Assistant!
Another helpful tool is a sewing machine. I love making purses! When you knit a purse, you need to sew in a liner otherwise all of your precious items will fall through the holes in the knitting.
A few other helpful items are a needle case, a knitting bag, and a scratch pad. If you get hooked on knitting, you’ll find the need to add a number of needles to your collection. The needle case keeps them all in one handy place and ensures that you don’t get poked by an errant one. The knitting bag keeps your current projects in one convenient place and makes it easy to travel with your project. Since I never want to be without a new project ready to go as soon as I am done with the current one, I also keep a box with for my yarn and project directions. Finally, a scratch note book is an easy way to keep track of where you are in a pattern. There are advanced knitters out there that can look at their work and understand exactly what row number they are on and which stitch pattern is in use, but I don’t (yet) have that skill.
I am so thankful to have knitting in my life and look forward to picking up my needles to work on one of my projects every day. The best part is realizing the endless possibilities of knitting and how much more there is to learn!
If you a knitter or are considering getting started in knitting, OWL has a number of books for inspiration, direction, and project ideas. Here are a few of my favorites:
Learn to Knit by Penny Hill is the finest beginning knitter book I have found. Although other books may claim they are beginner’s guides, this book truly meets the criteria. The instructions and pictures clearly explain the techniques involved and the steps needed to accomplish them. The projects are fun and a great way to begin your knitting way of life.
Knitted Toys: 25 Fresh and Fabulous Designs by Zoe Mellor and Knitted Toys: 21 Easy-to-Knit Patterns for Irresistible Soft Toys by Fiona McTague are two excellent books about knitted toys. Wouldn’t it be nice to have created a child’s special friend? Each book defines the necessary skill level and instructions necessary to execute the project.
The Prayer Shawl Companion by Janet Bristow and Victoria Cole-Galo is an outstanding knitting book. They see knitting as a spiritual experience and one that is a blessed expression of love. The designs are exquisite and range from beginner to advanced knitter. Each design includes information about the designer and their inspiration for the color choices and pattern.
Men in Knits by Tara Jo Manning focuses on sweaters that would appeal to men and boys. This is a unique book because many knitting books are geared almost exclusively towards projects that would appeal to only women.
Knitting socks requires the skill of using circular needles; something that I have not yet learned. For those of you with the gift, I recommend two books that will delight you with the possibilities. The editors at Vogue Knitting once again live up to their reputation with Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Sock Book. This is a stylish book that provides history, technique and design about the knitted sock. Another is the recently published, Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders edited by Judith Durant. As implied in the title, these are quick projects that require only one skein.
Luxe Knits: the Accessories by Laura Zukaite is primarily for advanced knitters but even if that is not your skill level, take this book home anyway! This book illuminates the amazing range of possibilities in the art of knitting. It’s not just about sweaters! It is couture knitting. The designs are magnificent and infinitely hip.
Exquisite Little Knits: Knitting with Luxurious Specialty Yarns by Iris Schreier and Laurie K. Kimmelstiel introduces the new knitter to the wide range of yarn options now available. Projects are arranged based on the type of yarn including cashmere, silk, suede, and sequins. Knitters of all levels will find fun and satisfying projects here.
My latest project that is still in progress
Ann Marie is the Library Director for the Oliver Wolcott Library.