Our Indoor World: Knitting at Home
Welcome to Week Seven of Lockdown Library! If you’re like me, you’re doing your level best to keep from going stir-crazy. One way is to stay busy with indoor activities so engrossing, you won’t even miss the outside. In the grand tradition of Miss Marple, Mme Defarge, and Dorothy Parker, I’ve gotten deep into knitting. So far, I’ve made some good headway on this somewhat challenging lace shawl, but the beauty of knitting is that it’s easy to learn, with projects at every skill level.
The main knitting ingredients are needles and, of course, yarn. My go-to shop is Lion Brand, which is still fulfilling online orders. Lion Brand also has free knitting patterns that you can search on their website, as do many other yarn shops (my shawl is a pattern from Purl Soho), but the most popular source by far is Ravelry. You’ll have to create a free account to access the site, which also includes directories of yarn shops and knitting groups.
I’m a self-taught knitter, so I’ve found the tutorials included in these sites very helpful. I’m also a fan of Alfaknits’ yarn diagrams, Muddy Sheep’s step-by-step pictures, and Sheep & Stitch’s videos. When in doubt, Google the stitch the pattern calls for—you’re sure to find something.
If you find all this information overwhelming, fear not! All you really need to get started is a basic knit stitch and, if you’re feeling ambitious, a purl. Between the two of them (or even just the one), you’ll be ready to embark on the classic knitting rite of passage: the scarf. Make it as wide and as long as you’d like, and if you feel yourself coming to the end of your interest, bring the scarf to an end as well.
Not up for investing in a set of needles? You may want to try finger knitting. It’s ideal for thick, bulky yarn, and as simple as twisting yarn between your fingers and pulling the loops over each other. Because anybody with fingers can do it, it can also be a big hit with the kids.
Knitting may seem like a solitary activity, but it can be surprisingly social. Once you get the hang of it, you might find it a soothing way to keep your hands busy while you get to know your locked-in family more intimately than you ever hoped. Or you might end up looking forward to updating your friends with your progress over video chat. You might even end up making new friends in an online knitting group.
If you find your knitting addiction outlasts our mandated indoor time, you may want to check out some of the books below when the physical library reopens. Until then, may all your dropped stitches be as easily picked up as knitting itself!
Knitting Patterns, Culture, and History
- Kay Gardiner | Mason-Dixon Knitting: The Curious Knitters' Guide: Stories, Patterns, Advice, Opinions, Questions, Answers, Jokes, and Pictures
- June Hiatt | The Principles of Knitting: Methods and Techniques of Hand Knitting
- Frederica Patmore | The Knitting Book
- Alice Starmore | Aran Knitting
- Anne Macdonald | No Idle Hands: The Social History of American Knitting
- Elizabeth Zimmerman | Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitting Workshop
- The Best of Interweave Knits: Our Favorite Designs from the First Ten Years
- Clara Parkes | The Knitter’s Book of Wool: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding, Using, and Loving This Most Fabulous Fiber
- Nikki Gabriel | The Handknitter’s Yarn Guide: A Visual Reference to Yarns and Fibers