Knitting: What Next?
Hello and welcome back to the blog! Last week, we looked at the basic steps of knitting and learnt how to make tension squares. Whilst squares are useful and versatile, they can get a little boring after while! So today, I am going o talk about some projects or garments that you may want to start once you have learnt the knit and purl stitches.
My first ever project was a scarf, which I made using just knit stitches (meaning that it was even easier to make than the squares from last week!). I then started using scarves as ways of learning other stitch patterns such as rib stitch, cable and lace. Scarves are great projects for anyone, whether you want something simple and quick or something more intricate. What's more, they make great presents too; I remember making scarves for some of my family as Christmas presents when I was about eight years old, and I also taught a friend how to make them when I started secondary school so that we could make ourselves matching scarves.
2. Blankets and Pillows
The great thing about knitting a blanket is that it is no more difficult than a square so it does not require too much concentration, but it is on a much larger scale, so it's something that can keep you going for much longer. When I was in primary school, I made a striped baby blanket in chunky pastels. It was a great way to relax and learn new skills, such as changing colour midway through a garment. Pillows and pillowcases are similar but once you are done, you fold it in half and sew it up. It's a good way to get into sewing, which is important when making more difficult garments such as clothing. Some knitters are not a big fan of the sewing up but for me, it's really satisfying to sew something up and finish it.
3. Hats and Socks
I decided to group these for two reasons. Firstly, I put them together because they can both be made in the round using circular needles, which is a useful skill and is much less difficult than you may think. Secondly, I must confess that I combined these two together as they are projects that I have less experience of, though I am often told that I should give them a go as many people love making them! I did make a sock a couple years ago but personally, I didn't find it particularly satisfying as I prefer working on larger projects. I had to give socks and hats a mention though as many people love the fact that hat and sock knitting is very quick and easy, making it perfect for gifts.
4. Jumpers and Cardigans
This may seem like a big jump from squares but in reality, it isn't that different. The 80s jumper I made earlier in the lockdown was made up of two squares for the front and the back and the sleeves were very similar, with only a little basic shaping which involved casting on extra stitches after a certain amount of rows. This type of jumper is called a dropped sleeve jumper. Other styles may contain a little more shaping - for example, I am making a jumper at the moment where on the fronts and the back, you will do increases for a period of time then some decreases. This may sound a little complicated but it is often explained in the pattern and you can find online instructions and tutorials for shaping too.
Sometimes you have to play around and try lots of different patterns as some are explained slightly differently, so different people may find them easier or harder to understand. For example, I recently tried to make a waistcoat and it was going well at first but I started to make lots of mistakes as I kept misreading the pattern and having to try and remember errors I had made so that I could do them on the other side. Eventually, I decided to undo that project and make a different cardigan instead which, despite the fact that the structure was similar to the waistcoat, I understood far better.
Again, because I love big and bulky projects, I haven't made that many toys but I would love to make some in the future once I have finished a couple of the jumpers and cardigans that I have planned. Some toys can be quite fiddly to make as they are often made on very small needles so that the stuffing doesn't fall out. In addition, they often involve a lot of shaping (e.g. to create circular or rounded shapes) so that they look more realistic. However, you can make toys out of squares or shapes with minimal shaping. Also, because toys can be quite popular and quick to make, there are many tutorials available online, particularly on YouTube.
So those are just a few of my recommendations on some projects to start next. Got any other suggestions? Leave a comment down below! Until next time, happy knitting.
My name is Sharon the Sheep, the owner of Avicraft Wool Shop in Bromley Kent..