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What You Need To Get Started

Lesson 2 from: Knit Maker 101

Vickie Howell

What You Need To Get Started

Lesson 2 from: Knit Maker 101

Vickie Howell

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Lesson Info

2. What You Need To Get Started

Lesson Info

What You Need To Get Started

Without further ado, I think we're gonna get started and to do that we need to talk about materials and supplies. All right, so the first obvious one is yarn. And yarn comes in many different weights and put ups. A put up is how it is wound. A weight is how thin or thick a yarn is and we'll talk a little bit about that later, first let's talk about put ups though. So this is, you've probably seen this at your local craft store, this is called a skein. This is just sort of your run of the mill skein, you can get total utilitarian yarn, really good first time yarn, you can start knitting from it right from the skein. That's really just sort of your basics. This over here is also sometimes called a skein, it can also be called a ball, but the word ball is used sort of as an overview for a lot of these put ups. But that works for this. You can also, this is a little bit of a higher end yarn, but it's also thicker. It's a chunky weight. I'm super into chunky, bulky weight yarns right now, i...

t's kind of a trend. Big knits are a trend, so even extreme knitting, so this is just sort of the gateway drug to that. And so this is also a really common way to find yarn and you can, again, knit or crochet straight from it. This is called a ball, and this is a higher end yarn, it's wound this way, you don't really need to know this, but I just like to give the information, it's wound this way just because it gives a little bit more air for the fibers. Normally when yarn is wound this way it's a little bit higher end fiber so it may not be 100% acrylic, it might have a natural aspect to it. This is also a ball, you'll see this more likely at traditional yarn stores and you can also knit directly from this ball. You just need to pull off the label. Okay, so then what we're going to do is we are going to look at hanks. If you want to dive right in and really go for the good stuff, I totally encourage you to do that. You may find that it's like this Lorna's Laces that I'm holding in my hand right now, and it comes in what's called a hank. So a hank basically looks like, you know one of those donut twists that you can get at the donut shop? It looks like that, and the reason that it is wound like this is because it allows the fiber to breathe and air because it's not super wound, so it's not constricting. That's awesome, right? Good for the yarn. But less awesome for actually knitting it. You can't knit directly from this or it'll be a big, tangled, hot mess and not only is that frustrating, but it also is potentially a waste of really sort of nice, more expensive yarn. There's a couple ways that you can convert it, you need to convert it into some kind of ball or this is actually called a cake, or you can call it a ball, either one would be okay. If you turn this, you can see these are the same yarns, if you turn this into this, you need what's called a yarn ball winder and a swift. I'm not gonna go over that in this course 'cause you frankly don't need one of those just to get started, but I just wanted you to have that info. But just because you don't have that and can't produce this, doesn't mean that you can't get this great, beautiful yarn in a hank. You can wind it into an old school ball, like this, like a yarn ball that you've probably seen in every illustration ever known to man. But you do need to convert it from one to the other. So I'm going to do that, I'm gonna ask our producer Kate to come in here and help, this is when you need to phone a friend. And you've probably seen this done, come on in, you've probably seen this done by your granny forever. This is the old school way. So you could technically use a chair if you want, but it's easier with hands, so go ahead and put that on and kind of make it a little taut. You could put it on the back of a chair, like I just said, if you don't have a friend around, and it totally works, it just takes a little extra time. There's little ties that'll be around the individual yarn, and it was just to keep it from tangling, so you wanna go ahead and snip those first. And then you'll see that you have loose ends. So you're just gonna take a little, the end of it, and you're just gonna start wrapping it around your fingers. And you'll have a little, tiny nubbin. And then you're gonna turn that into a ball. So this is when it helps to have a human 'cause you can kind of move your hand, yeah this action right here is when it helps to have hands. You're a pro already. And you're just gonna continue doing this. I had found, recently, you know I've been a professional in doing this for a decade and a half, practically, and I was at a knitting gala and I was sitting next to some veteran designers and they were like little aunties when they saw me. It's totally normal at a formal gala to be winding yarn in my industry in formal gear and whatever, and I was doing that and they squealed, they screeched and said, you're doing it wrong! So I was like, what do you mean? I'm just winding it in a ball. Well I had been winding it just like this, there's not much to see, I'm just not using any of my fingers. And they said that I was making the yarn too tight, that it needs to breathe still a little more so that you should always use a thumb and fingers. So it was Deborah Newton and Rosemary Drysdale who I now call my knitting aunties, whether they know it or not. So you just want to kind of wrap it around a couple fingers, and then you take them out and keep going. And you would just do this until you're done, and I will not make you watch all of that. But you would continue doing this until you're done. Now I will say, though, what happens if there's a phone call and you have to go, or you just don't have time to do it all? I would recommend if you don't have a chair to lay it over, that you could wrap it back into a hank. You may be released, you are released, thank you so much. And to do that you would just twist it and fold it in half, and you'll see it kind of winds up back into itself, and it doesn't have to look perfect or back exactly how it was, and it won't because you've already started taking away from it. But then you know that your yarn is safe and sound. All right, I think that's all you need to know about yarn for now. Other than this, I will say that to get started, when you're looking for a project to get started, there's probably two ways that you'll think about it. You either will see a great project, probably on Pinterest or Instagram or something that you're like, I could totally make that, and really into it, and you'd start there, or you might be some place and see these great supplies. You might be like, oh my God, this is the best color I've ever seen in my life, I must work with it. Either way is awesome, you can rock it, but you should just go, I truly believe the only way to start, there's no right first project, although arguably, for just your own soul happiness, you should start with something attainable and relatively easy, but really it's about the supplies or the project that really speak to you. And for me, yarn really does. So see what feels good to you, see what color, or find a project that you love. All right, move those over. The next thing that you need for knitting are needles. These are all random straight needles. And I actually meant to, Kate would you mind bringing, there's a pink case in there, yeah, that has circular needles in it. These are what you'll get started with in the beginning. These are probably the ones that you've seen, the most common. These were really big in the 40s, everybody's grandmother has these, you can find these at garage sales, these are aluminum. Not my favorite to work with, but the alternative is not knitting, and to me that's not an alternative. So rock on if that's what you have. These are really lightweight plastic ones. Also nice. These are beautiful, I think they're mahogany, gorgeous, that's just kind of a splurge. These are big, mama-jama, Buffy the Vampire Slayer spike kind of things, and these would be used more for the extreme knitting that I was talking about earlier for those big knits. You need really thick yarn, or you'd need thin yarn if you wanted big holes in it. This will give you a really huge knit. And then there's my favorite, which are bamboo. These are by Clover, and I'm actually an ambassador for them. And I went to them to be an ambassador because I truly, these are my go to products. This is a Takumi bamboo, which means it's really slick and nice. And bamboo in general will warm in the hands. So obviously just like with anything you do with your hands there could be some fatigue to it, so it helps to have supplies that warm in them. But again, these are just straight needles. You'll also notice that there's different lengths of straights. This would just be to accommodate how wide your piece is. So if you were working on a smaller piece, you might want to go shorter. But all of them will work for most straight projects. The next are circular needles, and we will actually be talking about, we'll do the very, very introduction to knitting in the round in which we'll use these. I actually use these as straights because I like that they'll hold the weight of the project here and not on my wrist. But you don't need to get those right now or even worry about it right now until you want to knit in the round. And this is called a circ or a circular needle, so it's got a cord to accommodate all of the stitches, and then your two needles are actually physically attached. To get started you would just want to have yarn and the appropriate needle to go with it, and I'll talk about how you figure that out in a bit. Other things that you might want to have in your bag, a good pair of scissors would be great, some form of measuring device, just a measuring tape is great, a little ruler to measure gauge, which we will talk about in a bit, are good, you may want some stitch holders, you may not need them to just get started, so this is definitely not I'm working on my first project, I have to have a stitch holder, this might be project number two or three or four, but that's just something that you might see and this is just to hold live stitches when you're not working on them, and then you're going to want some kind of large hole tapestry needle, and whatever kind makes you happy, there's all different kinds, there's plastic, metal, I've seen them, even sometimes you can find them in the kid's department, the kid's crafting department, they're just little bendy ones, whatever works, and then stitch markers, stitch markers you probably will need, you'll definitely need for your first project in the round. Your straight projects, maybe not necessarily. There are a lot of different stitch markers. There are interlocking ones, and that would just be a way to make them removable if you need to take them out, there's kind of razzly-dazzly action, really it's just bling or whatever on top of a loop, and then there's different sizes of just plain plastic action, and then there's what's called a split stitch marker, these are great if they need to be removed, they're also really great for crochet. And so that's that. So that really is all you need to get started, so what I'd like to do now is really sort of get down to the nitty gritty of actually getting you knitting, so let's get started.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Beanie Pattern
Gauge Swatch Symbol
Knitting Abbreviations
Phone Sleeve Pattern
Practice Swatches
Scarf Pattern

Ratings and Reviews

Claudia Quinonez

I have to say that I am a fan of Vickie Howell and I absolutely love the way she teaches this class. The way she teaches this class is so easy to follow and understand. I am a beginner and was having a hard time with adding a new ball and decreases and this course has helped improve my knitting skills.

Ashley Sarikaya

Very helpful class! Vickie Howell is engaging and easy to follow. Excited to be taking more of her classes :)

E.L. Bl/Du

Vicky, WHERE have you been? You are missed on PBS show. VERY much looking fwd to this class. Vicky is one of the BEST knitting/Crochet instructors I have EVER watched. You are guaranteed to learn how to knit easily with her easy to follow instructions. Her own knitting is the most beautiful Ive seen. She tells you how to choose yarn, needles and how to follow patterns. Your set with this class. Even a seasoned pro will learn something.

Student Work