Wednesday, 3 December 2014

teaching my sister to knit; some tips

A couple of month's ago my sister (K) asked me if I would teach her how to knit which I took as a great compliment that she wanted to learn my favourite hobby, that she thought me good enough to teach her, and also that she appreciated how wonderful giving handmade gifts can be, because that was her reason for wanting to learn! Now that she is proficient in the basics and has already finished a number of projects, she asked if I would take a picture of the things she has made for my blog, which gave me the idea of telling you the steps I went through teaching her in case you should decide to teach someone too and wondered what you might need to cover - though I am by no means a professional knitting teacher!

here you can see i started her on the large needles and chunky yarn!
I started K off on 10mm needles and some super chunky yarn, so that it would be easy to see where the needles and the yarn needed to go and what they needed to do. The first yarn I gave her - Cygnet Seriously Chunky - was not very good for a beginner because it split easily and was difficult to work with if you knit too tightly, as invariably every beginner will. This was swapped fairly promptly for Stylecraft Life Super Chunky which she found much easier to work with.
 
Starting at the beginning seemed only logical, and so I taught her to cast on the only way I ever do (the only way I've learnt to be honest - how do you cast on?) which I think is called the long-tail cast-on, however I don't start with a slip knot, perhaps I will show my method to you soon. After this we started with the straightforward garter stitch (knit every row) and I had her do at least 10 rows of that until she didn't need to ask for help any more. My sister was a very fast learner and very rarely split the yarn, unlike myself when I first learnt and often ended up with almost double the number of stitches on my needles than when I started!
 
Then came stockinette/stocking stitch (knit one row, purl one row) and I explained how to identify the 'right side' (every stitch looks like a 'v' - knitted) and 'wrong side' (the bumpy side - purled) of her knitting, which can be invaluable if you aren't concentrating while you knit, say because you are watching TV, because you can work out what row will come next! Controversially then perhaps I moved her straight onto ribbing (knit one, purl one, for every row over even number of stitches) as she had expressed an interest in learning the moss/seed stitch (knit one, purl one, for every row over an odd number of stitches) in order to make scarves/headbands. As a fast learner she picked this up no problem too!
 
Then of course came casting off. Finally K was very keen on learning two things; how to knit a mini Christmas stocking so that she could give them as gifts, and also how to read a pattern so that she could knit them without my help. I talked her through this straightforward pattern (which also included teaching some increases and decreases) and this too she picked up in a jiffy - and with that we covered all the basics!
 
For her first project she knitted a simple chunky headband in moss stitch, which is a good beginners project as it is easy but so much faster than other projects you might think of, say knitting a scarf. And then the knitting passion took hold and she has since knitted; a neck wrap and a scarf in the same style that I've been doing recently, another headband which I sold at the craft fair last month, some small Christmas stockings, and also a large Christmas stocking - WOW I'm so proud!

100% my sister's knits - how great is this for a beginner?
Since she's got it I've started collecting some knitting lessons on Pinterest in case she would like to take knitting further and learn some more complicated techniques (not that I'm pressuring her...yet :p). I'm so happy that we have this now as well to bond over as sisters, and we've been watching loads of films together and texting while at work "Knitting tonight? x", how ace is that? Bonus too because I got her on Yu-Gi-Oh at the same time - get that geekery influence on!
 
Have you ever taught someone to knit, or about your favourite hobby/craft?

6 comments:

  1. woah, she made those and she's a beginner!? she gives me hope! I would love to know how to crochet... I should buy a book and learn :D

    Jessica
    the.pyreflies.org

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    1. i know right! I'm so proud :) oh oh do do, or get on youtube, that is how I learnt to crochet :) best of luck if you give it a go! jenny xx

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  2. I am impressed! With you both! I've taught a few friends to crochet which was great fun, one friend has kept it up (and improved rapidly in gigantic leaps!) and regularly sends me photos of what she's making. I love having a skill I can pass on to other people, and for them to seemingly enjoy it as much as I do. I just need to be careful now about what I make for them as presents...!

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    1. thanks Amy :D well done, oh thats good one has kept it up, I only hope my sister will too, i reckon she will with some persuasion from me ;) hehe yeah, luckily she hasn't yet mastered how to knit with smaller needles, so as long as i knit fiddly things for her I'm ok! jenny xx

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  3. I don't use a slipknot either, I just simply tie a knot round the two needles! I cast on using the cable cast on method as well, mainly for the same reasons as yourself - the only way I've ever been shown! :-) xx

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    1. I always wonder if its worth the trouble learning new cast on methods when the one you know so well just seems to work! knitter experts everywhere cry a little at that statement.... :p jenny xx

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