Knitting & Crocheting, Looming and Quilting (oh my!)
Monday, October 8, 2018
This article will talk about some basics about knitting including the history of knitting. We also cover some differences between that and crocheting and looming as well as touch on quilting. It is helpful to know some terminology such as a “knit” and “purl” and about needle, crochet and yarn sizes. We also talk about differences in wood vs metal vs plastic tools and we hope to help you in choosing colors, binding off and also changing strings. This is just a basic overview.
Knitting is a centuries old art and according to Wikipedia, there are old and ancient artifacts as old as from early Egyptian times. Knitting would not have been around were it not for the versatility of wool and yarn-making or other fabrics likely. Knitting does not require a lot of bulky equipment just time and a few simple tools and dedication. Knitting just requires two rods with a slightly finer tip or you could even use your arms as we’ve seen on YouTube which is one of your best resources for learning. Seriously, you could spend hours reading something but a picture is worth a thousand words then video is probably worth a million words.
One of the differences between knitting and crocheting is that whereas you are manipulating a ball of yarn or a roll sometimes know as a “skein” with two needles in knitting, in crocheting you are simply using a crocheter’s hook to manipulate loops.
These tools have standard sizes in the US and in Europe to make it easier to manipulate and make standard fabric creations. In the United States the needles might be labelled US4 or US5 and correspond with a type of metric size such as 3.5mm or 3.75mm. Similarly crochet hooks might have sizes such as 7, H-8, I-9, J-10. So before you buy something check out the corresponding sizes including the labels of yarns as they can give you an idea if the needle is the best type for the type of yarn you’re weaving. The sizes are the recommended sizes for each other but sometimes you may vary slightly depending on the type of tension and tightness you want in your fabric.
Another factor to consider when choosing your tools for knitting is the material. Some of the beginners tool kits have metal needles which is fine and they can be easy to slip off a yarn that you’re manipulating. But there are also plastic needles or hooks and wood hooks. I find the wood hooks to be nice because they have just the right amount of earthy warmness and grip as well as slipperiness. The most common ones are made of bamboo. For example we have a local JoAnn and they carry the Takumi brand needles which is a bit more expensive than metal. They can keep well and don’t splinter very easily and help you keep nice and fast in your knitting. I remember in the begging that making one of my knits too tight I impaled myself with a metal needle which is basically a large spike and that oh my gosh I’m going to faint from that trauma but luckily had some bandaids and such. But that’s why I switched to wood. Feels better, easier to control in my opinion and although a bit musty or woody if wet it also makes me less likely I think to impale myself if I remember to relax and keep loose. The metals also can have a smoky burny smell if you rub across the needles too fast. But all that aside each tool in the proper hands can do magic.
There are also circular wooden needles which can help you knit faster as the needles are connected you don’t have to worry about your work falling off the end of your needle as easily and can slide it to the center if you’re halfway through your work and you don’t have to worry about misplacing your needle or sitting on them.
One of the great things about knitting is the sizes and shapes and variety you can have and you can really make about anything that your time and imagination desires. One of the easiest things to make is a scarf. You can even loom your own hat. While knitting and crocheting is possible for most any project some methods make your project faster.
A loom is a device that can help you weave or design fabric patterns faster. One example is a circular plastic device that you can easily interweave strands of yarn or use hooks to pass the yarns back and forth through.
When you get to the end of the work there are a massive amount of YouTube tutorials and books you can get at your local store. For the cost of about $6 for a needle and maybe $4 for a skein of yarn you can start a hobby and make a very nice gift.
In knitting you are wrapping the yarn in a way that you needle may go front to back left to right know as a knit stitch versus in a purl your working yarn string has to come to the front and back to front right to left. It is the nature of these used in combination to generate ribbed or stockinette or garter rib patterns as well as various infinite number of combinations.
There are also various was to hold the needles in your hand such as using and overhand grip or pencil grip as well as American style and Continental styles. You want to practice your work several times to get a feel for how tight your work is and what’s the most comfortable way to knit for crochet for you. Sometimes people knit swatches or miniature test piece blocks to get an idea what the work will look like rather than knitting an entire piece and later finding out they didn’t like it.
Lastly don’t forget quilting. Quilting was very popular in the nineteenth century. It is a technique using patches of fabric to create a bigger blanket. There have been notable pieces also made from the Civil War time period and Egyptian times.
This is just a very basic overview of looming and weaving and quilting. Whether you are a beginner or long time knitter or crocheter grab some yarn and your favorite tool and get weaving and knitting!
Comment below on your favorite method or yarn or colors or fabrics!