For the last half of second grade, I transferred to a new-age elementary school that had an unusual curriculum. Most of the kids started learning Japanese at the age of five, and they were already doing long division. Being transplanted there in the middle of the year made my head spin. I didn’t quite fit in with the rest of the kids, and I was a lost cause in terms of the alternative classes. Though, there was one skill I was taught there that made the experience worthwhile: knitting.
Yep, I learned to knit when I was eight years old, and it wasn’t difficult at all. In my younger years, I didn’t quite knit anything in particular, and I only knew two stitches. I remember helping my mom on big projects like blankets (I took over when her hands got tired). I just liked the activity; it has always been incredibly relaxing for me.
I have a workaholic’s personality. I constantly need to be doing something. Even when I’m trying to sit back and watch something on Netflix, I get anxious as my brain wanders and I eventually find something to multitask on. Since I always end up working, it’s hard to actually relax… queue the stress. But I just recently discovered that if I’m knitting, I can loosen up and just enjoy myself. Before last month, I hadn’t picked up my knitting needles in a couple of years, and now I can’t put them down!
Aside from being relaxing, knitting lets me churn out a ton of handmade accessories whenever I feel like sporting something new. My favorite things to knit are headbands and hats, since I can get one finished in under two hours. Scarves and cowls are longer projects that I’ve done a few times as well. I keep a lot of the accessories I knit, but they also make great gifts that show time was put into each one.
A skein of yarn costs between $4-$9 and I can normally create two to three projects from of each one, depending on the thickness. That’s much more affordable than buying knitted accessories from popular retail stores. During winter, I make my own accessories and incorporate any trendy colors and styles— I’ve even used the new color of the year, marsala, in a few of my latest projects.
Other benefits to knitting include improving dexterity, challenging your attention span, and improving concentration. Perhaps all elementary schools should implement the craft into their lesson plans, especially in these technology obsessed times!
Even in SoCal, it gets to be pretty chilly during this time of year. Whatever I knit ends up getting a lot of use to keep me warm. I’m trying to learn how to knit socks next, and am working on new stitch techniques and patterns.
If you’re crafty or like to try new activities, I would definitely suggest knitting. A pair of knitting needles, some yarn, and learning the easy, basic stockinette stitch will get you far enough to create tons of cute, cozy accessories! Here are some of my supply suggestions to get you started:
- 15mm Bamboo Wooden Needles
This is my favorite size needles to work with, since they are medium thickness and can knit a large variety of yarn weights. With these, you have the option to knit tightly or loosely, depending on your preference and the project.
- Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick Yarn
I love this brand and style of yarn, because it’s bulky and so knits up quickly. It’s great for scarves and chunky beanies, and is machine washable. The material is soft and warm, and just easy to work with.
- The Knitting Stitch Bible
After you already know the basic techniques (which you can find a ton of tutorials on YouTube for learning), a stitch reference guide is good to have for learning new patterns and designs. This one is really simple to use and has information useful for knitting beginners and pros.
- Yarn Needles
When you’re finishing up a project, yarn needles are essential to sew seams and tuck away loose strands.