Someone else suggesting you take up a hobby that has never before crossed your mind, how irritating! I know, I know. Just hear me out. 🙂 I’m well aware that this is a global pandemic, not an extended bank holiday, but if you’re anything like me you do want to make the best of it and be productive… here’s why I think knitting is the hobby you should give a try. Even if you are the type who thinks knitting is for grannies and you wouldn’t be seen dead with needles in hand, then hey – nobody’s gonna see you now!
EDIT: The Rockpool Sweater worn in these photos is now available to download directly via this blog post. Scroll down to purchase this knitting pattern.
something useable at the end of it
In this increasingly digital age where even a pub quiz is held virtually, I can’t stress enough how valuable it is to have a hobby with tangible results. You may be firing up Duolingo in the hope of being fluent in Spanish by the end of this, but unless you have opportunity to actually converse in Spanish, how will you know whether you succeeded? There’s only so much gratification a (virtual) certificate can bring. Nothing beats the satisfaction of hobbies with something physical (and more to the point, useful) at the end. Something you can make and hold in your own two hands. Who knows how much you could make in this indefinitely long quarantine?
mental health benefits
It would be irresponsible to suggest that any craft could pull anyone from the depths of depression, but it’s been proven time and time again that handcrafts can bring serious mental health benefits. Knitting keeps your brain occupied in the beginning, whilst you’re learning the new stitches and getting the hang of how to move your hands. Sooner than you may expect, you’ll find a rhythm, and knitting will begin to feel like a meditative task. Apart from the times when you inevitably drop stitches or make mistakes – it happens to the best of us, and I won’t lie, those parts are still annoying! Eventually the needles begin to feel like extensions of your hands, if you’re anything like me and have been knitting most of your life. There’s a reason #KnittingIsMyYoga is such a popular hashtag!
a convenient craft
Knitting fits in a bag nicely, can be done anywhere (although that’s slightly irrelevant right now), and can be picked up for 5 minutes at a time. The same can’t be said for all those crafts involving paint, glitter, glue and whatnot, however pretty the end product may be! Even sewing – which I love – requires setting up a sewing machine in a reasonable amount of space, and committing to spend enough time on it to make the faff worthwhile. It’s the main reason I don’t sew nearly as much as I’d like to. Knitting, though? All you need is yarn, needles, and your own two hands, and picking it up to knit a row or two is absolutely worthwhile. At a time when attention spans are short and we’re all distracted by endless news, I’d say that’s definitely a good thing.
create your own unique wardobe
I don’t know about you, but personally, buying new clothes (online, obviously) holds literally zero appeal to me right now. I have more than enough clothes to wear to my own back garden! How about using the time you would have spent shopping for and wearing clothes to make your own? No piling money into the pockets of billionaires who refuse to pay their staff’s wages… no spending money on clothes with no chance to wear them out… all the satisfaction of creating an item that’s unique to YOU. Of course for a complete newbie it might take a little practice before you’re ready to jump into garments – but I 100% guarantee you’d be able to make something cool far sooner than you’d think. If nothing else, cushion covers are the simplest thing ever and look fabulous on that sofa you’re probably spending an awful lot of time on!
something to remember the time by
The blanket you knitted in the Great Pandemic of 2020, or something like that. Stitches capture memories exceptionally well, and whilst these aren’t exactly the most pleasant of circumstances to remember, we’re definitely living history right now. I’m currently knitting an #AloneTogetherSweater designed by Laerke Bagger as a sweater to unite knitters during this time. Watching others’ versions pop up on Instagram is as enjoyable as the scrappy knitting itself. It’s also a beginner friendly pattern, if you’re looking for an idea for a first sweater project.
the online knitting community
I am SO glad I started my knitting Instagram account. The online knitting community is fabulous, (mostly) supportive, and inspiring. If you’re bored of scrolling through endless news updates and lockdown selfies, then scrolling through endless photos of knitwear and yarn might just be a welcome change. Of course pretty photos of knitting are often accompanied by captions with the same concerns and issues as anyone else on Instagram right now, but it’s nice to have something else in common besides lockdown.
Where to buy supplies for beginners
Obviously yarn stores are closed, so that’s not ideal, but there are still many online retailers open for business, and some supermarkets actually stock basic yarn too. I’d recommend 5mm circular needles and Aran weight yarn to anyone getting started – check out this post about teaching my first Learn to Knit workshop for more details.
I’ve loved seeing more folks pick up the needles lately, and my DMs have been busy offering help and advice to new knitters. If you’d like to give it a shot but aren’t sure where to start, give me a shout. Anyway, whether in knitting or otherwise, I hope you’re finding some form of comfort in this time at home, and if you’re out working not at home, thank you for doing your very important job.
ROCKPOOL SWEATER DETAILS
An all year round, casual sweater with simple slouchy body and cute mesh sleeves.
yarn: DK weight yarn, 786 (836; 899; 951; 1019) 1075; 1129; 1177; 1231 metres / 859 (913; 982; 1038; 1113) 1175; 1234; 1286; 1345 yards. Shown in Dyebath hand-dyed pure wool merino blend in shade ‘Oysters’. If using this yarn you will need 2 (2; 2; 2; 2) 3; 3; 3; 3 x 250g skeins.
needles and notions: 5mm and 4mm needles: 24 inch / 60cm circular needles for body, plus either DPNs or long circular needle (for magic loop) for sleeves, cuffs and neckband. You will also need scrap yarn for holding stitches, lockable stitch markers, and a tapestry needle.
gauge: 18 sts and 24 rows to 4 inches / 10cm in stocking stitch on 5mm needle, blocked.
This sweater is worked in DK weight yarn to an Aran weight gauge, as it is designed to be quite lightweight and open. The sample uses a fairly thick DK, which could be substituted for a light Worsted yarn that meets the same gauge.
Sizing: 1 (2: 3: 4: 5) (6: 7: 8: 9) detailed below, designed to be worn with 6 – 8 inches / 15 – 20 cm positive ease. Sample shown is a size 2 worn on a 34” bust with around 6 inches of positive ease.
To fit bust: 28-30 (32-34; 36-38; 40-42; 44-46) (48-50; 52-54; 56-58; 60-62) inches / 71-76 (81-86; 91-97; 102-107; 112-117) (122-127; 132-137; 142-147; 152-157) cm.
Finished bust circumference: 36.5 (40; 44.5; 48; 52.5) (56; 60.5; 64; 68.5) inches / 92 (102; 113; 122; 133) (142; 153; 163; 174) cm.
Construction: The Rockpool sweater is worked seamlessly from the top down. It begins by casting on across the shoulders and working back and forth in rows on the upper back, then the upper front. The main body is worked in the round in one piece from the armhole down to the hem. Stitches are picked up around the neck to work the ribbed neckband. The sleeves are worked by picking up around the armhole edge from the inside out to create a faux ‘seam’ on the outside of the garment. The rest of the sleeves are worked from the top down in rounds, in a simple mesh stitch pattern. The cuffs are gathered into a neat 2×2 rib.
Lily Kate x