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Knitting-or the process of weaving fiber into cloth with two or more needles-is a craft that has been around for centuries. It is generally agreed upon that knitting can be traced back to the Middle East, where it spread across Europe and, eventually, to the Americas. In fact, the oldest example of a knitted garment is a pair of socks that originated in ancient Egypt. In the 1400s, knitting guilds became common practice. They were primarily composed of men and focused on improving and maintaining the quality of fashionable knits. It is well-known that intricately knitted stockings were a very popular item in the 17th century, and existing stockings can be found today in museums. After the Industrial Revolution made mass production of garments possible, knitting became more of a hobby than a necessary skill.
The most basic tools of the trade are a pair of knitting needles (these can be straight or circular, depending on pattern specifications), a ball of yarn, a stitch marker to place at the beginning of rows, scissors, and a sewing needle for weaving in ends. It is also useful to have a ruler on hand, as well as a crochet hook to pick up dropped stitches. Needle size will be determined by the weight and fiber of the yarn-for example, bulky yarn requires a larger needle, while smaller needles will be used for fingering weight.
There are two main styles of knitting: Continental and English. Knitting Continental style means that the working yarn is held in the left hand, while English style refers to holding the yarn in the right hand and wrapping it around the right needle in order to create stitches. After learning how to cast on, beginning knitters must master the knit and purl stitch. They will then be able to create projects that involve garter stitch (knitting every stitch) and stockinette stitch (knitting one row, then purling the next). Once a knitter learns how to bind off, he or she is ready to tackle patterns suited for beginners.
A reference for beginners with helpful videos, tutorials, and step-by-step instructions for many knitting techniques.
The CYC includes how-to information for new and experienced knitters, as well as guides for those interested in teaching.
A comprehensive site with many video tutorials for basic stitches, casting on and off, increasing, decreasing, and advanced techniques.
A download-able instruction guide for basic knitting techniques.
The official site for Knitsimple, a magazine full of interesting knitting patterns and instructions for beginning, intermediate, and advanced knitters.
Vogue Knitting magazine’s website has a number of helpful resources, such as a yarn store database, free patterns, and a “stitchionary.”
A list of free knitting tutorials and patterns.
Knitty is an online resource for free knitting patterns, tutorials, and related articles.
Learn how to knit with a download-able tutorial, take a correspondence course, or find a local TKGA guild.
This resource includes a list of common knit stitches with free patterns and tutorials.
Buy yarn and other knitting materials, or watch one of their many video tutorials.
A download-able instruction guide including a list of common knitting materials and an illustrated tutorial for basic stitches.
This website offers a selection of beginner’s books, tools, and patterns.
Purchase a variety of yarn by weight, color, fiber, or company.
Features discount yarn and other knitting accessories.
A download-able guide with troubleshooting tips for common knitting problems.
Instructions to help new knitters understand how to knit in the correct gauge.
This is a popular social networking site for knitters. Browse through hundreds of free patterns, join a group, or ask questions in a forum.
A list of tutorials explaining several common stitches and knitting techniques. Includes instructions for shaping and picking up stitches.
Learn about the history of knitting during the second World War.
Search by your zip code to find a local knitting group.
An illustrated guide to knitting from Martha Stewart.
A list of charity knitting organizations, organized alphabetically by name.
An alphabetical list of common terms and abbreviations used in knitting.
A collection of general and in-depth resources for those new to knitting.
A picture gallery of various knit stitches. Includes basket weave, chevrons, and rib stitches.
A list of knitting resources with links to videos, blogs, podcasts, and charity knitting information.
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