5 Frequently Asked Questions!!Jen May
I know this isn’t the blog post I keep promising, but unfortunately my elbows have not been co-operating again, and a beginners guide to sock knitting would take a long time to write, so today I thought I’d answer the 5 most recently asked questions!
1. What is the best project to start with when learning to knit?
Many people start with large projects like blankets as they are just straight up and down and don’t require any shaping, but starting off with such a big project isn’t always a good idea, as you are usually a slower knitter at first, and waiting such a long time until you have a finished product can be a bit demoralising and could result in you giving up altogether.
Something like a hat is a great idea, and would teach you multiple skills – rib, stocking stitch and decreasing for the crown. You can also find many kits for beginners to make small items (you can see our kits here), and now a lot of yarn cakes like colourwheel and carousel also come with a free pattern to make a scarf, so you just need to get the right needles and you can get started!
If you just wanted to try out knitting without making too much of an investment, you can start with a nice colour in a budget yarn like Top Value or Special, and some Pony needles. Youtube is a great place to get started and learn the basics if you want to try it out before committing to a project, but do be wary if you are learning to crochet rather than knit, as American and English terminology are completely different!
Overall, if you want to learn to knit (or crochet!), just start with something that you would love to make, and enjoy it! As a rule of thumb it’s usually better to start with something smaller, or chunkier yarn, but if a bigger project inspires you, go for it and have fun!
2. How should I price my knitted garments?
The general rule is the cost of materials times three, or to time how long it takes you to make it and then add an hourly wage onto the cost of the materials, but it is completely up to you! Charge what you feel happy with, but try not to undercharge, and stick to your guns! Some people will expect handmade items to be cheaper, but remember that knitting is a skill, so don’t be afraid to charge them for it.
Alternatively, if you are making something for a friend, or just enjoy it and only want to be reimbursed for the cost of the yarn (or not at all) – don’t feel bad about it! Charge (or don’t charge) what you are comfortable with, because at the end of the day it is your decision and you should be happy with it.
3. Why don’t you stock roving?
Since the big knitting trend hit, we get asked for roving quite a lot, and although I am thrilled that more people are getting involved in crafting, and big knitting is a great idea for beginners as it means you can get a finished product in very little time, roving isn’t very practical.
Roving is quite expensive (making a blanket out of it would cost £400-£600 as you need quite a lot), and is essentially wool before it is spun, so it tends to shed a lot, can’t be washed and collects dust, so isn’t the best idea for household items like blankets and cushions.
However, if you really want to try big knitting and not use roving, there are plenty of alternatives – you can always try super chunky, which you can hold double to arm knit with, or singly with knitting needles (which might be easier if you want to take more time over it – once you’ve started a project with arm knitting you can’t really stop until it’s finished!).
If you still really want to use roving – go for it! It is best to do a bit of research first if you can though – try to find out how well it washes, read reviews from others, and make sure you know how much you will need, as you don’t want to start a project only to realise you are going to need much more than you expected and it’ll cost you more than you would like (I did that once with a merino jumper!)
4. Should I pick the yarn or the pattern first?
This is a tricky one, as it’s completely up to you! There is no specific ‘rule’ for it, everyone has different ways they like to choose their projects, and it might even differ from project to project! Just go for what speaks to you, what makes you go ‘wow!’. If you find a yarn that you adore, try to find a pattern to go with it (I always like to say ‘the wool chooses the knitter’, but that’s just the Ollivander in me!), or if you find a pattern that you simply must make, find a wool that makes you happy. There’s no right or wrong way to do it, just do what feels right.
5. Why are patterned yarns more expensive?
You’ll probably notice that variated, stripy or self-patterning yarns are often more expensive than solid coloured yarns, this is because the dying process is more difficult and takes longer, so it costs more to make. If you want something a bit more interesting than a solid colour on a budget, go for something like Marble, or Baby Twist which have other colours spun into them, so are cheaper than the yarns that stripe or come out in a fair isle pattern but still more exciting to knit with than a plain colour.
Also bear in mind the fibre – if a yarn is wool and comes out in a fair isle pattern, it is going to be more expensive than a solid coloured acrylic. There are lot of factors involved in the price of different yarns, including where they are produced, if they have any embellishments (like sparkles or sequins) and how they are spun, so do bear all this in mind when choosing a yarn.
I hope that’s been helpful! If you have any other questions you’d like answered, pop a comment down below and drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!
Next months blog post will be all about YARN SHOP DAY, which is happening on the 12th of May (only 2 weeks to go!). I’ll try and get as many pictures as I can on the day to show you all!