Looking around, especially at this time of year, knitwear is everywhere. Hats, scarves, sweaters, mittens and other cozy winter gear are knitted from thick, soft yarns, mostly on machines. Even though you can easily buy a pair of gloves almost anywhere, there are lots of reasons to learn how to knit. Here, I’ll give you the top ten reasons you should think about taking up knitting.
When you buy a knitted item from a store, in all likelihood it’s made by a machine. Knitting machines are effective at churning out large quantities of items, but simply from the detailed nature of knitting, the chances for error are very high. Unraveling, mainly at seams, is a major problem that can be difficult, if not impossible to fix.
Unless the knit item is being advertized as wool, cashmere or other natural fibers, what you are getting is acrylic. Acrylic is a man-made plastic fiber that runs the gamut from soft and plush to scratchy and dense, with most commercial products somewhere in between. Items that are advertized as a natural fiber are typically blends of natural fibers and acrylic, with the actual percentage of natural fiber so low it certainly does not justify the extra cost.
Depending on what you make and what type of yarn you use, knitting your own gloves, hats and scarves is almost always cheaper. A pair of mittens hand knit from luxuriously soft 100 percent pure merino wool will cost about $12, as opposed to a similar pair for $30 from a department store. Of course, depending on what yarn you use, the price can be quite expensive, but you’re still getting a much better quality product for your money.
Once you learn the basic stitch, knitting is intuitive. This means
you can either choose to focus on the work and forget your thoughts for a while, or you can let your mind wander while keeping your energy centered on doing something positive.
Knitting is currently having a moment in popular culture. Dakota Fanning knits scarves for costars like Tom Cruise, Amanda Seyfried knits while working out an the elliptical machine and Katherine Heigl knits for her dogs. Last year, the high end online store Net-a-Porter sold kits to knit your own hat or scarf. In 2013, knitting is not just your grandmother’s hobby.
6. Giving Back:
Hand making items to donate to different organizations is a great way to give back without a huge sacrifice of your time. Hats for preemies, blankets for homeless teens, mittens for soldiers and more are always in need of donations. Be sure to stay on the watch for current needs such as last year’s nationwide drive for winter gear for Hurricane Sandy victims.
7. Social Responsibility:
It was only in the past 100 years knitting became a mechanized process. Imagine having to knit socks, sweaters and every piece of winter gear by hand. In other parts of the world, this is still true. Knowing how clothes are manufactured is an important part of being an informed consumer.
8. Internet resources:
Learning to knit is a snap with the Internet. Sites like Knitting Daily and eHow offer written and video tutorials to teach beginners and experienced knitters alike the basics, new tricks and special techniques. The site Ravely is a social network just for people who knit and crochet, full of patterns, help forums and groups for everyone from teens to professional designers and lots of options to share photos of your projects.
Love sweaters but not the crazy multicolored yarn they’re made from? Love hats that would be perfect if only they didn’t have huge pompoms on the tops? When you knit it yourself, the customization options are limitless. Even if you’re just learning, personalizing a pattern with a different color or yarn texture than the one featured will make it uniquely your own.
Handmade gifts are always appreciated: The quality of the product is better, you know the recipient’s favorite color and the time and thought put into the gift will always be appreciated.
This winter, take the time to learn to knit. It only takes minutes,
and it will definitely become your new favorite hobby.
To learn more, visit www.vogueknitting.com.
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