(This is cross-posted from the class website, but it's here if you need to refer to it or ask other questions.)
Where can I buy all my knitting stuff?
If you're looking to buy materials locally, you can probably find a yarn shop in your area. Check the telephone book, try an internet search, or visit Knitmap. Prices might be a bit higher than you might expect, but there'll be people there who can help you specifically with knitting, from anything to choosing needles and yarn or other techniques.
Another option is the general craft store. In the United States, there are places like Michael's and Hobby Lobby. Also, stores like Joann's or Wal-Mart are likely to have some knitting supplies. In the UK, there's HobbyCraft and likely more. For elsewhere in the world, well... Google is your friend, really. It's been my experience that craft stores have a narrow selection of needles and yarn types, but they should be sufficient for this class, at any rate.
The other option is to shop online. There are numerous sites to choose from. I've used Knitpicks.com (probably my favorite, though they only ship to the US and Canada â€” boo), Patternworks.com, and LionBrand.com (you can buy some of their items at chain stores, but their website has a greater selection plus a wealth of resources). There's also elann.com, who I haven't used but have heard good things about, advertisers on Knitty.com (I love Knitty, omg), a frajillion other sites, too, and even eBay. Again, I don't know shops really outside the US, but a number of the places listed above do ship internationally, so don't let that put you off.
What do you mean by worsted weight yarn?
Yarn comes in a variety of thicknesses. Worsted weight is one of them. It's a medium thickness yarn. It's probably the easiest to find, too. In the US, the packaging will say something along the lines of worsted, a 4 in the middle of an illustrated yarn ball, or 4-5 stitches per inch with size 7-9 needles.
Elsewhere in the world, worsted weight yarn is called double knit, dk, 8 ply, and probably other things too. If you're having trouble and want to figure it out on your, it might be helpful to refer to the weight and length of the ball of yarn. For this class, you want yarn that will give you about 154 meters of yarn for every 100 grams. Or, you can ask for help where you're buying the yarn.
What colors of yarn should I get?
That's totally up to you. If you plan on bleaching your washcloths after use, you'd obviously want to get plain white yarn. But, if you don't plan on that, get whatever colors suit your fancy. Get five balls the same color, get five different colors, get solids, get variegated yarns, or whatever you'd like.
Should I get straight needles or circular needles?
This is all about what you'd like to get. Both are great options.
Personally, I like â€” no, love circular needles. I like not having to be too concerned about accidentally pulling out a needle, or losing half of the set. I like how easily they travel. I like how versatile they are, as you can knit back and forth (or flat) with them, or you can knit in the round with them. I find straight needles, particularly the longer ones, cumbersome and awkward. Also, I like that the weight of the project is distributed more in the middle of what I'm doing rather than on the sides.
But that's just me. If you want straight needles, feel free to use them. My demonstrations are shown on circs, but that doesn't alter the method, so it won't be a problem.
What about needle material? Should I get plastic, metal, bamboo, wood, what?
Like pretty much everything in knitting, the choice comes down to your own preference. Each needle material has its good points and bad points, so it's really just a matter of what works for you.
Cosmo says, "My preference is metal over the others; it's what I've used for practically all my knitting over the years, though I have experimented with the other materials (not enough to give a real rundown of them, though). Metal needles are very slick, which allows the yarn to slip over the needles quite easily (it's also easier for the needle to slip out altogether, but circular needles helps with this). I've found that bamboo needles are very grabby, so the yarn doesn't slide easily on them, throwing off my rhythm. I think plastic and wood needles are between metal and bamboo on the slickness scale, as it were.
"I like my yarn to be slippy on my needles, so metal is great for me. (Plus, I like the click-clacky sound they make as I knit.) If it's not great for you, try another material; it's no skin off my nose."
Tarma says, "I have metal, wooden and plastic knitting needles. (The plastic ones are of a very large size for specialized projects; I think they are plastic so they won't weigh very much.) I have a tendency to prefer wooden knitting needles over metal ones for most projects. Why? Because wooden knitting needles are not as slippery as the metal ones.
"My experience with knitting needles is that invariably the yarn slips off the metal ones, off the tips of them while knitting. This is okay if one is taking the yarn off deliberately. But when one is knitting and the previously knitted stitch slides off its needle or the one being knitted slides off its needle, that can range from something considered a nuisance to a major catastrophe."
How do I hold the needles?
It really depends on you, what's comfortable and useful. That said, you should try not to hold the needles too tightly, as this will tire out your hands and make it difficult to knit for any length of time. If you need ideas on how to hold the needles, try looking at pictures or videos of people knitting; YouTube has loads of knitting videos, if you need someplace to start. If it helps, take comfort in knowing there is no "right" or "wrong" way to do it; there's just what works for you.
Should I knit English or Continental? Is one better than the other?
Like holding your needles, this is all about what's comfortable and useful for you; neither one is better than the other. The best thing to do is to simply try one, and if it's not clicking for you, try the other. Ultimately, it can be a good thing if you can do both, but it's not necessary.
And remember this: there's no such thing as knitting the wrong way. Knitting is a process by which you achieve a result; it's only wrong if the result is wrong. (And wrong results can still be successful.)
Oh, no! I made a mistake earlier in this row! How do I fix it?
First, don't stress about it! It happens to literally every knitter. And the process of fixing it is pretty easy. It's commonly called "tinking", which is a weird word, but it becomes less weird when you realize that "tink" is "knit" in reverse. Anyway, I've made a video demonstrating tinking, so take a look at that and see if that helps you figure out what to do.
About the Class
All the lessons and assignments are already posted. Does that mean I can send things in early?
Sure thing. I don't mind if you send everything in during the first month. Of course, I think it's better to take things a bit slow, keep it easy, but if you're so excited to knit, who am I to stop you? The only things specific limits are the class surveys.
What's your policy about late work?
Ah, well, that's the $64 question, isn't it? I take it on a case-by-case basis, but I try to be as generous and understanding as possible. So, if you have any concerns, just shoot me an email and ask.
When will my points be awarded? It's been ages.
I know, I know. As a professor, one of my goals every term has been to keep on top of my grading; thus far, I've always managed to let it pile up until the last minute. I can't promise I'll ever break out of this awful habit, but keep the faith; maybe this is the term it happens.
That said, you will get your points by the end of term. Better late than never, right?
It's great that there are videos in all the lessons, but I'm not following your explanations; what should I do?
If my videos aren't cutting it for you, I'm sorry! It's probably just my way of explaining stuff. There are tons of knitting videos out there, though, so you should be able to find something good. I'd recommend visiting Knitting Help first; there are tons of great videos there. If those don't do it for you, search on YouTube; there are lots of fantastic videos out there. And, if you find one that really helps you out, send me the link. And, if none of those are helping, send me a message and I'll see what I can do to explain things differently so it makes sense for you.
Is there an easier way to watch the class videos than on the individual class pages?
There is! I put all the class videos into a YouTube playlist that you can find here. They're in the order they appear in the lessons, so that should help you find what you're looking for or simply follow along!
I'm not currently in the class, but I'd really love to talk about my knitting with like-minded HOLers. What should I do?
Well, my fellow knitter-HOLer, whether you've been in the class before or not, you are more than welcome to join us in the class forum (which is right here!). We would love to rejoice, squee, vent, or ponder your current knitting project with you!
Naturally alumni are included in the invitation to the fiber lovefest.
I'd love to take your class, but I already know how to knit, and I'm afraid making washcloths might be sort of boring. What should I do?
In the past I've offered a next-level class called Knitting the Muggle Way: Wearables, which is all about making small projects using fancier techniques like cables and lace and colorwork. There's just not enough interest in the class to justify continuing it as is. However! If you'd like to take knitting as a class but would like to be challenged beyond washcloths, send me a message so we can discuss it. I'd be very happy to work out a sort of "independent study" based on what you'd like to work on.
Class led by Prof. Cosmo B. Mott
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