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Knitting is Back in the Loop

 

Knitting is gaining in popularity for people of all ages

Many of us own a knitted scarf that may have been purchased on a whim or received as a gift. There is no doubt that the homemade variety is much more special. Just like quilting has been raised to a popular and active craft, knitting is gaining momentum as a reason to gather and make fun things - some of them very quickly.

Even teens and getting in on the act and begging for knitting needles and a little yarn to make covers for cell phones and iPods. These are fast and satisfying projects, even if some are a little out of kilter.

Colorful yarns are also popular with kids for a closetful of scarves. Next up is the throw, which is only slightly more difficult. These can be made from big fluffy yarns for a looser luxurious feel or tighter weaves (easier to use) that are a little more time-consuming. Girls are also giving purses a treatment called "felting." Use 100% wool to create a free-form bag. On the washing machine's hottest setting, the threads fuse to create a smooth, soft surface.

There will be mistakes, of course, when trying for a specific gauge. Check and double-check often to make sure you're on course. Also, consult with the experts at a knitting shop to find out which are the easiest yarns to start with. They do warn specifically about the types with glittery threads interwoven - not only for beginners but for advanced users.

Instructions are available in books and on-line (free), but sometimes it is wise to sign up for a paid class for one-on-one instruction. Also, more impromptu clubs are springing forth that attract a wide range of expertise. Most experienced knitters are happy to share their knowledge and make inspections before you get too far into a project.

More words of advice: choose colors and textures that you really love - that will make each project much more fun. And choose a couple of projects to work on at once. If you get stuck on one, move on to the other for a while. It will refresh your mind. Plus, it might even prevent frustration if you run out of supplies after the shops have closed.

There is no limit to the number of "easy" projects available for beginners. Ponchos and shawls are mid-level, but everyone loves an afghan or a decorative pillow cover. It's not too early to start preparing for gift-giving at the holidays, either.

 

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