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learn to knit

  • How to Master a New Craft or Skill

    “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” ―Mahatma Gandhi

    Have you always to start something new and weren't sure where to start? Whether you want to learn how to crochet, how to knit, how to paint, how to tackle a new stitch, the list below gives you the basics on how to become a pro at your new creative endeavor:

    1. Grab a how-to book with expert instruction to guide you step by step
    2. Gather all the materials you will need. Ex: yarn, needle, paint, pen, etc.
    3. Start small with swatches, samples, small projects, etc. before tackling the harder stuff
    4. Practice your new skill regularly—that will help to make it almost automatic
    5. Sit back and revel in your new creations!

    In the next few paragraphs, we'll explore several of our books that come with easy-to-follow instructions and progressive projects for you to learn how to conquer new stitches, new skills, and entirely new crafts.

    Great Balls of Yarn: Learn Crochet or Expand Your Skills

    If you’re new to crochet or if you want to learn a new crochet skill or two, we've got you hook, yarn and fun with these easy-to-follow books! Learn how to crochet with ease and enjoyment.

    The progressive projects of The Ultimate Crochet Collection for Beginners take you from easy to more difficult with easy-to-follow instructions and patterns. You'll love learning how to crochet with Marly Bird, and the resulting creations are cute AND functional!

    Ultimate Crochet Collection for Beginners #7512

    You'll be hooked on crochet with Learn to Crochet with Custom Hooks! We'll supply you with a hook designed especially for beginners, so it will be extra easy to learn how to crochet any of the adorable accessories for kids or adults.

    Learn to Crochet with Custom Hooks #6381

    This eye-catching stitch will croc your world! The Beginner's Guide to Crocodile Stitch is the perfect "how-to" to add an eye-catching layer of "scales" to your crochet projects. You'll be surprised how easy it is to learn with our step-by-step instructions, photographs, and videos. On a scale (see what we did there?) of 1-10, this book is definitely a 10!

    Beginner's Guide to Crocodile Stitch #6377

    If you adore crocheting and love the look of knits, you won't want to miss out on this hybrid! Award-winning teacher Kim Guzman walks you through the basics with clear photos and friendly instructions in the Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Tunisian Crochet.

    Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Tunisian Crochet #5599

    We wouldn't toy with you—your children, grandchildren, friends' children (we could go on and on), will love these toys! And with Learn to Crochet Toys, you'll be a crocheting wizard before you can say "Bodacious ballerina begs you to begin"!

    Learn to Crochet Toys #6188

    Life's a Stitch: Learning Knitting is Fun and Relaxing, with Beautiful Results

    Don't be at your knit's end learning a new skill. Let our pros guide you through a basketful of knitting projects with ease and joy.

    Designer Marly Bird walks you every step of the way through how to knit multiple projects in the Complete Knit Collection. You'll not only create awesome gifts—or keepers—you'll gain the skills to be a knitting pro. From trendy dishcloths to a beautiful shawl or afghan, this collection has got you covered. 

    Chunky Pillow, Complete Knit Collection for Beginners #7577

    Market Bag, Complete Knit Collection for Beginners #7577

    Learn beautiful mosaic knitting with The Beginner's Guide To Mosaic Knitting. Create complex-looking fabrics with only one color per row, with yarn guru Melissa Leapman guiding you through.

    The Beginner's Guide To Mosaic Knitting #7492

    Come in first lace learning how to create gorgeous purses, doilies, scarfs, and more, with the Beginner's Guide to Lace Knitting.

    Beginner's Guide to Lace Knitting #6351

    Not only will this book teach you everything you need to know to make several styles of hats, it includes a kit with everything you need to knit one complete hat. Get started right away without worrying about the materials. If you've been wanting to learn how to knit hats, Knit Hat Book Plus Kit is for you.

    Craftastic New Hobbies That Are Easy to Learn

    Fun for all levels, Modern Punch Needle takes a modern twist on the traditional needle craft. The step-by-step instructions and 14 progressively harder projects take you from beginner to pro. Once you learn the ins and outs, you'll want to check out this post featuring our newest punch needle kits.

    Modern Punch Needle #7513

    Channel your inner pyromaniac and learn how to leave your mark (on wood, of course) with Modern Woodburning - 9 Skill-Building Projects for Learning Pyography You'll really enjoy blazing this trail!

    Modern Woodburning #7524

    We wouldn't macra-stray you wrong—Get Started In Macramé has 11 gorgeous wall hangings and other projects for beginners to learn how to master this craft from yesteryear. We can also help you out with the supplies you'll need.

    Get Started In Macrame #7217

    Paint happy thoughts with Happy Abstracts - Fearless Painting for True Beginners. Stroke-by-stroke how-to photo guides take you through six colorful and abstract projects, sure to be a centerpiece of your home décor.

    Happy Abstracts - Fearless Painting for True Beginners #7412

    The World IS your oyster with Hand Lettering - Great for Weddings & Other Occasions. Your creations can be just as spectacular as you see in stores, or on Pinterest and Instagram. Artist Kathryn Erney will teach you several styles—each building on the last—and before you know it, you’ll have mastered those pen strokes and will be making beautiful pieces!

    Hand Lettering - Great for Weddings & Other Occasions #7326

    So whether you want to learn how to knit, how to crochet, or learn a new craft all together, our experts take you step-by-step through the process. Whether you're a beginner or want to enhance your repertoire, at least one of these books is perfect for you. When you're finished, post your photo/s on social media and be sure to tag us @leisureartsinc or use #leisurearts, so we can all enjoy your journey as well!  

    -Leisure Arts Team

  • The All-New Ultimate Oval Loom Knitting Set

    Our Innovative Ultimate Oval Loom Knitting Set  breaks the mold of a traditional knitting loom. At first glance, you might ask a simple question:

    Why Oval?

    Oval Loom Kit Large Oval Loom, Small Oval Loom & Stitching Tool

    Easy Handling

    If you've ever held a traditional straight loom, you know spacing in the center of the loom can be tight.  The all-new oval shape is easy to hold and use, since it is just deep enough to allow plenty of room in the center to work.

    Oval vs. Straight and Round Looms

    Traditional Loom Assortment of Round and Straight Looms

    When compared to the straight loom, the oval loom is easier to use due to the room in the center to work.

    When comparing an oval loom and a round loom with the same number of pegs, it's easier to hold the oval loom.

    Yarn

    The peg spacing is ½” making it a small gauge loom perfect for lighter weight yarns.   A single strand of #3 light weight yarn and #4 medium weight yarns can be used.

    Ultimate Oval Loom Kit

    Ultimate Oval Loom Knitting Set Ultimate Loom Knitting Set Packaging

    Inside the Ultimate Oval Loom Knitting Set  you'll find the following:

    • Small Loom ~ 11 3/4" x 5 1/2" with 54 Pegs
    • Large Loom ~ 15 1/2" x 9 3/8" with 70 Pegs
    • Stitching Tool
    • 48-page Beginner's Guide to Oval Loom Knitting with 7 Projects
    54 Peg Loom, 70 Peg Loom & Stitching Tool from Oval Loom 54 Peg Loom, 70 Peg Loom & Stitching Tool
    Beginner's Guide Oval Loom Knitting Beginner's Guide to Oval Loom Knitting

    Projects

    This is ideal loom for lighter weight projects including baby blankets, mitts, hats, scarves, cowls, bags, afghans, and more.   The 48-page Beginner's Guide has clear photos and friendly step-by-step instructions.  Here are the projects you can make with the guide included with the Ultimate Oval Loom Knitting Set: Basic Beanie, Striped Beanie, Fingerless Mitts, Family Tube Socks, Twisted Garter Hat, Twisted Garter Scarf, and Lace Cowl.

    Oval Loom Basic Beanie Basic Beanie
    Oval Loom Striped Beanie Striped Beanie
    Fingerless Mitts made with the Oval Loom Fingerless Mitts
    Family Tube Socks made with the Oval Loom Family Tube Socks
    Twisted Garter Hat made with the Oval Loom Twisted Garter Hat
    Oval Loom Scarf Twisted Garter Scarf
    Oval Loom Lace Cowl Lace Cowl

    Each of the seven projects in the Beginner's Guide to Oval Loom Knitting has easy, step-by-step photo directions.

    Who Can Use this Loom?

    Loom Knitting is popular for a reason.  A loom lessens the need for repetitive movements making it a great alternative for someone with arthritis, carpel tunnel, fibromyalgia, or any other condition that might result in hand or wrist pain.  Loom knitting is also a great choice for beginners, including kids!  This set is a great way to introduce kids to knitting; we recommend the Leisure Arts Ultimate Oval Loom Knitting Set  for ages 8 and up.

    The oval loom steps up the benefits to the next level with the oval shape allowing for even easier handling and manipulation.  The extra room in the center of the loom makes loom knitting an even easier task.

    Get Started

    Oval Loom Back Cover Leisure Arts

    Now is the time to learn the basics of loom knitting while creating fabulous fashions and other small-gauge projects! In the Ultimate Oval Loom Knitting Set , you’ll receive looms in two sizes (with 54 and 70 pegs), a stitching tool, and the Beginner's Guide to Oval Loom Knitting.  Just add yarn and you'll be loom knitting beautiful creations before you know it!

  • Learn to Knit: Changing Double Point Needles

    I've been thinking about making another pair of socks.  I really like the Basic Sock pattern from I Can't Believe I'm Knitting Socks, and it seems like now is a good time to talk about knitting on double pointed needles. 

    Here is a video to show you what knitting with double pointed needles looks like!

       

    Ta da!

    I know that tutorial is for when you switch from circular knitting needles to double pointed ones, and that's a little different from when you knit on double pointed needles from start to finish.  Actually, no.  It's pretty much the same.  It may not feel like it when you get started, but it is.  Knitting in the round is moving your stitches around and around. 

    Knitting in the round on double pointed needles is moving your stitches around and around, and from needle to needle.  I promise that it's not a big deal.  When you're knitting a hat and move to double pointed needles because you've decreased to the point where you have too few stitches to knit on a circular needle, you'll probably divide your stitches onto three needles.  I'm not sure why, but that's just how it works out with your stitches and decrease points.  Your pattern will probably tell you. 

    I think I prefer to knit on four needles, just because.  I found out that I have an easier time hanging on to four than three.  Maybe I just like it because it makes a square.  In fact, I like it so much that I'd tell you that if your hat pattern doesn't specifically say "You need to divide your stitches evenly over three needles," then you should divide them evenly over four needles.  You just should.

    You should try all kinds of things.  If you haven't knitted with double pointed needles before, a baby hat might be the best starter project.  Or you should just throw yourself into sock knitting with wild abandon because there's no reason not to!  Have fun!

  • Binding Off In Knit: A Video Tutorial

     When I was knitting the St. Patrick's Day pattern from Holiday Knit Dishcloths last week, I noticed the bind off instructions.

    And it got me thinking.  When I first started trying more crochet patterns, I used to panic at the phrase "finish off" because it just seemed like I should be doing so much more than pulling my hook out of its singular loop and tying a knot.  "Finish off" sounded like a huge task I should perform with some ceremony.  Or maybe a weapon.  But nope.

    Remove the hook from your work:

    Tie a knot:

    Ta da! You have finished off a crochet project.  (You monster.)

    Binding off, however, is different.  You're still knitting a row.

    You need to have plenty of yarn still on hand.

    And sometimes, you have to do it in a knit.

    Okay, I shouldn't be dramatic.  Binding off all stitches ("stitches" = "sts" in patterns, by the way) in a knit usually just means that if you're working knit stitches, you'll keep working in knit stitches as you're binding off.  If you were purling, your instructions could tell you to "bind off on the purl side" or something similar.  Some patterns just say "Bind off in pattern."
    But binding off in knit stitches is its own special lesson, and that's what we're talking about today.  So here's the video tutorial:

       

    There, see?  Nothing too crazy at all!  It's like one long row of decreasing, or passing a stitch over the stitch just worked.  Honestly, you could bind off every knitting project you ever made just like this for the rest of your very long life and very few people--if anyone--would look at your bind-off edge and know that you worked your bind off in knit stitches and not whatever other technique the pattern called for.  And if they did, who cares?  Who inspects bind-off edges?

    (Do you do that?  Please let me know if you do.  I'm very curious as to why, out of all the quirks most of us have, checking bind-off edges is yours.)

    So!If you don't know how to bind off, now you do.  Obviously, learning tons of different ways to do something is always ideal.  But binding off all stitches in knit is a really great way to simply finish off a project and now you can do it!

  • Simply Lovely Simple Wristwarmers

     

    I know it's March now, and we're supposed to be wearing spring-like clothes and doing spring-like activities BUT IT IS TOO COLD FOR THAT NONSENSE!  At least right now.  Maybe things will be different by the end of the week.  But for now, it's cold.  That's why these hand warmers from Learn to Knit Now! seemed like the perfect weekend project.

    The Wrist Warmers pattern from Learn to Knit Now! calls for bulky weight yarn and Size 10 1/2 needles.  I used Bernat Softeez in some light gray (a little lighter than it looks in the pictures) and Size 9 needles.  The gauges was 14 stitches in pattern = 4", and my gauge was a little tighter than that.  These are a gift for a friend, and her hands are slightly smaller than your average adult.  I tried them on myself, and they felt just about right. 

    And I love these!

    I used to love knitting handwarmers, and then I stopped.  And then I got back into it.  I've made 2 pairs in as many months!  Both times, the patterns called for bulky weight yarn and I think that's another reason why I tried them both.  The last pair I made was the Quick & Easy Handwarmer pattern from I Can't Believe I'm Knitting Mittens.  I guess I frequently get in the mood to knit quick bulky weight projects that super simple.

    There are some knitters who don't mess with simpler beginner patterns once they learn new skills.

    I don't trust those people.

    I'm all for pushing yourself and making new and exciting things, but what's not to love about some simple hand-warming accessories!  These handwarmers/wristwarmers/fingerless mitts/whatevers are knit flat in a simple K2P2 ribbing and then stitched together.  I picked this pattern because I'd seen it in Learn to Knit Now! when I was flipping through it a month or so ago and it stuck in my mind.  I thought this was a pretty pattern that would be really comfy.

    No crazy thumb gusset business this time!

    Sometimes, I'm not only in the mood to make something simple--I want to see something simple.  I think these look lovely.  I thought about stitching some buttons on the sides and even decided against doing even that much.  These are simple and clean-looking.

    This was a super relaxing knit for me.  And I do think it's perfect for a newer knitter.  It's the same two stitches over and over, and you could feel like an expert on them before you even finish the first warmer!  Plus, I maybe wore these a little longer than I implied in one of those earlier paragraphs up there.   Trust me when I say that these are super warm.  Super warm and super squishy--it's a winning combination for a handknit handwarmer!

    We still have a lot of cold days ahead of us and I think my friend is going to enjoy these.   I'm hoping fairer weather reaches us soon, but you could probably make a pair--or two! Or more!--before it does.

    Stay warm!

  • Purl 2 Stitches Together: A Knitting Tutorial

    Hey, remember when I knitted the Casual Comfort beanie from Celebrity Beanies for the Family and it was all textured and kind of old-fashioned looking and absolutely delightful?

    Good times.

    I really love that pattern, and I think I should make it again for myself in either a really neutral color or a super vibrant one.  Anyway, until then I thought this would be a fun time to talk about decrease stitches.  I know.  I party hard.

    Since seed stitch is just a bunch of knit and purl stitches, one of the decrease methods for the Casual Comfort hat is to purl two stitches together.  And how do you purl two stitches together?

     Like this:

     

    It seems simple enough: act like you're going to purl a stitch and then purl two of them as one.  But the first time I read a description of how to do it, it sounded ridiculously tricky and I don't know why.  Maybe sometimes simple actions are difficult to describe.  But believe me, this is as simple as the reassuring voice and professional hands in the video says it is.

    Purling two stitches together is a common technique when you're making decreases in the purled fabric between cables, ribbed knitting, or seed stitch.  Man, I love seed stitch.  And I love knowing lots of decrease stitches.  Purl decreases are fanfreakingtastic, and I hope you have a pattern to try them out super soon.

    Obviously I'm recommending this one.

  • Picking Up Stitches At End Of Rows: A Knitting Tutorial


     

    I was thinking about picking up stitches the other day, because sometimes I think about those things.  I had thought it would be terrifying and ridiculous, but when I worked my first heel on my first pair of socks, it wasn't a big deal.  Maybe the instructions in I Can't Believe I'm Knitting Socks were incredibly clear.  Maybe I'm just a natural when it comes to knitting socks.  Maybe you can do anything if you have a good tutorial. 

    Maybe it's a mix of those things, minus the joke about my preternatural sock skills.  I do not have sock skills.  But I'd like to make another pair soon, and I'm going to make sure I have this video playing when it time for me to pick up the stitches on my heel flap. 

        

        

    Because I totally did it wrong last time!  Of course.  Like I said, I was joking about having sock skills.  

    Obviously.

    But I did enjoy the Basic Sock Pattern and I love self-striping yarn and I would like to try more patterns from I Can't Believe I'm Knitting Socks.  And now I know some more things about picking up stitches!   And I think I'll use a crochet hook, too.  Leaps and bounds with this sock-knitting business!  And I had fun the last time I made socks.  I'll have even more fun when I've got a better understanding of how to work on those tricky heels.

    Having some warm socks and having the slightest inkling about how to make them well?!  I really can't think of anything more fun than that.

  • Learn to Knit: Oh, Say Can You C4F?

    I've been knitting cables lately--a whole hat's worth, in fact.

    I'm pretty sure I've talked about cabling before, but I'm going to talk about it again because I think it's pretty.  And because knitting cables is surprisingly easy and I want to spread the word! 

    Essentially, a cable is what happens when you sneak your right-hand needle around some of the waiting stitches on your left-hand needle and knit them before you knit the 2 or 3 stitches at the front of the line.  Everything gets all twisted--but in a good way!--and then you have a beautiful, deceptively fancy-looking cable in the midst of your lovely knitted creation.

    The hat I'm making is the Cables Beanie from Knit Slouchy Beanies and Headwraps, and I was fully planning on embedding this video about how to knit the cable 4 front (C4F in knitting patterns) that is called for in this pattern.  But YouTube and I seem to be going through some things, by which I mean we're edging past that strained part of our relationship and moving right into all-out arch enemies territory.
    But! I was able to upload this slightly older video from Leisure Arts for the book I Can't Believe I'm Knitting Cables.  I loved the DVD I Can't Believe I'm Knitting Cables, Bobbles, and Lace; and, if we're going to be honest (which I usually am.  Sorry?), I would probably go ahead and say I love the whole "I can't believe....." line of books and DVDs even if I wasn't being paid to say nice things about Leisure Arts on the Internet.  I actually learned how to work my yarnovers for lacework properly from that DVD, and wasn't surprised to find out that this video has some great information about knitting cables.  
    This is a bit longer than most tutorials, but you can learn about different cable needles--and even how to knit cables without a cable needle!
    Recognize Sarah Green's voice?  She's the hands and voice from the videos!  
    She's a real person!  I'm easily tickled by things.  Sorry.  I think I meant it that time.
    But I like learning new things, and I thought that was a pretty nice, quick tutorial on a technique that is exceptionally beautiful and not that tricky.  I promise! 
    Hey, you can trust me because I'm honest.  And because I'm able to knit cables. 

    That should be all the proof you need that cables are completely doable.

  • How to Knit

    I realize this post's title seems like it should be more descriptive, but we are talking about the knit stitch. It's usually the first stitch you learn when you learn to knit and it can be used in pretty much every way imaginable.  Here are the most basic examples.

    When you knit the knit stitch on both sides of your work, you get garter stitch like these dishcloths:


    When you knit the knit stitch on one side of your work and purl on the other side, you're knitting the stockinette stitch like this dishcloth dress.  See how only the knit stitches are showing?
    And when you work the knit stitch in the round, you have knit stitches on one side and purl stitch bumps on the other side of your work even though you're only working one side, like with this hat:

    And when you're learning to knit the stitch stitch, it looks like this:

  • Knitting a Yarnover Between Two Knit Stitches

    I'm still knitting away on the Tempting Texture pattern from Knit Cowls and I thought I'd point out something.  See the holes in the knitting?

    Look closer.  These holes.

    They're created with yarn over stitches.  Any time you see holes--intentional ones, anyway!--in knitting, you're looking at yarn overs.  Sometimes they're used as nice-looking increases, and sometimes they're placed in a pattern just to be pretty.  The rows in the Tempting Texture cowl call for yarn overs and knitted together stitches so that the row will have the same number of stitches as all the other rows.  These yarn overs are purely for show.

    And I think they look lovely!

    And here's how you make one between two knit stitches:

    It's a fairly simple technique, but I managed to mess it up the first few times I tried it before I watched a video.

    So hooray for videos!  Go forth!  Use this knowledge to make beautiful things!

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