Knitting Beauty and Joy. Simple Knitting Without Patterns. Knit Fringed Scarves, Ponchos!
Soft and Chunky Knitwear
Simple and Big
Knitting has always one of the things I have been able to do. My Grandma taught me to knit almost as soon as I could walk. Almost since I could walk I have searched for instant gratification. The knitting that my Grandma did was not conducive of that. She had thin metal needles and tiny things called cable pins that slid away in the blink of an eye, Patterns that even with 20/20 vision, you needed glasses to read. After knitting a beautiful Arran Sweater that took me countless weeks to knit with much counting I might add I decided to quit. Now many people know the Aran fisherman's sweater is designed so that family members can tell who the drowned fisherman belonged to just by the complication of the pattern. Blackberry stitch, a small complicated knot, Tree of heaven, a trellis pattern and various cable stitches employing the for mentioned cable pin, can be arranged in countless ways and each family on the Island of Arran off the Irish coast had its own design for this practical reason. Well I didn't have any desire to go fishing in the angry waters off the Irish coast so I decided that in future I would keep it simple. The Arran sweater was gorgeous but even though I wore it til it just about fell apart, I couldn't bring myself to start anything else demanding cable pins.
Years passed by and I amused myself by keeping sheep and learning to spin soft and beautiful yarns. Eventually the feeling passed and after the untimely death of one of my ewes, attacked by a fox I decided to look at yarns available to buy and give up growing my own. I was amazed by the variety and "feel" of the new yarns, sad to say they were mainly artificial fibers but the colors and variety were endless. The yarns that I spun myself were unique and sometimes lumpy (This is a natural feature of this garment and not considered a flaw, we are all familiar with this tag on a, usually expensive garment) well I made myself simple ponchos that I have worn for many years that I made in a very simple way.
The first necessity is a pair of very large knitting needles, they are available at Shops like Hobby Lobby, Walmart, Michaels and Joanne's. The size I use is 15 mm, quite large. Incidentally, I take my knitting everywhere with me and I have never been stopped at airport security. In fact I have taught several people to knit on the airplane. With such thick needles, it is important to have fairly thick thread unless you wish to achieve a lacy effect. To this end, I use double thread, Usually a more expensive or decorative thread with a plain toning thread as a "carrier" . Start by making a plain scarf casting on about 12 stitches and working in plain knit stitch. You will find that the work grows very quickly and a long scarf using two balls of fancy yarn and two balls of plain carrier yarn can be very completed. I usually make a fringe by wrapping both yarns around a CD case and cutting through one side. Take 5 pieces of wool and a crochet hook to pull the loop of yarn through the end of the scarf to make a fringe, repeat until you have a nice thick fringe. Sometimes I add a toning ribbon to the fringe for interest
To make a Poncho, the same rules apply. Thick needles and thick thread or double thread. It takes approximately 1 pound of yarn in total, this can be a mix of any type like Fun Fur, Kiss or any other novelty yarn with equal amounts of plain carrier yarn. It is worked totally in plain knitting. First cast on one stitch, knit it and cast on another. Knit back the two stitches and cast on another. Carry on in this fashion until you have a large triangle approximately two feet six inches deep. At this point you need to cast off enough stitches to make a hole for your head. In the next row you need to cast on the stitches that you cast off to make the other side of the neck hole. Once you have a complete neck hole carry on plain knitting to make the back of the poncho but decrease on the way down in each row until you are back to one stitch. Once the poncho is complete, it looks great with a deep fringe all the way around,use a DVD case to cut the fringe. Shake the completed poncho to smooth out the fringe and its done.
Another easy garment is a shrug. This is purely a wide scarf that is a little longer as from shoulder to shoulder just sewn together at the end to make a small cuff about six inches long at each end.
If you can't knit, there are many tutorials on YouTube. The throw method is perhaps the easiest to learn, seasoned knitters may like to try continental knitting which has far less movement. This is an easy tutorial
Knitting with big needles is fun and you can experiment with tote bag,scarves, ponchos and even skirts. The list is endless. The best thing is that the results are fast and fun. I hope the instructions are easy to follow. Leave me a comment if you hit any snags. There are many knitting magazines to tempt you to take up the needles, one of my favorites is "Knit 1" the vogue knitting magazine. But be warned, you may be tempted to buy cable pins! I hope you are tempted to try knitting if you are not already addicted. Personally I find it very relaxing. There are also many Knitting groups like Knit and Bitch which meet regularly for a Knit in. You can also subscribe to on line knitting e mail newsletters. The newsletter from Lion Brand Yarns is a good one and is totally free. A little inspiration helps from time to time, Your local yarn shop will probably know of any knitting clubs in your neck of the woods. it has been quoted that free style knitting is more inspiring than following a pattern. I fully agree.
There is a great forum for knitters called Knitting Paradise, check it out! there are so many resources for knitters on the web, free patterns and inspirational pictures abound. Enjoy!