tex-tile. [teks-tahyl]
1.  any cloth or goods produced by weaving, knitting, or felting.
2. a material, as a fiber or yarn, used in or suitable for weaving

I love textiles. I love to sew, knit, crochet, spin--even weave, although I haven't done it in years and years and years.

When I first learned how to knit and crochet, pretty much the only thing I could do was make, well, useless things. I was really good at crochetig long chains, and knitting mysterious lumpy triangles that never achieved the shape I wanted them to. Over time, I graduated to scarves and the occasional hat (once I learned how to crochet in a circle). I can follow patterns.. mostly.

I can crochet like the wind. Sadly, I can't knit that way, and so I rarely do any knitting because it takes so long to make any progress, especially with the kinds of projects that interest me. My goal this year is to knit a sweater, but I feel like there's a pretty good chance it won't happen.

Still, there are lovely things out there that you can make by knitting or crocheting, and I do occasionally get some knitting done. I have made many halves of socks, and a couple of fingerless gloves, and a scarfy-shruggy thing that I never wear because I was just making it for practice.

I was going to post a pattern for a really cute crocheted scarf that I found on craftster.com, but then I realized--you know, there are probably a lot of people out there on the Internet who can't knit or crochet. And that's a shame, because in this day of do-it-yourself, reusing, upcycling, and movement away from blatant consumerism, it's a skill that should be cultivated.

So instead, I'm going to suggest that those of you who don't know how to knit or crochet learn how to do one or the other. The starting materials are cheap--even Wal-Mart sells knitting needles, crochet hooks, and cheap acrylic yarn. It's not an expensive hobby to learn. You don't even need to buy a book! The internet is full of instructions on how to do all sorts of crafty things, and these two skills are no exception.

Lion Brand Yarns has an entire website of crochet instructions, which will teach you everything you need to know to get going. (NB: Lion Brand also recently put ALL of their patterns up on their website for free. That's right, free. What better time to learn how to use them?)

Then there is the fabulous website, Knitting How To, which has instructional videos for both knitting and crochet, as well as small projects to get started with.

If you are a visual learner and not happy with the videos you find there, YouTube is full of them, and google would probably turn up more.

I've taught myself all sorts of things using internet tutorials like this--most recently, how to cable knit, which I thought was going to be really difficult, but which turned out in fact to be fabulously easy.

And once you've learned, or if you are already proficient and yawning over this blog post, you can go become a member at Ravelry.com. Here you can create a profile, find patterns written by other members or published by companies, post updates on your progress, read reviews of patterns, and more.

(Photo Credit: Lion Brand website)


  1. I just learned how to knit using tutorials online too. I think the hardest part about the whole thing is figuring out which yarn is the best deal--soft and smooth and cuddly, without being expensive. I'd LOVE to make blankets for a bunch of people 'cause they're so useful and no one can just NOT like a blanket (I know it's possible to not like scarves, hats, sweaters, or socks, but blankets are just loved by everyone), but they require lots of yarn and time. We'll see how far I get. I figure I've got all year to get it under my belt for next Christmas' presents!

  2. That's the spirit! Depending on where you shop, you can just hang out and wait for the deals--JoAnn Fabrics, Michaels, and Hobby Lobby all tend to run 40% or 50% off coupons in their ad flyers every couple of weeks. Privately owned yarn stores will sometimes haggle on prices, too.

  3. You should look for a sweater pattern that uses chunky yarn or big needles so it goes faster and maybe you'd like doing it better? The issue that I always have with knitting is getting the gauge right. Have you knit socks before? They go faster (because they are small) and are difficult enough to be a good way to teach yourself (double pointed needles... always a good skill to master) ;]



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