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Off-topic: Learn to Knit!

If you hang around at recorder workshops, you’ve no doubt seen the occasional participant or teacher knitting in the corner – maybe with a group of other knitters, maybe finishing up an item to donate to the auction. Personally I find knitting to be enjoyable and relaxing, and a satisfying way to fill time in between things, while waiting for things, on trains and planes and buses, etc.

So this year I decided to work on indoctrinating the next generation. My neice and nephew are getting to ages that I was when I started learning how to make stuff in various ways, so for their gifts I wanted to give them each a kit that included instructions plus yarn, knitting needles, and a small swatch already started that they could practice on. I was underwhelmed by the books I could find – nothing seemed appropriately geared toward getting a total beginner from zero to a satisfyingly finished project. So I wrote my own.Knitting for James and Ellen

And I’m also sharing the book with you!

Knitting for James and Ellen

The book contains simple, straightforward instructions with photos of every step, on how to knit and purl, how to cast on and bind off, and how to make a very easy hat and an even easier ear warmer. Photos show both English and Continental styles of knitting (the difference is which hand holds the working yarn). If you’ve never knitted before, this is a great place to start! If you have knitted before, but would like to teach a friend, it makes a great starter pack. Put together the yarn and needles mentioned in the book (Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick, which is easy to find although obviously other extra bulky yarn can be substituted easily) and either print the book or include a link to the PDF, and you’ve got a learn-to-knit kit that you can customize for the recipient’s preferences.

This isn’t a comprehensive guide to every stitch under the sun, but there are lots of books and videos and websites that do that. It just gets you started and knitting something you can use right away.