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I have watched with some amusement the new trend amongst young women in their late twenties and early thirties as they have taken up the art of knitting. They think it is something new and trendy. Well, they know it’s been around a while, but for whatever reason knitting has traveled around the circle of popularity and is the in thing to do.

Learning how to knit is a wonderful hobby and creates beautiful clothing and household items. There is an endless array of kinds of yarn from all wool to cotton blends to polyester. There are also many weights and uses. You’ll find the ultra skinny yarns used for hand knitted socks and mittens, the two and three-ply for lightweight items and baby clothing and four-ply to bulky choices for heavy hats, vests and sweaters.

If you’re new to knitting there are wonderful books that will guide you step by step including your purchase of the proper knitting materials. You’ll need needles, stitch holders, a good pair of scissors, a tape measure and occasionally a craft needle for finishing.

Once you practice basic knit and purl stitches and find some free knitting patterns, you’ll be ready to produce some beginner designs from simple patterns. You can make dishcloths and scarves. You’ll be able to do hats and  knit simple baby sweaters or blankets. You’ll browse for hours in front of luscious yarn balls and try to decide which wonderful item to make next time.

With some practice you’ll be ready for intermediate patterns which include increasing and decreasing and sewing in sleeves. You won’t want to make the mistake I made in high school when I sewed one sleeve in the neck place! Slow and careful is the key to knitting. You’ll need to learn how to pick up stitches if you drop them. It’s handy to keep a crochet hook around for that event. You’ll see which yarns work best for certain styles and you’ll realize that the same pattern can look entirely different in a different weight or color of yarn.

And speaking of yarns. There are sparkly ones, fuzzy ones, variegated skeins and plain, pure colors. There are ways of using several weights together to create an intricate texture as you knit. There are wools, cottons, and every so many kinds of yarn. If you get the chance to visit a yarn shop where they card and spin and dye some of their yarns, you’ll be in for a treat. You’ll learn how to wind a skein of yarn with a winding machine and possibly even learn how to dye virgin yarns at home with vegetable skins and natural plants.

Yes, knitting is popular once again. Get in on the fun by visiting a shop in your neighborhood. Many of them offer beginning level classes to get you on the right track. Once you see the beautiful items created by others, you’ll be even more inspired to try the craft yourself. Knitting: it’s not just for grannies anymore, but grannies will sure enjoy it.