Knitting; it’ll have you in stitches!

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Winter is well and truly underway, and if you haven’t wrapped up in a hat, scarf and gloves yet, what are you waiting for?! Crack open your wardrobe and rifle through your winter knit collection, your numb toes and frostbitten fingers will thank you for it.

Layering three pairs of tights under your jeans and piling on t-shirt after t-shirt to fool yourself into feeling warm is all well and good, but the fashion secret to retaining as much body heat as possible is all in the material. Nothing beats a good knit – be it jumper, cardigan or socks.

With the end of term fast approaching, it’s safe to assume you’ve successfully sucked your student loan dry. There’s no need to go (further) into your overdraft by splashing the cash on everything woolly in site, instead make a few key investments and you’ll never know the cold again. All right, I can’t promise that last part, but the cold certainly won’t feel as bitter.

How, I hear you ask? I’m going to teach you how to knit.

You’ll first want to get yourself a pair of knitting needles. I’d recommend needles 8-12mm in length, depending on what you’re knitting and what wool you’re using. Don’t focus too much on this though, as long as you have needles you’ve completed step one!

Step two is selecting your wool. My personal favourite is super chunky wool made from 100% merino wool. Look out for sustainable wool promoted as an eco-friendly fibre, easy to spot since the Prince of Wales launched his Campaign for Wool. A helpful hint here – the thicker your wool, the thicker your needles to be. I’ve found it a lot easier to knit when making sure these two features correlate, especially for beginners.

Finally, decide what you want to knit and get a pattern for it. The sky really is the limit for what you want to knit, my friend knit her own halter neck crop top and it was surprisingly chic. There are many pattern books for sale, or alternatively patterns available to download online. If you’ve never knitted before in your life, or it’s been a while since you last picked up your knitting needles, you can find plenty of tutorials on YouTube that show you exactly what to do.

I learned to knit a couple of Christmases’ ago. My mum bought me and my sisters each a knitting kit for a pom pom hat. The kits were from Stitch & Story (www.stitchandstory.com) and included knitting needles, wool, a sewing pattern and basic knitting instructions. So, following these instructions and visiting their website to watch their video tutorials, I began knitting my hat. I also had a little help from my Grandma, a seasoned knitter who can be found every Wednesday afternoon at her group “Knit and Natter.”

It didn’t take long for the knitting bug to catch, and shortly after completing my hat I’d added a scarf to my collection. My next challenge is a blanket, though that might not be ready until next winter…

If you enjoy being creative or are looking for a stress relief from your coursework that doesn’t involve staring at a screen, I would really recommend picking up knitting. It’s a great hobby and talent, and not only can you craft beautiful and unique gifts for yourself, Christmas presents can be sorted at a fraction of the cost, with a little extra love involved.

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