By Cassie Snow
Knitting has typically been a pastime reserved for grandmothers buried under shawls in rocking chairs on the front porch. Today, there is actually a magazine called Vogue Knitting. Celebrities from Madonna to Russell Crowe have picked up the trend and have the masses picking out pointed needles and wool.
As absurd as it may seem at first, knitting is actually a trend worth watching, and maybe following. Not only can it provide a way to relax at the end of the day (an alternative to, say, thumb twiddling), but it can also provide some cool accessories that friends will ogle and ultimately beg for.
The variety of products that can be produced is really quite impressive. Knitters can make pretty much anything from blankets and slippers to sweaters and potholders for their inner grandma. Trendier products include iPod cases, cell phone holders, small stuffed toys and any range of bags. Some of the more popular items among the youth are scarves and hats.
There are several ways to go about starting. An instructional booklet might help or the Internet always works. Of course one should first learn the basics: knitting and purling. Once those steps are mastered, the knitter is then free to start on patterns. For beginners, wool is highly recommended as it has a certain amount of “give” that is quite forgiving to novices. Medium size needles are also preferable, around a size 7.
Once the beginner is comfortable with the basic steps of knitting and purling, and has their materials ready (knitting supplies are purchasable at any craft store, or even Wal-Mart), the only step that remains is to choose a pattern for their first piece. A scarf is a prime choice because it lacks the more complicated “increases” and “decreases” and gives the beginner room to experiment with different stitches and patterns. Other popular starting items include hats or blankets; just don’t try anything with sleeves right away.
At Elegant Stitches, one of the better known knitting shops in South Florida, (8841 SW 132 ST), a beginner’s class costs $45 for three weeks and goes over the basics in addition to the two main stitches used to fix a mistake. Other spots include The Yarn Tree in Hollywood and The Yarn Studio on Collins Avenue.
Knitted items fit in perfectly with this season’s boho style, so now is the time to get started. Consider yourself warned, though; once you pick up those needles, you may never put them down. Waiting rooms and public transportation (except airplanes: needles plus airplanes equals disaster) may become your studio-just try not to develop osteoporosis or senile dementia while you’re at it.