Knitters and crocheters have their own culture and their own language. If you don't knit or crochet, you probably didn't know it, but we do. Yes, I am one of them. And now I will share our secrets with you...
When you knit or crochet something and it is coming out all wrong, you pull the yarn and "frog" your work. This means un-knitting or un-crocheting. Usually you "frog" until you get to the point where you can start over. Sometimes this means you pull the whole darn thing apart. This is a cathartic experience and if you have never "frogged," I suggest you give it a try.
But you will need to learn to knit or crochet first. The library has a plethora of books and even dvd's on the topic. So get ye to the 746's and grab one. Here are some that are good for beginners:
Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmerman is the holy grail of knitting. This book is patient and kind and explains the whole thing in exquisite detail. The book was first published in 1971, but has been reprinted several times, which demonstrates that it has withstood the test of time and is a classic.
Kids Can Knit: Fun and Easy Projects for Your Small Knitter by Carolyn Clewer is a book for kids, but if you are a grown-up you cannot possibly be intimidated by the simple projects and how-to's in this book!
If you cannot figure it out from the diagrams and pictures in a book, here's a DVD to get you going:
The Art of Knitting & Crochet 2 This DVD features instructors who show you how to knit and crochet. If you don't get it the first time, just hit rewind!
There are traditions and superstitions among knitters and crocheters. The most famous and devastating of which is The Sweater Curse! Supposedly, if you knit your boyfriend a sweater, he will break up with you. My husband has told me not to knit him a sweater but he is interested in me knitting one for myself in a masculine style that he could borrow! Why does knitting your boyfriend a sweater make him break up? It could be that he hated the sweater, but since you spent so much time making it, he feels awkward around you and then breaks up with you. It could be that because you spent so much time on a present, the sweater represents to him your commitment to the relationship which far outclasses his own and so he breaks up with you. Whatever it is, the Sweater Curse, according to some, is very real. On the blog Anti-Craft, there is a great sweater pattern called Curse Your Boyfriend and on the online web magazine Knitty, there's an article on the topic that is a great read! Knitty also features knitting patterns and is published quarterly, so for free online patterns, check it out!
There is something calming about holding yarn in your hands and turning it into a functional object. It can be done while riding the bus, while watching tv, while conversing with friends. The Knitting Sutra: Craft as a Spiritual Practice by Susan Gordon Lydon explores that topic and others.
So keep warm, learn to knit or crochet and keep your hands busy this winter. Don't knit your boyfriend a sweater but that doesn't mean you can't knit him a scarf!
Don't throw that old t-shirt away; make it into your new fashion statement or something completely different. Generation T has a couple of books out that will help you turn that old shirt into a hot new style. Can't afford those trendy screen-printed shirts and canvas bags at the local boutique? Screen Your Stuff gives you step-by-step instructions as well as templates for patterns. If knitting and crochet is your thing, make Amigurumi!, cute crocheted stuffed animals that would be a great present for kids, big and small. For the little ones in your family, make them a silly costume from Wacky Baby Knits!
There has been a resurgence in interest in hand-made crafts in the past few years. Don't expect to just see grandmas knitting and crocheting. Making something by hand is the new, hip thing to do!
There are more how-to tutorials on every craft imaginable than you could ever peruse online. Craftster is a great site that incorporates social networking with how-to's, craft swaps and contests. Instructables doesn't limit itself to just crafts. You can view and download tutorials on cooking, costuming, building robots, you name it! Ravelry specializes in knitting and crochet. It is a great site to be inspired by the handiwork of fellow needleworkers. Etsy is a site for people who love crafts but may not be skilled in doing them. This is a site to purchase the handiwork of crafters and you can put out a call for bids on a particular project you'd like to have made. The crafters there will bid on how much it would cost and how long it would take to make that special something.
And of course, at the Library, we've got books. And not just the new books like Steampunk Style Jewelry , Son of Stich n' Bitch: 45 Projects to Knit and Crochet for Men and Amigurumi! Super Happy Crochet Cute. Not Your Mama's Crochet: The Cool and Creative Way to Join the Chain Gang is an ebook available for download.
Not only that, we've got groups of people who come together at some branches to knit and crochet. If you are looking for a real live person to teach you how to knit, purl or double-crochet head over to East Branch Library on Wednesdays from 6:30-7:30pm to join in with the Knitting Nook. Vineland Branch's Knitting Club meets every Saturday from 4-5pm.