If you’ve decided to make knitting your hobby, you’ve probably dedicated a lot of time to learning how to do it properly. But, what if you have already learned the basics? Where do you go from here? Join us today as I chat with online yarn shop owner, and professional knitter, Nancy Queen, as she shares some advice for getting started with knitting. Enjoy the show!

 

 
 

Margaret Manning:

Today we’re going to get our knitting inspiration from a lady called Nancy Queen. Nancy is the owner of online yarn shop nobleknits.com. She also has a community of knitters. Welcome to the show, Nancy.

Nancy Queen:

Hi, Margaret. Thanks so much for having me at Sixty and Me. I’m really pleased to be here.

Margaret:

You know that a lot of women in our community love to knit, even though like me, most of them are beginners. This seems to be the most popular hobby or craft. We’ve done a number of videos already where we’ve talked about the whole process of getting started.

But what if you have really got the knack of it? What happens when you decide you want to take your knitting to the next level? What advice would you give us? What are some things we could do to advance our knitting?

Nancy:

Number one is always practice. Your knitting would improve proportionally to the hours you spend at it. It’s just like learning to play the piano: you practice, practice, practice. If you keep at it, your stiches will become more uniform. Even more so, oftentimes you won’t even have to look at your knitting to make the stiches.

Margaret:

I’ve watched people do that, but I can’t do it. I have to keep looking. You’re right, though. Practice gives you confidence.

Nancy:

Yes, absolutely. Something else you could do is to really challenge yourself. Take classes, knit with others, watch a video or join a knit-along. There are hundreds opportunities out there.

We offer a lot of knit-alongs, where you learn one or several new knitting techniques all based around one project. The knit-alongs are an interesting concept that’s really unique to the knitting community. There’s always one particular project, and everybody joins together to knit this project.

We do it all online, so we see knitters from all around the world sharing their ideas. They take photos with their finished projects and talk through points that are tricky for them.

Then we also have our knitting doctor who helps them through the process. She’d come out and say, “Okay in two weeks we’re going to be knitting this project. Two weeks after that, you’ll have knitted to this part of the project that might be a little tricky.” It could be making a ruffle or an eyelet, but at the end, you’ve learned a new technique along with hundreds of other people.

Margaret:

You mentioned that there’s information on your website about how people can join in the knit-alongs. Also, you said they’re online events, so people can be anywhere in the world.

Nancy:

A lot of local yarn shops also offer knit-alongs or knitting groups where people knit together. This way everyone’s working through the same project at the same time. They experience the same bumps in the road, so it really helps people form bonds.

Margaret:

While you were talking, I was thinking that there is this huge tribe of women and men around the world who love to knit. There’s such a commonality about it. What kind of qualities do you find in people that want to take knitting to that next level?

Nancy:

They tend to be fun. They pay attention to detail and have zest for life and desire to grow and keep improving their lives.

Margaret:

Yes, trying new things all the time.

Nancy:

Exactly. For instance, there’s over a hundred ways to cast on. This makes knitting an Olympic sport that you can keep growing with.

Margaret:

In terms of getting to the next level, you said you’ve got the knit-alongs where you do all kinds of problem-solving at certain points in the project. What else is there that you can do to advance your skill?

Nancy:

You could join a knitting club or a knitting group. Knitting groups are great because people help one another to move along. There are members of varying skill levels and they share what they’re working on. For example, someone may be knitting an advance lace, while another could be working on a beginner scarf.

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It’s important though that they share ideas. There is so much you can learn from one another. You could also pick up a knitting book or look online. We have thousands of patterns on our website to inspire you and give your ideas. Also, there are many tutorials available to help you through the next steps.

Margaret:

I’ve actually watched a couple of videos where you do such a close up of the person’s hands that you can learn from watching. You don’t have to see it in person. The Internet is a very powerful network of information.

Nancy:

It is. You can learn at your own pace, and you can rewind and review as many times as you need. It’s a really amazing tool that we have today that our mothers and grandmothers never had.

Margaret:

Yeah, for sure. On another note, you’ve actually written a couple of books, too. You’ve written Chicks with Sticks Guide to Knitting and Chicks with Sticks Guide to Crochet. They are great reading material. I think that getting educated is the next step.

Nancy:

I wrote those books with the purpose of having people learn step by step. Every time we’re introduced to a knew knitting technique, it comes with a project. It might be a little sweater or a scarf or a hat that would help you master that technique.

Margaret:

Wonderful. I honestly want to learn more, so I’m going to check out your website and see which projects I might be able to do. I’m just doing straight knitting, and in most cases, the beautiful colors and textures save my projects because my technique is not that good yet. You’ve got to start somewhere, though, haven’t you?

Nancy:

Exactly, yes.

Margaret:

I love the scarf that you’re wearing, so please tell me more about it.

Nancy:

This is a beginner project. It’s all knit. It was knitted in around on circular needles. The yarn is hand spun from India, and it has a little bit of sparkle in it.

Margaret:

That’s what drew me to it. I was in a little wool shop in Switzerland the other day. We were speaking German, and I asked, “Do you have anything with sparkle?” The shop keeper went, “Sparkle?” I couldn’t think of another word for sparkle, but she did have some nice wool.

That’s another thing—look for little wool shops, because they are little places tucked away. They all have interesting wools to offer. The yarn you used for your scarf, is it available on your website?

Nancy:

Yes, it is. The pattern is also available for free.

Margaret:

That’s really cool. I think we’ve covered a lot, but is there any last minute advice or inspiration you’d like to give to our community?

Nancy:

Just remember that it is a hobby to enjoy and that everything you do in knitting is a combination or variation of the knit and purl stiches. So, if you’ve learned to knit and to purl, you’re just building on those two basic skills.

Margaret:

Thank you so much. We will put up the details of your website, so people can go ahead and learn more online when they’ve got a bit more time. I’m so grateful that you were here today to share all your insight and wisdom with us.

Nancy:

Thank you, Margaret. It was my pleasure to be here at Sixty and Me.

Margaret:

It’s fantastic. Thanks a lot, Nancy. Take care.

You can find out more about Nancy Queen and her work on her website.

Are you learning to knit? Do you feel confident enough to move on to actual patterns? How long did it take you to get to this knitting level? Please join the conversation.

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