A simple guide to start your knitting journey during lockdown

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  • No, you're not 80, you've living through a pandemic

    It seems we’ve moved on from the childlike activities of colouring in books and baking cupcakes to a self-isolation cliche our grandmothers would approve of: knitting.

    Our social media feeds are full of novice knitters, proving it can’t be as hard as it looks. Plus, it’s a therapeutic way to pass the time. Studies have shown that knitting is proven to be beneficial for positive mental health, inducing a state of calm and reducing anxiety, akin to yoga or going for a jog. This officially makes knitting a positive new skill for us to take up whilst isolating.

    It has also been found that the hobby can help fight loneliness, and is something elderly and younger generations can enjoy together both virtually and at home. Even better, it’s useful during these uncertain economic times. Chunky knit blankets are still a massive trend…high street homeware stores better watch out.

    Prepare to upskill and calm down immediately:
    1. Choose your pattern
    2. Choose real wool
    3. Select the correct needles and yarn
    4. Beginners use 7-10mm needles and chunky yarn.
    5. Cast on and check your width: this is the first technique you should learn as a knitter and is how you start creating stitches. It may sound complicated, but once you get the hang of it, you’re away!

    a) Make a slip knot – around 10cm from the tail end
    b) Cast on the amount of stitches indicated on the pattern using the thumb cast on method
    c) Check the width of the stitches align to the size you want, add or reduce the stitches required
    6. Start knitting!
    a) Choose a simple sticth to start

    b) Keep the same stitch for repetition and ease of learning
    c) It will help to gauge the tension and maintain that throughout
    d) Don’t pull the stitches too tight
    7. Enjoy. It’s good for your mind.
    8. Relax. Take your time (we’ve got a lot of it).
    9. Cast off. Finish loose ends.
    10. Photograph and share #ChooseWool and #lovetoknit

    Meanwhile, author, chef and wellness expert Jasmine Hemsley has captured her knitting experience for Campaign For Wool, a knitting campaign aiming to help the population to ‘knit together’ to get through the current isolation period. Here, she teaches her husband, photographer Nick Hopper, how to begin to knit a scarf whilst they self-isolate.

    To purchase everything you need to start knitting and for more on the campaign, see campaignforwool.org/knitting/

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