Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dear Stella (Episode I)

Dear Stella,

I’m pretty new to knitting. I actually started out on some acrylic yarn and really long aluminum needles I picked up at one of the huge craft stores. A friend of mine who has been knitting a long time laughed when she saw my project. She insisted I try bamboo needles and natural fibers. I popped by HCW recently but had no idea where to begin and everyone around me seemed to be speaking a different language. And I was really stumped by all those little gadgets are on the back wall next to the needles—do I really need all that?

Still Working on a Big Red Potholder in South Austin

Dear Still Working,

I’ve seen so many newbies walk through the HCW door and then their eyes get really big. At first it looks like delight but sometimes the turns to terror. And every time that happens, it reminds me that, while I know the inventory like the back of my paw, a lot of new knitters don’t know where to begin. What needles are the right needles? How do you know what yarn to use for which pattern?

The good news is, our entire staff is bilingual. They each speak both Hardcore and Knewbie Knitterese. I know you might feel shy asking for help, like you’re the only one not in the know. Not true at all. In fact even a lot of seasoned knitters still need advice when taking on a new project.

I recommend that you go to a website like or and just browse through the patterns. Or come into our book room and flip through all the books and magazines. When you spot one or two things you like, talk to one of the sales humans. They’re very friendly and they don’t bite. They can let you know if the patterns you like are good for your skill level. If not, they’ll help you find something a little easier. And they’ll set you up with the right needles, yarn, and gadgets. (Which, no, you don’t need all of them, but some of them—like stitch markers and a tape measure—are really helpful.) As you continue knitting, you’ll figure out what feels best to work with for you.

Don’t worry about not knowing it all. Just congratulate yourself for having the good sense to come over to the Knit Side. Always room for one more.
Yours in long naps and warm dog sweaters,

1 comment:

indigo warrior said...

Psssst Stella! You forgot to tell them to start with some Noro. When perfecting garter stitch becomes a slog, the Noro will keep them wondering what's going to happen next!