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Crochet / Knitting resources:

Most people don’t use a tension ring, but if you’ve opted for one (from me or elsewhere) then see the information at the end regarding its use.

The other total gamechangers for me since I started crocheting in 2020 have been to cake my yarn. This is as relevant for knitting as it is for crochet – it really helps with the tension.

You don't have to buy a swift or ballwinder to do this (though I've now bought a winder, and MrG made me a swift from an old dining chair - see my blog for that and for links for the winder) you can use a nostepinne, or as I did for a couple of years - a clean garden dibber :-D

I then put my cake of yarn into a plant pot or a kitchen bowl and pull the yarn from the centre. I can't tell you the difference that made too.

I find that using quality yarn is also a huge help. I buy mine from a few local sellers, either online or at events I’m attending. See the list below for their websites

I check every pattern I want to make on the Ravelry database - there are really useful projects to look at where people add comments so you can tell if the pattern is straightforward or has errors - I find it invaluable.

I have some general resources I'm going to share with you:

Crochet:

DoraDoes writes a fab blog, with loads of tips and explanations - she writes all her patterns in US terms,

Bella Coco has the best (for me) tutorials on YouTube - mostly in UK terms, but she overlays US for those of you that use that. And I check every pattern I want to make on the Ravelry database - there are really useful projects to look at where people add comments so you can tell if the pattern is straightforward or has errors - I find it invaluable.

And I used the Nature's Walk Blanket by CherryHeart to teach myself patterns and charts. She usually translates her patterns into UK and US.

https://doradoes.co.uk/

https://bellacococrochet.com/pages/videos-tutorials

https://www.cherryheart.co.uk/

 

Knitting:

I follow a few YouTube knitters who have brilliant tutorials/ informative blogs that have been really helpful. Again, list below.

Initially I bought a range of second hand needles in my local charity shop, to see what sort of needle worked best for me – I found metal and plastic too slippy (I kept dropping stitches!) and the metal was also quite cold, so I now use wooden needles.

I’ve found that using interchangeable circular needles makes the whole thing less unwieldly. A pair of the charity shop needles were KnitPro, so I bought some interchangeable cables, and now I use KnitPro Symfonie exclusively. They come in different lengths, and that means that if I find it awkward, I can use two cables in place of 2 straight needles. Sometimes, only Double Pointed Needles will work (for me) though

My favourite supplier for knitting needles is also listed below.

Needle etc supplies:

https://www.crickladecrafts.co.uk/ I love the KnitPro Syfonie, interchangeable cable needles with the swivel cable https://www.crickladecrafts.co.uk/product/knitpro-swivel-cables-the-mindful-collection/

https://www.crickladecrafts.co.uk/product/knitpro-symfonie-wood-interchangeable-needle-tips/

 

Brilliant project bags (I’ve bought two for myself and one as a gift!): https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/MelanieCreating?ref=usf_2020

 

And I buy pretty much all my yarn from these lovely women:

https://www.kosykitchenfibres.com

https://gullrockfibres.com/

https://www.bluebellyarns.co.uk/

Helpful knitting websites/ resources

https://nimble-needles.com/

https://verypink.com/

https://elizabethsmithknits.com/

 

And the patterns I’ve used to learn to knit are:

Estuary by TinCanKnits: https://tincanknits.com/pattern/estuary?g=1 Incredibly forgiving lacework, with both a chart and the traditional abbreviations (which sound like Klingon to me!)

Colourwork hat Alaska https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/alaska-6 Again, very forgiving

Fingerless mitts’ wristwarmers/ cowl https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/paris-roubaix

First cardigan with great support https://elizabethsmithknits.com/product/rosanna/

 

Handy YouTube links for winding:

nostepinne tips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBcG1jn3SqQ&t=852s

(I don't knot when setting up- I add a scrap of different colour yarn and keep that in the hand that's holding the stick - it makes it really easy to find the end of the yarn when I come to use it later)

Yarn winding: https://youtu.be/cPU2002ovWg

Hookerring videos: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL_fEudIT2h_7sx1Nk5antjLQfl2UiPBek

HookerRing use:

I have a couple of (really rubbish) videos on my youtube channel showing how I wear my HookerRing, and there are quite a few #hookerring selfies on my instagram highlights – I’m right handed and choose to wear it on my left middle finger, between the first and second joint.

I have the opening of the small loop uppermost with the yarn running over my little and ring fingers, then under the middle finger and up into the small loop

I find that I can adjust the tension needed by moving the loop towards my palm to loosen the tension, or towards the back of my hand to tighten it more.

When knitting, I knit continental style, using a #HookerRing (obviously!!) on my left index finger. It’s evened up my tension and means that my right hand, which does so much jewellery work, can relax when I’m playing with yarn.

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