How to Knit and Crochet

Learn the basics! Plus knitting instructions, crochet patterns and practical projects for all levels.

| January/February 1984

Welcome to the MOTHER EARTH NEWS mini-manual of winter craft projects. This article contains something for knitters and crocheters of every level of skill, from an easy scarf to a multi-cabled sweater. It explains the basics of both arts to aid the novice and to help jar the memory of the rusty.

Of course, there may, be a few people who initially won't be enthusiastic about such enterprises. "Why knit?" a noncraftsperson may grumble as he or she watches—fascinated nonetheless—while brilliant-hued Fair Isle sweaters, intricate fisherman's jerseys, or complicated cable pullovers emerge from an experienced knitter's speedily clicking needles. Well, aside from the satisfaction of creating a beautiful garment, knitting offers you the chance to do it better for less: We figured out from a yarn-sample card that an Icelandic sweater (retailing for $125) could be knitted for about $25 in yarn!

To be sure, that's using your own labor, but what kind of price can you attach to what might otherwise be wasted time, anyway? You see, one of the marvelous benefits of knitting is that it can be practiced anywhere and anytime a person has a few spare minutes. Who hasn't envied a needle clicker during a long, boring town meeting, political speech, or other obligatory function? That person's twiddling up something useful while many other folks are twiddling only their thumbs!

Crocheting (the needle-arts cousin of knitting) has delighted advocates, too. Some folks prefer crocheting, because it is faster than knitting . . . and, since it involves using only one needle, it is a bit easier to learn. (Many wise craftspersons learn both arts and then are able to employ whichever one is appropriate for the project they're undertaking.)

So draw a good light close by your favorite easy chair, throw another log on the fire, lean back, and dig into this mini-manual on how to knit and crochet. For the price of a few hours of your time and a few dollars for the basic supplies, you can have a rewarding pastime to enrich the rest of your life.

The Basics

Below you'll find directions for both knitting and crocheting, which should get a novice started. However, we strongly recommend supplementary reading, plus-if possible-attendance at a class or two. Many yarn shops offer instruction. Or try your local Y, other community groups, or even a skilled relative or neigh­bor for lessons. With a little coaching, you can have that first warm, cozy scarf or hat done before you know it.

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