The last men's scarf pattern I wrote elicited elicited some envy, so I made another. It's a nice man-friendly texture that's fast and easy to knit up. The big needles, bulkier yarn and easy to memorize pattern make this a good pattern for beginners.
I like to pretend that I'm a selfish knitter, meaning I only knit for the 'knit-worthy' - those that would both help you move a body and truly understand the craft and time and love that go into hand-knits (and quilts, for that matter). The idea rose as a backlash against that jerk acting like they are doing you a favor by requesting that you make them something and that other jerk that informs you that you can buy socks already made at Walmart. Very helpful.
I lack the discipline to be 'selfish' and instead foist projects that took me days, weeks, months on completely unsuspecting people. The obvious amount of energy that goes into the projects lays there like threat - reject this and you reject me. It's gift-giving emotional one-upping. "Oh, it's no big deal. I just spent 30 hours working on this, stitch by stitch. Thinking about what you'd like. Fretting that you wouldn't want this. Reflecting on how you're important in my life. Nothing major. It's no Best Buy gift card or anything."
It's a bit unfair, really, because even I would rather get the Best Buy gift card. My interest in wearing the things I make dies about four days after I complete them. Perhaps, the truly selfish approach is to leach inspiration from those around me, so I can induldge in a hobby I enjoy while pretending I'm giving a one-of-a-kind masterpiece that will be cherished for decades.
This emotional bombing is not too dissimilar, in fact, from foisting my navel-gazing posts upon readers just coming here for free scarf pattern to knit for a man in their life (or lady, I suppose). So, with only a little more adieu, here we go -
This pattern was the request of an old friend to replace a scarf I'd made him years and years ago, when I'd just started knitting/crocheting. I have always been a little 'meh' about that scarf (though apparently he loved it - always a sign of the knit-worthy) so I jumped on this as an opportunity to redeem myself. His request was "long, dark red and textured". It all fell into place from there. Red yarn that just happened to be named "Pagoda" when he'd just so happened to spend some time in China and a stitch pattern that just so happened to look like roof tops, and here we are - Mao's Little Red Scarf.
This pattern is ridiculously easy and a pretty quick knit for a scarf. You need to know how to knit, purl, cast on and cast off, so it is very beginner friendly.
I bought this yarn with every intent of making something for the fella. But then I got sick and needed something effortless to work on while laying in bed watching an entire season of Breaking Bad. So now I have a cowl.
Cowls are one of those things, much like shawls and fingerless gloves, that knitters love, but I'm not sure how much the general population embraces them. My coworker, however, told me I did not look stupid wearing it, that they were trendy right now, and people call them infinity scarves. So there you go - one unverified source suggesting that I am hip.
This pattern is really easy, uses only one skein, and knits up quickly. In other words: perfect last minute Christmas gift.
If I were going to make another one, I'd try casting on 100 stitches and do three repeats of the body to get a snugglier cowl. If anyone gives that a shot, I'd love to see it.
Friends. Please go have babies. My backlog of baby gifts is getting concerning. I'm two blankets away from crossing the line from 'being prepared' to 'stockpiling'.
The destash purge continues, and I knocked out six skeins of some of the oldest yarn in my stash. I might have had to buy 3 more to do this project, but I'm netting out ahead. I actually knit this using Rowan RYX Luxury Cotton yarn, but I'm suggesting Cascade 220 as an alternative for a couple reasons. It's cheaper, easier to find, and I think it'll hold up better. The Rowan is very nice and drapey (it has silk in it), but let's be real - even the most speshul snowflake baby doesn't need a silk blanket.I just really wanted to use up this yarn.
I am considering doing another version of this blanket doing each stripe a different color. Being seven stripes, it's begging to be made into a rainbow.
18 sts x 20 rows = 4 inches in stockinette
Main color - 300 grams (3 skeins) Cascasde 220 wool or similar worsted weight yarn (100 grams, 220 yards)
Contrast color - 200 grams (2 skeins) Cascade 220 wool
Size 8 (5 mm) 32” circular needles
Size 8 (5mm) 60" circular needles
K – Knit
P – Purl
YO - Yarn over
K2tog - Knit 2 together
Throughout pattern, slip markers as you come to them.
Where indicated on the knit rounds, you'll move the markers one stitch to the left. This is to keep the corners in the same place.
Repeat the patterns four times per round
With main color, cast on 16 sts using the disappearing loop method. Pull the cable through so you have 8 sts on each needle. This is the most finicky part of the blanket, so if you find a different cast on easier, substitute.
Setup: Knit 4, PM
Main color: Repeat increase and even round 6 times.
Increase round: K1, yo, knit to marker, yo, slip marker
Even round: Knit around
Stripes: Attach contrast color.
K1, yo, knit to marker, yo, slip marker
K1, yo, knit to marker, yo, slip marker
K2, *yo, k2tog*
K1, yo, knit to marker, yo, slip marker
Purl (On the final repeat, bind off purl-wise)
Attach main color and repeat from the start of main pattern 6 more times, being sure to bind off on the final round.
Have you ever watched your grandma use a computer? Remember how you spent an eternity cringing while she tried to figure out the difference between the right and left mouse button?? And how it took all your self-control to not push her to ground and do it yourself, because, seriously, it's not that complicated? Then you understand why I will not teach you how to knit.
But! I will tell you how to learn to knit on your own.
Before you get started
It's a good idea to go into your first knitting attempt with the right expectations. Stop gazing lovingly at the princess shawl and spend some time reflecting on your grade school hand turkeys. Remember the awesome craftsmanship? The huge sense of accomplishment and pride in it's crooked feathers? Your loved ones' feigned appreciation for your handiwork? That's pretty much what you're in for here. Knitting isn't difficult, but learning any skill takes time, frustration, and patience.
And just so you know I know what I'm talking about, I present you the following:
Sad part is that this isn't even my first project. Really sad part is that I wore this. Often. With pride.
The goal with the below is to give you just the info you need to see if you like knitting enough to keep going, and give you an idea of the next steps. As unglamorous as the washclothes may be, it's best to do something small to get all your mistakes out.
If you try to start on something like a scarf, you'll end up with something that starts awful, but by the end (if you ever make it there) looks good. You will either never wear it, or wear it and look HILARIOUS. Also, scarves are tedious, even for people who already like knitting. Baby steps. You don't start running by doing a marathon.
Buy This Stuff
For a new knitter, I recommend either visiting your local yarn shop or checking out KnitPicks.com. Don't bother with the big box craft store - you don't save much money, the quality is pretty lame, and the staff gives bad advice as often as good.
KnitPick's mission is to provide luxury knitting at affordable prices, and in my opinion, they do a good job. It's not the best stuff out there, but it's better than the big box stores at the same prices or cheaper. Also, I heart their interchangeable needles. I should probably note that they aren't paying me to say that, but I'm not above a kick back if a box of yarn where to appear on my doorstep.
You'll need 50 gr per washcloth you want to make.
Get worsted weight yarn in a cotton. Acylic or cotton blended with bamboo or other plant fibers is fine. The first projects are washcloths, so you want something you can throw in the wash. No wool. Comfy, Shine or Simply Cotton would all be fine.
Get any color you like, but I recommend a solid, light color. It makes it easier to see the stitches.
Get 24 or 32" Size 8 (5.00 mm) circular needles.
I recommend circulars for a couple reasons. They are more comfortable on the wrist, you don't have a big floppy stick hitting the person next to you, they are more versatile for future projects, and you don't have a loose needle that gets separated from your project. I don't use any of my straights any more.
The material doesn't matter. If you decide you want to keep going, experiment with bamboo, metal and acrylic ones to find what you like, but to get started, these are great.
All that should cost you $15-$20, which isn't too bad for trying something new.
There are a couple different ways to knit. All the stuff below is done in continential, because that's what I do. There's no right or wrong way, though, so whatever works for you is fine.
Also, I didn't make these videos, but the people that did are awesome.
Get Comfortable Holding the Yarn
Cast on 40 stitches with a knitted cast on
I am choosing to have you use this one because it's the most similar to the knit stitch, so it's easier to learn. Once you get going, you'll want to try different cast ons.
Knit until it's about a square
You're knitting (as opposed to purling, the other stitch) on both sides, so this is called 'garter stitch' and is the most basic knitted project.
She says to insert 'from left to right'. What she means is to not twist the stitch. They should look like little "U"s, with no twist at the bottom.
This is a little confusing, because she's casting off (binding off is the same thing) from a piece of stockinette stitch, when you have garter stitch, but it's the same idea.
Without a doubt, you'll drop stitches. Fix them. It's good practice.
Weave in the ends
Celebrate your new washcloth!
It probably looks a little frumpy, but use and love it anyway. Enjoy the awesomeness of having made something useful for a while, move on and when you make better ones, bury it deep in the trash, never to be spoken of again.
With one under a belt, try making another one. My Simple Weave Washcloth is a good one to practice purling, because it'll give you a chance to see how they interact with the knit stitches.
You should already have all the skills you need (you can sub the knitted cast-on for the called for cable cast-on), except how to purl:
You should now at least know if this is something you want to keep trying. Now it's time to decide what you're interested in making.
Or, if you're feeling adventure, hit up Ravelry.com's free pattern search and find something awesome to make. There are a couple resources below for helping when you hit things you don't know how to do.
Ways to Get Knitting Help
Your local yarn shop should offer classes for somewhere between $50 and $100, once you buy your supplies. They should give you a basic overview of everything, teach you the stitches you need, etc. Probably the fastest and easiest way to learn if knitting is right for you. Also, many have knitting nights where you can pick the brains of experienced knitters. Don't be scared! There's always someone who likes to help.
Ravelry.com - The amazing pattern search and project organization are nice, but the real gem of the site are the groups. Find a beginning knitter one and make some friends.
KnittingHelp.com - This is a giant encyclopedia of how to do techniques. It's very helpful if you forget the difference between ssk and k2tog, like I seem to on a weekly basis.
Experienced Knitters - What am I missing? Newbies - What is confusing?