The Enthusiast: Hooking into the Close-knit World of Knitting

"I’m now my nan. I like knowing the tradition continues on.”

It’s officially sweater weather.

The colder temps and welcome return of pullovers, jumpers, and cardigans often inspires people to get knitting.

Knitting is a cure for idle hands, poor circulation, cold extremities, and more and more people are becoming a part of the province’s long history of (and a strong community of) knitters.

Knitting, as a hobby and as a scene in itself, is an easy one to latch onto. For knitting enthusiast Jacki Northcott, the passion for knitting started two years ago when she decided she wanted to try to knit a pair of socks.

“It couldn’t be that hard, right?” she says.

“I went to the store, bought a ball of yarn, a set of needles, and the store owner gave me a pattern to try. Using the stitches I learned 30 years before, and watching a myriad of YouTube videos, I made my first pair and I was hooked. Soon, I had more socks than family to gift them to.”

“My Grandmother Park taught me to knit when I was 10 or 11,” says Northcott. “Just the basic knit and purl stitches. Enough that I could make a scarf.”

For wannabe knitters, Northcott recommends starting with a dishcloth or a scarf. “A small, simple project is the best way to start. You have a finished item before you can get frustrated or bored with it!,” says Northcott.

“It helps to learn tension and the stitches. These smaller projects allow you to learn what’s comfortable for you, like how you like to hold your yarn, your needles, what yarn you like or don’t like to work with.”

To start, all you need is yarn, needles appropriate for that yarn (Northcott likes metal needles—she cracks the bamboo ones), scissors, a pattern, and an Internet connection for the inevitable check-ins with YouTube.

“The benefit of YouTube is that you no longer have to wait for someone to be around to ask how you do this or that,” says Northcott. “It’s an instant answer, and a game changer. All your answers are right there whenever you need them.”

 Overall, knitting is really only two stitches: knit and purl. “The cables, the button holes, the heel turns are all just variations of the same stitches,” says Northcott. “Honestly, if I can do it, anyone can. Once you’re done and you see ways to improve the next time (and you will improve with every cloth, scarf and sock), you’ll want to make another one.”

For Northcott, the appeal of knitting is in the process and the finished product. “It’s like ‘I did that’,” says Northcott.

“I like the constant challenge of trying new patterns. I also love learning a traditional pattern like thrummed mittens or the trigger mitten, something I’d never thought I’d be able to knit and conquer it to the point that I no longer need the pattern. I’m now my nan. I like knowing the tradition continues on.”

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