How to Convert Your Friends into Hard-Core Knitters

Want your friends to be as obsessed with knitting as you are? Here's everything you need to know to turn your friends into fanatical knitters.

I love all my girlfriends equally. Even the ones who don’t knit. Secretly, however, I wish they all knit with a fervor similar to my own. Then we could all move to a little tropical island together, and they could also be members of my fantasized Knitting Nation. We could sip fizzy drinks with delightfully colorful umbrellas and pineapple wedges, chattering about our beautiful children and other such matters while we relaxed in the shade of some exotic tree with bright orchid-like flowers, a cool breeze rustling our perfectly sun-crumpled island hair as we knit.

I truly can’t wait.

My friends fall into two categories: (1) friends who have NEVER knit before and (2) friends who currently knit, but not obsessively. These are once-in-a-while knitters, who, unlike me, have balanced interests and aren’t (yet) driven to knit ALL THE TIME.

Now, my friends know I knit. It’s no secret. I mean, I am writing about it on the Internet, for goodness sake, right?

Other clues: you are at my house for dinner and I refresh your cocktail before dragging you with me into my bathroom, offering you a seat on the toilet lid while I crawl around the bathroom floor to block a time-sensitive project (the bathroom floor has radiant heating, so I use it for blocking during winter months…).

True story. Happens. All. The. Time.

Something has been in the air lately, as several non-working girlfriends have dropped little comments. They are thinking about looking for work outside of the home, not necessarily for the money but instead to give them some sort of purpose—something to do with themselves. (I know, lucky ducks…) To each, my response has been the same: PLEASE do not get a job until I teach you how to knit. Then you will have purpose. I PROMISE.

If you are like me and dream about All of your girlfriends knitting with you, here’s my advice.

Lie

Now, I know it’s not a good idea to base friendship on dishonesty, but sometimes the truth is simply not in their best interest. Tell them knitting is easy. Simple. (Depending on their post-beginner projects, this could potentially be true.) They teach young children to knit in school ALL THE TIME. Surely you can figure it out without too much trouble, I remark. Just don’t throw lace at them for their first project.

Knit in front of them

Always have a lovely knitting project in your lap when you are visiting with friends. Remark often how RELAXING knitting is, while sipping wine. Be casual about it. Don’t break a sweat, even if you drop a stitch. The goal here is to put out the “I’m chill” vibe. Without being snooty, of course.

Invite friends over to knit

Whenever I have a date with a friend who I know is also a knitter, I encourage them to bring their knitting along as well, especially if I know Reed will be sleeping. I am a bit of a pusher in this regard. Foster obsession among the casual knitter whenever possible. Lead by example. I figure it’s better to push yarn than push crack, so it’s all good. Right? Right.

Be a bit of a peacock

Show off a bit. Show your friends your most impressive finished knits, and always wear hand knits when visiting with friends. Wear them as stylishly as possible, as to result in (healthy) jealously. Now this is important: make your friends TOUCH your hand knits and feel how incredibly soft and squishy the yarn is. Looking is not enough.

Teach them yourself

You have a friend you have convinced to learn to knit? See! All that yarn-pushing works. I haven’t taught anyone to knit in some time and it’s admittedly not my favorite project, but I would do it for a friend. I would do almost anything for my friends. Leave out the wine for this bit. They’ll need all their wits in the beginning. (Save the wine for after, though.) Sadly this only works for friends who live nearby. See below for alternatives for friends who live afar.

You Tube refreshers

Once the initial instruction is out the way, send them home with some You Tube links for learn-to-knit videos. That way, they can remind themselves when they are at home and that fabulous knitting lesson you just gave them is all but a distant memory. This video is very popular.

Buy them yarn and needles

I love buying gifts for my friends who knit. It’s so easy. I just go to the LYS and buy them yarn and needles…and maybe I buy myself a little bit too. It’s so great! For beginner knitters, you can buy or print out a simple pattern from Ravelry as well. Be sure to target beginner-friendly yarns, however: mid-weight and not too slippery or splitty. Also, not cashmere but soft and pretty enough to be addictive.

Buy them a Craftsy class

For new knitters, Craftsy* has a great three-part Learn to Knit series, beginning with My First Scarf. This is a good option for friends who live afar, or maybe you’re like me and don’t necessarily have the time or patience to teach them yourself. If your friend already knits and you are trying to encourage them to become a little more fanatical about the art, try a class like Amy Herzog’s Custom Fit, so they can challenge themselves with a sweater they might actually like.

Buy a gift certificate for a learn-to-knit class

Most yarn shops offer some version of learn-to-knit for new knitters. One of my local shops commonly holds a Saturday class that includes instruction, yarn, needles, and a simple pattern. Birthday gift conundrum solved. Yarn shops often offer more intermediate classes and knit-alongs as well—a great way to convert those casual knitter friends into obsessive knitter friends. Take a knitting class or workshop together!

Books

Even though the level of high-quality, affordable (and even free on You Tube) video instruction available today is unprecedented, some people prefer to learn from books the old-fashioned way. Here’s a Guide for Absolute Beginners*. Perfect.

Drag them to knit night

Knitting groups are an amazing way to have a fun time knitting and commune with other human beings. Go to one and drag your friends along. By the ear if necessary. More than a decade ago, I bonded with many of my closest friends through a weekly knitting group. Awww.

Joining Ginny for the Yarn Along (if she isn’t otherwise obligated) and loving my current read: Mink River*.

*Affiliate link. Thank you for being you.

 

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24 Comments

  • Reply pumpkin sunrise June 15, 2016 at 5:16 am

    I am lucky to have three knitting friends, one of whom I made into a knitter (and a good one!!). I wish I had more knitting friends, I’ll have to try your techniques 🙂

  • Reply itsallaboutpurple June 15, 2016 at 6:00 am

    hehehe this is awesome!!! i secretly love my knitting friends best, but i would never admit that!!!

    and funny thing, when i come at the others with knitting, they all say the same thing “never gonna’ happen”!!!! they have no idea what they are missing!!!

  • Reply Alina June 15, 2016 at 6:16 am

    Love this!! I don’t have a single friend in my “real” life who knits! I should print this post out as a checklist list for “Knitting Friends Mission”!

  • Reply stephanie young June 15, 2016 at 6:47 am

    When I had my shop, my hubby used to joke that I was teaching everyone in western Kentucky to knit—-one person at a time. But, hey—-some of it actually ‘took’ and some of those peeps are now among my BEST buddies. So very very worth the time and effort. In all the years that I’ve been ‘teaching’…I’ve had two failures. My college roommate who could take whatever number of stitches I’d cast on for her and turn it into a two inch square of the tightest mess you’ve ever seen. (Yes, I tried wine when all else failed, and still no-go.) The other…my best, almost sister-like friend—who is such a type-A personality that she almost had a breakdown when she made a mistake and quickly gave up. To save our friendship, I took the needles from her.

  • Reply IamDWJ June 15, 2016 at 6:48 am

    My best friend crochets but not as obsessively as I knit but we have another friend who just got into weaving. Perhaps I can lure them to my home and cook them good food and make them knit with me!

  • Reply Donna Fiore June 15, 2016 at 7:03 am

    All great suggestions! I like the idea of a Craftsy class.

  • Reply Katie June 15, 2016 at 8:15 am

    I take it another step further and don’t just limit it to friends. Family members, coworkers, random people standing in line in front of me at Starbucks… I fully believe there’s a knitter inside everyone. They just need a little help finding it.

  • Reply Stefanie June 15, 2016 at 11:53 am

    LOL; what a funny post. Only one of my peeps has knitted before; she had knitted all of these scarves when that fancy yarn was in. Now she’s a nurse with a schedule that changes every month. I tried to join a local, knitting group but one woman put me off so I don’t see them. I haven’t had the energy to drive up to the city to join my old group either *sighs*.

  • Reply knittedblissjc June 15, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    hooray for developing knitting friends! I’ve taught friends to knit here and there, but I don’t try to push it on them unless they seem interested. Of course, I tell them it’s pretty much the most wonderful thing ever. 🙂

  • Reply Stacy Meredith Cohen June 15, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    Oh girl! This is a great post! I wish and talk to my friends all the time about knitting with me! I would LOVE a group of crafty knitters my age. Thanks for the ideas to further that desire by showing up as a knitter in the world and perhaps I’ll find my knit tribe in the most unexpected places.

  • Reply katharineblair June 15, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    I learnedd to knit from a friend with whom I did a skills swap. She taught me to knit and I taught her to use her sewing machine. Everyone learned something new and since both of us were beginners everyone was equally vulnerable. Win/win.

  • Reply Sierra June 15, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    What a great list on how make knitting friends out of your daily friends! I’m lucky I work at a yarn store and make lots of knitting friends but I would love to make more out of my close family friends.

  • Reply zeta (kalianapodi.wordpress.com) June 18, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    A colleague of mine was giving me a really hard time last year. One day she overheard me saying that I had knitted the sweater I was wearing. Next thing I know, I was teaching her how to knit!!! Knitting brought us close! We talk about knitting and patterns and yarn all the time. And she’s really good! She’s retiring soon and has already thank me for giving her such a gift, for teaching her to knit!
    As for my friends, they want knitted gifts but no one is willing to touch needles!

  • Reply MimiMapes June 19, 2016 at 11:55 am

    I love your website, I have recently picked up my needles again and started a pinterest, and then I found you, and you help me so much and put me in a good mood!

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