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.
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!
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.
*Affiliate link. Thank you for being you.