Hi, I'm back with another knitting post! As I explore the world of knitting further and read more knitting blogs and magazines, I realised that there are so much to everything. Even the smallest thing like whether or not a beginner knitting should knit a scarf as a first project (as opposed to making small items like washcloth, beanies and socks) received much debate and contemplation. So as a (not so) newbie knitter, I decided to put in my two cents worth too.
I knitted a scarf for my first project. It was a scarf that was never meant to be worn, knitted with 4mm bamboo needles and cheap acrylic yarn. It allowed me to learn many things along the way, like how to fix my mistakes and how to pick up dropped yarn after ripping rows. I learned how to cast on and off, and practise plenty of the basic knit stitch. My scarf was striped bold blue and yellow, so I learned to change yarn colors. And the most dreaded knitting necessity: weaving in the ends. I learned all those skills through my first scarf.
I think there are pros and cons for a beginner knitter to knitting a scarf. As I mentioned above, a knitter can practise basic knitting skills on a scarf, especially learning to recognise and differentiate between stitches (eg. knit and purl stitches). A smaller knit would mean a shorter knitting time, and that usually doesn't allow any time for me make mistakes, or learn from them. A scarf takes at least 100 hours for me to finish, enough time for me to internalise whichever stitch I am knitting.
However, some people may find a scarf too tedious and monotonous for a novice, since it takes a long time to complete. They recommend making plenty of dishcloths/washcloths (which is practical to use as well) in many different patterns (good for learning new techniques too), or hats and socks and leg warmers, using circular needles or double pointed needles (I personally find DPNs annoying).
Knitting a scarf takes a long time to complete, which means that while you are knitting at the same speed as another person who is knitting smaller projects, the other person may learn more techniques and skills as you, even though the hours that both of you put into knitting are the same.
They say half the excitement in knitting is in casting on a new project! That is true!
I like knitting scarves, because it is rhythmic and it gives me some peace and quiet. I have been getting nightmares for consecutive nights recently and it is really disrupting my rest. I find that I sleep better (I still dream, but the dreams are less horrifying) if I knit for a few hours before bed.
I do keep a few projects on the side while I knit my scarf. I made coasters and bunny clothes and tried beanies. I started knitting a sock but I hated it and gave it up. I discovered that I like making up my own patterns on the go.
To Knit or Not To Knit a Scarf for your first project:
Good for practising basic techniques
A scarf is really usable
It is rhythmic and relaxing (esp. something simple like knit stitch)
It takes too many hours and may be boring to a novice.
It is a repetition of the same skill set and no new techniques are learned, despite the long hours.
I think that there are good and bad about knitting a scarf for a beginner knitter. You can choose what you knit as a beginner project, as long as you remember that you can always put down the scarf and start on another project and come back to the scarf later!
Share with me what's the first thing you knitted! ;) Did you choose to knit a scarf too?
Thanks for reading!