Teaching Yourself to Knit and Crochet


People who follow me on instagram already know this but to the rest of the world I cry, GUESS WHAT. I can knit! And crochet! (kind of)

I’ve been teaching myself from the internet, determined a year ago to knit a scarf for my nana.

nana with her scarf

The Wonders of YouTube

How the hell did I teach myself to do this, I hear you wonder aloud. Well, YouTube. People had tried to teach me to knit in the past and it just never really happened. It seemed so confusing and I got easily frustrated and stopped trying. I’m not sure what galvanized me into trying again but the idea seemed to come out of nowhere: I’d knit a scarf.

Being stubborn while learning to knit is key. I can’t stress that enough. It’s a bitch of a thing to do: frustrating, sometimes your hands hurt, and the end never seems to be in sight. It all seems to be just rip, rip, rip and start again. Unending misery. But never fear! Because if I can learn to knit then so can you!

Follow me on Ravelry and we can be friends and share the highs and lows of the roller coaster that is knitting.

Here’s some of the things I’ve knitted so far:

I got seriously obsessed with making mug cosies for people.
A hat!

This is the video that taught me to knit. Thanks so much, Amy Finley and  knittinghelp.com! Seriously, just follow the video below and you’ll be knitting in no time. I’ve watched so many other videos but this is the one that was clearest for me.

Learning to crochet

I’m now determined to learn to crochet so I can decorate my knitting with easy things like granny squares and owls (I haven’t yet crocheted either of these things so I’m saying they’re easy because everyone else does too!). I’m currently using the playlist below to learn how to do this:

Speaking of owls and crochet, here are some awesome patterns I found.

AMIGURUMI_210_sm_small2 DSC_0028_medium2_small2

What about you? Do you have any patterns or tips to share with us? Tell me in the comments 🙂

How knitting enriched my life

A good 5 or 6 months ago, I blogged about how I’m learning to knit. Suffice to say, I now know how! I’m astounded at myself, to be honest.

I decided to learn to knit on the spur of the moment. It was coming up to Christmas, and I couldn’t think what to buy my nana. I was having cake with one of my best friends ever, sitting beside a lovely little shop called This Is Knit and it was like I was struck by a lightning bolt from knitting heaven. I’D MAKE HER A SCARF! IN HER FAVOURITE COLOUR!

You see, years before, nana had tried to teach me. Oh, how she tried. I hadn’t been paying attention and kept making fun of it until eventually she just said gently that she thought I didn’t have the hands for it, and that was the end of my knitting career (or so I thought).

I didn’t finish her scarf in time for Christmas 2013. Now, in March 2014, it’s still not finished, but it’s been a great journey. A few days before Christmas I showed nana my knitting (and gave her a present I’d bought her) and her face lit up as though she’d just heard the most wonderful news in the world. I might as well have told her she’d won the lottery. She just couldn’t believe it. My mother reacted the same way when she saw me knitting. Honestly, both of them are prouder of me for learning to knit than they were when I graduated with my Master’s degree!

The video that taught me how to knit

Why has learning to knit been a great journey?

I’ve been surprised and touched by how interested the women in my life have been by my knitting. So many relatives – my mother, my cousin, my nana herself – have weighed in with their knitting techniques and advice. Since I’ve moved to Belgium, knitting helped me grow closer to women with whom I couldn’t yet converse properly – my boyfriend’s mother and his step mother. They have tips and tricks of their own.

I’ve torn this scarf up at least 6 times. It took hours for me to understand how to cast on, practicing it over and over in my bedroom. I didn’t want to knit just any scarf. I wanted it to be a great one. It’s more than I could ever have hoped for.

So, I’m now learning how to finish a piece of knitting. I can’t wait for it to be done. This is such a marvellous sense of achievement, I can’t tell you. I think I might be more proud of myself for learning to knit than I am about college degrees. It’s been a far better experience than I could ever have hoped for. And it’s only the beginning!

knitting the nana scarf
I used just a plain knit stitch in the end for the whole thing, just so I can get it finished faster!

Knitting Is HARD (but YouTube can help)

Jessica Maybury's knitting

My mom and my nana tried to teach me to knit years ago and I made a haims of it.

Now, a few years later, I thought, fine, I’m gonna knit nana a scarf, that’ll show them. I bought some wool and needles from a lovely, lovely shop called This Is Knit, and taught myself the knitting stitch and the purl stitch from YouTube.

I even set up an account on Ravelry. I registered my project as Nana’s I-Can-So-Knit-So-There Christmas Present.

And this evening, I started knitting. Kind of.

I’m still not sure I’m doing it right. I had to rip everything up and start again about 5 times (I just did it again, just there). The little tale end of the wool that hangs out really annoys me and gets tangled up in everything.

I don’t care though. I really am very stubborn, and when someone tells me I can’t do something, I generally go out of my way to prove that I can. I don’t want this to be a spite scarf though. The wool is too soft and friendly for that (it’s also turquoise).

Mistake Rib Scarf


I found other people writing about the Mistake Rib scarf over on The Purl Bee and Knit Freedom. These two people are my new best friends now, by the way. They don’t know it yet, but they are.

So, photo one of where I am:

Mistake Rib 1
Mistake Rib 1

Yarn Bombing at the Grand Canal

yarn bombing molly malone

the knitted tree by the grand canal

There are many trees standing by the Grand Canal in Dublin. Big, leafy, friendly, old ones.

Since winter, one of these trees has acquired a slowly-largening coat of bright-coloured knitted patterns and flowers.

I was never sure if it was the one knitter doing this and adding on as they went on, or if knitters were coming to add on their own pieces, but either way, it made me really happy.

I loved that it had survived there for months and was even flourishing. I loved how people would sometimes stop to touch it. Apparently people do things like this all over the world – I found out later that it was called yarn bombing.

I’ve seen the Molly Malone statue yarn bombed.

yarn bombing molly malone
yarn bombing molly malone

One day last week though, as I was walking along the canal during my lunch break, I saw that someone had burned the knitting. There was a big hole in it and bits of ashes and burned-up wool all down the tree, and scorches all in the bark. It was really horrible. I took a picture and showed Facebook, and there were sad and angry faces all around, with words like ‘scum’ and ‘hooligans’ being tossed about. Continue reading “Yarn Bombing at the Grand Canal”