Now that you are a pro-knitter, you need to know where to get hooked up with the goods. Having quality supplies will make SUCH a difference not only in the crafting process, but also in the finished product. There are lots of good resources out there, but this post will be about the three websites I couldn’t knit without.
You should be able to find most of your “hardware” (needles, totes, stitch markers, hooks, etc) at a typical craft store (Michaels, Joann Fabrics, Hobby Lobby, etc), but I haven’t been able to find much of a selection of higher or even mid quality yarn at those places. Most of what I have seen is 100% synthetic, or a couple choices of cotton, so my favorite places to buy yarn are little boutique yarn shops that typically have a much better quality selection. They can be a bit more expensive here, but they often have a really fun selection of unique items and I don’t mind paying a bit more to support local businesses.
Currently, because the closest yarn store is more than an hour away from me, I buy most of my supplies from WEBS Yarn Store, based in Massachusetts.
They have a wonderful selection of all sorts of fibers, great prices with tons of sales all the time (and a daily deal if you “Like” them on Facebook), fast and affordable shipping, and great customer service. Many of their items have extensive reviews as well, so you can get an idea from other customers as to how each yarn behaves. They have what is called “Discountable” items; this means that for certain yarns, if you purchase more than $60 worth, you will receive a 20% automatic discount; if your total is over $120, a 25% discount. This may not seem like a lot, but for those bigger projects, it takes the edge off the price-tag quite a bit! Just make sure (since you are ordering online) that you check and re-check your gauge, weight, yardage, and other details of your order to be sure you get exactly what you want.
If you are looking for patterns, it can be a bit overwhelming when you google “free sweater knitting patterns.” You may be able to find some treasures here and there, but there is a lot of useless stuff for every good pattern you find. A good place to start out is Ravelry.
You will need to register for an account, but all they need is your email address and a password. From there, you have access to literally thousands of patterns; many of them are free, and others are for sale at around $2-$7 a pattern for a PDF downloadable version. You can save projects to your library to come back to, and you can manage and track your own projects and patterns as well. You can search by pattern style, as well as difficulty and size.
Now finally: I know this may sound elementary, but it’s how I taught myself almost everything I know. For those projects that get you confused, or if you come across terms that don’t make sense, google it!
Most of the time, someone else has made the same mistake or done the same stitch you are looking for as you; so don’t be ashamed to google “how to pick up a dropped stitch” or “does tweed yarn felt easily” or “how to do long tail cast on” or “why are my stitches twisting” etc. There are no stupid questions! Between articles and Youtube videos, you should be able to find what you need to know.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask questions from other knitters as well. I would love to help in any way I can also! Leave a comment anywhere on my blog if you have any problems and I can even post some video tutorials to help show you techniques and specific fixes. You can also email me photos of problematic areas at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can respond there as well.