I remember sitting in a waiting room when I was about five. I was with my Mother, and there was a woman knitting a few chairs over. I told my Mom to watch her so she could figure it out and teach me. My Mom told me to watch the woman and figure it out myself. Years later, when I was about 11, I went to visit my Grandma across the country. When she found out I couldn’t knit she blamed my mother, the school system, and Girl Guides of Canada. I mean, forget being able to pitch a tent or survive on a beach overnight, how dare they not teach me to knit.
Spoiler: I (reasonably) thought she was being ridiculous at the time, but I kind of agree with her now.
She sent me out for needles and yarn and taught me how to make a simple garter scarf. A few years later, back on the west coast, my Nonna taught me how to purl. I had the fundamentals; everything in knitting consists of two stitches. I loved the craft, but there’s only so many basic scarves you can make. Two years ago I set myself up with a New Years Resolution and for the first time in probably all of history, I kept it. I found an online class and learned to knit.
Things to consider
Obviously, it took me a while to knit everything- it’s not a quick hobby, and they have changed how they deliver the course. Now you can buy individual months and buy the videos without the kits and all sorts. If you click a link to KnitCrate in this post you get $10 off, and I get loyalty points. I did this kit before I decided to start blogging about things, so my pictures are kind of sad. Sorry. But it also preserves some of the surprises, no?
I chose KnitCrate for a few reasons. I get a bit self-conscious in on-site classes, and while I’m working through it, I wanted something at home. Also, I was working full time and taking full-time classes. It was appealing to be able to work at my own pace. The most important thing, however, was that KnitCrate fed my month-to-month box addiction. There’s just something about a good subscription box.
Learning to Knit with KnitCrate
The KnitCrate system is the standard subscription box formula. Every month a package in either a bright, shiny red mailer or a boring, sad, cardboard box came to the house. It included a card with a code that got you the videos and pattern. Some months included a printed pattern. It also included yarn, something to help you knit, and a fun extra.
I know that the red mailer was plastic, and we should be trying to reduce plastic and all that, but I greatly preferred it to the box. I knew everything was dry and shiny red stuff is way more fun. As for the waste aspect, it’s awesome stuff for craft boxes. My teacher Mother loved it for the classroom.
The idea was that you’d learn the skill, do some swatches and practice, and then follow along with the video to make the project. The projects were great. The first month is a cowl, then a hat, fingerless mitts, a headband, a shawl… it’s a good mix, and it’s stuff you’ll actually wear and use. The only project I was a bit “meh” on was the yarn bowl that taught stranded colourwork. I tend not to like felted stuff so it was off to a bad start already. On top of that, they sent me a bright blue and bright yellow that I didn’t think went well together. I ran out to my yarn shop and ended up getting a basic red and green wool and made my Mom a gorgeous Christmas bowl, so it all worked out. All up in eight months they only sent me one thing I didn’t like- those odds aren’t bad!
The notions (or stuff to help you knit) started off being needles. The only ones I don’t still use are the circulars and that’s only because I have an interchangeable set. I liked that they sent both metal and wood so you could figure out which you liked better. After the fourth month, they stop sending needles and start sending more notion-y stuff. One month you get an Altoids tin sized toolkit that makes life easier, one month a stitch counter, cable needles… it helped not only build my notion base, but it also helped me avoid getting “new hobby overload” and buying everything with the words knitting on it. I knew stuff was coming and that I had to hold off. As for the treats, it included stuff like teas, candies, and a particularly amazing hot chocolate mix.
The videos are tough to review, especially given the new system. In terms of actually learning to knit, Andrea is amazing. She’s clear, and she gives demos on how to fix common mistakes. The focus of her instruction is being able to read your knitting. I haven’t been able to find anything quite so clear and complete on youtube.
That said, there were some issues with the videos. While I was doing the series KnitCrate was coming out with their home brand yarn, Knitologie. Knitologie is awesome yarn and I’d definitely buy it again, however, it’s discouraging as anything to hear Andrea gush about one yarn and realize you have something different. On the third month, they used to send out an organza project bag, but mine was plastic. In the video she spends about two minutes talking about why the organza bag was better than plastic, and…. well it sucked. The value of the stuff you get always equalled and usually exceeded what you paid, but it still just kind of… sucked. Andrea sold the company, so I don’t see a video update in the future.
So Did I Learn to Knit?
I’ve always loved knitting- it’s relaxing, meditative and improves hand-eye coordination. Moreover, there are few hobbies where you can spend a day watching Netflix and actually end up being productive. My Grandma was right, everyone should give it a go. I would recommend KnitCrate for the simple fact that the system worked. I’ve picked up patterns that weren’t included in the kit and had no problem following them. Knitting is one of those things where there’ll always be something to learn, so it’s ridiculous to think that you’d learn everything in an eight-month “knit along”. With KnitCrate you get an awesome jumping off point to dive deeper into the craft. I like that they’ve adapted the system to add the videos only option, but if you’re gung-ho about starting I’d recommend the kits. You get to build up a toolkit, try newer, fancier yarn, and it’s always fun getting mail.
Do you think you’ll be getting KnitCrate? Have you seen another awesome online class, but aren’t 100% sure about it? Let me know in the comments!