One of the things I’ve enjoyed the most about learning to knit has that it has forced me to sit down, be still and not do anything else for decent chunks of time - something, like so many people, I struggle to do and make time for usually - there's aways something else I tell myself I could, or should, be doing.
As a result, I’ve had lots of time to catch up on series that I've been meaning to get to - and most recently, that’s been everyone’s favourite Super Stylish Pill Poppin' Retro Chess Romp- The Queen's Gambit.
As a lover of vintage clothing and fashion history, the 1950’s and 1960’s styles sported by Beth were a huge draw to the show - much more so than the idea of watching 7 hours of chess, that's for sure. I’d already read a lot about the clothes before I’d even begun watching - but what I didn’t account for was how great the knitwear would be, and how this would be fuel for my own knitting inspiration!
If, like me, you came away from the Queen’s Gambit asking yourself YES CHESS IS COOL BUT HOW CAN I MAKE MY OWN BETH KNITWEAR!?!? I’ve done the hard work and scoured the internet for the best lookalike patterns, so that you can replicate some of the iconic looks seen on Beth Harmon though the series.
Below are my favourite four garments from the show, along with knitting patterns that are very similar so that you can get busy living out you wildest 1960's Competitive Chess Fantasies. And whilst these are not exact replicas (most of the knitwear was designed and made exclusively for the show) their timeless vintage shapes and styles will have you rocking your inner-chess-Queen in no time!
I often marvel at how we ever learnt things before the internet - social media, blogs and YouTube mean that we have a world of tutorials, problem solving resources and advice right on hand.
Okay, I DO KNOW, how people learnt things pre-internet - books and magazines, friends and family, night-classes...or maybe you just had to suck it up and figure it out for yourself. But it sure is easier to be able to Google ‘HALP WHY HAS KNITTING GOT HOLES HOW TO FIX BEGINNER NEW KNITTER EASY INFO PLEASE’ late at night when you got too busy watching Queen's Gambit too notice that mistake three rows back.
As we all know, sometimes too much choice can be a frustrating thing. There can be too many guides, videos, too much advice.
Since beginning my knitting journey, I’ve been leaning lots on these resources for guidance, help and inspiration. I’d recommend anyone else starting out does the same and starts a bookmark folder, or playlists of your favourites so that you’re not wasting precious knitting time and energy trying to find that one good video about casting-on that you saw last week.
Whilst there are so many beautiful, inspiring sites out there - many aren’t suitable for beginner knitters - and whilst I know we are the minority, and soon the entire knitting world will open up to us in time, it still doesn’t mean that I don’t want to feel cool and have a nice, friendly, place to go to learn.
Here’s an overview of where I’ve been heading to research resources and projects - what I love, and have proved genuinely helpful, and hopefully will for you you too:
Before I even picked up my first needles, I had multiple people describe Ravelry to me as the Facebook of knitting and where I’d find everything I ever needed, and where I had to go. It’s the epicentre of knitting resources with squillion and billions and millions of patterns, forums, blogs and communities to join in on and consume. Ravelry is vast and intimidating - like it’s own internet super-system.
This may be an unpopular opinion, but at this stage of my knitting journey, I don’t love Ravelry or find it all that helpful. To the beginner, its interface is awkward and hard to navigate, and whilst I’m sure there’s plenty of resources on there for the beginner, it’s really hard to find anything helpful, as there's simply so much.
Instead, may I suggest you visit:
SHEEP AND STITCH
I LOVE love Sheep and Stitch. Their website is clear, user friendly, very much set up for beginners, warm and informative without being daunting. They have everything you need to get started and complete your first projects, and unlike a lot of videos out there showing you technique or problem solving - their videos are made and shot to be as beginner friendly as possible. I’m talking close ups on big needles, chunky yarn and the action is repeated lots of time, explained move by move so that you have lots of chances to follow along and understand before the video ends.
You can visit Sheep and Stitch’s website, follow them on Instagram, and subscribe to their YouTube video which are a godsend when you need a reminder or lesson.
INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS AND HASHTAGS
If you head onto Instagram, hashtags are a great way to discover beginner knitting resources, projects and motivational videos that might help you discover great makers and accounts to follow for ongoing inspiration.
I’d recommend looking up some accounts and popular knitting hashtags and giving them a follow.
Try looking for things like #beginnerknitter #newknitter #knittingtutorial #knittinginspiration and have fun exploring from there! The same can be done on Pinterest, though I find it a little too easy to get swept up in aspirational projects than problem-solve my current situation.
Finally, though I’ll admit I’m not a fully fledged TikTok user, it sure is fun to scroll and look up areas of interest and find fun distractions and cute, well edited videos...like this life-size Shrek project, for instance!
Have you got a website, YouTube channel or social media account that you love to follow and would be helpful for a beginner? Let me know in the comments as I’d love to check them out and add them to my bookmarked favourites.
- Lou x
Kia ora friends, welcome back to Never Been Knit - your newbie knitting space at Outlaw Yarn HQ!
Today we reach the milestone of learning the long-tail cast on.
It's an important step because one cannot knit without first casting on - so I was very excited and rearing to go...
...but be honest, at first, my attempts were less Casting On and more Cast Away.
Allow me to hand you over to the power of video where I will share with you my casting on adventures.
In summary, my tips to beginner knitters taking those first daunting steps, learning to cast on are:
Remember. Be patient! If you don't get the hang of it right away, keep trying. You will get there!
Despite my failed attempts, I did get there with perseverance, and you will too.
Happy casting on!
I'm Lou, an Ōtautahi based personal stylist and craft-lover, and this is Never Been Knit - my journey from complete knitting virgin to...well, let's find out together!