Beyond the Rectangle: My Adventures Learning to Knit

By Madeline Farquharson

My goal at Of Books & Hooks has always been to connect with likeminded creators and readers as well as provide helpful insights and support my community. Which is why I started creating videos! As a fellow crafter, I know how valuable it can be to listen instead of just reading, so I’ll be trying to use this format more in the future.

In this episode, I discuss my process while learning to knit. I start a little bit with my background in yarn crafts. I first learned to knit technically when I was 10. A friend’s mother taught me, and while I knit often, it was never more than basic knit and purl stitches and pretty exclusively rectangular in shape. I would almost always give up on projects, and I never had the confidence to move forward in my crafting.

Every couple of years or so, I’d remember my needles, and when I pulled them out I would rediscover how much I loved working with yarn. So I’d start knitting again only to be really discouraged after some time and hit the breaks. This was a pattern for over a decade.

Fast forward to 2018, which was the year I taught myself to crochet. A friend of mine here in Berlin set their sights on learning, and I finally overcame my fears that learning as a leftie would be too hard, so I jumped on board. It was like something clicked into place.

I’ve always really loved yarn but never really connected with knitting, so learning to crochet felt a bit magical. I could go on and on about crochet (and probably should at some point considering the blog’s about books and hooks not needles), but this is all just a set up to learning to knit...again.

I decided to take up knitting again when I suddenly became obsessed with knitting socks. I think I was just exposed to so many socks on my Instagram feed that I just felt like I couldn’t keep away any longer. It was meant to be! As per a suggestion from an Instagram friend, I used the Simply in Stitches YouTube tutorial to learn to knit my first sock. It was highly stressful, but I got it done!

Five socks later, I decided it was time for my next challenge: learning to knit a sweater. The same Instagram friend recommended the Easy Eyelet Yoke Lite sweater which was a perfect project to get the gist of garment knitting. I have always felt like to be a good knitter, you just have to have more confidence. Which is why I'm glad I learned to crochet before circling back to knitting because it helped me to do just that.

Safe to say, I’m now addicted. As for whether I prefer knitting or crochet? I love them for really different reasons. And I’m grateful that I don’t have to choose between them! I use each skill as unique outlets in life and I feel like my creative experience is richer because of the fact that I can do both with confidence. That being said, I’m on a total knit kick right now so apologies to anyone who just came for the crochet.

Overall, knitting has really opened up a lot of doors for me. I follow quite a few knitting creators and always used to mourn the fact that I would never be able to use their patterns because I just didn’t know how to knit beyond the rectangle. I’m really excited to continue adding to my creative toolbox and expand my skills in both crochet and knitting even further. At the end of the day, it all comes down to my adoration of learning and, more importantly, yarn.