When it’s cold, there’s nothing like staying inside with a fresh cup of hot chocolate and working on a yarn project. Learning to knit or crochet can be frustrating, but once you nailed down the basics, it is the perfect hobby to work on while on a Netflix marathon with a guilty conscience. Hey, at least you were productive! It is a lot of fun and it’s a hobby I recommend to other LDR couples.
What are great projects specifically for LDRs?
Depends on your relationship. If your partner is deployed or a frequent traveler, a light throw blanket makes a great gift; it is a piece of you that they can take anywhere and use any time of the year. If your partner likes to cook, pot holders are easily personalized and very useful. If they work outside in the cold, there’s nothing more amazing than thick warm socks. If they are a Whovian, you are now equipped with the skill necessary to make the 4th Doctor’s scarf. You can even make things like welcome mats! There are many options, and make a great addition to any care package you send.
Which should I learn, knitting or crochet? What is the difference?
Knitting is done with multiple pointed needles, usually two. Crocheting is done with just a single hook. I do think generally crocheting is a lot easier to learn, but personally I love knitting more. Some people like both, others are bitterly divided on which is best. Knowing how to do both is very useful, and you’ll never know the agony of seeing a pattern you LOVE, but you crochet and the pattern is for knitting.
Why is it a great hobby for people in an LDR?
Aside from the joy of giving handmade gifts, it is quite a social hobby. It could be something to learn together over Skype. Iif you are the one relocating when you close the gap, this is an excellent way to make friends in a new town. There are many knitting and crocheting groups all over the world that meet to help each other on projects and socialize. If there isn’t a group in your new town, you could start one, or you could even start selling your own products at craft fairs to make some money and make new connections. There are even many local online groups on Ravelry as well.
I don’t have anyone to teach me!
Many people tell me that their grandmother tried to teach them to knit when they were little, and they were awful at it. I myself have painful memories of tight stitches on cheap plastic needles, and my grandmother giving up and teaching me to sew instead. But lucky us, the internet provides! There are many great knitting crochet resources online:
- Knitting Help – This site was a life saver for me. I mostly learned from books, but their videos seriously helped me out.
- How To Crochet – About.com’s guide to crocheting has plenty of written instructions, photos and videos.
- Ravelry – The online mecca for knitters and crocheters. They have a huge pattern database, but the community there is great too, you will find plenty of help there if you have any questions.
I also really recommend the books Stich N’ Bitch (a knitting book) and Happy Hooker (a crochet book), both by Debbie Stoller. The instructions are great, and both have cute patterns. The patterns are simple at first, then progressively get more complicated as you learn new techniques.
Do you have suggestions for first time projects?
Typically I recommend making dishcloths with cotton yarn first, because if you make mistakes, it is still functional and useful. Once you are ready to move onto bigger projects, a scarf is a great way to get a lot of practice:
- King Me Scarf– This is a very simple knitted scarf in two colours.
- Super Easy Scarf– This is a cute crochet scarf, also in two colours.
Of course, if you feel confident you could move on immediately to a blanket or socks, just have a look through the database on Ravelry; you can even filter through the patterns that are rated for beginners!