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Having trouble relaxing? Then knitting is the hobby for you.

Knitting involves making a garment or fabric by using needles to interlock wool or thread in various patterns.

In addition to using different stitches, textures in knitting can be created by using different tensions, patterns, material and varying the size of needles.

The history of knitting goes back to ancient Egypt and has been a popular way to create fabric and clothing for hundreds of years. Since the invention of knitting machines it has gradually become more of a hobby than a practical way to make clothing.

"I think knitting has declined quite a bit from 50 years ago, when machine knit items weren't available. Today knitting is a choice and an opportunity to be creative," says Liz Devez, a knitter in Long Island, New York.

While knitting for necessity has declined, knitters seem to feel the hobby is on the rise.

Knitting isn't just a good way to create customized items -- it's a good way to relax and unwind in a hectic world.

"Knitting is a challenging mental exercise and it's a great way to express yourself creatively. Many people -- male and female -- have taken up knitting as therapy to deal with the hectic lifestyle we live," says Paulette Lane, a knitter.

Experts say knitting is pretty easy to learn. You don't need any special abilities and just about anyone who takes it up can have a lifelong hobby. As long as your vision is reasonably good you can knit.

People who can't hold needles often turn to machine knitting. It's a little more expensive but beginners can buy a used machine to lessen the cost.

"I never considered knitting too difficult to learn or do. I just got started and soon I was hooked," says Tim Flint, a knitter in Michigan.

The other nice thing about knitting is that it can be done almost anywhere. It's a good way to pass time in waiting rooms, on airplanes and anywhere else you have a free hand.

"It's something I do while I'm watching sports or other stuff on TV so I don't feel like I'm wasting time," says Flint.

Knitting is also an inexpensive hobby to start. You can begin with just one pair of needles and a ball of acrylic wool -- probably less than a $10 investment.

While it's inexpensive to get started, it is not necessarily a cheap way to make a sweater or other knitted items. Materials can be very expensive.

"Many friends want me to make something for them until they find out the cost of the yarn: $60 for a wool acrylic blend and over $100 for pure wool," says Flint.

Due to the high cost of materials and the amount of work involved, knitters say there really isn't any money to be made in selling their creations. To make money, knitters estimate they'd have to charge $350 for a sweater.

"It's not really possible to earn a living at this because no one will pay the hourly wage for the skill or the time," says Lane.

There are exceptions to the rule. One famous knitting artist by the name of Kaffe Fassett gets as much as $2,000 for original sweaters!

People who knit say they like the hobby because it's a great way to feel creative and productive. They love to share their creations with others.

"I love being able to wear things that are uniquely my own. I also like making things for people that they can't get anywhere else," says Devez.

Getting Started

If you think you might be interested in knitting, find someone you know who likes to knit. Ask if they will teach you the basics.

This should probably only take an hour or so. If you don't know anyone, try getting in touch with a crafts or knitting group in your area and see if there's someone there who can help you out.

Try taking a course at a community center or craft store. Craft stores are the best source of information for upcoming courses.

Start small when you're first learning! Don't make a difficult sweater your first project.

"A common mistake for beginners is trying to make something too complicated or using tiny needles or really fine wool. Make something simple, like squares, a headband or a pair of socks. Choose your favorite color and have fun," says Devez.

Knitters also recommend beginning with medium-sized needles and acrylic wool for easier handling.

"Beginners should start with basic acrylic yarn because it's inexpensive and easy to work with. Wool can be fussy to knit with and cotton has no stretch, which is unforgiving," says Flint.

Finally, don't feel intimidated by directions you don't understand at first. Just get started and soon it will all make sense to you.

"Don't be intimidated by directions or by telling yourself it's too hard. Make some small useful things and you'll find larger projects usually follow," says Flint.


The Knitting Guild of America

International Knitting Machine Club


The Complete Book of Knitting
by  Barbara Abbey
The Principles of Knitting: Methods and Techniques of Hand Knitting,
by  June Hemmons Hiatt
Vogue Knitting Magazine


Just one of many online knitting suppliers who can help you out

Knitting --
An absolutely perfect site for knitters

Chic Knits
Find tips, links, patterns, a knitting blog and more

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OCAP believes that financial literacy and understanding the financial aid process are critical aspects of college planning and student success. OCAP staff who work with students, parents, educators and community partners in the areas of personal finance education, state and federal financial aid, and student loan management do not provide financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice. This website and all information provided is for general educational purposes only, and is not intended to be construed as financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice.