Our friends at Porch.com created a beginner's guide to developing your very own knitting room! One that is comfortable with extra seating for friends and family; one that is calm and tranquil with the use of essential oils and a space that encourages creativity with a focused color scheme. Creating a knitting room, or any dedicated creative space, of your own is a great and engaging quarantine activity that will give you a tranquil and noise-free place to de-stress when the weight of the pandemic becomes too much. Follow this guide to learn how this space could work for you!
Why is knitting such a popular pastime?
Many people wonder how to start knitting, but few actually stop to think about why knitting is such a popular hobby in the first place. While creating your own scarves, baby blankets, and garments is rewarding in and of itself, there are actually several health benefits related to knit crafts. Knitting can help to lower stress levels. The soothing, repetitive motion of making stitches can potentially even reduce low-level memory loss, too.
After you’ve become more familiar with the art of maneuvering needles and yarn to create stitches, you’ll need the right yarn room to take your knitting to the next level. Use the following DIY guide to design the ideal knitting space in your home.
Before you begin, gather your knitting supplies
Basic knitting supplies include needles and yarn. When deciding what kind of yarn and needles you’d like to use, your options are literally endless. You can opt for thin or thick yarn in virtually any color you prefer. You’ll also need to choose the right knitting needles to successfully make various knitting patterns. You can purchase all of these items online or at your local craft store.
How to create the knitting room of your dreams
A little imagination and resourcefulness are all it takes to transform any room in your home into your dream knitting space. Whether you enjoy your knit crafts on a comfy couch or in a spacious spare bedroom, use these DYI tips to transform your space into a creative oasis.
Make sure your space is comfortable
When you’re knitting for extended periods of time, make sure you add the right furniture to reduce back, neck, and shoulder pain. Consider purchasing an office chair or couch with lumbar support that’s designed to keep your spine aligned to its natural curvature. Make sure you include extra seating options for guests.
Encourage a calm, tranquil environment
If you use knitting as a tool to de-stress, you’ll find the hobby most enjoyable in a calm space that encourages relaxation. Add to the tranquil ambiance of your knitting room by diffusing soothing essential oils like lavender, chamomile, or peppermint.
Design a space that stimulates imagination and creativity
Color plays a major role in the look and feel of a knitting room. Base your design scheme on a color that you love to encourage focused concentration within a stimulating environment. If you opt for multiple color shades, try to pick options that work together rather than clashing.
Use your knitting experience as a learning opportunity
Since knitting doesn’t require too much-undivided attention, use your knitting sessions as a learning opportunity. You can watch documentaries about topics you’ve always been curious about or listen to audiobooks.
Create a noise-free zone
For maximum relaxation and concentration when you’re focusing on your knitting patterns, designate your knitting room as a noise-free zone. The last thing you need while you’re enjoying your knitting hobby is to be disturbed by the sound of the phone ringing.
Decorate to inspire
When decorating your yarn room, gain inspiration from your knitting supplies! Keep your beautiful yarns on display on open shelves or cabinets. Add plenty of green plants throughout the room to reduce stress, improve concentration, and encourage mental focus. Make a mood board so you can put swatches, inspiring magazine clips, and other items prominently displayed.
Organize your knitting supplies
Keep your knitting supplies neatly stored and organized to make sure each knitting session is as stress-free as possible. If you’re working on various knit crafts at a time, store the yarn and needles you’ll need for each project in its own basket for easy access. You can store additional supplies like buttons, zippers, and ribbons in old glass jars to add brilliant pops of color throughout your knitting space, too.
Simple knitting tips for beginners
If you’re thinking about taking up knitting as a hobby but don’t know where to begin, the good news is that anyone can knit. By learning a few basic knitting patterns and becoming more familiar with the most common knitting terms, beginners can quickly graduate to knitting masters in no time.
Most knit crafts basically boil down to practicing three essential skills:
Where to get knitting tips
When you’re a beginner knitter, there are plenty of resources you can take advantage of to progress. Improve your skills and creativity by hosting or joining a knitting club. Knitting clubs offer an easy way for beginners to connect and practice their different knitting patterns within a fun social setting.
Your laptop can also be an essential piece of knitting equipment. Keep up with trends in your new hobby, get free knitting patterns, and connect with other knitters by becoming a member of a free online knitting group. A quick internet search can provide a wealth of information about knitting tips, too.
Also, consider investing in a few trusty reference books or magazines that make it easier to learn how to start knitting. Resources with step-by-step pictures and detailed information can go a long way in helping you through a sticky situation.
What knit crafts should you start with as a beginner?
Once you’ve become more comfortable with knit stitches and needles, you’re ready to start your first knit crafts. Here are a few DIY knitting tips to help you get started:
To knit your first scarf, begin by casting enough stitches that measure the width you’d like your scarf to be. Then, start knitting until you’ve reached your preferred length. Once you’ve finished, simply cast off.
When you’re ready for the next challenge, knitting a hat will build on your skills. This project will teach you how to knit with double-pointed needles, knit in the round, and create simple rib stitches.
Knitting a blanket requires a few basic knitting techniques: cast on and off, knit stitch, and weaving in ends. The number of stitches you cast on, in the beginning, will determine the blanket’s final width. Although you can use any type of yarn to knit your blanket, worsted yarn is a great weight to start with if you’re a beginner.
Think about the yarn material that will provide the feel you’re looking for, too. While wool is incredibly durable and warm, some types of wool have a scratchy feel. On the other hand, cotton yarn is easy to care for and super-soft, but it may not offer enough warmth. For those reasons, many knitters opt for a wool blend that delivers both the warmth of wool and the softness of cotton.
Make every knitting session a relaxing moment
The basic art of knitting engages the body and mind. Knitting can give you something fresh to think about after unwinding at the end of a long day. The rhythmic act of making simple, repetitive stitches can soothe a tired nervous system. In fact, knitting could have similar emotional, physical, and mental health benefits akin to restorative yoga.
Since knitting requires you to remain focused on the task at hand, it can be an effective method of releasing calmness. Make every knitting session a relaxing moment by returning your focus to your knitting patterns whenever you find your mind starting to stray a bit. This can help keep your mind off of stressors you’d rather avoid.
Share your knitting hobby with others
Learning how to start knitting can be a confidence booster. Throughout every stage of learning how to knit, share your journey with others. Help beginners develop the skills they need to take their knitting to the next level by sharing useful tips. Start a weekly knitting club where you can engage with others who have the same passion for knit crafts. Create unique gifts like scarves, baby blankets, and hats to gift friends and family members.
Whether you’re just starting out or knitting has been your go-to pastime for years; knitting is an enriching hobby with plenty of therapeutic benefits. Hopefully, the above guide will provide you with everything you need to know about designing a dedicated knitting space so you can enjoy your knit crafts even more than you already have.
This article was originally posted on Porch.com.
The meaning of fashion is customizable; for some, it’s self-expression, or a way to rebel against social standards, a way to make a statement and stand out, but for many people, fashion is a form of self-care. It’s an art form that makes you feel confident and comfortable in who you are, bold and unafraid. Bianca Norris, a Chicago fashion designer and educator, is one of many who believe that fashion is a tool for self-care. She interprets that fashion as self-care is, “anything that brings you healing, real joy.” Read below as Bianca shares what fashion means to her and how she believes it plays into self-care. And, keep an eye out in the coming weeks as we continue to hear from fashion folks, we love, who practice fashion as self-care.
Make sure to check out Bianca on Instagram, @biancanorris, to follow her creations!
CC: Tell me a bit about yourself. What do you do? Where are you from?
BN: So I am originally from Prospect Heights, IL. a quiet little suburb of Chicago where my family still resides. I went to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn for college and graduated with a BFA in Fashion Design + Philosophy in 2017. I’ve worked for several fashion designers including Lululemon, Eileen Fisher, and Cushnie et Ochs in addition to creating my own one-of-a-kind pieces. In my current role, I work in the jewelry industry; I manage an art jewelry shop + studio called Adornment + Theory in Chicago, so my day to day involves a lot of marketing, communicating with our artists, and helping clients find gorgeous one-of-a-kind pieces! Aside from my day job, teaching is a big passion of mine. I teach youth fashion classes (now via Zoom) to middle & high school students and I absolutely love it.
CC: Why do you do what you do?
BN: As a Latinx woman, I have always been passionate about BIPOC + women-owned small/independent businesses, and I hope to have my own someday soon! In my career so far I’ve made a conscious choice to seek out positions at companies where I would be working on a small team, where I could get to know the people I was working with and not have the pressure of corporate America influence my creative decisions. Where I work now I’m right in the middle of a super cute neighborhood of Chicago called Logan Square and we have tons of regular clients who I’ve gotten to know really well; there’s something so cool about being able to connect with your clients and coworkers on a personal level and you just don’t get that at a big company.
As for teaching, my main motivation comes from wanting to make sure that anyone who’s interested in fashion design has the opportunity to explore their interest without being exploited by a higher ed institution. Everyone I went to fashion school with decided to study design because they loved it and they just wanted to learn the skills they needed to make whatever popped into their minds, but the reality is that art + design schools aren’t accessible to most people for a million reasons. College education in the U.S. is ridiculously expensive (I personally took out 6 figures in student loans for an undergraduate degree in fashion, where the entry-level salary is around 40k/year), and almost everything I learned in school I could have gotten from books and the internet had I known what I needed to look for. My mission is to give teens the tools they need to explore and experiment with fashion however they like, and if it ends up just being a hobby that brings them joy and not necessarily a career, I think that’s awesome.
CC: How did you find out about The Creative Cookie? How long have you been partnering/working with Lesley?
BN: I found out about The Creative Cookie when I was looking for a part-time job during my sophomore year of college! I was only 20 at the time, and I had never taught a sewing class but I had worked with children for years. In my first class with Lesley, she asked me to help the students make patterns for these emoji pillows and then offered me a part-time teaching position immediately afterward. I had so much fun working in Lesley’s studio, and it’s honestly what made me realize I loved teaching. From there I worked with Lesley on tons of other classes; from workshops at the Met to speaking to her classes at Parsons and guest teaching courses for pre-college students up until I left New York in 2018. It’s just this year during the pandemic that we’ve gotten to team up on some virtual classes again!
CC: Why do you love design?
BN: I was always into art, but I was never very good at drawing or painting, or even doing ceramics. When I stumbled into a sewing class in high school, I caught on very quickly and I felt like it was the only medium I had ever worked in where I was able to translate exactly what I had envisioned in my mind into a 3D, real-life object. It felt like magic. It was really powerful, honestly, to be able to just think up some imaginary piece of clothing and make it a reality.
CC: Tell me about some of your collections. What are some of your greatest accomplishments in your work?
BN: I’ve actually taken a bit of a design hiatus the past couple of years. After I finished design school I was so emotionally and physically drained from years of poor sleeping habits, constant critique, and the 3 jobs I had held down at the same time to pay for my fabric and supplies for classes that I needed a break. My senior year, designer Adam Selman (who just did a collab with Rihanna’s SavagexFenty-so good!) came to one of our classes and told us about how absolutely done with fashion he felt immediately out of school. The burn out is real. His suggestion was to just take a step back from it until we were ready again; the industry will still be there when you’re rested. So I took his advice and really just halted my designs up until this year. That being said, I think the designs I’m proudest of are the ones I made for myself! I just made a wool camel coat with a gorgeous plaid lining and welt pockets; super warm and honestly necessary for these Midwest winters.
In order to be taken seriously in school we could only make clothes for a size 2-4 model (I wear a size 16/18 and made clothes for myself one year, got completely ripped apart by faculty during a critique in front of all 45 of my peers because I modeled them myself instead of “hiring a professional model”) so I just never tried it again until I graduated and was free from the persecution of the Pratt Fashion Department.
CC: What is your favorite texture to wear in the fall and why?
BN: I actually really dislike fall/winter clothing; I like to wear light, thin fabrics that feel silky + smooth next to my body, like a second skin. That being said, I also love a great structured denim look. There’s something that feels so secure about wearing well-fitted denim; I’ll wear it any season! But my absolute favorite fabric is stretch silk charmeuse. I’ll have it in skirts, dresses, tops, you name it!
CC: What is your idea of “fashion as self-care” and why?
BN: I think that anything that brings you healing, real joy (not the fleeting kind you get from online shopping), or personal development is self-care. Fashion doesn’t have to mean heels and a sequin top. I know that when I get to wear something I love it does make me feel good. For other people, putting together an outfit might be stressful; if your concept of fashion is putting on a sweatsuit and that’s what makes you feel great and comfortable in your own skin, then that’s fashion. Personal style is so special and I don’t think anyone should ever sacrifice it for the sake of a trend or pleasing others.
By: Kasey Lettrich
We are proud to present the first-ever Creative Cookie Holiday Gift Guide! This guide features curated and handmade items that will ship directly from our itty-bitty New York studio, as well as some unique virtual workshops. Supporting The Creative Cookie means you are not just shopping small, you're shopping micro. Our tiny team is here to help if you have any questions (please leave a comment below or email us). Check out the items that we are so excited to offer for the holiday season!
These unique cotton face masks are handmade from vintage bandanas. My friend Kat gifted me these bandanas in 2014 and for a while, I was unsure what to make with them. Supplies are limited and one of a kind. Stand out and be protected.
Get cozy in a flannel mask! These masks are perfect for the season because they are breathable and warm. Add it to your list of winter necessities!
Sew Fab is a style and sewing workbook + art book for anyone who loves fashion. You will learn how to sew and develop your own style. Packed with gorgeous illustrations by Sabine Pieper, and step-by-step projects, tips, and fun activities, you will create unique clothes and accessories in no time.
An inspirational book for girls (and boys who don’t mind a pink book) who love fashion. This is your personal style sketchbook to create and record your dream looks. Find your style inspiration, learn more about fashion concepts, fabrics, and colors, chart your own style history, design and draw your own looks, and much, much more!
Design, style, and accessorize clothes with this fun guide full of practical fashion design ideas for kids + teens! Contents support the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) approach to cross-curricular learning.
An interactive coloring book for fashionistas of all ages, My Wonderful World of Fashion is packed with beautiful and sophisticated illustrations specially created by the leading fashion-illustrator Nina Chakrabarti. This is one of my favorite books! It inspired me to create "Sew Fab"!
A new interactive coloring book for fashionistas of all ages, My Even More Wonderful World of Fashion is packed with more beautiful and sophisticated illustrations created by illustrator Nina Chakrabarti. The book encourages creativity, with illustrations to color in and designs to finish off, as well as simple ideas for making and doing. Another favorite that inspired my own books!
A fun and functional tote. Also, a great companion to carry around all those fashionista books you definitely just added to your cart!
This is a fun and easy sewing project, as featured on Nuuly’s #NuNotNew DIY series but if you don’t have the patience to make it, you can buy it here! Wear it as a scarf, belt, hair wrap, or a million other ways! These one-of-a-kind patchwork accessories are limited.
Three yards of assorted fabric cut in 1/4 and 1/2 yard pieces curated from my personal fabric stash! Tell me what you like and I will package it up and ship it to you. Ideal for making small projects like face masks, headbands, tote bags, and other things. Optional add on of two easy patterns available!
Make a project of your choice from the comfort of your home. Once you book, you'll be sent an email to schedule a time. This package includes 4 sewing sessions, text support, and an autographed copy of one of Lesley’s books. Fashionistas of all ages welcome!
Learn how to create and publish your own book or zine from home in this one-on-one workshop! Once you book, you'll be sent an email to schedule a time. This package includes six 90-minute sessions and additional check-ins over three months. All ages are encouraged to sign up!
Gift certificates are available upon request. Email us to inquire!
Kimberly Wilson, the founder of Tranquility du Jour, sat down with Lesley Ware to discuss creating your own style, how to shop your closet and go-to dress-up tips. Check it out here to learn how to be comfortable and confident in a style that works for you!
Photo by Kimberly Wilson
Happy DECEMBER!! I'm counting down to my birthday on Friday, December 4th! To celebrate I'll be putting together 4 days of very sparkly outfits, from my fab friends at Nuuly - and I hope you'll join me. A short backstory, I created '4 Days of Sparkles' a few years ago when I was having a milestone birthday and dealing with a major life transition at the same time. It was a way to bring joy and use fashion as self care. Dressing this way made me feel festive and I got lots of smiles and compliments which which were comforting.
I hope you'll celebrate with me all week! It's easy, grab your sparkliest outfits - even if that just means a pair of socks or something that you feel foxy wearing! Join me on my SPARKLE CAMPAIGN on Instagram December 1st - 4th by tagging your sparkle photo with #4daysofsparkles or email them to me at email@example.com. Please feel free to share your feelings or the reactions you get.
Can't wait to see how you shine!