Monday, June 9, 2014

Knitting and Crocheting - Tool Breakdown

I love to crochet and knit and other various thread work. However, I was greatly surprised by the lack of exploration done on how these skills would be useful for when SHTF.

What you can make from yarn

Shall I give you a list again of everything that can be made with a good measure of stubbornness? (Others might call it patience, but I digress...)
  1. Bandages
  2. Toys
  3. Shirts
  4. Jackets/coats
  5. Insulated vests
  6. Pants (try not to laugh so loudly at the thought of yarn trousers)
  7. Skirts
  8. Dresses
  9. Socks
  10. Capes, shawls, etc.
  11. Rope
  12. Fish traps
  13. re-usable menstrual pads
  14. Wash cloths
  15. Dish rags
  16. Blankets (an obvious answer but an important one nonetheless!)
If you are stubborn enough, you can find a way to knit or crochet a lot of what you need.  Yarn is great for all kinds of clothes - except for one thing: You are better off not trying to make diapers this way. I double checked with moms I know, too, and they all agree that fabric is the best for diapers.

Plus, the scraps from acrylic and cotton yarns make excellent tinder for starting fires!

What you need

Now, onto the tools.

There are a lot of folks who have zero idea what the difference is between knitting and crocheting.   That's okay - I will teach you!

I'll point out the most basic difference: knitting requires two tools, while crocheting uses just one.

Knitting Needles

Knitting needles are pointed.  (Ladies, take note: great improvised melee weapon.)

Knitting needle sizes are denoted by numbers.  The bigger the number, the bigger the needle.

Knitting needles come in a variety of sizes and materials.  Acrylic (a type of plastic), usually aluminum metal (unless you inherited some steel ones at some point) and wood.

There are three types of knitting needles.  Regular single end needles and double end needles are the most common types.  The third type is less popular and I don't have one to show, so that one will have to wait.

Crochet Hooks 

Crocheting uses a hooked implement.

Crochet hooks come in same broad range of materials as knitting needles: wood, metal and plastic.

With crochet hooks, sizes are denoted by a letter.  The closer to the letter Z,  the bigger the hook. (A = smallest, Z = largest)

There are two basic types of crochet hooks.  The first is just a basic crochet hook (it doesn't have a special name) and it looks like the ones in the picture on the left. In a later article, I will show you how to do basic crochet stitches with these.

The hooks with the plastic coming off the end, or that is really long and looks a lot like a knitting needle, is an afghan hook and is used commonly for afghan or Tunisian stitch.  The Tunisian stitch is a neat one, but not basic.  If you want to do that one you'll have to learn it on your own.

Just add yarn

And there you have it, the basic tools of knitting and crocheting. Crocheting is the method I know best, but I will be applying the KISS principle when I teach both it and knitting in later articles. I firmly believe that as long as you know the basics to any craft, all it takes is stubbornness and a bit of imagination to make useful things.

My next article in this series will have patterns for very simple projects that will allow you to practice the basics that I've taught.  I will have links embedded in the article that take you to written and video tutorials for how to do each of the stitches I teach.

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