Get your pals together for an old-fashioned knitting bee. Prepare starter kits (and some snacks to keep everyone going), then learn the basic stitches: knit and purl. When the party's over, your friends will be well on their way to having a handknitted piece!menu
KNIT A SCARF
Approx. 500 yards 100% baby alpaca sport-weight yarn
1 pair U.S. size 3 needles
Seed Stitch (worked over an odd number of stitches)
All rows: k1, *p1, k1; repeat from * to end.
Cast on 51 stitches.
Work in pattern stitch until scarf is desired length.
Cast off loosely.
Download your own basic knit and purl instructions.
Two Skeins (Balls) of Yarn
Give beginners variegated (thin and thick), multicolored yarn. The varied texture and color will hide small mistakes. Try hand-dyed Manos del Uruguay Handspun Semi Solids yarn ($16 per skein, purlsoho.com).
Wooden or bamboo needles are the easiest to use; look for them at any craft store. Try U.S. 10 (6mm) Crystal Palace bamboo needles ($9.50 for a set, purlsoho.com).
Hand Lotion and Cuticle Cream
Knitting can dry out your hands, so throw in Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Creme and Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Creme ($5 and $7, burtsbees.com).
Basic knit and purl diagrams are a handy reference. Download and print sets of instructions.
For fun, include a local or seasonal bite, like a piece of fruit or some candy.
MAKE A NO-KNIT SCARF
1. Choose a skein of bulky, textured yarn like Ozark Handspun ($26, purlsoho.com).
2. Unravel the yarn and fold back and forth to form a 5-foot-long bundle; tie each end.
3. Wrap the scarf around your neck -- you're done!
*Prices and other details were accurate when we published this article in November 2006