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!
tips + how-tos
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.
MAKE A KNITTING KIT
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