Yarn rec for new knitter? plus a question about teaching

I told my mom last night that she should learn how to knit (since I find it totally calms me down and she’s kinda high-strung…3 kids, full-time job, etc :)), and she said I should teach her over spring break. I’m going to buy some nice yarn to bring her as a present for her first project (probably a simple scarf), but I’m wondering what would be a good choice. I learned on Misti Alpaca bulky, which was lovely, but I also learned in the dead of winter. Since it’s getting to be spring, I’m not sure what to start her on…I found it much easier to start with something thicker and bigger needles, but I’m looking for suggestions. (Another consideration is that I want to get enough for her to finish a scarf, but avoid spending too much money in case she doesn’t like it and doesn’t finish, so I’m looking for something cheapish…hopefully <$10/skein or so, if I’m planning to buy 2?)

Also, I’m right-handed, so I knit English and could never really get the hand of continental, but she’s a lefty…does that mean she’ll have trouble knitting English? Should I learn continental enough to show her, and expect that it’ll be more natural for her since it’s her dominant hand? Or is it like driving, and everyone can do it with their right hand?

Many lefthanded people are taught by right handed ones, you use both hands. The sts are the same, it’s just a preference as to how to hold the yarn. Show her your way, and later she may want to try continental.

Alpaca is pretty heavy for spring, but you can wear a scarf in the spring with a sweater and adds a little warmth on a cool day. So go with a scarf, but maybe in something lighter like Caron SS, there’s 200-300 yds in one skein which makes a really decent size scarf.

If she is left-handed and you are right, sit on the floor in front of her then you are working in a mirror image. Either that or teach her right-handed - most of the patterns are writtne for righties and they would be easier to read.

I taught several people to knit at a workshop today, and a few of them were lefties. They were doing just fine knitting English. I knit that way, and though I tried to show one of them Continental, I don’t do it well enough to teach it.

I agree that since most patterns are written for knitting the ‘regular’ way, and that most knitters adapt and make their own style, teach her the way you feel most comfortable.

One of my best friends is a lefty and she knits English…

I’m a self taught lefty and I knit English. I crochet left-handed though.

A scarf can be a looong daunting project for a newbie. How about a hat? Or do a hat in a Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece or something lighter and use a drop-stitch pattern. Makes it go faster!

Or maybe some dishcloths?

Dishcloths are a GREAT idea. That’s what I learned on!

That is a good idea, especially for a mom :). Cotton, you think? What do you make dishcloths out of?

I use cotton. You can get the peaches n cream or sugar n cream just about anywhere. It’s not the TOP quality, but it does the trick!

And for patterns, cruise through this site Dishcloth Patterns

So, I have a question about knitted dishtowels – I’ve never made one before (college student, no kitchen :)), but I was poking around the pattern website, and none of the pictures look like dishtowels as I know them. When I say dishtowel, I’m referring to an actual towel that I’d use to dry dishes, wipe counters, etc, and then throw in the washing machine. Is that what these dishtowels are for? Or are they for something else entirely? I feel very silly to ask this question. :-p

I love the “sugar n cream” cotton by Lily for dishcloths. I think they are great for learning on. I think making dishclothes as a way of learning new stitch patterns would be a good idea also, although I haven’t really done that much.

I’ve never heard of knitted dish towels. Only dish CLOTHS, as in WASHING dishes.

I’m left handed and knit left-handed continental (a mirror image of right handed continental). My mom knits left-handed english.

A Right or Left direction when mentioned is opposite and there a few other little adaptations you get into as you take on more complicated projects.

At least 90% of what is out there to knit is either symmetrical, or doesn’t matter that it turns out mirror image to the pattern. The other 10% can be adapted, and that 10% is almost always more advanced stuff. By time you need to worry about it, it’s not usually a big deal.

The quality and speed of my knitting when knitting left handed is enough better than that of my knitting right-handed, that it’s worth it.

My advice would be - if she’s more comfortable left handed then let her learn left handed. You can just teach her a mirror image of what you do. That’s how I teach right handers.

As far as the yarn goes, I always suggest wool. Something like Cascade 220, or if you want something soft and a little nicer, Malabrigo. Wool has more give to it than cotton or acrylic, so it’s easier on your hands and easier to get your needle into.

But to be honest, I learned on cotton, and dishcloths are a good ‘instant gratification’ project that beginners like. So that may be a good way to go.