Knitting Witchcraft 101, a crash course by witchimplumis
To start this off, obviously there are TONS of ways to do a lot of this stuff. This is mostly the method I use. This also isn’t a tutorial to knitting, there’s lots of great videos out there explaining how to knit, if I tried to teach all of that in this post, it would be at least 3 times as long. Finally, most of this probably also works for crochet, but I don’t know the first thing about crochet, so I’ll let someone else weigh in on that.
Knitting magic is great for anyone, from witches on a budget (yarn, especially acrylic, can be dirt cheap), broom closet witches (it’s easy-peasy to pass off as a normal, non-witchy hobby), practical witches (you get a useful garment at the end!), and more. You can use it on its own, or as a part of a larger spell or ritual.
Much like all magic, a lot of knitting magic is intent and visualization. Before starting a project, come up with a purpose for the finished product. For this scenario, I’ll use a real project I’ve done. I wanted to make a shawl to help me in the upcoming school year.
When you’re knitting, focus on the purpose that you want to imbue the finished product with. Imagine your hopes for it entering each stitch, and being locked in place with your needles.
When you first start, it may feel mentally exhausting or draining, or it may be really hard to focus and you may find your thoughts drifting away, but as you practice you’ll get better and be able to focus longer. I find that once I start to lose focus the best thing to do is leave for a while and pick the project up later, once I’ve had time to clear my head.
If you’ve been a knitter for any length of time at all, you know that flat knitting has what’s called a “right side” (the side that shows when you’re wearing/using your created object) and a “wrong side” (the side that faces towards you, like the bottom of a blanket or inside of a cardigan), or rs and ws on patterns.
When working out the beginning of my projects, I come up with two different intents, one for the outside world to see (right side) and one to affect only me (wrong side). So, in the example of my school shawl, I wanted other people to view me as capable in my field. So my rs intent was “I am a learned student of my trade.” On the ws, I choose an intent that helps me to acheive my ultimate goal (doing well in school) so the intent I used was “I have the focus required in my studies.”
HOWEVER, when working in the round, there’s no wrong side. So then how do you go about wrong side intents? Two options: one, have only one overarching purpose for all knitting (such as “I will succeed in my chosen field”), or alternate lines as you would if you weren’t knitting in the round.
Yarn comes in pretty much every color and color combination imaginable. Color associations/color magic are not only possible to do with yarn but strongly encouraged. I use lots of sources for mine, googling “color associations” brings up bunches of pages, or you can use your own personal associations. If you’re going to do this, read reviews for the yarn and check for or ask about color bleeding.
Textures are an often-overlooked factor. Prickly yarn can be used in a defensive spell, or soft yarn in one for comfort and warmth. Always keep in mind what kind of thing you’re making though, and try to work off of that. Some textures are not ideal for some uses.
Yarn materials are important to fit to your project. For example, you don’t want to make a knit bralette out if dish scrubby yarn (ouch). You have tons of options, but I’ll stick to the kinds you’re most likely to run into cheap-ish. My standing recommendation for all of these is if there is any way at all you can see and feel yarn in person before buying it, do so. I don’t recommend buying in bulk of you haven’t dealt with a brand or line of yarn before.
Acrylic- acrylic yarn is usually extremely cheap and comes in tons of colors and textures, some are shiny, others are really fuzzy, there’s all kinds for all purposes. It’s really great if you have allergies because it’s synthetic fiber.
Wool/superwash wool: usually somewhat coarse, wool is a natural fiber that comes from shearing specific breeds of wool-producing sheep. Some brands will even say specifically what breed(s) or country their wool comes from. In my experience, wool is much easier to work magic with than acrylic, however it will usually also be more expensive, and there are fewer textures and appearances available.
Cotton: cotton is a nice in-between of acrylic and wool. It’s a natural fiber, but I don’t know of anybody being allergic to it. It can come in many different colors, but not really any texture variety, they all just feel like cotton. If you’re not morally opposed for any of various reasons, Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Cotton yarn is by far the best cotton yarn I’ve found, in terms of softness. If you ARE morally opposed however, Sugar n Cream makes cotton yarn on huge spools very cheap.
Bamboo: it’s considered eco-friendly yarn. I don’t know how true that is, as I don’t use it enough to actually look into the carbon footprint of bamboo yarn. That said it feels like actual clouds and looks like them too.
Silk: we all know what silk is. Silk yarn exists. It’s on the expensive end of cheap stuff, usually only comes in small amounts.
Merino: wool that comes from the merino sheep breed specifically. This wool is really soft, I don’t work with it much because it’s usually really expensive compared to every other kind.
Novelty yarns: I love incorportating these. Some are great for practical reasons (dish scrubby yarn) and others are great for using some of their elements as part of a spell (like feathery yarns or beady yarns etc.)
I don’t think there’s a widely agreed upon set of associations for stitch type/pattern, these are just some common ones I’ve come to associate.
YO/lace- these large, open patterns I associate with “bigger” or more wide effects. Alternately, because they’re basically big holes in the object, allowing your intents to come out into the environment.
seed- just like its name, I associate seed stitch with potential and growth.
Garter- I tend to associate garter stitch with mundane life, alternately with its common use as a border stitch I associate it as a holding stitch, keeping things in (like secrets) or protected.
Stockinette- a super common stitch pattern for fronts of things, especially socks (as per the name). I tend to associate it with appearances, and spells like glamour aids.
When/if you block, visualize the water charging your finished object. You can use scented wool wash in scents that are associated with the spell you’re doing, you have tons of options.
You can get all kinds of things at craft stores! I found crystal charms last time I went that would look great on a heavier-weight shawl, there’s beads of various different materials and colors, if I went over all of these things it’d take a whole extra post. Play around and see what you like.
Clothing- either for yourself or for others. Make ritual clothing or just a warmth-intent hat. Possibilities are totally endless.
Poppet- maybe make a poppet out of yarn? Stuff it with things you want the poppet associated with? Disclaimer: don’t burn knit poppets unless you are 100% certain ALL ingredients are safe to burn wherever you’re burning them. I prefer to “destroy” my knit poppets by stabbing them with knitting needles, so that I can reuse them, even better, make the end drawstring-style, so you can reuse it with different ingredients. Eco friendly witchcraft!
Spell swatch- I call it a spell swatch but it may have another name by now. It works pretty much exactly how it sounds, knit a swatch of fabric in varying colors, stitches, etc., based on what the spell is. Knit in beads or feathers or hair or whatever you feel like you should. Then pin it on your wall or carry it with you. It doesn’t have to (and probably won’t) look nice, it’s just a little spell to carry with you, like a very personalized sigil.
Other uses: knitting is great for meditation! Finding a simple pattern to knit for a while can leave your mind free to relax and do its own thing, I love leaving guided meditations, binaural tones, etc. on while I’m knitting things like socks or blankets.