Welcome to the addictive world of knitting! You are embarking on a thrilling creative path, which will introduce you to a global network of fellow crafters and a whole new avenue of gift-giving and decoration. We have collected some basic tips and tricks for knitting beginners to make sure that you get off to a smooth start.
- Learn the language. When you first look at a pattern, it’s going to feel like you are trying to decipher a rocket scientist’s mathematics equation. Abbreviations, the phrasing of instructions, special stitches, and so on—the language of these elements can easily be learned, but don’t put it off and try to muddle through as you go. Print off or save a handy reference sheet to keep by your side so that when you come across something like “P2tog” you’ll know to purl two stitches together. Check out our Master Abbreviation list and this article on knitters’ quirky lingo.
- Try working with heavier weight yarns first. Medium weight and bulky yarns tend to work up faster than lighter weight ones. Bulky knit projects in particular will fly off your needles once you get the hang of it, and you’ll have the added bonus of being able to see your stitches more clearly since they are larger.
- Choose a few repetitive patterns at first. As much as you are going to want to start knitting intricate lace patterns and shaped cabled sweaters right out of the gate, you want to establish good habits and get a firm handle on the basics first. Try a simple scarf or a dishcloth, which will help you practice the stitches so that they feel natural by the time you try to learn more advanced techniques.
- Videos, videos, videos. For those who learn better by watching someone else demonstrate, the internet is your friend. Anytime you get stuck, just look up the technique, and chances are someone has made a helpful tutorial. Start here with our video collection and then try other YouTube channels as well.
- Create an idea board or binder—online or on paper. The creative possibilities are endless with knitting, and it’s tempting to start on five different projects at once. When you start switching mid-project, though, you risk never actually finishing anything—and you’ll find yourself tripping over trails of yarn and half-unwound skeins. Collect your favorite ideas so you have the next one ready once you’ve finished your current pattern.
- Start collecting your knitting toolkit. Once you know that you can never go back to your boring non-knitting days, you will want to have a range of supplies to match the many different patterns out there. Invest in a collection of hooks so you have all the different sizes you will need, plus find some small scissors, stitch markers, and a project bag to stay organized. Check out our Knit Picks in each issue for some of the best ideas for supplies.
Good luck, and enjoy your fiber fun!