Here are some tips and suggestions for beginning knitters, from how to learn to knit, to finding knitting supplies, to knitting that first project.
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Knitting is a fun, relaxing hobby that’s easy to get addicted to. It may look difficult to people who are unfamiliar with the basics, but it is actually a quite simple technique that can be expanded upon to create many knitting projects.
Knits and Purls Can Create Any Knitting Project
Knitting is basically using a needle to pull yarn through a loop in order to create another loop. This is called the Knit stitch. The Purl stitch is basically just a backward Knit stitch, pulling the yarn from the front of the loop instead of the back.
Knitters also have to learn how to cast on, which means to make the first row of loops, and how to cast off or bind off, which means to secure the last row of loops and finish the project. Once new knitters learn these four techniques, the Knit stitch, Purl stitch, casting on, and binding off, they have a solid basis for knitting any project and for learning advanced techniques.
How to Learn to Knit
The easiest way to learn to knit is to learn directly from someone else. Having someone else there to carefully and slowly show what to do and to help fix mistakes gives the new knitter great constant support and encouragement.
Craft and yarn stores often give classes on knitting techniques, and many knitters are happy to share their skill with people eager to learn. Online communities such as Ravelry are also a good way to share knitting tips and advice.
Video is also a great way to learn to knit, and has the added bonus of being there whenever the new knitter has time to practice. Leisure Arts has put out a series of DVDs that teach basic and advanced knitting techniques and stitches, and the extras teach about yarn and knitting communities.
The internet also has many short videos showing different knitting techniques. Youtube and sites such as KnittingHelp.com have videos of experienced knitters giving demonstrations of particular methods and techniques.
Books are also a good way to learn about knitting. There are hundreds of books that explain everything a knitter would want to know, such as knitting basics, particular stitch patterns, advanced knitting techniques, and garment construction.
They also have knitting patterns and helpful illustrations of techniques and finished projects. Every new knitter should have at least one good basic knitting book. Browse bookstores, craft shops, and online for other books that may spark a knitting interest.
All a knitter really needs is two needles and a ball of yarn. Needles tend to be sold separately in sets of two, so it may be a good idea to buy just one pair of needles to learn on.
Size 7 and 8 are pretty standard sizes and work well with a medium thickness of yarn. Inexpensive bamboo needles are lightweight and provide good grip for the stitches, but if the knitter tends to knit tight they may want to purchase smoother metal needles.
Part of the fun of knitting is getting to play with different kinds of yarn, but the choices may be overwhelming for a new knitter. For the first project, purchase an inexpensive wool or acrylic yarn in a medium weight.
Many craft stores have knit swatches of the yarn so the knitter can feel it and make sure it’s not too scratchy. A new knitter may not want to work with cotton yarn, however, because it has no stretch and may prove frustrating when trying to manipulate unfamiliar stitches.
First Knitting Project
For the first project, choose a flat item such as a washcloth or scarf to get used to simple knits and purls. Knitting row after row of simple stitches is a good way to get familiar with knitting and knits and purls will soon become second nature.
Don’t worry about making mistakes. This is a learning process and the finished product doesn’t need to be perfect or even pretty. Just practice, keep going, and have fun.