Learning to Knit

Sew Well - Learning to Knit

You guys, I’ve finally done it.  I’m finally teaching myself to knit – with the help of YouTube and a good friend who also doesn’t know how to knit but is eager to learn with me.  Behold my very first rows of knitting.  They aren’t anything to brag about, but you have to start somewhere.  The yarn is left over from the making of the unicorn blanket, and the knitting needles came in a mystery knitting box I impulsively bought from Craftsy.  Let the good times, hats, and cardigans roll.  And, advice, let that roll, too.  Seriously.  I know many of you guys are expert knitters.  What should I learn first?

35 thoughts on “Learning to Knit

  1. I am totally a beginner too, but I see you’re using double pointed needles, and regular needles would probably be easier for practicing. That’s my advice for the moment! Have fun!

    1. Thanks! I didn’t know what kind of needles were going to come in the mystery box. I could imagine that regular needles would be easier, but I was happy to get started with these. I’ll keep my eye out for some new needles the next time I’m at a craft store!

  2. I’ve started and stopped knitting a couple times and recently picked it up again, since I’m travelling and don’t have access to a sewing machine! I’m hoping to stick with it this time, and I think I’ve gotten off to a good start because I’ve picked a slightly more interesting pattern (a nice lady at a yarn store suggested it).

    It looks more complex than it is, though I had to start over 4 times, and it’s still far from perfect! I also made sure to pick out a super nice yarn (merino wool sock yarn) that isn’t very fluffy and knits easily. As with sewing, nice materials make all the difference, plus you’ll be spending so much time with it, your yarn needs to feel good against your fingers. I think the smaller size needles are easier to deal with as well—my stitches just look neater and more even than they do with larger needles.

    Good luck! There are tons of amazing resources out there, I’m sure you’ll be knitting up a storm in no time.

  3. YAY! I knit whenever I’m trying to kill some time, generally on my commute to and from work. People always think you have to have so much patience to knit, but really I feel like it’s the other way around. Knitting gives me patience as I’m waiting for something else.

    I only have one suggestion to make…. you may want to try a different yarn to work with. The bumpy bits of your yarn may make it difficult for you to see if your gauge: knit stitches are consistent with each other. And I’d suggest a worsted weight yarn too. It’s thick and creates things fast. 🙂

    When I started out, instead of knitting nothing, I made little washclothes. You can practice to your heart’s content and you get a useable “thing” at the end!

    1. Thanks for the tip on the yarn. The Craftsy mystery box came with some really nice yarn, but I was worried I’d end up with some sort of crazy knotted mess, so I went for the cheap stuff I had left over from another project. It is rather bumpy, and it’s got these weird silver strands in it. It was perfect for a unicorn’s mane, but I’ll keep my eye out for a better practice yarn. Thanks!

  4. I am also trying to learn. Used to knit scarves for my Barbies back in the day, but long since forgot. I also used videos, but really found the book “Stitch ‘n Bitch” very helpful. It has lots of pics and diagrams, is an easy read, and is faster than watching videos. Good luck!

  5. I agree with zilredloh…a smoother weightier yarn is easier to learn with. I’d also recommend making something, anything…the sense of accomplishment is a great spur to future projects. A bit like sewing, really.
    And my personal recommendation is wooden needles. I find them so much more comfortable to hold and knit with…and they are quieter when you’re in company. Because once you get started you’ll be knitting everywhere. Much to the chagrin of your long-suffering family!

      1. Longtime lurker here! I just learned to knit last year and I love it. I’m still a beginner, but I was amazed at how quickly my confidence increased. I’ve made a number of baby things as well as a pair of socks for myself.

        First: Get a pair of circular needles. You can do regular old knitting on them, and then if you want to make something big or learn to knit something tubular, you can use the same needles!

        Second: Start with a project. Washcloth, scarf, whatever. But you’ll be way more motivated to learn the basics (cast on, knit, purl, bind off) if you’re making a thing rather than a swatch.

        Third: Make baby stuff! I’d suggest trying the Puerperium Cardigan on Ravelry. You’ll get the satisfaction of making a garment and the challenge of learning a new stitches (just Google them, you’ll be amazed how quickly you’ll pick them up), and in a much shorter period of time than if you were to make a larger project, even a simple one like a blanket.

        Fourth: Learn the magic loop technique. You’ll be able to make hats and sleeves without fussing with DPNs. And you’ll be so, so proud.

        And generally: Don’t be afraid to rip everything out and start over! We all do it!

    1. What a cute looking scarf! Thanks for the tip. And, I’ve already signed up for Ravelry and poked around there a bit, but I haven’t been a very active participant yet.

  6. I’m a knitter who sews some and I agree with the first comment…..go for a non-kinky/bumpy yarn like Lion Brand Wool-ease to start and here are a few reasons why I suggest wool-ease (or Paton’s Classic wool or some other wool blend yarn): kinky yarn makes it really hard to see what the string is doing and it’s hard to correct mistakes; knitting with acrylic is way different than knitting with something with wool in it because wool has elasticity while acrylic does not and it’s easier on your hands plus it feels better!; learn how to knit and purl in the same row; then learn how to knit in the round and make your self a hat while learning decreases. Making a hat as a first project is way less boring than making a 6′ scarf. 🙂 have fun!

    1. Thanks! I’d definitely like to try making a scarf. So, I’ll pick up better yarn (thanks for the recommendations!), and focus first on knitting and purling.

  7. Good for you! I’m sure you’ll get a lot of pleasure out of knitting especially because you can take it with you, as you can’t exactly take a sewing machine to a work conference. The best advice I can give is to start with big needles, like size 10 or 11 and bulky yarn until you get the hang of it.

    1. I’ll have to find it again… We really focused on learning how to Cast On using one of the first YouTube hits we found that advertised itself as showing the process very, very slowly!

  8. Oh, yay! You’ll be a great knitter in one time! I would say that learning how to knit in the round is one of the most important things to know (and takes you beyond the realm of simple scarves). Once you can do that, you’ll be on your way to hats, cowls, and sweaters in no time!

    1. Cool! From what I’ve gathered, my double-pointed needles will help me with knitting in the round… But, I bet there’s also lots of other needles out there as well.

  9. How exciting! =) Since I still feel like quite a newbie (you know I’ve been only been knitting for less than a year and a half), the main thing I can tell you is that it’s extremely addicting and this is only the beginning. But since you sew, I suspect you already know how this crafting thing is a slippery slope. =)

    A scarf is a classic first project- I still wear mine (with the ugly end tucked inside my coat). And if you use bulkier yarn and bigger needles, it will go much quicker. When I started out, I bought a big cheap roll of Red Heart acrylic to practice with, which was fine. But after you’ve used wool it’s kind of hard to go back to acrylic. And I definitely agree with the comment that recommended wooden/bamboo needles. Metal needles hurt my hands but I can go forever with bamboo ones. Anyway, have fun! We’re really looking forward to seeing all of you guys this weekend. =)


  10. The very first thing I ever knitted as a little girl was booties or slippers, in a garter stitch. I was just wondering why my Gramma taught us with booties instead of a scarf, but the booties taught us seaming and decreasing. Now, even when I go on very long hiatuses, I feel like knitting comes so naturally to me when I pick up the needles again. I JUST picked them up again after almost a year of not knitting, and it’s been two years since I completed a project.

    I just joined Ravelry for the first time and am looking for friends on there!

  11. Yay! I was all for just learning how to sew until I saw the beautiful sweaters Ms. Lauren of LLADYBIRD has been posting lately. I bought some cheap yarn and a set of needles to learn a few stitches and ended up with an infinity scarf. Next up: knitting in the round with double pointed needles.

  12. What fun! I taught myself to knit last winter with youtube – “knitwitch” was one of my favourite guides, I found her videos really clear. I have decided I like chunky yarn and big needles best, I don’t have enough patience for lengthy projects 🙂

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