Monday, 3 June 2013

'I want to start knitting!'

Great! You should. Knitting is hugely rewarding, both mentally and materially! When someone tells me they want to start knitting, they always have a few questions. Here I've tried to answer a lot of the questions that aspiring knitters have.

I'm not very creative, will I be any good?
Yes! Knitting is definitely creative, but is also logical and in some ways, mathematical. It's all about following instructions and patterns step by step. Someone who may think they are the least creative person in the world, may find they can knit something beautiful.

What will I need?
All you need to start knitting is a pair of needles and some wool. It's that simple. Once you get better, you may need different size needles, different thicknesses of wool, darning needles, circulars, double pointed needles, cable needles etc. but for beginners who just want to knit themselves a scarf to learn the basics, you only need to arm yourselves with those two sticks and that ball of yarn.

How do I learn?
I personally think that the best way for people to learn to knit is to be taught by someone who knows how. If you have questions or you make a mistake, there is someone on hand to help. However, not everyone knows a knitter, fortunately there are a number of brilliant beginners knitting books available. I would recommend using Aneeta Patel's 'Knitty Gritty - Knitting for the Absolute Beginner' it's full of easy to understand instructions and pictures to help you along. Alternatively, there are a massive selection of youtube videos you can choose from.

What does this thing do??!

There are so many stitches! Which one do I learn?!
Every knitter starts off learning the knit stitch (also called garter stitch). You'll probably use it in most knitting projects you'll do in the future. Once you've mastered the knit stitch, the next step is to learn the purl stitch.

What should be the first thing I knit?
Whilst you are first learning to knit, you'll inevitably drop and gain stitches all over the place, making for a very holey piece of knitting. I would suggest you just start knitting a patch to get the hang of it. Once you aren't making too many holes and feel more comfortable with what you are doing, the usual beginners project is a simple scarf, which when you have finished, you'll wear with pride!

I made a hole! What did I do? Can I fix it?
All beginners make holes. This will be because you dropped a stitch on the previous row, meaning you didn't knit it! Count how many stitches you have on the end of your needle at the end of each row, you may find you have less than you started with, or in some cases more! This is nothing to worry about when you are learning, but when you start knitting more complicated projects, you may find you have to undo a lot of your stitches to fix the problem!

Anything I missed out? Let me know!


  1. and the most important thing to remember is that there NOTHING in knitting that can't be fixed! Okay so your tension is off and a rectangle scarf is lopsided on one side - so what! Horrible first projects are wonderful and a testament to your growing skills. I still wear my extra short mis-knit full of holes scarf every winter

    1. I completely agree! And anyway, more holes makes an item look more loved :)