What I Wish All New Knitters Knew – Tips for a Beginner Knitter
Knitting can be a challenge when you are a beginner knitter. The first challenge is the actual act of knitting, working yarn over needles. The second challenge is learning a new crafting world.
Experienced knitters use a lot of insider language (FOs, variegated, kettle dyed, hand spun) which can be overwhelming when you are starting out. In this article, I am going to list the top four things that I wish all beginning knitters knew, and what I wish that someone had shared with me.
#1 Patterns Exist
Most knitters learn how to knit a scarf or a dishcloth in garter stitch (a fabric made up of all “knit stitch”). It is a great place to start because it doesn’t require you to count or do anything other than practice your new skill. However, that is probably the ONLY project you will ever work without a pattern.
Designing patterns is HARD. So, after you finish your first basic project, the next skill that you should learn is how to read a pattern. I see a lot of new knitters trying to make hats or gloves or a more complicated scarf on the fly, in part because that is how the did their first project. This will only lead to frustration.
Looking for a beginner knitter pattern?
If you are looking for a first pattern, I have written a basic beginner cowl pattern, specifically for new knitters. It is perfect for learning how to read a pattern. I’ve also put together a video tutorial of how to get started.
#2 Buy Basics
When you are shopping for yarn, start with the basics. It is SO tempting, when you are walking down the yarn aisles to buy your first skein (ball) of yarn to buy the softest, most colorful, fuzziest, craziest ball of yarn.
The problem with super colorful and super fuzzy yarn is that it is hard to read. What I mean is, when you make a mistake, it will be harder to see. Using a solid color, smooth yarn will make it very easy to count your rows and stitches.
If you are purchasing yarn to learn how to knit, don’t go for chunky yarn and big needles. You might think that it makes it easier to knit because it is big, but large yarn and needles can be clunky and hard to hold. I always teach people using worsted weight, on size US8 needles.
What to Look For:
- Worsted Weight OR Medium OR 4
- Wool OR Merino Wool OR Acrylic
What to Avoid:
- Fuzzy or novelty yarns
- Cotton – cotton has almost zero stretch, which makes it difficult to knit with
- Lace OR Fingering OR Sport OR Sock weight yarn
If you haven’t already discovered Ravelry, you are missing out. Ravelry is a website for knitters and crocheters. You can find patterns, research yarn, see what other people are knitting, keep track of your stash and projects, connect with other crafters through forums and more. It is all things awesome. Ravelry is completely free, although not all the patterns are free.
You can think of Ravelry as Facebook for knitters (and crocheters)
Check Out Ravelry: www.ravelry.com
#4 Ask for Help
Most experienced knitters are happy to answer your questions. Mostly because, we want to bring more members into our fiber-loving-cult. So, if you get stuck and need help, just reach out!
Ask a Friend
If you were taught by a friend, give them a call. They might be able to direct you to a resource you hadn’t found, or meet you for coffee one day to work it out. Chances are, if they took the time to teach you the basics, they’ll be happy to help you expand your skills.
Local Yarn Shop
If you are blessed enough to have a yarn shop in your area, go in! There is almost always someone there that can help answer your question. Some yarn shops even have “bring your project” hours, where you can get 1-on-1 time with an experienced knitting teacher.
There are forums on Ravelry where you can post your knitting questions. And, if the pattern you are knitting is posted on Ravelry, often you can directly message the designer.
Seriously, if you don’t have a Ravelry account yet, you need one.
Keep on knitting!
Get a Free Cowl Pattern
DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY FOR BEGINNERS
Learn how to read a pattern, knit something you can wear, and get the satisfaction of a fast knit project. Sign up for the Bright Mountain Knits email list to get your pattern now.
Disclaimer: This content contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission to fund my yarn-buying habit if you use these links to make a purchase. You will not be charged extra, and you’ll keep me supplied in fiber, which will fuel new knitting patterns. Thank you for supporting me! I promise to only provide links to products that I love and use myself.