Thursday, October 18, 2012

So, you want to learn to knit?

I've been where you are, friend. Lurking on the periphery of the knitted arts. Reading blogs, maybe watching a youtube video or two. Perhaps you've joined Ravelry and found some cool stuff you want to make but now you need to make the plunge and learn how to get started. It's overwhelming, I know! I've been where you are! Let me get some guidelines down for you. A lot of knitters will tell you to go to a local yarn store or craft store and ask for help or sign up for a class. I am not one of these people as I am pretty shy in real life and the idea of going somewhere and asking for help is awful.

Here's a list of materials I recommend you pick up. You don't have to spend a fortune!
  1. One pair of US size 10 (or larger) knitting needles. The bigger the needle, the bigger the loops and the easier it is to get the needle through those loops when you're knitting. Also, I wouldn't recommend getting the cheap aluminum needles. I'm not trying to be snobby but they tend to stick to the yarn and make it harder to get the loops off which can cause unnecessary headaches. If you do choose the aluminum (and who can blame you, they're super cheap and you don't know if you like knitting yet) just keep the stickiness in mind while your working with them!
  2. One skein of yarn. Again, I'm probably going to come off like a snob here but let me explain. I don't recommend getting the red heart super saver yarn. While it's inexpensive, it's also 100% acrylic and not the good, soft acrylic either (of which there is some). The issue with this yarn, I've found, is that it's also super sticky and tends to not want to come off the needles. I also find it squeaky and it can hurt my hands. I'm not saying you should buy 100% cashmere or anything crazy but maybe look for something with some wool content or a higher quality acrylic. Don't spend $20 on a skein but maybe look into spending $5 instead of $3. Also, be sure to get a yarn that's rather thick - worsted weight or chunky. It's easier to knit with larger needles and works up fast. Color doesn't matter, but choose a yarn that you like. That's the most important thing. If you're working with a yarn that scratches you, or you hate the color, you're not going to have fun.
That's it! That's all you need to get started. No books, patterns, expensive tools or crazy gadgets. I'm going to put a couple videos down at the bottom that helped me teach myself how to knit. They are super cheesy as they're pulled from a dvd that was intended to teach teens how to knit but I have a hard time learning craft stuff from written instructions so this worked super well for me. Another great resource is VeryPink.com - she has way less cheesy videos and great quality in her instructions. I can't recommend her correcting mistakes videos enough! Finally, I just want to reiterate something that so many other knitters have said before me. Knitting isn't as complicated as it seems. There are literally two stitches - knit and purl. Once you've got those down, you can do anything! Good luck and good knitting!

This post originally appeared over at Knitterly Notions