Knitting is an incredibly versatile art. It can be used to create a number of useful objects, such as clothing and household goods. But the best thing about it is the joy and pleasure it brings to people all around the world. The concept of knitting is very simple, all you do is loop yarn through other loops of yarn. This simple task can be a great challenge at first, but it is worth conquering. I would have loved to conduct a more hands on teaching experience, but I lack the means to do so. No worries though, I have found some wonderful resources and linked you to them all through out this post. So wether you are alone, or you grabbed a friend to help you learn, I hope you have fun and enjoy this introduction to knitting.
1. Yarn will become your life.
Fibers are so important to knitting. There is a wide variety of them to choose from for a knitting project. If you get hooked on knitting, there is no doubt that you will also get hooked on wool, and alpaca, and cashmere, and linen, and all the glories that yarn has to offer. You should stay away from cheap acrylic yarn. When you are first starting out you want something that will feel good in your hands and keep you looking forward to working with it. Wool is great for someone just learning. 100% is the best, but if you can only find a wool blend that is ok. Be sure that it is something you like, in a color you love, and that it feels soft, not itchy.
2. Needles are yarns best friend.
I highly suggest wooden needles for beginners. They are sturdy, they look and feel great, and they are the least slippery of all needles. If wooden needles are out of your price range, plastic is your next bet. Really try to stay away from metal needles as a beginner, they are very slippery, and you will spend a lot of time flustered over dropped stitches, and holes in your work. Straight or circular needles will work just fine for someone starting out. (Both types are pictured below).
3. A quick note on matching up yarn and needles.
I want to mention how yarn has different weights, or in others words different “sizes”, and a yarn weight needs to be matched to a proper needle size. Vogue Knitting has this great chart that shows you how to pair yarn and needles.
4. Slip Knots and Casting On.
Once you have your supplies (and I hope a nice relaxing cup of tea is a part of those supplies, because you will need it) you will want to learn how to do a slip knot. Vogue also has a decent diagram explaining a slip knot.
Now to cast on! There are lots of ways to cast on to your needles. All of them are important and great to learn. But for a beginner starting with the Long Tailed Cast On will be a good start. It is the most popular and easiest to way to learn. The Purl Bee has a beautiful how-to for it.
5. Knitting that first stitch
Now that you have mastered casting on (it is a very important part of knitting so I hope you really did master it), it is time to move to the actual knitting! Knit Stitch meet New Knitter, New Knitter meet Knit Stitch. If you were frustrated and ready to break your needles from just learning how to cast on, take a breath and a sip of tea.
This video will guide you through everything I just talked about. The teacher is cute and quirky, but she keeps it very simple. She will show you how to knit both English and Continental, which are the two most common styles of knitting. You can find out more about them here. I suggest trying out both, and whatever you find more comfortable stick with it.
The time stamps in the video for when she goes over each subject:
Slip Knot: 1:11-1:50
Cast On: 1:50-3:40
Knit Stitch: 3:40-10:05
As you continue to work row after row of the knit stitch, you will get the stretchy, ribbed material she has at the end of the video. This is called the garter stitch. It is the most basic knit stitch.
6. Finishing your beautiful work.
Just like casting on, binding off (or casting off) has many variations, and each one is important. It is used to secure your work when you wish to be finished. The video mentioned above will teach you the easiest and most used binding off method.
The time stamp in the video for when she goes over:
Binding Off: 11:25-12:39
Last but not least, learn to weave in your ends (or tails). No one likes scraggly little threads of yarn hanging off their work. Learn to do it the best way you can. The Purl Bee has a lovely tutorial for truly securing your work.
Okay, now you are knitting. Keep practicing, it gets easier. It really does. You will figure out your tension (how tightly you hold your yarn, and how tight the stiches you create are). You will find the most comfortable way to hold your needles. It all comes together with time.
If you feel confident enough to try out something other then a scarf, you can check out these patterns. All of them are worked flat and in the garter stitch.
Let me know if you have any questions below and thank you for reading!