Welcome to Our Beginning Knitting Guide
Hello total beginners, complete novices, and fledgling crafty-wannabes! Or hey, maybe you knit years ago and want to pick it back up? Whatever the stage, this is a great place to get started.
In this guide, we'll show you the best materials to use, the easiest patterns to start with, and lots of video tutorials to help you along the way!
The first part is the most exciting, what do you want to make? The four images below are our easiest beginner patterns.
Each one starts out exactly the same: you learn to cast on, then knit! Then with each pattern, after you've practiced knitting for a while, you'll learn one or two more super simple techniques (which vary by project).
Don't worry about which one will be easiest, they're all easy (and trust us on this, we have TOTAL beginners make these all the time). What we recommend is making the project you really want to wear, that's what will keep you knitting!
Did you notice all the patterns have the word "garter" in the name? That's the stitch pattern you're going to start with. It's what we call the stitch that is made when you knit every row. Later, after you learn how to purl, you'll be able to do more stitch patterns!
After you've chosen your pattern, it's time to make sure you have the right materials. If you click on the patterns above, they'll take you to the pattern pages which have all the information you'll need to get started.
Here we're going to use the materials for the Bulky Garter Scarf as an example:
Needles: US 10.5 / 6.5 mm needles
Shop needles here.
Notions: darning needle, tape measure, and scissors
Shop notions here.
When choosing yarn, the easiest route, obviously, is to pick out the same yarn as the pattern recommends. If you want to choose a different yarn that what's listed, or you already have yarn at home, you only need to make sure of two things: that it is the correct weight (here, "weight" actually means how thick around the yarn is, not how much it weighs), and that you have the correct amount.
To figure out what weight a yarn is, follow this guide: How to Know What Weight Your Yarn Is.
To make sure you have the correct amount, follow this guide: How to Know If You Have Enough Yarn for a Project.
A NOTE ON TYPES OF FIBER
When learning to knit, we highly, highly recommend using 100% wool or another 100% animal fiber yarn.
Plant fibers (like cotton or bamboo), and acrylic yarns are very unforgiving, which means that if you accidentally start out tight (as most who are learning do), it's going to be very difficult to stretch those stitches out later. Wool and other animal fibers (alpaca, cashmere, etc.) are much easier to work with.
On a similar note, to make things easier for yourself, we recommend not starting with black, navy, or other dark colors. It also helps if the yarn isn't crazy fuzzy or nubby. When learning it helps a lot to be able to see your stitches clearly, and smooth yarn in medium and light colors is the best for that!
When it comes to knitting needles, there are three qualities to consider: size (diameter), material, and type.
Your pattern will tell you what size needle it recommends (in our example above, it's a size US 10.5 / 6.5 mm). If you're making something that doesn't need to be an exact measurement (like a scarf or blanket), then you're safe to use the needle size they recommend.
If you're making something that needs to fit (like a hat or sweater), then you might need to change your needle size in order to get the correct gauge on the pattern. You can read more about gauge and why it's important in this article.
Needles can be made out of lots of materials, but the most common ones are wood or metal. More specifically, they're typically bamboo, birch, or stainless steel. Most people prefer to start with wood needles, since they're less slippery than metal ones, but their drag can also slow you down.
A needle's material can sometimes affect gauge, so if you're having trouble getting the right number of stitches per inch, try switching needle materials.
There are three main types of needles: double pointed needles, circular needles, and straight needles. In the image above you'll also see Addi Flexi Flips, which are flexible double pointed needles.
Most advanced knitters will agree that the only type of needle you need are circulars. Circular needles come in several different lengths that can accommodate any project type. The other types of needles allow for certain techniques to be done in a different way, which some consider easier (but that's not important for a complete beginner to know about right away!).
We recommend new knitters start on circulars or straights. Straights are more traditional, but also more limiting when it comes to the types of projects you can make on them. Patterns will typically specify if you need a particular type or length of needle, but if they don't, it's usually safe to assume you can use any type of needle of the correct size.
For all projects, you'll need a pair of scissors and a darning needle (also called tapestry needles or wool needles). Darning needles are for weaving in your ends when you're done making your project (we'll go into this more later). Sometimes you'll also need a tape measure to make sure what you're making is the correct size.
In this next section we're going to list tutorials in the order that you should watch them to get started knitting. You can also find these pages & videos in the Tutorials menu in the pattern you're following. There they should be listed in the order that you should watch them.
Casting on is how almost all knitting projects start. It's the first set of stitches you put onto your needles and then knit into later. There are dozens of different cast on techniques, but we pretty much always teach beginning knitters the long tail cast on method. But first, you'll have to make a slip knot:
This guide is still being written! Check back tomorrow for more :)