So You Wanna Be a Knitter: Tips for Beginners

So you wanna be a knitter, huh? Woohoo! Welcome to the world of knitting, beginners. Get ready to be addicted.

Knitting can be super fun, but it can also be a little overwhelming for beginners. You have yarn and needles. What now? Sure, I could give you tips on knitting and purling. But for me, the most valuable beginner knitting tips aren't related to techniques.

Here are a few tips that I wish someone had shared with me when I first started knitting.

Chunky knit neckwarmer cowl

Chunky Knit Neckwarmer via Craftsy member Artemis L

1. Don't go nuts with knitting supplies.

You're going to learn a lot as a knitter, including what type of needle you like to use and what notions are most useful. Don't get crazy and buy too many supplies when you first start knitting. As you knit more and more, you'll discover things, like whether you prefer bamboo to aluminum needles. Experiment with different types of needles, check out knitting friends' notions, and see what you prefer before you spend too much money on supplies you may never use.

2. Stick with inexpensive yarn — at first.

When I first started knitting, I went into my local yarn store and spent way too much money on fancy yarn just because it was glittery and pretty. I tried to use it, but I ripped out the stitches so much that the glitter started to fray and get all tangled. Not a great start to my knitting career.

When you first start knitting, you're going to be ripping out stitches like a maniac, snagging and stretching that yarn. Start with inexpensive, synthetic yarns — Lion Brand's Vanna's Choice is a good option — and save the fancy yarns for later when you're more skilled. Once you feel ready to take on your first big project, rush to the local yarn store, buy something pretty, and roll around in it. (Just kidding about that last part. Kind of.)

3. Basic yarn is your friend.

While sequin-and-bead embellished yarns and eyelash yarns may look awesome, they are not beginner friendly. Start with a basic worsted-weight yarn. Using a yarn in a light color also helps you see the stitches more easily so it's obvious when you've made a mistake.

Beginner's Guide to Basic Knitting Stitches

knitting stitches guide

Stitch your way to knitted joy with seven essential stitches.Get My FREE Guide »

4. Try new techniques.

When something unfamiliar pops up in a pattern, don't be afraid to try it. Things like yarn overs and cables might look scary, but they're not. Plus, would you really let something as simple as a decrease stop you from knitting that gorgeous hat? Psh. I don't think so.

Beginner's knitted headband

Beginners Headband pattern via Craftsy member plutoniummuffins

5. Get inspired.

Browse Craftsy's knitting patterns and get inspired by what you'll be able to eventually knit. The headband pictured above from designer plutoniummuffins is a perfect beginner project. You can also browse Craftsy's patterns by difficulty, and there's no shortage of cute novice knitting patterns there!

You can also start a Pinterest board and pin all the knitting patterns you want to make someday. (Craftsy's knitting pattern board is a great place to start!) When you're feeling frustrated with your knitting, browse your boards and dream of all the pretty patterns you'll eventually knit.

6. Use Craftsy's resources.

Getting frustrated with a stitch? Look it up! Craftsy has dozens of resources for beginner knitters. Stefanie Japel's Knit Lab class is a fantastic starting point for beginners who want to make sure they're knitting and purling correctly. Craftsy also has free video tutorials you can watch that include everything from how to cast on to increasing, decreasing and even binding off.

7. Take a breather.

If you're tempted to throw your needles across the room, hold yourself back. Put your project aside for a few hours — maybe even a few days — and then come back to it when you're calm. Knitting when you're frustrated with a stitch almost always results in crazy knitter fits that plague the project. When you come back to that troublesome stitch or technique again, you'll look at it with fresh eyes and figure it out much more easily than when you were angry.

What's frustrating you, beginner knitters? And if you're a more advanced knitter, what advice do you give beginners?

Beginner's Guide to Basic Knitting Stitches

knitting stitches guide

Stitch your way to knitted joy with seven essential stitches.Get My FREE Guide »

16 Comments

Brenda

My Grand daughter and I want to learn to knit, we are so glad to find something simply for beginners

Reply
Debra

During one of my recent knitting attempts I swore off knitting forever. So when I picked up my most recent knitting project my husband was really confused. My best advice is similar to yours: just because you’re advanced at crocheting doesn’t mean you are at knitting. So I am planning on a lot of novice projects if I dont want to be overwhelmed by my knitting.

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Mary

Hi…I am somewhere between a beginner and an intermediate knitter. My advice is find a tutorial for casting on stitches (craftsy or youtube have lots). There are several ways to cast on…try different ones and practice, practice, practice until you are completely comfortable with it. Then, check out tutorials on knitting KNIT stitches…practice those. Then tutorials on knitting PURL stitches. Once you are comfortable with these 3 things, watch tutorials on casting off. With these 4 things, you can knit your first project…a baby blanket, scarf, cowl, etc. You can find lots of beginner patterns on craftsy that are free. Just don’t rush learning a new thing until you are able to do these first 4 effortlessly. …then pick up one thing at a time, such as cables, slip stitches, etc. Don’t get overwhelmed and enjoy your new hobby! It’s so worth taking your time.

Reply
Jen

So,
Casting on
Knit
Purl
Casting off? I don’t even know what those words mean but I’m anxious to learn.

I’ve never even picked up knitting needles before, but I’m hoping to start this spring. I’m taking part in a Reddit exchange and I’m hoping to be inspired by it.
I need something to occupy my mind and hands that is not my phone.

Reply
Rose Merkosky

I like the green with the 3 big buttons ,have you got the pattern for this that I can print off,would really appreciate it! Rose Merkosky

Reply
Jani

Rose, if you click on the words “Chunky Knit Neckwarmer” it takes you to the pattern. 😊

Reply
Debby K

If you get frustrated and put your project down, make sure to mark where you stopped! Maybe even pin the pattern to the yarn.

Reply
Karen Ruthenstorfer

I am intermediate level knitting and advanced beginner level crocheter. Recently having problems concentrating, (since Hysterectomy) have frogged current cardigan project 4 times, NOT difficult knitting pattern, just Jelly Brain!! Any useful tips to avoid throwing all in the rubbish? Have tried pinning notes to work, highlighter pens and chewing gum (got aching jaws as well as aching arms! Help!

Reply
Trish

I’m in a beginning knitting class now and think I must give it up. I’ve broken too many expensive things in my home by throwing the needles and beating them on tables. I don’t understand why people want to frustrate themselves! They sell everything you can make at stores anyway, why would anyone want to do this?!?!?!

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