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 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.

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 plutoniummuffins

5. Get inspired.

Browse Craftsy’s expert knitting articles 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. 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.

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?

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