Knitting is a beautiful craft combining useful and creative, rather than just creating something for the mere purpose of aesthetic. However, most people get interested into knitting after being impressed by the beauty of various knitted stuff. High quality knitted stuff always makes knitting seem so easy, effortless and fun, thus many people jump into it as into a brand-new hobby not realizing immediately the scope of the job and personal investment it might take.
The field is so wide, rich and interesting, with a myriad of aspects to explore, it is quite easy for a beginner to get slightly overwhelmed or lost within all the options. The wrong approach might lead you to unnecessary frustration, disappointments or loss of interest, which is unfortunate because after all, knitting is awesome. To those who truly love it, enjoy it and learn it in the right way. However, since most people get into knitting directed by someone close to them, most advice at the start refer to techniques and supplies. Here are somewhat different advice that might influence your craft even more than technique directions and might help you overcome common beginner’s mistakes and obstacles.
Don’t rush with supplies and equipment
Once you walk into any store providing yarn and needles and all other supplies for knitting, it is easy to get carried away and purchase tons of it. The assortment is huge and attractive, various types of yarn look wonderful, and there’s a large scale of different needles, as well as all other tools and accessories. You might get the wish just to purchase large amounts of material and try it all at once driven by beginner’s enthusiasm. Not wishing to splash your energy and enthusiasm, the advice is to slow down. Start with basic material and tools. Along the way, as you improve your technique and start to discover many aspects of knitting you don’t see at the beginning, you will develop your style and come across the tools and materials that will suit you at that point.
Cheap yarn for practicing
It is understandable that you yearn to see some impressive piece of cloth as the result of your knitting, but it’s going to take a while until you reach that level of skill and experience. You should be prepared to fail first few time, to get tangled up, snag the yarn and mess it all up. This is common, and it is perfectly fine for a beginner, just don’t waste some expensive and high-quality yarn onto these baby steps. Use inexpensive materials at the beginning and make sure you choose beginner friendly materials. Avoid sequined yarn, yarn with beads, eyelash yarn and other superb materials. Go with simple and basic synthetic yarn that is suitable for making mistakes. Also, purchasing light colored materials might help you see the stitches and patterns more easily.
Patience, inspiration, right kind of mood and advice
Getting familiar with basics of knitting requires a lot of patience, be prepared for this. Try not to get frustrated easily by common mistakes or failing the same pattern over and over again. It is easy to get frustrated and lose inspiration. Don’t force yourself; the progress will come. Knit when you feel like it when you get plenty of spare time and the right kind of mood. If you get stuck with some technique, don’t hesitate to ask for help, read guides, study tutorials and talk to more experienced people. Also, don’t rush with projects. The truth is that there’s an endless assortment of wonderful ideas, but be realistic and don’t jump into projects that exceed your current level of knowledge and skills. However, explore the ideas, and challenging ones keep close to inspiring you.
Learning how to knit may be equally fun and frustrating, especially if you go through the mere beginning without proper directions and advice. There are several common mistakes beginners tend to make frequently and to fail to correct them timely may result in loss of enthusiasm and dropping the whole idea. However, the mistakes are normal and natural and should be approached as to expected and integrated part of the learning process.
Overcoming them along the way will finally bring you to the levels of knitting skills that will provide you all the fun and creativeness that brought you into the knitting at the first place. To help you recognize these common mistakes, possible predict and prevent them or learn how to fix them if they occur, here’s a brief overview of these examples you might find useful in the process of knitting.
Proper yarn is fundamental for success
Ok, basically if you are skilled enough and experienced enough you’ll be capable of knitting successfully with pretty much any knitting material, but this is not the case with the beginners. Besides, not all the patterns and projects are suitable for any yarn, at least the result won’t be as good as expected. If purchasing inelastic and rigid yarn, you risk hand straining, too tight knitting and excessive stitches. If purchasing low-quality yarn, your fibers might fall apart at some point. The best is to pick a pattern first, find matching material to it and purchase middle-class quality yarn.
Dropped a stitch?
It is a common issue to everyone, not just to the beginners, so don’t lose your nerves. It can happen when you are putting down your work or in the middle of knitting from the end of your needle. If you spot any irregularities in your fabric, such as nubs of stitches hanging out, stop the knitting and fix the problem. The best way to prevent stitches from dropping is to count your stitches, use counters to mark the pattern and to always finish the row before pausing.
Excessive stitches in your pattern
Extra stitches sneak into your pattern when there are some overs of yarn or when you recklessly knit between stitches. To avoid accidental yarn overs, avoid bringing the working yarn in front of your pattern. This way you will prevent it from creating an extra loop on a needle while you are trying to knit a new stitch. To prevent extra stitches by accidentally knitting in between existing rows, use some of the accessories designed to help you counting and differing rows and stitches.
Knitting too tight
In an attempt to gain better control over the mere process of knitting, beginners usually exaggerate. They hold their needles too tight and too close to the tops, and they tend to press the yarn for the same reasons. When using tips of needles to knit, you are using the thinnest part of the needle, which will result in knitting smaller stitches and finally creating an overall too tight pattern. If you spot that moving stitches back and forward is getting harder, this should indicate you to lose the pressure, adjust the position of your needles and your whole body or you may try to knit with bamboo needles that are more suitable for avoiding this issue.
Knitting doesn’t have to be a particularly expensive hobby. All you truly need is a pair of quality needles and plenty of yarn. The rest is up to you, your knowledge and skills and largely your creativity. However, if you want to indulge yourself and make knitting process highly convenient and easy, there’s a wide collection of tools and various accessories you may purchase in pretty much any store. These tools come handy in a different situation, though all of them have their primary function and are particularly useful to newbies. As you progress with knitting, you’ll start to experiment and will discover plenty of attractive supplies, but here are just some of the most common tools you should purchase for your beginner’s knitting pack.
Optimal size of knitting needles
There’s no rule to this one. There’s a myriad of knitting needles available in the market, different in sizes, shapes and material and you will probably have to try several types to figure out the kind that suits you best. Also, one type of needles might suit you best for one project but will be quite inadequate for other material and project. However, there’s a recommendation to go with big needles and big yarn if you’re a beginner. Bigger needles, preferably plastic ones or aluminum (which are the cheapest), are easier to work with. You will have better control over your moves and plenty of comfort to practice technique. Once you master basic techniques, you can try other types, smaller sizes or circular needles. The size 13/9 or US 10/6 are two most common types used among newbies.
Official and alternative use of point protectors
Once you have purchased all the needles you need or want, aside some convenient container to keep them in, you should buy a pack of point protectors. These handy accessories come in various sizes, shapes, and colors and they are primarily designed to protect the points of your needles while these are not being used. However, point protectors are great for another purpose. You can put them on your needles to hold the stitches while you are taking a break in the middle of knitting. They will keep needles in place and prevent stitches from falling apart, which is particularly handy for projects that take time.
Counters and tallies as a helping hand
Pick whatever shape, size or color you prefer, but make sure to purchase at least two of these convenient accessories. These things are handy for marking your knitting patterns, especially if you are getting into some complex knitting project. Use one tally or counter to mark stitches and use the other one to count rows. This will help you keep the track with rows and stitches and avoid digging into a plot to regain orientation and direction. Most of tallies and counters fit right onto needles and are quite easy to maneuver while knitting.
Measuring tape and scissors are a must have
This might sound as pointing out the obvious because most people already have a pair of scissors and a measuring tape somewhere in the house, but it’s not like that. Namely, even if you do have these common tools, it’s far better to get ones meant only for your knitting and keep them with the rest of knitting supplies. This will ensure you always have a pair of scissors and measuring tape at hand, instead of pausing knitting project to go looking for ones in the house.
Once you get into the world of knitting, driven by beginner’s enthusiasm, you will come across an endless assortment of ideas and projects for knitting, especially if you are creative, open minded and ready to face challenges. Aside from your inspirational ideas and the ones you pick in guides, books bout knitting or online, there will probably be a significant number of those around you asking you to knit something for them. However, it takes time, patience and a lot of hard working and commitment to achieve this level of knowledge and skills. If you are a beginner, you should start with reasonable simple patterns and projects adjusted to the basic levels. Knitting simple projects at the start doesn’t necessarily mean knitting boring patterns. Here are some convenient models and ideas designed for basic levels of knitting skills that are interesting and useful at the same time and won’t be overwhelming to a newbie. Go through this rundown, purchase plenty of worsted weight yarn, middle sized needles and you are ready to go.
The scarf – one big rectangle
When simplified, knitting at basic levels comes down to knitting multiple rectangle patterns because those are the easiest to comprehend in the beginning. Thus, knitting a scarf is a great way to start with knitting. Don’t get too ambitious. Use simple garter stitches to knit every row and the length is variable. Once you overcome this technique, you may try to add some stripes knitted with another color of yarn. Finally, try so called “knit one purl 1” technique. Knit one stitch and follow it with purling one ribbing until you run out of yarn.
The hat is a rectangle too. Sort of.
As mentioned above, basic knitting comes down to knitting various rectangle patterns and modifying these rectangle patterns to model more complex shapes. If you knit big enough rectangle, sew its ends and gather the top of this newly formed tube, you will get simplified shape of a hat. So, cast around hundred of stitches of worsted weight yarn to match the size of an average human head and knit every stitch until the length of approximately 12 inches. At the end of the process, use a long tail to sew it through all stitches, pull it tight at the end and finally sew the sides together.
Knitting the slippers
Keep in mind the approximate relations of five stitches for each inch of the foot length. The total length of knitted material should round from the inside of your ankle up to the outside of the ankle. The final piece of material should be spacious enough to fold it in half, sew one side together and over the stitches of the other side and finally get them together. Gather the material together where closed toes should be and sew it up over the top of it, adjusting the opening to be big enough for the foot to be placed.
The scarf, hat, and slippers are just some of the basic knitting projects most beginners find attractive to knit while learning knitting craft. Along with your progress, you will discover plenty interesting ideas, or you may simply continue with pieces of clothes, such as the cowl, sweaters, gloves, mitts, leg warmers and much more.