Hello everyone! As you know, I adore knitting. It’s so addicting! I’ve also noticed that knitting is starting to pick up again (check the tag #knittingaddict and #knittersofinstagram on Instagram to see what I mean). For the last couple of months, I’ve been hearing my husband say how much he wants to learn while he watches me work on a project. So, over the last couple of days, I’ve decided to buckle down and teach him. It’s definitely the work of patience! While trying to teach him, I realized that there are a ton of components that I do without thinking about anymore that are key to succeeding with any knitting.
I learned how to knit when I was about 11 or 12 yrs old. I struggled with all the same things you’ll probably struggle with. I sat in a room watching seasoned knitters go through half a scarf before I finished a row and it can be discouraging. When I first started knitting, it wasn’t relaxing because it took real effort to learn. Now, I’m constantly trying to rush through the days work so I can get to my knitting for some Netflix and relaxation!
On another note, if you find yourself easily bored and/or a fidgeter (I’m both), knitting is the perfect hobby for you! It keeps your hands moving and your brain working. It’s something that you can do in the background while watching TV, listening to a podcast or an audiobook, or while even having a conversation. And, on a completely random note, I actually (legit) lost weight from knitting! Mainly because my hands were preoccupied with something other than snacks during movies 🙂
Okay, now that you’re convinced you need to start knitting, here are my knitting tips!
- Know your basic stitches. There’s two: knit and purl. There’s also two different styles of knitting: English and Continental. I learned how to knit using the English style, but now, I solely knit using Continental style (minus fair isle, which usually requires me to do both simultaneously). I prefer Continental style because it’s less fussy and faster. Get down the two stitches (knit and purl) and you can create just about anything!
- YouTube is your best friend. I searched everything. How to cable, how to work with multiple colors, how to do tubular cast-ons. Once you’ve got the basic stitch down, an entire world opens up to you! Written instructions are never clear on what exactly you’re supposed to be doing with your needles to create a certain stitch, so it’s always best to look it up and watch a video. Then, the instructions will be much clearer and you’ll know exactly what you’re doing.
- Buy your patterns from well-established sources. I have had a pattern fluke and it is so frustrating. I like sourcing a lot of my patterns from Knit Picks. I’ve also been slowly getting into Brooklyn Tweed patterns (definitely for the more advanced knitters). I’m dying to try something from We Are Knitters and Wool and the Gang, but all in good time.
- Yarn matters. One thing you will notice when you go to buy yarn is that there are different weights. I mostly work garments in worsted wool; it’s like the medium of the different kinds of yarn. Check your pattern to see what kind of yarn it calls for and stick to that weight. Any other weight will change the texture, size, and shape of what you’re knitting. Also, know where the good yarn is at. I love Knit Picks Wool of the Andes. It does pill a little bit and it’s not made for a washing machine, but it’s the softest and sturdiest. Be sure to read reviews and really look around for the best yarn so your garment can withstand time (and pilling)!
- Adjust your grip and watch your tension. Ideally, you’ll be holding your knitting needles angled anywhere between 45 degrees and horizontal. Try to avoid knitting with your needles vertical. Also, watch how you grip the needles. It does make a difference. Another common rookie temptation is knit with a tight tension. I was definitely a tight knitter when I first started! Over time, you will find your sweet spot with tension. Until then, try to loosen your grip and tension by a couple notches.
- Buy as you go. Another mistake I made over the years was buying yarn that I thought I might use. I was also tempted to buy a bunch of different sized crochet hooks and needles. Resist, resist, resist! Buy your pattern first and then buy the materials you will need. Also, note that if you’re using a yarn brand that’s different than the one the pattern suggests to check the yardage of the yarn you’re buying and adjust accordingly.
You don’t need a professional class or someone in person to teach you how to knit! With all these resources, it’s a great start to getting there on your own. Happy knitting 🙂