Knitting. An age-old and beloved handcraft technique that our grandmothers have brought us up with. Whether a hat, a pair of socks, or a woolly sweater, grandma knew just what to do. Nowadays beautiful knitted sweaters and cardigans in the most stunning colors are popping up all over the shop, and suddenly grandma’s creations don’t seem so crazy after all. And now that you’ve acknowledged that your dear grandmother was a real trendsetter and you’ve decided to follow in her footsteps, all that’s left to do is get your needles ready for action and start knitting.
Start knitting – Knitting has now been embraced by many, from celebrities to your neighbor next door. But if you’re a newbie, a little help to get you out the starting gate is essential. Whether you’re a diehard crocheter, a punch needle queen (or king!), a macramé enthusiast or a complete handcraft virgin, if you want to learn to knit, then this is the blog post for you!
Yarnplaza to the rescue
To knit you need two things: knitting needles and yarns. Something that anyone will a vague interest in the crafting world knows. But it’s only once you enter the fun world of knitting that you realize that the roads into the craft are many and varied. Which direction to take? What potholes or obstacles are in the way? To help you navigate your way into knitting, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide for you. If you follow these 8 steps, you’ll soon have your first creation on the needle. Good luck!
Steps to start knitting
1 | Choose wisely
Even though there’s a true knitting god(dess) deep within you that’s desperate to come out, it’s wisest to start with an easy project. An easy pattern with a simple stitch that lets you cross the finish line without too many hurdles on the way. Don’t get us wrong; we do love a challenge! But if you want to be sure that you’ll complete your first knitting endeavor and avoid consigning your knitting needles to collecting dust on the shelf, then do yourself a favor and choose wisely. Go for an entry-level pattern! ‘So, what kinds of projects should I tackle then?’, you may ask yourself. For your first knitting adventure, think potholders, a scarf or a cushion. Straight edges are your greatest ally here. At Yarnplaza.com we offer many fun knitting kits and patterns which you can filter according to your knitting skill level. Just tick the appropriate box! This way, finding a suitable knitting challenge is just a click away.
2 | Yarn and knitting needles
Fiddly patterns with a thin yarn and thin knitting needles is, as the name suggests, fiddly work and, quite frankly, a bit of a hassle. Sure, it makes a nice change and a fun challenge for a seasoned knitter, but the learning curve is a bit too steep for a beginner. So, what then? Go for a chunkier yarn, such as Yarn and Colors Happy, Rico Essentials Super Chunky, Drops Alaska or Katia Maxi Merino. On the Yarnplaza website, click on the ‘Wool & Yarn’ tab and filter the results for yarns suitable for needle sizes 5 mm and bigger. You’ve guessed it; forget needles with sizes between 1 and 4.5 mm for now, because they’d just cause you headaches right now. They’re something to work up to. Keep it simple! Once you’ve chosen your yarn, select the knitting needles (minimum size of 5/6 mm) recommended for that yarn!
3 | Hold on to your purse strings
A Mercedes or a Fiat Panda. There’s nothing wrong with either car, but they’re different from each other. Both vehicles will get you from A to B and C to D, but how they handle the drive differs. Yarns also have different qualities which tend to be reflected in the price. When we talk about your first knitting project, we’re not necessarily talking about your Picasso. So, keep the money in the piggy bank for now, because you’ll need it later to buy that crème de la crème yarn for creating that masterpiece.
4 | How to’s
You’ve chosen your kit or pattern and you have your knitting needles and yarn ready for action. It’s time to get the knitting party started! The pattern of your first pièce de résistance will tell you exactly what stitches to use. We have a full A-Z of how-to knitting video tutorials in the pipelines, so watch this space! Our Dutch sister-website, Wolplein.nl, already has a whole range of useful videos that can provide you with great visual guides, from your first slip knot, to casting on stitches with one or two needles, from knitting the knit stitch, purl stitch and stockinette stitch to casting off once you’re done. Once you’ve mastered the basics, check out our Stitch of the Month series where we showcase a different stitch each month, complete with a free pattern and video tutorial. And don’t forget, the knittersphere is there for you. All answers to your how-to questions are just one Google search away.
5 | Get your gauge on!
Before starting the pattern, knit a tension gauge swatch. This is a sample fabric in the pattern’s main stitch and gives you an insight into how you knit. Everyone has a different knitting tension; some people knit quite tightly, others more loosely. A gauge swatch will tell you whether you’re using the right needle size for the pattern you’ve chosen. If you get a larger swatch than you should, then you know your needles are too big. And the reverse is also true. If the swatch comes out small, then you need to use slightly bigger needles. If you want to use a different yarn to the one recommended in the pattern, you need to make sure you can still produce a knitted fabric that is the same size as with the original yarn. A gauge swatch holds all the answers!
6 | Handy tricks
Step 6 is actually ‘tip 6’. Our tip is to look through our website and read through our previous knitting-related blog posts. They’re packed full of useful tips and tricks that will come in handy as you start knitting. The goal is to have a collection of tricks in your back pocket to pull out when needed. And here’s handy trick #1: While knitting, you may accidentally drop a stitch from your needle. Don’t panic! Grab a crochet hook, insert it through the dropped stitch, and pull the bars of ladder above it one by one through the stitch on your hook until you reach the row you’re working in, and pop the stitch back on the needle. Job done! Don’t have one of these handy hooks in your toolkit? Then check out our selection of crochet hooks. You’re sure to find one that’s just for you!
7 | Goodbye perfectionism
Of course, you want everything to go smoothly the first time round and reach for the stars. Just remember, you’re learning a new skill which takes time and practice. So, don’t be a perfectionist! Be kind to yourself every step of the way. Be proud of yourself; we certainly are! And keep at it, because before you know it, you’ll be following the legendary footsteps of your creative grandmother.
8 | Buddy up
Handcrafting shouldn’t be a serious matter. Above all, have fun! And as the saying goes, ‘the more the merrier’! Up the fun factor by finding a fellow knitting novice to buddy up with; someone with whom you can share all the struggles and joys of your knitting adventure and who can motivate not to hang up your knitting needles when the going gets tough.
All that’s left to say is good luck and we wish you lots of knitting pleasure! Because at the end of the day, that’s what handcrafting is all about.
Lots of love and pink-colored greetings,
The Yarnplaza Team