In honour of UK Hand Knitting’s, Commit To Knit Month, we’ve decided to go back to basics with knitting and share some tips that will help you get started with your next knitting project.

We’ve noticed that knitting is making a comeback, and it’s adopted many younger knitters this time around too.

For someone who is new to knitting, the task in hand can be daunting. Not only have you got the pointy needles to think about and keeping control of your bundle of yarn, but the thought of a task that could take up to a month to complete can be pretty scary too! Don't worry though, we've created this handy 'how to' to make your knitting journey that little less intimidating.

Knitting checklist

  • Yarn
  • Knitting needles
  • Finishing needle
  • Scissors

Choosing your needles

There are so many sets of needles out there how do you pick the right one? 10-inch bamboo needles are a popular choice amongst beginners.

Why? Well, they’re less smooth, shiny and polished which means that the yarn slides around less than it would on the usual metal needles.

Choosing your yarn

With a number of yarns out there to pick from it can be difficult to decide which one is best.

Here we’ve demonstrated the types of wools available and what they make best.

Yarn Weight What they would make
Lace Lace Knitting
Super Fine or baby weight Light layettes, socks
Fine or sport weight Light sweaters, baby things, accessories
Light worsted or DK (double-knitting) Sweaters, lightweight scarves
Medium or worsted weight, Aran Sweaters, blankets, outdoor wear (hats, scarves, mittens, gloves etc)
Bulky or chunky Rugs, jackets, blankets
Super Bulky Heavy blankets, rugs and sweaters

 

That said, we would recommend that for beginners they pick a medium weight wool for their first projects. To do this simply refer to the icon below which will appear on the yarn packaging.

The basic skills

So, there are 5 basic things to know when knitting for the first time; Casting Off, Knit Stitch and Purl Stitch, Binding Off, and Weaving.

Casting Off is the process of starting off your knitting. You need to start by building the first row of stitches which is the foundation of your knit. It’s best to keep these stitches loose and comfortable on your needle to make it easier going forward. If it’s too tight, you’ll struggle to pick up the stitches for your next row.

The knit stitch and the purl stitch are the two key stitches in knitting. The image below demonstrates what they look like.

Binding off is the process of finishing off your knitting. It ensures that you have a clean, finished edge to your knit that won’t unravel.

Finally, there’s weaving off your knitting. You’ll have some tails of yarn from where you started and finished your knit. Using a finishing needle (basically a sewing needle on a bigger scale) to weave the tails into your make.

This video from Sarah at Hobby Lobby is a great tutorial for any newbie knitters!

 Our top 10 knitting tips

  1. Start small with your makes. Don’t plan any challenging projects at first just practice, practice, practice the basics as a starting point.
  2. Always knit from right to left – this is important to remember when looking at patterns.
  3. If you feel your mind venturing elsewhere it's probably best you put your knit down as this is how mistakes can happen.
  4. There’s no such thing as holding your needles and yarn wrong. As long as you have the tension right then just make sure you’re comfortable.
  5. Always buy at least one more ball of yarn than you need for your project.
  6. Pick a pattern and make sure you study it before starting your make.
  7. Check your work regularly as it’s the best way to identify mistakes sooner rather than later (even the best knitters make mistakes!)
  8. Never finish your knit in the middle of a row as when you pick it up again you’re likely to be working at a different tension.
  9. When you run out of yarn, start a new ball at the beginning of a row as your yarn ends are easier to weave into the rows this way.

We hope you've found our beginners blog post on knitting helpful. Make sure you come back in a few weeks as we're going to be sharing our favourite knitted and crochet makes!