I have been thinking about the time when I first started knitting. Knitting is a very useful and satisfying pastime, as you can make attractive and fashionable clothing and other items with your own hands. And even in the computer age, knitting is still extremely popular as a relaxing hobby enjoyed by millions of people all over the world!
Knitting can be a little tricky to learn at first, as you need a creative eye and a patient, practiced touch. In addition, there are a number of basic rules of knitting to learn.
So whether you are simply looking for a new hobby or want to enjoy the many practical and economic benefits of this ancient craft, my 6 Top Tips for Knitting Beginners will help you avoid the typical ‘beginner’s mistakes’!
1. Start With Simple Concepts
For knitting beginners, it can be tempting to start ambitious or overly complicated projects. However, while you can quickly work your way up to a high level of proficiency, as with all new skills, ‘you have to walk before you can run’, and you will have more success if you start with simple patterns.
When I started knitting, my dream project was this beautiful, Constellation Sweater! And so I practised my basic knitting skills carefully, knowing that I had a special project in mind for the future! You can find lots of lovely, easy-to-follow, free patterns on the Rowan or Drops websites which are perfect for beginners.
2. Follow Instructions Carefully
Reading and understanding a knitting pattern is vital to your success, particularly when you are just starting out. Read the instructions several times and make a careful note of the recommended yarns. This will help you avoid mistakes and ensure the finished item is everything you wanted it to be!
When you are more experienced, you will be able to make yarn substitutions, but this should only be done when you have a full understanding of how different tensions and drape affect the finished item.
3. Prepare Yourself Properly
There are a just a couple of personal preparations to make if you plan to knit regularly. For some (like me), this may mean getting a fresh supply of Acuvue contact lenses, to ensure you will be able to see in clear detail while knitting.
Caring for your eye-health is essential for everything you do, so I always make sure my eyes are not tired or dry before I settle down to enjoy a knitting session. I also keep my hands nice and smooth by using hand cream frequently, to prevent yarn catching on dry skin. This is especially important with fine, silk yarns. I love making my own hand by mixing rose and bergamot essential oils to a base cream that I get from Neal’s Yard.
4. Use The Right Yarn
It is essential to follow the instructions on which type of yarn or colour of yarn to use.
Moreover, if you should need extra yarn, you must ensure you buy the same type, tension and ‘dye batch number’ as you used initially. If you don’t, you may find that the new yarn is a slightly different colour or knitting tension to the rest of the item! So remember to check the yarn tension and colour dye batch number.
5. Knit The Gauge
Some people see the knitting gauge as an unnecessary, time-consuming extra task. They are mistaken! Knitting patterns do not allow for knitting gauge errors in the finished item, so doing the gauge is vital!
The knitting gauge practice run allows you to make mistakes and then adjust, so you can be more accurate when you actually start your project. And who knows? The gauge itself may turn out beautifully and be all ready to make into a lovely, useful blanket!
6. Organise Your Needles
This may seem unimportant to a beginner, but believe me, it isn’t! A while ago, I wrote a post about knitting needle storage ideas. And I keep all of my circular needles in a B6 Zipper Pouch from Muji. This allows you to swap needles quickly to obtain the correct tension or to work ribbing etc.
Although the winter is almost over, (we hope), this is a great time to start learning to knit, as by next winter you’ll be able to make wonderfully warm and attractive, knitted items for all your loved ones!