Knitting month: knitting your first stitches
Welcome to the Cosy Craft Club's knitting month! We really want to encourage you to have a go at knitting yourself, and we'll be sharing the key things you need to know to get started. You can find all our knitting posts in one place here.
Last time we talked about what knitting needles and yarn you should buy. So what do you do with it?
How to learn to knit
To be honest, the best way to learn knitting is to sit down with someone who can teach you. There's nothing like seeing it in real life and having some instant feedback with how you're doing. Maybe one of your relatives or friends knows how to knit? Or if not, see if you can find a local craft group or knitting group - they will be bound to be full of willing volunteers to help you! Most knitters love to share their love of knitting with others.
But if you REALLY don't have anyone to ask, the internet is your friend! There are SO many online resources to learn how to knit. I've done a little of the work for you here though, and chosen my favourites for you.
Videos are so much easier to learn from than still pictures, since you can see exactly how to move your hands. Two of my favourite websites with great videos are Wool and the Gang (I also love the name - great pun!) and loveknitting.com.
If you'd prefer something more structured, I quite like this free course: From Knitting Newbie to Know-It-All by Blissfully Crafted. It's made up of video lessons to teach you to knit a simple square from scratch. They also have a paid course called Knitting With Confidence, designed to take you onto the next stage of knitting more complicated things.
Another great alternative is Tin Can Knits. On their website, they have the Simple Collection, which is a series of free patterns of increasing difficulty that teach you new skills as you work through them. They also have tutorials and videos to help with each pattern.
What to learn
So what exactly do you need to learn? Here are the four key skills you'll want to master to start knitting. I'll link to Wool and the Gang's videos for each one.
Cast off (also known as bind off)
And that's it! Once you've mastered these, you can call yourself a knitter.
There are so many things you can do with just these skills. For example, continuous knit stitch is called garter stitch, whereas alternative rows of knit and purl is called stocking stitch (or stockinette in the US). You can knit entire garments with these stitches.
Here is a pair of slippers that I knitted in garter stitch. It was basically a knitted rectangle with a little bit of decreasing at the end that you then sew up to make the slipper shape. The pattern is here if you’d like to have a go yourself (I added the pompoms for a bit of interest).
Of course, that's not reeeeally it. There are so many more things to learn as you progress. Here are a few useful ones:
And a couple for when it doesn’t go completely right:
This article also has some good tips for when you make mistakes.
Also, learning how to read a knitting pattern is really useful. This guide will help you to interpret what may look like a different language!
There's lots to learn, but please don't get overwhelmed. Try to learn a new skill as you come across it in a knitting pattern rather than all at once. Everything will fall into place the more you practice.
P.S. If you think I’ve missed anything key that a beginner knitter should know, please let me know in the comments!