Knitting for Beginners

Knitting is a nice, relaxing activity that gives you something to do with your hands and can make some beautiful products. I’ve given it a try, and can make some nice scarves; however, I’d like to try something a bit more complicated than a long rectangle. The problem is that I can’t seem to find some really simple, easy directions to follow. I need a website or a book that that will really, in detail, explain exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.

Anyone have any suggestions? Thanks!

My mother taught me to knit at a young age, and i’ve made a few jumpers in my time, unfortunately i’ve long since forgotten. What I used to use however was a knitting pattern. Some thing like a jumper would be in 4 sections, front, back & 2 arms. Depending on size you cast on a set number of stitches and knit for a set number of inches. It gets more complex if you are knitting in multiple colours or putting on a pattern by knitting stitches out of order, but for a simple jumper, you are essentially knitting rectangles and then sewing them together.

a quick google threw up this link

I was the neighborhood Mitten Knitter when I was a kid…like 9 years old. I had a simple pattern (with big pictures) to detail how to do the thumb portion. I must’ve made a couple dozen pair of mittens. If you know anyone else who knits, they may be helpful in pointing out the standard pitfalls of a given skill. Good luck!

BEST BOOK EVER for beginner knitters and more advanced folk too…

Stitch 'N Bitch: The Knitter’s Handbook
by Debbie Stoller
ISBN: 0761128182

Funny as all hell, and GREAT illustrations/pictures to help you along!

Absolutely. Some of her descriptive text is a little unorthodox, but really does the trick. For example, describing the stitches as Fred and Ethel playing leapfrog really helped me “get” binding off, and I’m a middle aged lady.

If Amazon has a good deal on this book and its sequel Stitch 'N Bitch Nation (I think that’s the title), buy both. The second book is more a book of patterns, which are really cute and fun.

In addition to Stitch-n-Bitch, have a look at Knitting for Dummies. Every so often, Amazon bundles the two titles for a modest savings.

I like the Yarn Girls’ Guide to Simple Knits for their step-by-step shoulder shaping explanations and clear pictures. (Especially of seaming) The yarns used are easy to substitute for gauge, and you make one sweater out of it and realise, “Hey, I get it, I don’t need a pattern for this! This is easy!”

This was the book that gave me a nice arrogant base. :wink:

Do you know how to knit in the round with double-pointed needles? Once you get the basic concept, it’s really easy and fun. Winter hats are so much fun to make, and easy! And a little more advanced, but so fun and rewarding, are socks.

I don’t have any references off-hand on how to knit in the round with DPNs, but there are tons of web sites out there.

This site is great for a simple hat, it gives you the directions based on your measurements and yarn gauge. I have made several hats based on this:

Here are some of the socks I made:

My favorite sock book by far is Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch. That is the book I learned by, and each pattern is given in three different methods (4 and 5 DPNs and 2 circular needles). It also teaches you the two main heel types: heel flap and short-row heel.

Have you visited It’s an online knitting magazine with lots of cool patterns. Here is a nice hat, I made a hat based on this design. Good for learning cables too!

I really like Knitting Help, which has online videos of lots of techniques, from the basics to more advanced stuff.

Don’t let yourself get intimidated by patterns that look complicated. Just learn a new technique as you go and you’ll find it’s not really that hard. For example, you may not think you could knit socks, but the only hard thing about that is picking up the stitches on the heel, and that is not difficult really. Cabling is also something that looks hard but is really simple.

By the way, your socks look great, nyctea scandiaca. What size needles did you use?

Making non-flat things is actually surprisingly easy. You just need to learn how to increase and decrease, each of which is very simple, and then follow a pattern. Honestly, if you can cast on and bind off, you’ve already mastered the hardest skills in knitting.

I think baby clothes are excellent beginner projects for several reasons:

  1. As long as it’s in the ballpark, precise gauge is not an issue, because babies naturally go through various sizes.
  2. Low materials investment. You need neither a large quantity of yarn ('cause babies is small) nor high qualilty, ('cause why make something out of expensive yarn when the kid’s just going to throw up on it and outgrow it in three weeks?) And since you saved so much on yarn, you can splurge on really cute buttons! :slight_smile:
  3. It’s rewarding to see your project come together quickly.
  4. If you’re in the middle of the project and decide that you really hate it, or it was too challenging for you, you can just frog it and you’re not out months and months of work.
  5. People go inSANE over handmade baby shower gifts. Seriously. Bonkers. You could show your friends an intricate aran sweater or exquisite lace shawl that you spent six months of your life on and people will be like, “That’s nice,” but bust out a garter-stitch baby cardigan and a wee hat that you bashed out in a weekend and you will be worshipped as a goddess.

Don’t know anyone who’s expecting? Don’t worry . . . you will. [Field of Dreams]If you knit it, they will conceive.[/FoD] :wink: Make 'em up and stash 'em in a box in the closet.

One baby-clothes cavaet: avoid ridiculous patterns with a gauge of 48 sts/inch in fingering-weight yarn— but you’ll usually only find those in old vintage books and pamphlets. There are scads and scads of easy patterns in sport weight and worsted, or even bulky yarn.

I’m afraid I can’t find the book I learned with, but it was just one of those cheesy “I Can’t Beleive I’m Knitting!” or “ABCs of Knitting” or “Learn to Knit in X Days!” booklets you can find in any craft store next to the needles. I wish I could remember the title, though, because it had an easy baby sweater in it.

A second for Awesome site. You will learn everything you need to know.

If you get the stitch and bitch book (which really is good) get your directions for a yarnover from someone else. Stoller’s are misleading.

Well, I came in here to post links to knitty and knitting help, but I’ve been beaten to it! I love knitty; their patterns are so much fun, and the articles are really interesting.

There’s also Magknits, and there are many millions of free patterns online – if you have the time, you can find all sorts of great stuff.

I have Stitch 'n Bitch, and while I use it for reference, I haven’t made any of the patterns in it. Last-Minute Knitted Gifts is wonderful, though, and I know that you could find some simple felting projects out there (maybe not for a summer project, though!). Try the Sophie bag at Magknits.

I think the first thing I made after learning was a shawl, because I’m in a knitting group at my church. Since then, I’ve just gone all over the place in terms of learning. is fabulous, because it has free videos that you can watch over and over while you learn how to do a new stitch. What I did when I was just learning was make sure that my next project had 1 or 2 things that I didn’t already know how to do, and that way I was expanding my ability. Now, when I go back and do some of those patterns again, I may not remember exactly how to do that fancy stitch series, but I know where to find out, and it comes back pretty quickly.

Another thing you might try – Knitting on the Edge and Knitting Over the Edge, both by Nicky Epstein, are gorgeous books on edge knitting. If you want to branch out but don’t want a huge project, you could try a scarf with some of her edge treatments. Once I finish up the 4 projects I currently have on needles, I think that’s what I’ll be doing. :slight_smile:

Oh! There’s also a knitting forum at Knitter’s Review. They’re great for specific knitting questions, and finding patterns, etc. Generally a pretty high-quality board, like this, with good grammar, spelling, etc. – which makes the experience a lot more enjoyable for me! The site also has great yarn and product reviews.

Here’s a fun project that I just made for a new baby: knitted bunny (I made it bigger than the pattern calls for).

There’s just so much out there! Isn’t it amazing, the things we can make from a lump of yarn? :slight_smile:

The “Stitch n Bitch” books are great books to refresh and review from - assuming that you’ve already done something once before, but they’re horrible to learn from. A number of their instructions range from slightly off to really misleading (their increase instructions flat out suck). If you already know “oh, it’s something like ________” SnB will jog your memory, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, go somewhere, anywhere else first. I learned tons from one of the old Reader’s Digest Needleworks books and Vogue Knitting (the book - it’s big and comprehensive) is wonderful.

I like Sally Melville’s “Knit Stitch,” “Purl Stitch,” etc. books. They teach you how to jump off on your own and do what you want, based on some basic directives of how knitting works.

Really, there are only two things you do when you knit - knit & purl (& arguably only one thing, just whether you do it forwards or backwards) - so if you see something that inspires you & you can knit, make it. It might be frustrating, but it’s doable. The reason that people are steered toward easier things at first is not that something is too hard as much as their frustration level might outlast their endurance.

Is there anything you’re particularly interested in making?

I learned how to knit from that site.

I agree that you should attempt knitting in the round, since doing all knits on a round needle=stockinette and that’s a really nice stitch for hats. Also, if you know how to purl you can easily master flat stockinette, which is used for making sweaters and other clothing, and ribbing. Actually, once you figure out the basic moves knitting becomes really self explanatory. Just get a good pattern (most of the ones on Knitty are pretty easy to follow, as are the ones in SnB) and go from there.

But go to Knitting Help for your basic info. There are videos, which are always much easier to learn from than pics, at least for me. If I had just been learning from the pics in SnB I don’t think I’d have gotten as far on knitting as I have and probably would have given up.

I think I used size 4 needles on worsted-weight Art Yarns supermerino (the purple/green one) and Mountain Colors 4/8s wool (the purple/blue/black one).

By the way, here are some more projects I have done. Check out the hats for inspiration!

I came in her to reccomend Knitting help too. I really love that site, the videos are so helpful. I have had to watch them a few times, but how she films them (from the perspective of looking down at her hands) is great because you see what your hands and the yarn should be doing without being offside as it were. does have some great patterns, and for other great, free patterns of varying levels of difficulty I wander around Anti-craft and the Lionbrand yarn websites. The latter really pushes their products, but you don’t have to use them. I also like the Complete Idiots Guide to Knitting and Crochet because it goes through the basics of both and starts you off with talk about yarns and needles and gauge and stuff like that (which comes in handy when trying to figure out what yarn you can use for a pattern when you can’t get your hands on/don’t quite like the yarn that the pattern says to use).

I also read a few knitting blogs and have one myself, mine isn’t much though since I’m pretty much a beginner as well. It’s just rambling about my knitting and crochet.

Oooh, nyctea, those socks must be so pettable. Fondling the yarn and finished objects is the best part of knitting. Well, and having beautiful things to wear, so that when people say, “Where did you get that gorgeous sweater?!?” you can very nonchalantly say, “Oh, this? I made it, darling.”

monica, you’re probably going to run into a couple of stumbling blocks while you’re learning these new skills, but don’t let that discourage you. I suggest you read The Knitter’s Manifesto and keep that in mind while you’re learning and working. You can’t do anything wrong when you’ve got a positive attitude towards learning. A mistake isn’t the end of the world–it’s an opportunity for learning.

Love, love, love those books! My mother taught me the knit stitch while we were on a layover one day, but we didn’t have time to get into anything other than just the knit stitch, casting on, and binding off. It was fun for a while, but I was getting a bit sick of straight scarves! Those books really helped me learn to do new, fun things!

I should never open up knitting threads.

Everyone links me to places that I either already know and spend too much time farting around there or brings me to new and exciting places.

That said. nyctea scandiaca, those socks rawk!

When I finish a hat, I am moving on to socks. I would like to draw your attention too: dp needle holder for WIP on Ebay These things are the coolest things I’ve seen. I’m thinkin’ I could make something similar out of PVC piping and end caps.

A good linkage for support is Craftster.Org go to the knitting forums.
And, since I still have the microphone, there is a World Cup Knit Along in progress and some at Knitty are thinking of doing a Tour de France knit along. If I can find the linkie, I’ll post it here.