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How Can I Learn to Knit?

People who don't have access to a knitting class or circle may benefit from watching instructional videos.
Knitting needles and yarn.
Beginning knitters should learn how to achieve various gauges, or numbers of stitches per inch.
Beginning knitters might try a simple sweater pattern after learning the basics of knitting.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 July 2014
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Knitting is a craft which is widely practiced across the globe by people of all ages who produce scarves, gloves, hats, sweaters, jackets, socks, blankets, and an assortment of other knitted items. Watching an experienced knitter whip through a formidable project on lightning fast needles can be intimidating, but it is actually quite easy to learn to knit. It can also be a great way to network with people in your community. While you may not be producing intricate lace within a year, you can quickly become competent enough to produce elegant and fun scarves, and once you have mastered the concepts behind knitting, basic sweaters will not be far behind.

The first step in learning to knit is connecting with people who can teach you. One of the best resources is a knitting store, which is usually staffed by people who are eager to help you learn to knit. In many cases, knitting store staff are interested in projects that their customers are working on, and they are happy to provide advice and assistance. In addition, many stores offer in store classes for knitters at all levels of experience, or referrals to classes and knitting groups. These are great tools in your quest to learn to knit, if you do not have an experienced mentor to help you.

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Once you have connected with a group or class, you can pick up the supplies that you need to learn to knit. Depending on how structured the class is, you may be assigned a very basic project, or you may be asked to simply show up with needles and yarn. This is where a helpful knitting store staff or a mentor is vital; staffers can help you pick out good beginning yarn and needles to learn to knit with. In general, plain worsted weight wool or cotton yarn is a good choice for beginning projects, along with a set of circular needles in a modest size, which are easier to manage than traditional or double pointed knitting needles while you learn to knit.

The hardest part of learning to knit is getting through the first few sessions. You will learn about gauge, various types of yarn, how to cast on, and how to create the two basic stitches which are the foundation of knitting: the knit and purl stitch. All knitting designs contain variants on these stitches, accomplished by picking up, dropping, or otherwise manipulating them. However, it can be very difficult to learn to knit in the early stages, as most learners feel very clumsy with the yarn. Do not allow this to frustrate you; keep working with the yarn until you can handle it, and remember that every great knitter struggled with this stage.

Once you have learned the basics of knitting, you can start making scarves, very easy basic knitting projects which can be made much more complex with the addition of varying stitches and novelty yarns. A scarf is an excellent way to apply your skills as you learn to knit, and in your early scarves, you will probably be able to visually measure your progress. Working on a scarf will teach you how to count stitches, manage the needles and yarn, and keep track of a basic pattern, which are all the skills you need to move on to bigger and better projects, especially if you have the help of a supportive knitting group.

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LisaLou
Post 3

Like many other beginning knitters, my first project was a scarf. One nice thing if you learn to knit a scarf, is then you will have the confidence to knit a hat and pair of mittens to match.

By learning the basic stitches with the scarf, you will then be able to add to that knowledge and try a project that is a little bit more complicated. Most people learn with two long needles, but there are also many neat things you can do with the circular needles once you understand the stitching.

John57
Post 2

If you are just learning how to knit, my best advice would be to keep at it. Don't get discouraged if it does not happen as quickly as you would like it to. There can be quite a learning curve when you first learn how to knit.

Counting the stitches seemed to be the most challenging for me. Once I got that down, it all seemed to flow much easier. There will be many times at first when you have to unravel what you have done and correct a mistake, but this happens even with the most experienced knitters.

julies
Post 1

Learning how to knit can be a little challenging at first, but very rewarding. Many years ago my great aunt gave me my first knitting lessons. Because she lived far away, and I did not see her very often, I did not continue with my knitting until many years later.

When I picked up those knitting needles after several years I did not remember much of anything and new I would need some instruction. I enrolled in a local knitting class and this was the best thing I could have done.

Not only did I begin to learn the basic stitches again, but was able to connect with women who were very willing to share their experience, their projects and their patience!

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