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.
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.