So, you've been eyeing all the gorgeous hand-knit sweaters and scarves out there and thinking, "Want!" And now you're ready to have a go at making something yourself.
Congrats, and welcome to the world of knitting! All you have to do is learn some basic techniques, and you'll be on your way to an addictive hobby you can take with you everywhere.
Before you get started, I've got a few sanity-saving tips that will make your knitting adventure a lot easier and more fun. While you definitely want to know how to knit and purl , the most valuable advice for beginners isn't related to technique.
1. Don't go nuts on supplies
As you knit more and more, you'll figure out what kind of needles you prefer — say, bamboo or aluminum — and you'll check out your knitting friends' notions and experiment to see which ones you like. So hang on to your money as you're starting out, before you blow it on supplies you may never use.
2. Stick with inexpensive yarn — at first
As a beginner, you're going to be snagging and stretching your yarn and ripping out stitches like a maniac. Start with inexpensive, synthetic yarns — Lion Brand's Vanna's Choice is a good option — and save the fancy, embellished yarns for later when you're more skilled. Why spend money on glittery yarn only to get it all frayed and tangled as you rip out stitches?
Once you feel ready to take on your first big project, rush to the local yarn store, buy something pretty and roll around in it. (Just kidding about that last part. Kind of.)
3. Light-colored yarn is your friend
A simple worsted-weight yarn will make your life a lot easier when you're taking on those beginner projects. If you choose a light color, you'll be able to see the stitches more clearly and know when you've made a mistake.
4. Don't be afraid to try new techniques
When an unfamiliar technique pops up in a pattern, don't run for the hills. Yarn overs and cables might look scary at first, but they're really not. Plus, would you really let something as simple as a decrease stop you from knitting that gorgeous hat? Psh. No way.
5. Look for inspiration everywhere
Browse knitting patterns to get ideas for all the cool stuff you'll eventually be able to knit. You can also browse patterns by difficulty. There's no shortage of cute novice knitting patterns to try.
You can also start a Pinterest board and pin all the knitting patterns you want to make someday. When you're feeling frustrated with your knitting, browse your boards for motivation. Soon you'll be able to knit all those fabulous patterns. Hang in there!
6. Remember you're not alone
Is a certain stitch driving you crazy? Look it up. There are dozens of online and IRL resources for knitters. And don't be afraid to take as many beginner's classes as you need to make sure you're knitting and purling correctly.
7. Take a breather
If you're tempted to throw your needles across the room, stop and take a deep breath. Put your project aside for a few hours — maybe even a few days — and pick it up again when you're calm.
Knitting when you're frustrated with a stitch almost always end up sabotaging your project. So don't. Step away, and when you come back to that troublesome stitch or technique, you'll look at it with fresh eyes and figure it out much more easily than when you were angry.
Don't worry: Everyone who knits has been there at some point. Soon your project will be back on track, and you'll forget this ever happened. Seriously, you will.