Here are the top 5 things I wish I had known when I first started. If you’re just beginning, I hope my tips inspire you to keep on knitting!
1 – You will mess up. A lot.
Unless you’re some kind of knitting prodigy who can pick up a pair of needles and never make a mistake, it’s going to happen. You’ll drop stitches. You’ll have too many stitches at the end of a row. You’ll get frustrated and throw your knitting across the room (guilty). But making mistakes truly is how you learn and grow as a knitter. Before you toss your needles, try to find your error and fix it. If you can’t, scrap your project and start over. Look at it is a learning opportunity. Don’t get discouraged and remember… “knit” is a four-letter word.
2 – Start small.
“You do remember what happened to the little girl that tried too much too fast, don’t you? She… she died, Jill.”
Okay, so you’re probably not going to die if you take on a big project too soon (bonus points if you know where that quote is from). But it is important to start small. My Nana used to knit afghans, and I was sure that would be the first thing I’d make. After several hours, I had barely knit enough to make a drink coaster and it was riddled with holes. I was ready to give up. After much encouragement, I decided to perfect my technique before attempting such a daunting project. There are several great patterns for simple dishcloths (this one is my favorite) and they knit up quickly. I highly recommend that new knitters start with something quick and easy. Completing simple projects gives you encouragement and lessens the chances of you giving up.
3 – Learn how to hold your yarn.
This video by Cheryl Brunette perfectly explains the way that I like to hold my yarn. I waited way too long to learn this. Holding it correctly makes knitting faster, easier, and more enjoyable than picking up the yarn and dropping it with each stitch. Your tension will be much more consistent and knitting will feel natural and fluid. The technique takes some getting used to if you’ve never held yarn this way, but once you start doing it, you’ll never look back.
4 – Speaking of YouTube…
Back when I was learning to knit (okay, I’m not that old, but I started knitting around age 8) there weren’t many resources other than books. I learned the basic stitches from my Nana, but I wanted to learn more! That’s where YouTube comes in. To this day I am intimidated by the ladies at my local yarn shop. They just know so much. The fact is, there isn’t always someone to sit down and show you a technique. Watching a video is much less intimidating than asking an expert knitter, and you can replay it as many times as you want. Rather than being overwhelmed by a pattern, break it down stitch-by-stitch. You can find a tutorial for nearly any technique you wish to learn.
5 – Make it fun.
Knitting (or any hobby for that matter) should not be stressful. I’m a very high-strung person. When I started learning to knit, I would get upset over every little mistake. I wasn’t allowing myself enjoy the gliding of the yarn over my needles. If you find yourself getting stressed out, change your scenery. I love to knit on the balcony and bask in the sun. When I get the chance, I hang up my hammock at the park and knit there. I knit to make long car rides more enjoyable. It’s easier to relish the process when you’re in your happy place.
If you’re a seasoned pro… what tips do you have for beginners?
If you’re a beginner… what type of things can I post to help you get started?