Are you a beginning knitter? 4 steps to success

Beginning knitter, rejoice.

You’ve come to the right place. Are you wondering how to unearth great projects that will help you on your path to becoming a real-life knitter?  Do big-box stores and local yarn shops overwhelm you with their variety? Arm yourself with this checklist so you’re prepared with the right questions when buying knitting supplies.

Here are 4 ways to support and nurture the beginning knitter.

beginning knitter

  1. The yarn is like Goldilocks’ porridge: just right.

It’s a delicate balance to find the right yarn for a beginner. You don’t want the yarn to “split” easily. Splitting is when the knitting needle pokes through the yarn and divides it into weaker strands. Yarn with multiple plies, or strands, loosely twisted, may split easily.

The yarn should never be too rough. Beginner knitters are nervous enough without irritating their fingers on scratchy yarn. However, the yarn shouldn’t be too slippery either! When we drop a stitch by mistake (it happens to everyone), slippery yarn slithers out of its place and adds too much drama to the entire situation.

Traditional wisdom is that “worsted weight” or medium thickness yarn is best for beginners. You may find that to be the case. However everyone is different! You might prefer a really thick and quick yarn. It’s OK to experiment.

2. The knitting needles match the yarn beautifully.

No matter which yarn you choose, the choice of knitting needles can make or break your project. Personal preference comes into play here. When I began knitting, I used 14″ plastic needles and anchored the left one into my thigh for support. As my garter stitch game improved, the length and the material of the needles grated on me. I switched to shorter (10″) aluminum needles, and it was like flying instead of taking the commuter train.

3. The pattern is totally straightforward.

For your very first project, you might not even have a pattern. Simply cast on a few stitches (20-25) and knit away.

But if you do have a pattern in front of you, check that it is written in plain language, without too much lingo. And abbreviations should be defined! You have no way of knowing that st st means “stockinette stitch”, nor would you know what “stockinette stitch” is without someone telling you. I promise you that pattern writers are not trying to make you feel inferior. It’s just that sometimes we forget what we know and take for granted.

4. You have someplace to go if you get stuck.

If you’re lucky enough to have a LYS (local yarn shop) or local knitting group nearby, you may want to become a regular. Aside from the gorgeous yarns you can find, you’ll meet fellow knitters who can help you out of a pickle, for little to no cost.

Sometimes, though, local yarn shop owners are too busy to help, or they really prefer if you’ve purchased your yarn from them in order to give you their time. Some knitting groups are meant for more advanced knitters who’ve already mastered the basics. A beginning knitter may feel intimidated.

In that case, what to do? A great knitting pattern will include an e-mail address or contact information so that you can ask the designer questions. Sometimes designers make mistakes! By giving the designer feedback you are helping her to improve. You might not hear back from a busy designer directly, but your suggestions might appear in a future version of the pattern.

At Kari’s Kits, our Knitting 101 Collection is designed specifically for the beginning knitter.

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