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I've decided I want to learn to knit but I have no idea where to begin

(25 Posts)
Monroe Wed 19-Feb-14 18:46:52

Can anyone advise? I need help with everything basically. What knitting needles, wool etc. Are there any books or magazines that can teach or show me tge basics?

I learned many moons ago and have vague memories of knitting a square so I'm hoping I'll be able to pick up doing a basic stitch at least. I'm not expecting to be clothing the family any time soon and I'm happy to just start with plenty of practice. I'm hoping by Christmas I can knock up a half decent scarf and that all my family will appreciate their lovingly crafted home made gift grin

patchworkchick Wed 19-Feb-14 19:46:06

John Lewis in Oxford Street has knitting sessions for free, so if your in London that could be a great option and the knitting experts there could help with yarn and needle choices.

llamallama Wed 19-Feb-14 20:02:31

Buy the book "knitty gritty" from Amazon! It's brilliant and will teach you everything you need to know!

Get some needles and wool from a charity shop to practice with and you will be away in no time!

Patchouli Wed 19-Feb-14 20:04:00


debbiedlemur Wed 19-Feb-14 22:41:47

I am doing the same, borrowed 'Knitty gritty' from the library, it really is a good book, also watched some You tube tutorials. So far have knitted a scarf (small one for daughters cuddly dog) and bootees. They all look a bit crap but I am slowly getting better.

emsyj Wed 19-Feb-14 22:44:34

Yes yes yes, Knitty Gritty is brilliant. I had never knitted before and managed to make a cardigan for DD1! The instructions are really clear and the patterns are easy to follow. I am not naturally 'crafty' or creative at all, but even I learned all the basics quite easily.

Monroe Wed 19-Feb-14 23:15:19

Thank you! Unfortunately I am a bit too far oop north for london but I will certainly be getting hold of knitty gritty and googling YouTube clips. I'm really looking forward to getting started

TheWoollybacksWife Thu 20-Feb-14 00:52:11

For practicing I would suggest some larger needles (5mm or 6mm) with some thicker yarn (Aran weight perhaps). This combination will give you work that grows quite quickly and you will be able to see clearly defined stitches. Avoid textured or fashion yarns that are fluffy - a smooth yarn will give better stitch definition. Don't spend a fortune either. Acrylic yarn is fine for practicing. I use bamboo needles - they cost a little bit more than plastic or steel but I find they don't hurt my hands. You may find needles and yarn in charity shops but they are often kept under the counter so you may have to ask.

If you want to make squares, such as the ones for Woolly Hugs, then 4mm needles are used. This is the usual size for DK (double knitting) yarn.

Dutchoma Thu 20-Feb-14 06:59:37

I would advise getting some dish cloth cotton and some 4mm needles. Then use YouTube or the book or both to have a go. It won't matter too much if you drop stitches, end up with more stitches than you started with or anything, once you have struggled on to get some length on the thing you can cast it off and USE it in your kitchen. It is so much better than trying a scarf, (unless it is a Very Small one) because you are bound to make mistakes and they go on forever and you will never have a perfect thing.
Join Ravelry ( and see if you can find a local knitting group oop north (I know there is one in Glasgow) because knitting is so much more easily shown than read about.

monikar Thu 20-Feb-14 12:01:19

I would also say start with a light colour - not black or navy for example. When you are learning, it is easier to see where you have gone wrong with light wool.

Thumbcat Thu 20-Feb-14 12:48:06

I'd recommend Knitty Gritty too. I got it for Christmas and am making a cardigan for a friend's baby at the moment. I had no idea how to knit before.

Monroe Thu 20-Feb-14 19:17:42

Dutchoma - I had a look on ravelry but the only group in my area is during my working day so no good but thank you. I have ordered the book smile

this afternoon I went to see my gran and told her. She promptly pulled out a carrier bag with a few pairs of needles and some balls of wool. She admitted she has lost a lot of her skills - in her eighties now - but she sat and showed me how to cast on and gave me some wool and needles to bring home.

I have no idea what the lingo is but I've just cast on 20 stitches (?) and I'm going to start practicing the basics till my book arrives

Dutchoma Thu 20-Feb-14 19:41:18

That is really excellent news Monroe. Being taught by your gran is the way to go. Once you have knitted a row, count your stitches. You've done well if you still have 20 stitches. If you have more check that you haven't done an extra yarn over, if so just drop it on the next row. If you have fewer check that you haven't dropped a stitch. If you have, just pick it up in the next row and carry on.
You could always start a knitting group in the evening, message one of the members in the group you found on Ravelry and see if anybody wants to come on a time that you are not at work.

Monroe Fri 21-Feb-14 09:09:55

Ha, that is exactly what happened. I started off with only 10. I spent a bit of time casting on, doing a couple of rows then starting again. Then I tried doing a row of knit then a row of purl. It was actually looking ok until I must have doubled a row of one of them then it all reversed! And when I counted I had 12 instead of 10.

I have no idea how to drop or pick up a yarn? I think youtube will be coming in very useful.

It's good to hear other beginner success stories.

Any advice on where to get equipment? How will I know what yarn to use? How much should I invest in to begin with eg needles etc. Thanks

holmessweetholmes Fri 21-Feb-14 09:16:18

Knitty Gritty and YouTube, definitely. And Ravelry is fab
once you are ready to start looking for proper patterns. I learnt to knit a few years ago and love it! I'm currently making a jumper with a tree pattern on it. It's fun learning new techniques as you get more confident.

Dutchoma Fri 21-Feb-14 09:31:58

Look carefully at what you have done over the row. Do all the stitches look the same or is there maybe an extra loop between stitch (say) 7 and 8. Ah, so on the row back you just drop that extra loop. Oh, I see,: there is a little stitch that is not on the pin - it has been dropped. Just pick it up when you do the revers row. Also have you maybe knitted twice into the same stitch? Next time knit it together with the following stitch. The 'professional' way to go about it is to do a bit of 'tinking' (knitted backwards) to where your 'fault' is, but I wouldn't bother while you are still learning. That's why I suggested a dish cloth because it doesn't matter if you start with 40 and end up one row with 38 and the next one with 50.
If you get some length on the thing you can still use it to wipe the sink grin however many unwanted holes there are.

sleepyhead Sat 22-Feb-14 10:33:45

Argos used to sell a good set of bamboo needles in a roll for around a tenner. I've been using mine for a few years now and they're fine.

MrsKranky Sat 22-Feb-14 10:37:53

Where abouts oop north are you OP? If you are anywhere near me (west yorks) there are tonnes of places I can suggest for you!

sleepyhead Sat 22-Feb-14 10:38:49

OK, not as cheap as they used to be (they probably weren't as cheap as a tenner when I got them then), but still a better deal than buying needles individually if you do get into it.

Monroe Sat 22-Feb-14 18:38:20

MrsKranky - I am Manchester way

so should I invest in quite a few different size needles then? Do you use different ones depending on what youare kknitting? Told you I know nothing grin

Dutchoma Sat 22-Feb-14 20:17:12

I woldn't invest in needles until you have some experience knitting with the ones you've got. Then, if you want to knot something specifically, you get the yarn and the needles for that project. Otherwise you spend a lot of money on different needles and you'll find that yo don't have the ones you want. Happens sometimes even to me and I have shed loads of needles, plus a set of circulars.

Monroe Sat 22-Feb-14 21:17:04

Okay thanks. In other words don't try to run before you can walk! I'm going to carry on practicing the teddy scarf and when I get my book go through that step by step. Although I really want a bag to put all my non existent supplies in grin

Callmecordelia Sun 23-Feb-14 10:51:05

I find the Knit Witch videos to be some of the clearest online:

When you have got through the basic steps of how to cast on etc, I think this was the most useful of the lot. It really helps with so many things:

How to tell the difference between a knit and purl stitch -

SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius Sun 23-Feb-14 11:30:30

You might have a knitting group near you - there are lots these days (Ravelry is a good place to look) - if you go along to one of these, I bet you would find lovely crafters who are more than willing to help you get going - plus you'll probably find lots of inspiration, good blether, and maybe even cake and coffee!

Monroe Mon 24-Feb-14 20:39:16

SDTG, I tried ravelry but couldn't see any groups nearby that I could go to due to the days / times and work but I will keep looking.

My book has arrived! I scared myself a bit by looking too far ahead so I'm determined to start at the beginning and follow each workshop and project step by step. The dc's have chosen the colours of their scarves grin looking forward to going shopping for supplies tomorrow

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