The One Thing an Expert Knitter Says You Need to Know to Get Started

published Apr 26, 2022
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Young attractive girls in a knitting lesson

You’ve always wanted to learn how to knit, but don’t know where to start. Should you look through magazines and run out and buy a bunch of supplies? Or do you watch a few videos? With so much information, beginner knitters may feel pulled in different directions — but don’t worry, I’ve consulted some experts to find out how to get started. 

Follow these five steps to get yourself in a position to be successful, including the one thing to always keep in mind at the start. Soon enough, you won’t be a novice anymore.

Begin with a hat. 

Many first-timers want to default to making a scarf, but Julie Robinson, a knitwear designer based in Brooklyn, says it may be a bigger project than they may realize. “It’s not uncommon for someone to start their first scarf and eventually give up out of boredom, without finishing,” says Robinson. 

Instead, she recommends starting with a hat. “A hat takes much less material than a scarf, so it’s a lower buy-in for someone who isn’t fully committed to the hobby yet,” Robinson says. 

You can also practice more skills with a hat than you would with a scarf, which keeps things entertaining, and sets you up to take on bigger projects in the future. “The anatomy of a hat gives you a series of distinct points to work toward — the brim, the body, the crown — so you have more opportunities to see your progress and feel accomplished along the way,” Robinson explains.

Choose a pattern you actually care about. 

There are a variety of patterns to choose from, but if you’re interested in what you’re knitting, you’re more likely to start and finish. 

“My advice is to choose patterns you actually care about to make sure you don’t lose your motivation. Knitting can take a lot of time and concentration, so it’s important to work toward something you will truly be proud of,” Klara Nilsson, owner of Knitting Knowledge, recommends. 

Practice as much as you can. 

Knitting skills become easier if you’re making the hobby a regular part of your day, so Nilsson says first-time knitters should practice as much as they can. 

“Take your knitting with you wherever you go, and use portable knitting bags and project baskets to organize your tools and yarn. Bus and train journeys are the perfect place to relax and continue knitting — you’ll kick yourself if you leave it at home,” she says. 

Credit: Getty Images/ Guido Mieth

Choose an easy pattern. 

For your first project, stay away from overly complicated patterns so you don’t get bogged down. “When it comes to the one thing you need to get started, it’s important to choose a beginner’s knitting pattern that will challenge you and that you actually want to wear or give as a gift,” says Nilsson. “High-quality yarn is also absolutely paramount, as it will really showcase the effort you’ve put into knitting the piece. If you choose poor-quality yarn, your efforts aren’t always rewarded when the garment is complete.”

Invest in a variety of supplies. 

Making certain you have the right supplies can help make knitting less intimidating. There are also some alternatives you can use to ease yourself into knitting. 

“If you’re a beginner, you can use interchangeable knitting needles to get multiple needle sizes all in one set. You can also use a knitting kit instead of a pattern, which will contain the pattern and all of the materials you need to get started,” Nilsson says.