Ask A Knitter Anything #2: Starting your own adventure

This post is part of my AAKA series.

How can I get into knitting? I don’t even know where to start!

The answer to this question depends heavily on which kind of knitting you’re interested in. Do you want to crochet? Do you want to loom knit? Do you want to knit with two or more needles?

My own experience tells me that loom knitting is the best place to start for almost anyone. It’s so simple and quick that a 5 year old can not only pick it up in a matter of days, but also finish an entire project in that time with success. For people who are looking to get into the craft, a sense of  accomplishment is vital to having fun learning, and loom knits are the perfect place to invest your time in.

Whichever type you choose, I strongly recommend finding either a local yarn store (commonly referred to with the LYS abbreviation), a person to teach you in person, or some of my favorite online video tutorials. While many tutorials and people will teach you specific ways to knit and crochet, please remember there is no wrong way to do this. If you want to hold your yarn differently, you can! If you want to hold your needles differently, you can! As long as you get your desired stitches and fabric, you’re doing it right. 🙂 Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

I recommend buying the cheapest tools to start with. It’s difficult to tell what kind of needles and hooks you’ll like best when you first start, and you should only invest in more expensive equipment once you’re more confident in your knitting and know what you want. If you can afford it, buy different tools of different materials and give them all a try and work your way up from there.

To start with, I recommend knitting needles of 5mm (US 8) (UK 6) and crochet hooks of 5mm / H / 8. The yarn I recommend for all of these should be Worsted Weight, also known as a number 4: Medium, or suitable for 5mm needles. The label on the yarn will tell you if you’ve got the right weight (thickness). 🙂 100% acrylic is my preferred choice for beginners at all times.

Loom Knitting

Looms come in either round or rectangular shapes and start at around $5 per set of 4-5. Both shapes are capable of knitting the same projects most of the time, although round looms tend to be better suited for hats and socks, while rectangular looms are better suited for blankets, cowls and ponchos. If you’re unsure which type to get, start with whichever one you think you’ll get the most use out of. They are relatively inexpensive, so if you want to acquire the other shapes in the future, it won’t be such a big hit to your wallet.

As the tutorial mentions, it’s best to use two strands of worsted weight yarn at the same time so your fabric looks nicest.

 

Crocheting

Crochet is a type of knitting, but it’s a craft of its own. It is generally considered easier for beginners than knitting with two needles, and lends itself well to the creation of toys and baby blankets. The fabric you get with crocheting is very different from knitting, so you may want to try out both techniques and see which you prefer.

Even if you plan on knitting, knowing the basics of crocheting can be very useful. It’s common to fix mistakes in knitting with a crochet hook and crochet stitches, so consider investing some time in learning how to crochet if you choose knitting.

 

Knitting

My personal favorite can be the most difficult kind to learn, but I can assure you that once you get the hang of it, you’ll never want to go back! Knitting with two needles can create a lot more variety in the final fabrics and lends itself well to knitting anything from scarves, hats, sweaters, mittens, blankets, toys and anything else you can think of! While you can do the same with crocheting, I personally think the fabric in knitting is more suitable for these items. I recommend trying both techniques and seeing which you prefer.

This playlist is probably my most favorite to share with beginning knitters. It’s a complete tutorial created by Johnny Vasquez, and his instructions are crystal clear to help you on your way!

What next?

After picking your favorite type of knitting, just go ahead and knit a lot of squares and rectangles. 🙂 I strongly advise against going for actual projects right off the bat, because you will need time to figure out how to hold the yarn and loom pick / crochet hook / needles in a way that is comfortable to you. You will make mistakes. TONS of mistakes. And that is not only fine, it’s necessary. When you make mistakes, you try to figure out what you did wrong. You will run into twisted stitches, dropped stitches, added stitches, surprise stitches and much more as you go along. You will take everything off the needles, rewind the yarn and start over many times until you say “I QUIT!” and take a break, only to come back to it later.

It can be frustrating, but do your best to not let it frustrate you. It’s part of the process! Every single person who is good at this has been there and gone through it. We’ve all cursed when something went wrong, we all celebrated and got excited when things went right, and we all noticed how we got better with each square, each dish cloth, each project.

Getting the right tension will take time. This hobby is as much of an investment as any other out there. You try, you fall and you get back up to try again. You either love the process, or you don’t.

And if looming / crocheting / knitting isn’t your thing? Then you know you tried something new and it didn’t work out for you, but you at least tried!

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