Picture of me with Nicky who I taught to knit on Zoom during COVID. We've got a video of how that went.

Knitting 101: A beginner's guide to knitting

Welcome to the wonderful world of knitting! Whether you're drawn to the idea of creating your own handmade gifts or just looking for a relaxing and rewarding hobby, knitting is a fantastic choice. This beginner's guide will take you through the basics of knitting, from selecting your materials to completing your first project. So grab some yarn and needles, and let's get started on this creative journey!

1: Gathering Your Tools

Before you dive into knitting, you'll need a few essential tools. We've got a video introducing you to the world of knitting and some start out hints. If you'd rather read on, here's a quick rundown:

1. Wool (yarn) Choose a yarn that is soft, smooth. It is tempting to go big, with huge needles and thick wool, but it will show up all your mistakes (the bigger the stitch the more it shows) and the needles can feel heavy and clunky to use. Our DK weight yarn is loved by beginners and we recommend starting with that weight as it's not too fine, and not too thick.

2. Needles

The needles need to match the wool. Wool generally comes with a label on it, and you should read the guide for the right sized needles (which you can vary up or down a bit. Wooden or bamboo needles are ideal for beginners as they provide better grip. For example, DK yarn would normally use a 4mm or 4.5mm needle or hook, and a chunky yarn might need a 6mm needle or hook

Note: complication - the US uses different needle sizes to the UK and Europe, where we use mm.We've got a UK/USA comparison table here, which also includes a detailed guide to the best needles for the and the best for you.

3. Scissors

A pair of small, sharp scissors will come in handy for cutting yarn

4. Tapestry Needle

This is used for weaving in loose ends and finishing your projects.

Learning the Basics

Now that you have your tools, let's cover the fundamental knitting techniques. Click on the links for How To videos for eaach method

1. Casting On: This is the first step in starting your project. The most common method for knitters is the long-tail cast-on, but it's much easier to start with a basic cable cast-on.

2. Knit Stitch: The basic stitch in knitting. Learn how to hold your needles, insert them into the stitches, and create the knit stitch.

3. Purl Stitch: The second basic stitch that adds texture to your work. Mastering the purl stitch opens up a variety of stitch patterns.

4. Binding Off: (sometimes called 'casting off' in the UK). This is how you finish your project and secure the stitches. The basic bind-off is simple and perfect for beginners. However, we have a range of How To videos for different projects, so when you are ready, take a look.

Chapter 3: Practice Makes Perfect

Now that you've learned the basics, it's time to practice. Start with a simple project like a scarf or hat. Focus on creating even stitches and getting comfortable with the knit and purl stitches.

A kitis thte best way for a beginner to get going. You get everything you need to start, and many kits are aimed at knitters. We've got some scarves that have different sections of stitches, starting with knit stitch, then purl stitch, then mixing them both up to create fabulous stitch patterns.

- DK wool sampler scarf

- DK wool Junior sampler scarf

- Chunky wool sampler scarf

We've also got a great beginner's cushion that teaches you casting-on, knit and purl stitches, moss stitch buttonholes, and binding off.

Chapter 4: Troubleshooting Tips

As a beginner, you may encounter some common challenges. Don't worry; it's all part of the learning process. Here are a few tips to help you troubleshoot:

1. Stitch Tension: achieving consistent tension takes practice. Relax, and find a method that feels comfortable for you. Tension is important later, when you get to sweaters, but just don't worry right now! We have got some information of getting the right tension when you are ready for it.

2. Dropped Stitches: Learn how to pick up dropped stitches to avoid unraveling your entire work.

3. Counting Rows: Use stitch markers or a row counter to keep track of your progress.

You can also just count the rows physically. Here's a guide to counting rows if you are just using the knit stitch (this is called garter stitch)...

5: Exploring Beyond the Basics

Once you're comfortable with the basics, you can explore more advanced techniques such as different stitch patterns, colorwork, and knitting in the round. There's always something new to discover in the world of knitting!

Good luck

Congratulations on embarking on your knitting journey! Remember, patience and practice are key to becoming a confident knitter. Enjoy the process, and don't be afraid to experiment with new patterns and yarns. Happy knitting!
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