Knitting is fun and practical but sometimes it can be quite hard to get started. I picked up my first pair of needles in July last year and have learnt a lot since then, so here are my top tips for learning how to knit:
1) Find materials
The absolute basics are needles and yarn, and you will soon find out that there are loads of different kinds of both! The best starting point is straight 4mm needles. Ask around older generations in your family to see if anyone has materials you can use (and might be willing to help you learn). Another really good way to get going is by buying a starter or beginner kit as they usually have a project to start you off too!
The first thing I ever knitted!
2) See how it's done
Following written guides when learning different stitches is really hard, so it is much better to watch someone do it, either someone you know or finding a tutorial online (there are loads of these and they are really good, this is how I learnt!). To start you need to learn how to 'cast on', and do 'knit stitch'.
3) Get a feel for it
When I first started knitting it felt so awkward – I wasn't really sure how to hold the needles and after a while it was really hurting my wrist. You get used to it soon but at first it feels strange and clumsy but this is totally normal until you get used to the movement. But the only way to get past this stage is to keep going until it starts to feel more natural.
4) Start small
Most people start by knitting small swatches or patches, and this is a really good way to try it out until your knitting starts to get a bit neater (it always starts messy, always). If you are like me and quickly get bored of just knitting in squares then try doing a cute bunny which you can stitch from a square, or a simple winter headband.
Knitting teeny hats for the Innocent Big Knit really helped me get used to knitting!
5) Understand the stitches
Knowing how to do a stitch is fine, but if you understand how the stitch is made, e.g. the way the yarn goes to make it look like that, then it is much easier to fix your mistake without just unravelling and starting again. Similarly, it is handy to know that knit stitch is super stretchy, whereas stocking stitch isn't and it curls at the sides, so you probably wouldn't want to use that one to make something that needs to be flat.
6) Be patient
It will take time to learn how to knit even just basic stitches. It took me four months to get from my first bunny, to the snowman which I would call my first neat looking project. I had to unravel the hedgehog four times before I worked out how to do seed stitch. Nine months later I'm pretty proud of how well it's going but I can't knit in the round and still find changing colours hard so I've got a long way to go.
7) Buy magazines or browse online
This is a good way to learn the lingo and find projects that are suited to you. As you can see I like knitting small toys but you might prefer scarves, you won't know 'til you look and see what's out there. Magazines often come with free yarn or kits too, that's where I got my first needles.
Within 6 months of first starting I managed to make this little guy for my friends birthday!
8) Set a goal or a project
Just knitting to learn can be frustrating when it feels like it's going nowhere so setting a goal or a project is a really good idea if you need to see some results or progress. I used the Innocent Big Knit hats as mini projects while learning. I've now progressed to doing small animal toys as they can keep me going for a while but also keep me interested!
9) Knit in a group
There are loads of knitting circles round but if you don't feel up for joining one of those then knit with some friends or family. It's a really good way to relax and learn because you can all help each other and it's sociable too!
10) Challenge yourself
Knitting can be hard and frustrating but the best way to learn is to keep doing new things even if you find it tricky. If you try a new technique with every project, you'll be a knitting pro before long!
Now I'm knitting loads of little animals!
Header: Matthew Harvey