We all know that it’s smart to start with easy knitting patterns when you’re a beginner. But, frankly, how excited can you get about knitting acrylic potholders? This article will give you a few tips to start knitting happily in no time. You don’t have to frustrate yourself with a complicated pattern to make something you can get excited about.
USE GREAT MATERIALS
Even a very simple garment can be wonderful if it’s knit from superb materials. Wool is by far the most satisfying fiber to knit with for the beginner. It’s resilient, it has natural elasticity, and it’s forgiving of a beginner’s varying tension. And of course it comes in a wonderful variety of colors and styles. Worsted weight is good for beginners–anything smaller than that and you’ll lose patience waiting for results. One nice basic yarn you can find in many shops is Lamb’s Pride, which is a wool/mohair blend that is strong and lustrous, and comes in fabulous colors. Wool/silk blends are also good for beginners, but can be expensive.
If you’re in a very warm climate and you prefer to start with cotton, that’s fine, but it’s just not as satisfying to knit with. Cotton should be knit a little tighter than wool, so go with a slightly smaller needle as a general rule. Your knitting shop will be happy to recommend a good size needle for the yarn you pick out.
I strongly recommend against acrylic yarn–it’s hard on your hands and just not satisfying, even if it feels nice in the shop.
(By the way, at the start, don’t get too hung up on gauge, which is how many stitches per inch you get. Your first projects are all about developing your rhythm as a knitter and making the two basic stitches second-nature.)
START WITH A “NO-PATTERN” PATTERN
Once you have your tools and have picked out some great yarn, assuming you know the two basic stitches (knit and purl), you’re ready to get going.
(If you don’t know how to knit at all, and you don’t have someone nearby who can show you the basics, don’t despair. This is a good eBook that will walk you through everything A-Z so you can get started right away.)
For your first projects, knit simple pieces that don’t depend on a lot of measurement or precision. You might knit a nice pashmina-style stole–just cast on about 200-250 stitches and knit in garter stitch (that means you knit every row, no purling) until it’s 24″ wide or so. You can keep this from getting boring by either working with a yarn you adore or working in stripes of several wonderful colors. (If you use several colors, make sure they’re all the same brand and type of yarn. In other words, you’ll want 3-5 skeins of Lamb’s Pride or whatever other specific yarn you pick, in different colors.)
With circular needles, you can make a great tubular scarf that pulls up to cover your head when it’s cold. (Like an oversized turtleneck, without the sweater part.) Again, cast on about 200-250 stitches, but this time join them in a circle (your knitting shop can help), then just knit until you have about 24″ and cast off. Remember that you want a nice, soft yarn if you’re creating something to be worn by your face. You also knit every round on this one, but because it’s circular knitting, you end up with plain old knit (called stockinette) instead of garter stitch. Stockinette curls at the edges, unlike garter stitch that lies flat. Stockinette also drapes a little better.
If you’re ready to branch out beyond simple rectangles and tubes, check out my Squidoo lens on http://www.squidoo.com/hipsterknitting/” target=”_new”>easy knitting patterns for hipsters that includes resources for everything from online yarn stores to an amazing new book with a pattern for a knitted Mohawk.