"Did you knit that yourself?" is what I sometimes hear when we are out and about in our favourite knits. Then I see incredulous looks of admiration and don't quite know what to say – I'm flattered and embarrassed at the same time. "I'd be happy to teach you. It's not difficult at all!" I answer euphorically. Because I firmly believe that anyone who wants to knit can learn it. And you should!
So today, I'm sharing a few tips and ideas on learning how to knit - maybe you know someone who loves hand-knitted items? Encourage them to give it a try! You could be a knitting teacher yourself – or share this post to support them.
In the beginning, knitting needles and some yarn are enough. But there are so many to choose from! So here's a tip: Choose a yarn with a smooth surface that is neither too thin nor too thick. I think Lovely Merino Treat is perfect for beginners.
You can knit it easily with 4.00 mm needles. I personally like wooden or bamboo needles because they are not as slippery as metal needles. They also feel warm to the touch and don't click. Using a circular needle is easier when you've just started knitting because it is versatile, and you have everything nicely together. You can learn how to wind a ball of wool from a skein here.
There are many ways to learn how to knit: If you like to teach yourself, there are countless YouTube tutorials available that not only show and explain the basics but can also be very helpful later on at an advanced level. It's also a good idea to get a book with the basics in which you can look things up specifically. For me, the German book "Stricken - Das Standardwerk" by Stephanie van der Linden works very well. However, there are many out there in English as well, so you can find the one that fits you perfectly.
If –like me– you prefer to learn from and with people, then find someone who will patiently show you how to knit. Maybe there are knitters in your social environment. Otherwise, do some research to find out if knitting classes are imparted in your area. Many yarn shops offer workshops, or you can attend a traditional course in an adult education centre. Maybe there's a knitting club in your neighbourhood. Ask at the yarn shop or in your community because that's often how casual knitting groups are organised. I'm sure you'll find good support there and get to know nice people as well as learn how to knit.
Once you have mastered the basics, such as casting on, knit and purl stitches and casting off, you will want to try your hand at your first real knitted piece. It's not complicated if you consider the following points: First, choose something simple, ideally knitted only in garter stitch - like our Tatto, Drachenfels or Joyful shawls.
In the knitting pattern, you will find all the important information about the amount of yarn you need, the needle size and the stitch gauge. You can actually ignore the latter for shawls, as it's often just a matter of ensuring you have enough yarn. However, if you are starting your first sweater, familiarise yourself with the concept to make sure you get the right size and fit. And when buying several skeins of one colour, double check that they are of the same dying lot so that your knitted piece shines in a uniformly beautiful shade.
Reading knitting patterns can be confusing at first, as abbreviations are often used. However, the meanings are given in the legend, and you will soon get used to them. I recommend that you always read through the entire pattern before you start knitting. This will not only help you to see if everything is clear to you but will also give you an understanding of the construction of the design. Marking the instructions for the selected size will also help you to keep track.
When knitting a lace, cable or jacquard pattern, you will also come across charts. These graphics visualise with symbols and colours what is to be knitted. The legend explains everything, so you will soon understand this “sign language”. Sometimes the chart is dispensed with, and the continuous text explains what to knit.
And then, as is so often the case: Just get started, try it out and gain experience along the way. You never stop learning, even when knitting. And the best thing is: If in doubt, you can always unravel and try again. After all, it's handmade - and beautiful for that reason alone.
With this in mind, have fun and happy knitting!