Knitting for Beginners - Kits to Get Started
For all the challenges that 2020 has brought us, being home for an extended period also gave many of us an opportunity to indulge in a favourite pastime, catch up on old hobbies, or pick up a new skill. Even with life slowly going back to normal, many of us still have more time than usual to explore new things, and with colder temperatures on the way, this could be a great time to finally learn to knit.
Getting started should be easy enough. In fact, you might find that the hardest part is to not lose control and go on a wild shopping spree when you see all the beautiful yarn and needles waiting for you. As a beginner, it’s easy to buy more than you need, especially when you get caught up in all the colours and patterns and begin imagining all the things you will be making.
Choosing our first project can often be overwhelming and some of us want to start off by going big. We suggest keeping your first project something a bit smaller, allowing for instant gratification. A chunky cowl, a simple scarf or a dishcloth all make for great beginner projects! Also, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. This is your first time learning a new skill and practise makes us better. Go slow. Tackle that pattern stitch by stitch and row by row.
But first things first. What are some of the essentials you will need to get you set up for success?
Here is a good place to start:
This is the fun one, with so many choices for you to indulge in. Just don’t go overboard. You don’t need to spend a fortune to get started, but don’t go for the cheapest either, which may be uncomfortable to work with. Start by considering your project, which will help you determine the weight of yarn needed, and how much you will have to buy. We suggest starting with a bulky or super bulky weight yarn. When you knit with larger needles and heavier yarn it is easier to see your stitches and can make trouble shooting mistakes much easier. Also, choosing a yarn that is lighter in colour is easier to work with - anything to make learning something new just a bit easier is always a good thing!
Being new to knitting, you might be surprised and overwhelmed at the variety of knitting needles that are available. Not only are they in different colours and sizes, but they are also made from a variety of materials such as bamboo, stainless steel, aluminum, and others. As with yarn, you don’t need to go overboard buying the most expensive option available. From our experience aluminum and plastic are not the best choices when first starting out as they tend to be pretty slippery. Trust us when we say that nothing can be more upsetting than a needle sliding out of your project and landing on the floor, leaving you frustrated and project at risk of becoming a UFO (unfinished object). Bamboo, birch, or even a matte brushed stainless steel needle are nice choices to start off with.
Tapestry Needle/Darning Needle
These are used for weaving in the ends of your project and for sewing pieces together, as when making some garments. Suitable needles have large eyes that are easy for yarn to pass through and can be made of plastic, metal or wood. They are often found in stores or online near the knitting needles and notions. You may see them referred to as yarn needles, tapestry needles or darning needles.
Sometimes, the ends of your yarn may be too short to be woven in with a sewing needle and a crochet hook becomes a useful tool. It can also be helpful if you ever happen to snag a piece of knitwear or drop a stitch in your knitting project. Stick the crochet hook through the back of the garment to grab the snagged yarn. Pull it to the back and it’s good as new.
A Pair of Scissors
Nothing fancy needed here. You can buy crafting scissors if you like, but a normal pair will do to cut the excess yarn from your project.
Resources to Consider
Not all of us have a crafty friend or family member to call on when we get stuck. Here are some of our favourite resources to have in our project bag or yarn crate:How by Pom Pom Press - This book is a modern guide to learning how to knit. Not only do they run through the basics of casting on, knitting, and purling - you actually get to make some pretty cool stuff!
The Learn to Knit Book from Vogue Knitting - From getting started to blocking and finishing your projects, the Learn to Knit book from Vogue Knitting is the ultimate guide for beginners.Follow along with step-by-step photographs that teach you how to cast on, cast off, and everything in between.
The Knitter’s Dictionary by Kate Atherley - Knitting know-how from A to Z. The Knitter's Dictionary is a very handy reference tool that I wish I had when I was first learning to knit.
Tin Can Knits - This fabulous knitting duo has a ton of easy to follow patterns and tutorials, perfect for new knitters.
These are some of the basic tools and handy resources that you will be using as you learn to knit. To help make things even easier for you, we offer a selection of beginner kits such as our SUDZ Dishcloth kit, which comes with a beginner-friendly pattern and five balls of SUDZ dishcloth cotton. We love putting kits together and are more than happy to build a kit just for you.
Whatever you choose, you are just getting started with learning a fun and rewarding craft that will help you pass your time this winter and for years to come!