One of my motivations for knitting would have to be my love of scarves. Summers are great for live music, festivals, food, and fireworks. However, the cooler months in the Midwest are dear to my heart. Starting in late September or early October, I can’t leave the house without at scarf. I love going all out in stylish large sweaters, jewel tone tops, and brown booties. It’s my favorite part of the year where I like to get very crafty making table runners, placemats, and baby size quilts.
When I first started learning how to knit, I envisioned myself learning how to knit a scarf. Knitting a scarf is a great beginner project. In order to knit a scarf, you only have to learn two basic stitches and those are called “knit” and “purl.” You also have to learn how to cast on at the very beginning and later bind off at the very end. The longer you practice, the easier starting and finishing a project becomes. At the beginning, my fingers were very sore, and it seemed almost impossible that I was going to make anything. I was watching Craftsy and YouTube before work, at lunch, in my car. It just seemed as if I wasn’t getting it, but the more I tried through the first two weeks, the better I became at forming stitches. Eventually, I was knitting everywhere. It was an activity I did to keep my mind focus. Knitting results in something tangible where you could actually see your progress. I ended up making three scarves that season. My creations weren’t perfect, but I couldn’t believe myself after a while.
A few helpful things I learned along the way helped me on my knitting journey.
1. Start off with knitting with bulky or worsted weight yarn
As a beginner, I Iearned very quickly that my little fingers were not ready for the pretty lace, finger, sport, or novelty yarn. It was hard to pass up the gorgeous indie dyed yarn, I would see on Etsy, but I just wasn’t ready at first. And, then I jumped right into knitting with curly yarn and somehow I made it. I recommend finding a medium worsted weight yarn or bulky weight yarn to start your first project. Also you want to the yarn itself to have the same texture all the way throughout. Stay away from novelty yarn for your first project. Sometimes novelty yarn, can be too curly making it hard to see your stitches. Bulky weight yarn knits up fast and you can also see your stitches better. I find it easier to see my mistakes before I get too far in my project.
2. Purchase wood or bamboo Needles
In my experience I was dropping stitches very easily with aluminum needles. They seemed so slippery when I first started knitting. I knit better and have better results with wood or bamboo needles. The wood needles are much more steady making it easier for you to concentrate on knitting accurate stitches. If you are daring and want to use a novelty yarn that’s a bit curly it’s easier to make the stitches with wooden needles.
3. Don’t toss your yarn labels in the trash
Yarn labels are very important. The yarn labels contain the weight of the yarn, the knitting gauge, washing instructions, and drying instructions.
4. Buy enough yarn for your project
Purchase the yarn you need for the project that day. You want to make sure that you get the exact color you need for your project. If you return to the store later looking for the same yarn, the same color could possibly be there, but the color might be slightly different from the yarn you purchased with your project earlier because it’s not of the same dye lot. I hate to run out of yarn when I’m enjoying a project. For me I always purchase extra yarn. To some it might seem wasteful, but it’s just better to be safe and have enough, then to be running around in panic mode trying to think of steps to finish your project.
5. Visit your local yarn shop
It’s important to visit your local yarn shop because the yarn shop owners can provide helpful information to you while you are on your knitting journey. Yarn shop owners are experts. They know yarn because many of them have been knitting for over 10 years or more. They can be very helpful at making suggestions. Many of them offer services such as helping you get started on project or helping you when you are stuck on a project. Most local yarn shops offer classes which leads to you meeting other knitters.
6. Make friends with knitters
The first person who helped me learn how to cast on my first stitches was a friend who knitted on and off. She helped me as much as she could getting my fingers together.
Meeting other people who knit gives you a sense of community. Join a knitting circle or make friends through social networking. I remember when I first started knitting, and I posted photos of my progress on Instagram. My projects weren’t perfect, but I received support from people I didn’t know online. The encouragement kept me going.
7. Stitch Markers
How could I almost forget? Yes, purchase stitch markers for your knitting. There have been several times when I started knitting and I didn’t use stitch markers. I regretted each time. Stitch makers are a must. They come in handy when you are trying to learn a new pattern or when you need to remember when to make a particular stitch. Keep some stitch markers in your knitting bag. You never know when you might get interrupted in the middle of knitting.
I hope my tips prove to be helpful to you. It’s ok to be ambitious. Try new patterns. Grow! After awhile you are going to get bored with garter stitch. Create your very own knitting journey.