29 November 2013

Tips for a Novice Knitter?


Do you knit? What books, patterns, websites and other resources would you recommend for a complete novice? I'm thinking of learning to knit and could do with some tips on getting started. How should I begin?

I did try to start knitting once before, a few years ago, but I was rubbish at it. At the time I found the repetitiveness of the activity a bit boring too, so I didn't persist with it. But now I feel that a quiet repetitive action is exactly what I need to help me chillaxercise. I'm feeling more relaxed just thinking about it...

So what would you recommend I look at? I literally know nothing about knitting needles, wool, patterns etc, so any tips or recommendations for easy ways to start would be really appreciated. There's a massive sale on Craftsy classes on at the moment, including this beginners' knitting class which I'm thinking about signing up for. Aesthetics-wise, I prefer chunkier knits to fine ones, both modern and vintage styles, and have an irrational aversion to multicoloured wool or wool with bits in (is there a name for that?). What should/could I make?

Thanks for your help!

131 comments:

  1. I don't know anything about craftsy so can't really comment there but I would suggest avoiding the ever-popular beginners project of a scarf... they go on and on and there's no reason why a beginner can't tackle something else! Maybe find a cute hat?

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  2. I loved the book "stitch and bitch" by Debbie Stoller. Her approach to knitting is hilarious and the tutorials in the book are very good. Also if you happen to be a lefthanded knitter, she includes very good instructions as well. I attempted knitting 4 years ago, but since I'm a leftie it was very hard to find good books or get directions from someone. Last year I stumbled upon "Stitch and bitch" and I finished my first scarf with hood within a month!

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    1. I too self taught myself knitting from this book and have been knitting ever since. I still refer back to it when I make a boo boo to see how to make it all good again. I also self taught crochet from the crochet version of her books so highly recommend this as well. Of course it all depends what kind of a learner you are. I have lent the book to others to teach them, and have made a couple of good knitters from it, but some find it easier to learn by being shown rather than reading. It also teaches you by making you make small 'swatches' in progressivly more complex knitting techniques to guide you simply through the process. Good luck, can't wait to see how you get on.

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    2. I adored that book as a teenager and definitely second the recommendation! Tilly, I suggest you don't try to make too-big a project right away, start with a cute beanie (hat) or pot holder. Otherwise you might burn out from frustration and drop knitting all over again.

      Best of luck!

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    3. Me too! I taught myself from this book as well. It covers all the basics and then helps you problem solve as you try harder things. I can't recommend it enough!

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  3. Actually, the going on and on of a scarf is exactly why they're perfect for a beginner - you really get to practice your stitches. That said, a simple hat is also quite easy and gratifying. Start out with size 10 needles and bulky wool. Get a 16" circular needle for a hat and the longer straight needles for an infinity scarf or something like it.

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  4. Get a Ravelry account! You'll be inspired and can get help if you need it. There's a free pattern for the Honey Cowl, I think you'll like it!

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    1. I agree - Ravelry is a fantastic resource to find patterns and get help on techniques. (Just be ready to spend many, many happy hours browsing.) I also found Staci at www.verypink.com to have excellent short tutorials and an easy way for a beginner knitter to learn to sort out a problem.

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  5. I would second Stitch & Bitch by Debbie Stoller, that's how I taught myself to knit when I was 17. For lovely patterns and how to-s, I would also recommend Learn to Knit, Love to Knit by Anna Wilkinson. I also think som of the nicest patterns these days are in Pom Pom Magazine, a knitting quarterly, or the Brooklyn Tweed patterns!

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  6. I taught myself to knit a couple of years ago using the videos here: http://www.knittinghelp.com/videos/knit-stitch they are really helpful! I like to make hats, and also really like to make chunky knit socks, they make up pretty fast and are easy to knit flat if you get a good pattern. I quite often give a pair as a christmas present, then get requests for more!

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  7. Knitting is definitely a great relaxer, but it does take time. Start with something you actually want, and use yarn you really like, that way, your first make will not be shoved in the back of a drawer. I'd recommend going to a beginner's knitting class first–check out local knitting shops, they usually run them, then you can always go back and ask the owners for guidance when it comes to needles/yarn choices and things you don't understand. Knitters are a fairly approachable lot.

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  8. I think the most important part is having someone that can help you out in person and who can demonstrate how you should move your needles (and fix your obnoxious beginner mistakes). A Craftsy class can be a very decent substitute I think. I love Craftsy but haven't taken any of their knitting classes. I also tried knitting several years ago and was horrible at it. I was an absolute champion at increasing, which would have been great if it hadn't been my intention to create a straight scarf... I haven't knitted since but am now thinking that I might have to try crochet. It's only got one hook, so it's bound to be easier than knitting right???

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  9. I would suggest you go to your local wool shop. Usually they also provide courses. I love online tutorials, but for the very basics, it's just the best.
    And as Marianne wrote earlier, get a Ravelry accout. It's a good place! :)
    My personal advice - my knitting is not very good, I crotchet a lot! - is to get good wool and good needles. Starting with craptastic but cheap wool and needles does more harm than good. And maybe your local wool shop has some discount wool and needles for your first project?
    Happy knitting! :)

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  10. I would recommend taking a look at The Simple Collection by a great company called Tin Can Knits,which offers great tutorials anda bunch of free patterns that are easy for beginners and also simple and stylish, http://tincanknits.com/thesimplecollection.html

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  11. I agree, a scarf is a good beginner's project. Or a dishcloth. Anything square or rectangular so that you can practice and learn to recognise what knitting and purling looks like. Videos on Youtube are brilliant - way better than books - for showing you how to knit. It is good to have someone in person who is experienced and can help you correct mistakes, but in the worst scenario, you just pull it out and start over. Knitting is wonderfully relaxing. I read on the Stitchers Guild that Ann Rowley sews during the day as her 'work' and knits in the evenings for 'fun'. I'm trying to do the same (though this time of year is very hectic! I'm mostly cooking just now!). Good luck - I'm sure you'll master it in no time!

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    1. Absolutely right! My sewing is definitely 'work' while knitting is for relaxation - and to keep my hands busy and my eyes open while I watch TV.
      Definitely join Ravelry - and do you have a grandmother...?

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  12. I've been knitting for years - I was lucky enough to be taught by my mum as a child. I took it up again after a period of non-knitting and I found Debbie Stoller's Stitch and Bitch book excellent http://www.amazon.co.uk/Stitch-Bitch-Handbook-Instructions-Generation/dp/0761128182 In fact, I refer to it still when I'm unsure about a technique Sign up for a free account at Ravelry http://www.ravelry.com/ which is a social networking site for knitters and crocheters. There are also loads of free patterns. I find knittinghelp.com very useful for learning new techniques. If you're a complete beginner, it would be worth finding a class or short course, just to get you started with the basics. From there, you will be able to pick it up yourself.

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  13. I would definitely try a beginners knitting class. I developed some very bad techniques as a beginner, and it took a lot of patience and practice to correct them years later. As a result I can now knit faster, neater, and my hands don't get sore and cramped. Personally I'd prefer an "in person" course, as opposed to an online course. That way someone can actually see and correct any poor technique.

    One thing I would say (repeatedly and loudly) is learn to knit with your hands under your needles (the needles should rest between the thumb and pointer finger, over the top of your hand/wrist). Holding them from over the top (like you'd hold a knife and fork) means you have to constantly take your hands off the needles to wrap the wool for each stitch.

    As for equipment, I would recommend bamboo needles. They sell a great set with a variety of sizes at John Lewis that includes a lovely roll-up fabric holder.

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  14. A ravelry account will really get you going :) There are a lot of patterns from al over the world and so many knitters who are willing and eager to catch yet another in the knitvers :) Browse the forums, the are some for beginners that have compiled easy patterns.
    Youtube is another great way to learn knitting. If there is a term you don't recognize, just type it and watch :)

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  15. I'm in the same boat and have just started learning with Knitty Gritty by Aneeta Patel. I really like her style and the instructions are clear with lots of photos (although I did have a bit of 'you do what now?' on my very first attempt). I'm now progressing with my chunky knit scarf (the first project) slowly but surely. I'm more of a crocheter really and knitting doesn't grow anywhere near as fast! I haven't tried Debbie Stoller's knitting books but I learned to crochet from her Happy hooker book and it was brilliant.

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  16. I struggled with knitting but love crochet (fast results for the impatient crafter). Loop in Islington Camden Passage Islington is a great knitting shop. For gorgeous vintage inspired knits check out www.cockpitstudios.com/designers/lucy-miller. They have an open studio this weekend -well worth a visit.

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  17. Tilly! I'm so pleased you've been turned to the dark side! I thought you'd never try again & am just thrilled. Are you on ravelry? I use that site, plus youtube videos & knitting how-to sites if I can't figure out an instruction. Also, Vogue Knitting is great to have around for all the basic skills--illustrated with great photos, too: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vogue-Knitting-Ultimate-Book/dp/193154316X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1385731336&sr=1-1&keywords=vogue+knitting

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  18. I would say ditch the knitting and go for chrochet instead! it is much easier to learn I think, I tried to knit myself last year and found it so frustrating when i had gone wrong and tried to go back ( the answer is you cant go back!) but with crochet you just take your hook out of the loop undo your work til you reach the mistake, hook back in and away you go again.
    If you are unsure a very lovely lady over at attic24 has a marvelous sit all things crochet with patterns and tutorials too, and the colours she uses are divine.

    Sorry I know this isnt about knitting, but having tried to knit I know first hand how much easier crochet is and fun too. xxx

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    1. HA! I taught myself to knit and for the life of me I cannot figure out crochet! It's so funny!

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    2. I completely agree with you Ruth. I think that crochet is much easier and Lucy's at Attic 24's tutorials great. I had the same problem with knitting and making mistakes as it is quite difficult to rectify them and very easy to get lost in the project unless somebody explains that to you in person. I am going to try to knit again next year and see how it goes second time round as I feel that knitting is better for garments than crochet. I have this booklet by Sirdar called: Big Softie knits for beginners and the patterns are very simple, nice and done with chunky wool http://www.sirdar.co.uk/designs/books/b344. I would recommend that, Tilly. Good Luck!! Pati x

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  19. Knitting is my not-so-secret obsession right now. A "good" first project can vary greatly from person to person. The real key is to find a project that interests you, and is easily accomplished within your skill set. You may even find that your fingers remember the motions even if you brain does not.

    I also definitely agree about signing up for Ravelry. Not only are there tons and tons of patterns on there, but there's also a massive forum with lots of people ready to help out at a moments notice.

    Another blog that has helped me a lot is TechKnitter. There's a ton of information about techniques, for both new and experienced knitters. > http://techknitter.blogspot.com/2010/04/revised-unified-index-for.html

    Other than that, just pick up your needles, and go! You may surprise yourself. :)

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  20. Of Novice knitting! I think the idea of taking that class is a good one. You won't learn everything, but youtube is a fine afterthought teacher as well. Use it,because it will be your best teacher.

    A hat is a good not-so-boring project and uses knitting in the round. I made this one recently and it kept me going with the knit and purls :) http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/jul-hat If a hat is too adventurous right now and you want something flat, maybe a shawl?

    Come to think of it I think you'd love this Tiny Owl Knits hat! http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/orchids--fairy-lights I'm just not sure how beginner it is? Good luck with your knitting! I know I've been going crazy with it :D

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  21. 1. Ravelry (for inspiration and patterns)
    2. Books (I learned from Debbie Stollers Stitch n Bitch but there is also Knitting Rules by the Yarn Harlot (Stephanie Pearl-McPhee)
    3. Youtube videos (for obvious reasons)

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  22. I've have just started knitting again after 2 decades! My knitting previously leaves a lot to be desired :p I'm now attempting the very same cardigan that's featured on Craftsy. You can get the free pattern from Lion Brand's website. Also you can check out the numerous tutorials on the internet including Creativebug where Debbie Stoller explains on her free knitting techniques. With the money saved on the Craftsy class I enrolled on the Iconic Tweed Jacket class instead! :)
    sartorialstitches@gmail.com

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  23. Kim Hargreaves has some gorgeous pattern books. I have 'Breeze', 'Precious' and 'Scarlet'. They contain patterns for beginners and advanced knitters. As has already been said, get a Ravelry account and check what other people say about a pattern you want to make, and see their helpful hints. And choose something which you actually will wear in a colour that will go with lots of things in your wardrobe. Happy knitting!

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  24. I suggest a cotton dishcloth (dish rag). Cotton comes in a variety of bright colors! It does not matter how it looks in the end; you can use it in the kitchen and be proud you made it yourself! Also, visit your local yarn store for assistance. It is always nice to have a human available for aide!
    http://www.allfreeknitting.com/Dish/grandmas-favorite-dishcloth
    When you gain experience, this pattern can be knitted up in bigger, better yarns for baby blankets...you can feed a pretty ribbon through the eyelets around the perimeter.
    Crochet is good, too! Have fun with it!

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  25. Hi Tilly.

    Have a look at very pink's you tube channel http://verypink.com/
    Whenever there's a stitch I don't know how to do I look on her youtube channel and it's there! Really easy to follow instructional videos.
    There's Ravelry of course for inspiration and patterns https://www.ravelry.com/

    I picked up the needles again about 4 years ago after being taught as a child at school and by Gran. It's a very therapeutic craft and easily portable unlike sewing!

    Good luck

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  26. Support your LYS (local yarn shop) they usually run begineers classes and it is far easier to learn from someone rather then reading from a book. Knittinghelp.com has lots of little vidoe tutorials if you get impatient and want to learn at home rather than go to a class.

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  27. Oh and for needles! You can't beat knitpro. Oh so pretty. They come in the gorgeous bamboo rainbow sets or they have pink or silver ones too. I have a selection of all. It's a good idea to get the interchangeable sets and keep your knitting on those - that way you can store your work on the cables and use the needles for something else. I do most of my knitting now on these. The straight needles are great to start with, but I find them a bit cumbersome and with the circular needles you can get the same effect they're just much more transportable and easy to work with. Here's a link to them on minerva.

    http://www.minervacrafts.com/223335-prym-knitpro-interchangeable-circular-knitting-needles-60-150cm-15mm.html?gclid=CMeI_4mVirsCFZGWtAodSy0AAQ

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  28. Others already mentioned her, but I would like to say it again: Debbie Stoller was indeed a fantastic teacher. The patterns are a bit old-fashioned, I think, but mostly because of the chosen colors and structures of the wool, elements you choose yourself. Her writing is hilarious and her tutorials are very clear!

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  29. Join Ravelry and see if you have a local knit and natter group you can go along to. There's no one as patient as a knitter :-)

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  30. Forget random youtube videos and pictures, the site knittinghelp.com is WONDERFUL. It shows you a video (and they are all very well done, not jittery, or hands- a-flight like a lot of random youtubers), for every single type of stitch or hard-to-find abbreviation. They have both techniques of knitting, too, for every video. They are wonderful! Knitpicks.com is my favorite online supplier, but often LYS (Local Yarn Shops) are the favorite. :)
    Happy knitting!
    Sarah M

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  31. I knit and crochet and crochet is so much faster. You get results quicker. Start with a cowl or a scarf and don't try to knit an adult item until you have cocked up a few hats and scarves first. That is my tip. I teach crochet classes but you are too far away! You tube is good too. Good Luck! you can check out my blog for a free crochet hat pattern and lots of woolly inspiration. Jo x

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  32. Thanks for posting this! I am in the same position and would like to take up knitting, so the above comments have been really insightful. I look forward to hearing how you get on - and maybe you could post your progress, plus any tips you learn, as you go along. We can learn together! :)

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    1. Definitely - let me know how you get on!

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  33. Ravelry Ravelry Ravelry Ravelry. And a local wool shop to help you out when you're in a bind. I'm pretty much a self-taught knitter and can make fairly complicated things purely by trial and error. To begin with, why not tackle a hat? With a hat you can try almost any stitch there is and you'll be decreasing and increasing. And, a hat is small enough so that if you screw it up it isn't a catastrophe. And: cute! Other than Ravelry I love to look at the patterns on Purl Soho's blog, the Purl Bee. Their projects are fairly simple and extremely elegant. I think you will especially feel a kinship for their projects.

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  34. This is a really good news! Welcome :)
    Ravelry, start with a hat, circular neddles, knittinghelp and a lot of joy! You'll love that, you can finish a hat in 1 week if you knit a little everyday :)

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  35. The knitting class is a great idea. Watching youtube to brush up on skills is great. Ravelry of course is a great tip. I would start with a simple scarf so you can get use to the stitch. I have been knitting for a while, but still learning and still have to look things up to remember :) Its so fun to be able to make hats, sweaters, scarves. Can't wait to see what you make!

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  36. Ravelry * infinity! But also get yarn and needles that you just love for their touch - it will keep you going when you hit a road bump if you just like stroking it as well as knitting!

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  37. Tilly, I am also a beginner. I just finished my first cardi and added some tips on my blog http://bombardone.com/sewingprincess/2013/11/miette-cardigan-beginner-knitters-review/

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  38. Hi, I've been knitting for years and am absolutely addicted! Happy to help in any way (but the knitting community is super friendly so you won't be lost for advice)

    One thing that helped me in terms of inspiration and hearing about gorgeous new knitting things is the Yarn Harlot's blog www.yarnharlot.ca/blog She has also published several books. And then there is the grand dame of knitting, Elizabeth Zimmerman :)

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  39. I have just taken up knitting again after a break of over 20 years. I treated myself to some Knit -pro interchangeable needles and cables from Get Knitted http://www.getknitted.com/acatalog/Sym_Interchangable_Needles.html#aKP_2fIN_2fSYM_2fTIPS and they not only look good but are a joy to handle. Having the stitches on a long cable makes it much easier for me and it's not so easy to drop stitches when you're knitting something bigger! I have started again with chunky wool, so that my knitting grows much quicker. Ravelry is a good idea, but I found when I couldn't remember what to do that YouTube was my best friend! Good luck with it and please let us know how you progress on your blog.

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  40. I can't point you to a great beginner's book or class, since I learned the basics of knitting from my grandma when I was a kid. I second Ravelry, though, and not to make a scarf for your first project, except maybe a cowl. But mittens/wrist warmers are a great project! They don't take too long, especially if you make them in thicker yarn like DK (8 ply) and you can make them up as a rectangle and join the seams, or learn to knit in the round. You can also start easy (garter or stocking stitch or ribbed knitting = all knit stitches or knit and purl) and then work your way up to more complicated designs with lace stitches or cables. There are tons of free cute patterns on Ravelry! I also really like the Martha Stewart neck scarf for a beginner's project. There are knit and purl stitches, but it's explained really well and looks so cute! http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/knitted-neck-scarf

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  41. I taught myself in the past few months and found the picture diagrams in DK's Little Book of Knitting very helpful for learning to cast on/off, knit/purl. A scarf is great just to get you going with plain stitches - I also did the fingerless gloves in Learn to Knit Love to knit which taught me rib and I made a hat from 30 Minute Knits which taught me to knit 2 together. Now I'm onto a cardigan. One step at a time!

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  42. If you like chunky knits, you might like Sirdar Big Softie Knits for Beginners (http://www.minervacrafts.com/sirdar-344-sirdar-knitting-pattern-book-344-big-softie-knits-for-beginners.html?gclid=CIGO6tOwirsCFTDMtAodLEwASg) - lots of simple patterns which all use chunky wool (and therefore are quite quick to knit!). It has a section on basic knitting instructions in the middle too, but I can't tell you how useful that is because I had the benefit of learning the basics from my mum! Hope you find a way to learn which makes it a better experience than last time you tried!

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  43. I haven't read the other comments so this might be a repeat of other advice (although that just adds weight to the goodness of the advice!). I used Anna Wilkinson's Learn to Knit Love to Knit to get back into knitting after a 23 year break from my first neon orange scarf project! Between that and youtube you can teach yourself. Ravelry is a good website for free patterns and they are graded on difficulty too.
    Stay away from the variegated yarn... unless of course you are after the hippie/home crafts look.

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  44. Yarn: Don't use pure cotton, it has no give, so your skin might feel sore after working for a while, especially when you are still fighting with the right tension. I'd recommend a soft wool, something that matches number 4/5 needles (it says so on the label)
    Needles: Quality is crucial! If you buy metal needles, take the shiny ones, the yarn will glide on it easily, whereas on mat needles, the yarn often gets stuck, especially when your hands get sweaty with the effort. Number 4 or 5 are nice to work with in the beginning. And I'd take circular needles, at least 60 inch long (40 inch needles are shorter and this puts additional strain on the muscles in your hand and that can hurt after a while). Note: Knitting in rounds is easiest with two circular needles.
    I've found Youtube to be the best source for knitting tips as most videos are very short and you can go look for specific problems.
    I hope that helps. Love your blog!

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  45. (1)Get on ravelry ASAP!
    (2)Get yourself some nice large needles, I don't know much about mm sizes so can't help you there.
    (3) find a LYS (Local Yarn Store), to help you, they can help you find lovely, non slubby yarn.

    I don't know if you can get it in the UK, but lambs pride bulky is cheap, has lots of solid colors to choose from, and is easy to knit with. Also you don't have to make a scarf, try a hat, just as easy, also you don't need a crafsty course if you can find #3.

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  46. I can't recommend Ravelry more! That place has been so great to learn from other people, ask for advice in the groups/message boards, and finding some great (and free!) patterns that increase in difficulty to learn from. Just like sewing, learn the basics and practice them before moving on to the next thing. The great thing about knitting is that there are just TWO basic stitches and everything is taking from that starting point. And those two stitches? The same movement but one is just the reverse of the other. See? It isn't that scary! haha If you come over to the dark side and join Rav, look me up - my name on there is prajaline and I'm part of some great starter groups that you can see from my profile.

    ~andrea (@pommesdeterres/instagram & prajaline@gmail)

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  47. I agree with everyone on Debbie Stoller's Stitch 'n Bitch book (the first one). It's a wonderful reference. Besides her hilarious writing style, the diagrams are good and the instructions are very clear and beat out the instructions in many other books by a long shot. I actually haven't made any of the patterns in the book, I've just used it for the instruction. I also agree with checking out the projects at The Purl Bee (blog for Purl Soho). Their projects are beautiful in their simplicity--many only use knit and purl with simple color changes to achieve a very elegant look.

    I taught myself to knit from a booklet and picked up a lot of bad habits, so I would suggest taking a class at a local yarn shop (LYS) to learn the basics. Then, join a knitting group. I've been in several knitting groups and they have always been full of people who are willing to help other knitters with techniques or fixing mistakes. The LYS you get your yarn at would know of some groups and you can also find local knitting groups on Ravelry (if you do nothing else--JOIN RAVELRY, seriously, it's the best resource out there and full of inspiration).

    Finally, the same rules about equipment and materials apply for knitting as for sewing. Use quality tools and yarn for best results. Try several different styles of needles to see which you like best. You pretty much can't go wrong with a good quality merino wool. If you take a class at a LYS, they'll guide you toward something that's easy to work with (firm, doesn't split easily, etc.).

    Most importantly, be patient with yourself. I remember learning to knit after having crocheted and cross-stitched all my life. It was incredibly hard to feel so out of my depth and to be so awkward and uncoordinated--I was used to feeling like I knew what I was doing when crafting. It took awhile before I felt comfortable just making the knit and purl stitches. But, I love knitting now, and I'm so very glad I stuck with it!

    Good luck!

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  48. I dabbled with knitting when I was a kid but like you, found it a bit boring so gave up. To get me going again, I actually went to your sewing bee friend Lauren's beginners knitting class in June where I relearnt the basics. (It was fab, maybe you should ask her to give you a lesson!!) Since then I've made a few basic things like a scarf, cowl, booties and am now working on the miette cardi. I would say DEF get yourself on Ravelry - there's loads of tips, inspiration and free patterns. Also, a company called Tin Can Knits (who are on there too) are doing a learn to knit series which is brill. I'm miniandmerky on there btw if you want to befriend me!

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  49. 1. Go to Craftsy or You Tube - nearly everything you need is on there!
    2. No reason why you can't start with a chunky cowl - check them out on Ravelrry - quick to knit and no sewing up if you do in a circular - which is really not difficult
    3. Remember that although knitting can look complicated - essentially you just need to know how to do a knit stitch and a purl stitch - once you know those you are away!
    4. If in doubt you can always get help in John Lewis or your local yarn shop!

    Enjoy - I am sure you will soon become addicted!

    I am louiseluvsyarn on Raverly so get in touch if you need any help any time 😄

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  50. I've nothing to contribute except - good luck! I know basic stitches and have, mostly for the same reasons as you, decided to knit more. Today, I cast on my first sweater! And, as soon as I started, DD wanted to learn and DS got out his crochet bag :-)

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  51. Knitting is great for relaxing! I'm TasiaKnits on ravelry if you want to friend me. I learned from youtube, I went on ravelry, found a couple of easy patterns, and then just looked up every technique I didn't understand to find a video that would help. I like trial and error though, so if you'd like a little more guidance then a class is a great idea!
    I wrote a post a while back about learning to knit - http://sewaholic.net/the-best-way-to-learn-to-knit/ - people had a ton of useful suggestions in the comments there too!
    I second the 'make something you actually want to wear' recommendation as well as to use nice yarn. If you don't like the project and think the yarn is cheap, then likely you won't be excited about working on it.
    Good luck! It's a great portable hobby and it complements sewing very well. Cute knitted accessories to match all your sewn outfits!

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  52. I have been knitting for almost 10 years now and I love it…I hope your next go at it is successful! Things I would recommend…

    1. Nickel plated needles (I like Addie tubro Lace or knitpicks or HiyaHiya)-the sharper the point the better…easier to get into stitches.
    2. Any knitting class by Stefanie Japel on Craftsy are WELL worth the money!
    3. Circular needles! They are shorter and less awkward. You just turn your knitting when you get to the end of a row.
    4. www.knittinghelp.com is the best website for tutorial videos! I need to actually SEE what is being done, not just read it, so I find this site extremely helpful.
    5. After you've tackled a project set up a Ravelry.com account. But watch out the place is a black hole of crafty-delightfulness and you will end up with a queue 7 feet long and a bank account much lighter!
    6. As nice as some people say crocheting is…its bollocks! No one wants to wear a crocheted jumper except your Grandma! And all of knitting is based on variations of TWO stitches…knit and purl. That's all! And with Knitting your stitches are always on a needle so it's easy to keep track of where you are at in a pattern…and eventually to fix a mistake if ever one is made.
    7. Stefanie Japel has some great free patterns which are fairly easy and then when you are ready for some more advanced stuff check out Jane Richmond!

    Good Luck and Happy Knitting!

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  53. I knew how to knit very basic things like scarves and always found it kinda boring but had never done anything complex until recently. I've been very inspired by lladybird (blogger) who has also started knitting recently so I have just started the Agatha pattern by Andi Satterlund. Her blog is untangling knots and I highly recommend it. I'm LOVING the Agatha pattern! DO NOT start with something like a dish cloth unless you want to be bored out of your mind. Knitting is not complex. If you come across any terms or abbreviations you don't know you just google it and hundreds of tutorials will magically appear. Teach yourself on an fun project that you actually want to wear and it will be rewarding and fulfilling and you will stick with it. I started about 2 weeks ago and I'm almost finished the body of my agatha cardi and about to move onto the sleeves. I had to google so much stuff at the start but now I'm humming along quite quickly and nearly have to look at the pattern. I'm loving knitting. It is my relaxing time too and I can't wait for my next project. (Definitely Andi's newest pattern with the lace v neck. Glorious!

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  54. Hi Tilly, a couple of other people have mentioned John Lewis above, personally I'd make them your first stop, get the basics of cast on, knit, purl, cast off down, and then use all the fantastic resources of print and web to build on that. At the Oxford Street one they will teach you that for free, not least because there's a good chance you'll buy their materials!

    I agree with the poster above about bamboo needles, they're warmer in the hand and wool slips off less easily! Personally I find straight needles really hard to use and use circular ones instead and just knit back and forth. Knitpicks have particularly gorgeous colourful ones.

    Books-wise I especially like Purls of Wisdom by Jenny Lord, for good clear explanation, not being wedded to a particular wool manufacturer (and how to substitute them) and patterns I'd want to live with - not too much baby stuff!

    Blogs wise, I'm huge fan Hoxton Handmade and her podcasts, even if she and The Sheep are now residents of Peckham.

    Have fun! I like knitting for its convivial and transportable qualities - which as much as I love sewing, sewing machines ain't!

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  55. The Yarn Harlot recommends starting with a hat. So much quicker than a scarf. Ravelry is a fantastic reference tool. And a beginner's class would probably be very inspirational as well as useful.

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  56. I learnt to knit a few years ago and used wool and the gang's video tutorials and lots of their simple patterns. Also agree about ravelry..its great for inspiration!

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  57. I'm basically self-taught, except for some help at the beginning from my mum. I think it depends on how you learn best. If you are patient starting with some easy patterns having Youtube at your side works really well.
    For the start I would recommend something like the Simple Collection from tin can knits. http://www.tincanknits.com/thesimplecollection.html
    The patterns are pretty/clean/classic and with each pattern you learn new things. Also, you should definetely join Ravelry. There you can find patterns for all kinds of projects and see how they look knitted up with different yarns and modifications etc. You can also filter patterns by difficulty and start with easy ones.
    I also recommend to buy nice knitting needles and nice yarn, for example some merino (blend). When I started I thought it was better to use cheap yarn (acrylic) first until I was better at it, but it does make a huge difference and the knitting looks neater and it is more motivating if you knit something you like afterwards and that feels nice.
    If it feels overwhelming to choose a pattern and find the right yarn for it you could also just start with a kit from Wool and the Gang. They have nice modern patterns and the kit contains everything you need. Also most of the kits have yarn that is on the chunkier side, so I think you will like them. Have fun knitting! :)

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  58. I learned from a friend…which I highly recommend. I second or tenth as the case may be Debbie Stoller's Stitch N' Bitch (the first one). For big wool patterns check out Rowan book Big Just Got Bigger, the patterns Wanda and Left Beau by kim Hargreaves might be right up your alley.

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  59. Ravelry is a great resource. Maybe try checking out knitting books from the local library to page through, and if you don't find a particular style of instruction helpful, you haven't wasted any money. I would also suggest finding a soft 100% superwash wool - it will be nice and smooth, but won't have the "squeak factor" of acrylic that many people dislike.

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  60. Forgot to add - good luck and have fun! Knitting is an awesome craft.

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  61. Too lazy to read through all the comments, but a good pair of wooden brittany needles in size 8 or 11s are ideal to learn with. They are chunky, and work with thicker yarns.
    http://www.brittanyneedles.com/

    dido to Ravelry!

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  62. 1. Ravelry is the only site you need.
    2. Don't start with a scarf, it goes on FOREVER AND EVER and you'll get really bored (or at least I did). Knit a couple of swatches to practice then start with a hat.
    3. You can teach yourself from a video and book, the Stitch and Bitch book has brilliant instructions although the patterns are a bit dated.
    4. It's a lot easier than sewing - there are only two things to learn (knit and purl) and one is just a backwards version of the other.
    5. Knitting projects are super expensive but slow so it works out in the end.
    6. This is a really nice easy hat to start with: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/aesderina
    7. Get used to circular needles, they're a lot easier to use than the straight ones.
    8. Good luck!

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    1. That is my favourite hat pattern! Totally recommend it. Jane's patterns are great for novice knitters.

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  63. I haven't read all the comments above, so apologies if I'm repeating anything. I found big, chunky needles and wool made it much easier to learn: no fiddling about squinting. YouTube videos are a good way to learn new stitches, and the first patterns I did were from Woman's Weekly. They have a knitting pattern every week, and helpfully grade them easy, intermediate or experienced. Oh, and although they're not chunky, I liked making baby clothes and bootees when I was learning, as they didn't take too long. Good luck!

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  64. I love the Purls of Wisdom book too (so much nicer than Debbie Stoller's).

    Buy some bamboo needles (lighter and less slippery than plastic or aluminium).

    Learn to knit holding your right needle (if you're right handed) like a pencil- my mum's advice! I didn't listen and now I'm a slow knitter :(

    I crochet too (blankets and amugurumi) it is easier (and it's so much easier to fix crochet mistakes than knitting mistakes) but uses more yarn (I once read crochet uses 4 times as much yarn as knitting!) and who actually wants to wear crocheted clothes? Crochet requires less elbow space so is much more Tube friendly! Swings and roundabouts!

    Go to Loop- you'll love it! It's just beautiful!

    Good luck x

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  65. Ravelry and knittinghelp.com were my go-to sources when I was learning to knit. I know Rochelle of Lucky Lucille took the Craftsy course and really liked it. Maybe she could shed some light on that?

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  66. Hey Tilly I'm what I'd call a 'phase 2 beginner' where I've gone from my Scarf Era into the Simple Jumper Era. I think finding a local class is the perfect way to start with the basics. You can't beat someone sitting next to you correcting your technique and mistakes. It's a very worthwhile investment. I'd suggest you use bamboo or wooden needles as metal ones are a bit slippery. I got hooked on making Ascot scarves because they are a small easy project that straight away teaches you simple garter stitch, increases, decreases, stockinette and separating stitches in the one project. They don't use much yarn and pretty much all my friends have one now (I have 3!). I taught myself circular knittinf again with basic neck cowls using nice chunky yarn - quick and easy! Of course ravelry is amazing for dreaming and inspiration, and I think the craftsy classes look like excellent value. Another great blog is techknitter - she's amazing. The purl bee blog and website has gorgeous on trend patterns. I just finished my first sweater using their cap sleeve lattice pattern (it was a bit rubbish but I redid some and I love it now). I'm nearly done on the Army of Knitters Morgat Breton sweater which is frenchie and chunky - easy too! I was where you are a year ago so persist and don't start something too overwhelming. Remember you're doing it to relax!

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  67. I swear by the book "knitty gritty" by aneeta Patel. It's brilliant . I've been knitting for only 18mths but so many people compliment me on my goodies.... I always refer to knitty gritty. Good luck! X

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  68. Stitch London (used to be called Stitch and Bitch London) teach for free and have weekly or fortnightly knitting and crocheting events all around London. You can find their events on their website:

    http://www.stitchldn.com/comingevents.html

    All very nice and friendly people; I used to be a volunteer teacher, but unfortunately never got to teach because there aren't that many people looking to learn the Portuguese method it seems (and it's the only knitting method I know).

    There are also many local stitching groups all over London, the easiest way to find them is through Ravelry, which has been mentioned a number of times already and it's bestest knitting resource on the internet.

    Good luck with it!

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  69. I learned at my grandmother's knee so my vote would go for in-person learning. I have taught a couple of people (including boys in my office who succeeded in knitting lovely baby booties for a colleague's son!) and they picked it up with only a couple of lessons. It's nice to have someone to consult when difficulties arise, as well. I know some people enjoy going to a knitting group, which offers lots of ongoing support and encouragement!

    In terms of style, I'm the polar opposite to you - I precisely love finer yarns and tweedy ones too! For me, knitting is a craft, a meditation, and taking my time to knit something fine and detailed is itself a massive reward. That said, there are lots of nice patterns around in chunky knits and simple styles. Join Ravelry for sure and check out some of Kim Hargreaves's patterns (www.colourway.co.uk). She has some lovely, classic and relatively simple chunky-weight patterns (some nice vests and sleeveless sweaters and things and her stuff fits beautifully. She used to be the head designer for Rowan but in recent years has been producing her own books. Later on you can try different types of knitting - circular, sideways, other unusual constructions, etc., if you find you're interested. Vintage patterns, too, need modernizing. There are plenty out there that have been reinterpreted for you, but I definitely wouldn't start with a vintage pattern to begin with (usually they assume lots of knitting knowledge already and are cryptic at best, in comparison with very-wordy modern patterns; also yarn weights and types have changed quite a bit). Good luck and have fun! It's not a difficult craft to pick up at all so don't be intimidated.

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    1. OOps.. I left the wrong link for Kim Hargreaves...it's www.kimhargreaves.co.uk. Colourway is a shop in Wales from which I have often bought yarn Oops!

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  70. Wool. Avoid synthetic yarns. Find an old woman, whose work you admire and beg her to pass her wisdom on to you. Expect her to be harsh and demanding. You will bless her every day, for the rest of your life.

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  71. Yayyy!! I was one of those people who had zero interest in knitting, but felt awkward that everyone else was doing it and I wasn't so I gave it a go. I don't know what happened but I fell in love with it! Once you accept that it's going to take a LOT longer than sewing, it is quite relaxing and very rewarding.

    I highly recommend taking a few 'real' classes with an instructor just so you can master the basics such as knit, purl, cast on/off and how to 'tink' (undo your knitting). Once you know those everything else can be taught with you tube tutorials.

    There are some fabulous patterns on Ravelry with great beginner patterns which I highly recommend. Lots of good reviews too.

    I also recommend addi turbo knitting circular knitting needles! It won't be long and you'll have both a fabric and a yarn stash! Good luck!

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  72. I taught myself to knit several years ago and this year did a 3 part blog series talking about all the sites, materials and patterns I recommend for beginners. You can see the series here. Like everyone else I also recommend Ravelry.

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  73. I tried to teach my self to knit, off and on, for YEARS and couldn't get the hang of it until I bought Stitch and Bitch, which is the first book in a series of awesome knitting books by Debbie Stoller. Totally demystified everything for me, and I am now a very proficient, wear-my-own-shrugs-and-sweaters-and-socks knitter.

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  74. To be honest, I learned by buying a set of what seemed like medium-sized needles and some ugly acrylic yarn from a secondhand store, then asking Google, and sitting down for a few hours. It's easy enough to find a basic explanation of the knit and purl stitches, and then just play around - see how it feels and gain some understanding of how knitting actually turns yarn into fabric! If you're good at self-teaching or if you learn by doing, then just get started and see where you end up. And you will probably have to trust in the eventual hope of relaxation, as it's tough before you gain the muscle-memory. Like learning to dance!

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  75. Lots of helpful comments, but I would add that you use Ravelry to find a local knitting group. Find one and you'll have company and well as lots of help.

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  76. It's already been mentioned, but www.verypink.com is a must. Staci is a personal acquaintance and puts a great deal of effort into making her patterns and technique videos completely understandable. I also enjoyed the Yarn Harlot's book Knitting Rules! when I was starting to knit myself. It approaches the construction of various knitting projects from a simple and encouraging perspective, perfect for beginners.

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  77. Find a knitter nearby and make friends! Ravelry is a wonderful resource, but there is nothing like having someone in person to help you when you get stuck. Also, I would recommend wooden/bamboo needles. They are much easier on your fingers than aluminum and there is less slipping off of stitches with them as well. Also, DO NOT be afraid of double pointed needles. They look frightening, but they are really very easy once you get the hang of it and are much more versatile than circulars when you get into more advanced projects. Nice, natural fibers are almost always the way to go (as they are with fabric). You'll be much happier with your finished product if you start with nice yarn. Most important of all, however, is your attitude. There is nothing wrong with ripping out rows and rows of knitting and beginning again if you have messed something up. Much like ripping out seams that aren't quite right, the ability to rip and start over in knitting is an invaluable one, and it will also help you improve your knitting overall. Good luck and enjoy!

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  78. I'm not the first one to mention it, but Stitch and Bitch is really great. It's my go-to book whenever there's something I need to remind myself of! Personally, I'm not a fan of the projects in the book, but the info is great, drawings are clear too!
    Good luck!

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  79. One thing I don't think others have touched on is the different styles of knitting. I learned in Europe and learned a certain way of casting on stitches and holding the needles and moving the yarn. The names for the stitches are pretty much opposite from those here in the US and I'm nearly forever confused about following patterns and watching videos for how to's as the way they hold the needles and make the stitches is so Very different than how I do it. Thats why id hold off on the Craftsy or American style knitting until you try it in the style you'll be using most. Some people in the US call one way, similar to mine, "continental" style knitting. My mother learned to knit holding one needle under her arm and just moving/holding yarn with that hand and moving the other needle. I would definitely go to a class in person. Learn how they hold things and move the yarn. If after you practice for a while it feels like you're not "getting" it I'd try a different way of holding the needles and moving the yarn. Good old straight needles are great for a beginner and I'd second the scarf or dish cloth first project. With hats you have to learn how to decrease stitches, finicky things, while simultaneously learning how to move your hands and the yarn. Basics are good :)

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  80. You have tons of great advice here! I'm just a beginner, so I don't have much to offer, but I did want to chime in on the Knit Lab class you linked to. I've been using it to teach myself how to knit over the past few months and I'm surprised at how well it's going. I tried to teach myself using Youtube videos a few years ago, but they weren't clear enough for me to see what was going on. The Craftsy videos are really clear and the 30 second replay is great for focusing on techniques. With that being said, I just could not pick up how to cast on from the Craftsy class! You'd think they would really spend some time on something like that to make sure you understand, but that was not the case. Fortunately, Youtube videos seem to have gotten better in the past few years, so I found a good one by Debbie Stoller that was totally clear and explained it in a way that made sense to me. Once I got that, the Craftsy class has been all I've needed for the rest of the techniques. I'm surprised by how much we're covering, like increases and decreases, plus the first project includes rudimentary lace. I wasn't sure I could learn from videos, but I got the class on an extreme sale, so I thought it was worth a try. I'm pleasantly surprised by how much I've learned. I can't wait until I'm ready to knit a sweater. I've had my eye on a few that have been going around the blogosphere for a while!

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  81. Lots of people suggesting Ravelry (awesome) but if you just want to be inspired, check out the Purl Soho blog - beautiful yarn, lovely projects, massively tempting in every way. It will address the what you should knit at least :)

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  82. Hi I have just ordered some wool from woolwarehouse.co.uk a lovely wool and alpaca blend. I do prefer to have a bit of a feel before I buy. John Lewis stock a nice range of wool by Debbie Bliss. I just taught myself to knit in the round which is less scary than you think. Good technique for anything tube shaped, socks, jumper, cowl scarf etc.
    I can't crochet and know a lot of crochet folk who can't knit. I just purchased the top down Icelandic sweater from craftsy as I believe in jumping in with both feet!
    Another little tip is if you are using dark colours is to make sure you have lots of light as your eyes will hurt if you don't. Lots of luck. I will ask my knitting guru for any more tips! (Mother in law)

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  83. W O W - WHAT A LOT OF ADVICE - START WITH AN ARAN WOOL OR CASHMERE ALPACA MIX - COS IT WILL FEEL WONDERFUL - SIZE 5 NEEDLES -CAST ON 40 STITCHES AND DO STOCKING STITCH. 1 ROW KNIT - 1 ROW PURL - AND KEEP GOING - COUNTING STITCHES AT END OF ROW CHECKING YOUR PROGRESS

    LIGHT FIRE -PUT ON FAV FILM - CURL UP ON SOFA -HAVE A KNITTING FRIEND WITH YOU WHO CAN SORT YOU OUT IF YOU GET IN MESS - AND ENJOY

    PHILLY

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  84. You need to crochet, not knit! Much more fun to be a Happy Hooker! I learned using the Planet Purl videos on YouTube (but be aware that US and UK crochet terms are slightly different, so always know whether you are doing a UK or US pattern).

    Then, off you go to Ravely and look for some super easy (and often free!) patterns.

    Get yourself a few hooks and a ball of wool from a charity shop, then you can practice and don't have to worry about getting it wrong/wasting wool.

    I have an easy pattern on my blog that you might like to practice on (it uses a button!). It doesn't use much wool & is nice a quick. Click here for a iPhone/other phone case: http://thecarrotcruncher.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/stash-busting-crochet-pattern.html

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  85. Ravelry definitely, though can be frustrating in the early days seeing loads of gorgeous things you know you won't be able to tackle! Like you I learnt to knit, in a basic sense, years ago but never really took to it. Last year I started with the Knitlab Craftsy courses and found them really helpful. You Tube is good for specific techniques but I liked the the structure of having a course that slowly builds your skills. I also liked the fact that that it would show you what to do when things go wrong. A cowl or hat is good to start with. Circular needles are great. I really like the Knitpro symphonie interchangables and not just because they look pretty. I swear this has made the biggest impact on my knitting, having previously just used regular metal needles from the local shop in town. I also like the Addi needles. I can't believe how much I love knitting now after hating it for years.

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  86. Some great advice. Knitting all the way for me - if you want wearable items! My top 3 knit tips are 1. Aneeta Patel's Knitty Gritty books. Her style is great and she does free SOS knitting classes the second Sunday of each month in London - usually in Old Street but check out her website at www.knitting sos.co.uk. 2. Ravelry - for inspiration and tips: brilliant! 3. This is a great starter project - the first thing I made - choose a luxurious chunky wool and get stuck in! http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/oct/12/craft-knitting (Jenny Lord Chunky Cowl). Good luck!

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  87. Wow you seem to have received lots of good advice. I am also a novice knitter (very badly). I have never found books to be as helpful as someone actually showing you. There are classes around to join or morning groups which meet for coffee I know, have never plucked up courage to go but my sister in law is an excellent knitter so often call on her for help and advice. I hope you succeed in your quest to knit good luck

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  88. I'm a self-taught knitter as well! When I started knitting I signed up on Ravelry,found some novice patterns I liked and from there started searching around youtube and google to learn how to do the basic things the patterns called for. Youtube has videos for every technique you could imagine so everytime you see something you don't know how to do in a pattern, just do a quick search on youtube. I found that for me knitting books don't help because I don't really understand something if I don't see it in motion. I never get to understand knitting diagrams in books, but it may be me. Start with a very basic pattern and begin learning through it.

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  89. I'm left handed so teaching me to knit was something of a struggle for my right handed Mum. But my left handed Aunt soon helped me out. Think I was about five! The biggest tip I can give you, particularly if you like chunkier knits is find yourself some wooden needles ! They are, obviously, warmer to the touch, but the yarn slips off them a lot easier I think.

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  90. I had a bit of a head start as was shown basic knitting as a kid and my mum is ace at it so when I mess it up I take it to her to fix, but I taught myself a bit again recently. Simple Knits for Easy Living by Debbie Bliss is a good starter book with easy projects. Definitely Ravelry for inspiration, and You Tube for watching how to videos (much easier than following a diagram).

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  91. Knittinghelp.com and Ravelry have been priceless resources for me. I learned so much from both. If I lived near a lys I would go there too, but I don't. That's when Craftsy came in real handy to learn more! I hope you do decide to pick up knitting!

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  92. I have been knitting for ages, taught by my Nan when I was little.

    My favourite place for patterns is www.ravelry.com there's loads on there, a great deal of which are free which is always a bonus and it has a great way of searching for what you are looking for.

    www.knittinghelp.com is also a great place if you are not sure of what a stitch is or how to do it, it has pictures and videos which are always helpful.

    Give me a shout if you need a hand. I love to knit in the evening while the TV is on and I'm to lazy to get up to do some sewing.

    Hannah.
    http://surfjewels.tumblr.com

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  93. I taught myself from books and have used many of the resources mentioned above for the last 10 years or so. I think the very most important thing to learn when you're learning how to knit is to learn to identify your stitches -- what a knit stitch looks like, what a purl looks like and if they're twisted or straight on the needle? Knowing those few things have saved me a world of trouble and time, and it make identifying mistakes and finding your place in the pattern infinitely easier. Happy knitting!

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  94. I learned to knit using the Klutz knitting book (can't remember the exact title). The instructions must have been good because I learned with no help when I was only 8! It also comes with everything you need for a basic project, and has some simple beginner's patterns. That being said, it's aimed more at kids and teenagers so it doesn't go into any more challenging techniques that you might need later. It's super detailed for the basics though.

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  95. i enjoy knitting, it brings a lovely satisfied feeling once you've finished a project. i like making scarves, they're simple but can be changed to suit individual taste. cast on thirty stitches on 8mm needles using thick, cosy wool and knit away! fingerless mittens are also good, cast on 30 stitches using 4mm needles, knit a piece as long as the space from your wrist to your top finger joints then cast off and sew up the side seam, leaving room for the thumb! good luck :D

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  96. I'd recommend starting with a smooth wool - fluffy yarn is harder to find (and fix!) your mistakes. A crochet hook can help when fixing mistakes. The knitting book I use most is called 'Knit Fix', it shows the most common mistakes and how to fix them. And the knitting books I like most to swoon over are Stephanie Japel 'Glam Knits' and 'Fitted Knits'. She also knits a lot in the round, which is not at all hard to do and I would recommend it over setting in sleeves. Happy creating!

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  97. Ravelry is amazing, I totally agree! Also, youtube has loads of videos for knitters, just type in 'purling' or whatever stitch you're stuck on and someone will have done a video!

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  98. The best way to learn is definitely from other knitters, whether that's online or at a knit night/ stitch and bitch. Maybe find some yarn that you love and try a pair of simple wrist warmers? Untangling Knots is a great blog with lots of practical tips. Or try Simply Knitting mag. Happy knitting! :) x

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  99. I tried knitting so many times, and it never seemed to work for me, then I received a copy of Aneeta Patel's 'Knitty Gritty', and everything fell into place. Something about the way she explains knitting just made perfect sense to me. I cannot recommend this book enough.

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  100. Knit! It's fantastic. I taught myself this year, after watching a friend knitting last Christmas and just deciding I wanted to do it too. I just looked at a few Youtube videos (it's personal preference regarding how much chit-chat you want in the video, but I really like The Knit Witch - she's fantastic!). I only use the longtail cast on and it's very easy and versatile. Equipmentwise, just get a nice quality set of 6mm needles (Knitpro cubics are my pick) and some Debbie Bliss Rialto chunky wool - its smooth and has a high twist which makes it really easy to see your stitches.
    Good luck! xx

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  101. Once you learn how to knit and purl, you can make anything - just YouTube it when you have a question! Watching someone do it is far better than a diagram, in my humble opinion. One tip: don't start with a scarf; they take forever and I find smaller projects that you can complete more quickly bring you the gratification you need to keep at it. Try starting with a dish cloth; if you make mistakes, it's just a dish cloth, and you can think of your mistakes as "design elements" rather than glaringly obvious errors if you were to start with a garment!

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  102. Hello Tilly,
    I was in the same boat this time last year. It seemed like everyone was knitting beautiful sweaters and accessories (I blame the bloggers, especially Tasia (Sewaholic)). I was a little envious and wanted to learn, but didn't know where to start.

    You can learn from you tube, but I didn't know what the starting point was. Everything was confusing. So I took the Craftsy beginner's class with Stefanie Japel. The best feature was the up-close shots of her hands and the ability to loop the videos. I got stuck a few times and could watch the same 30 seconds of video over again in a continuous loop until I got it. The first pattern is a short scarflette (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lacy-keyhole-scarf), which is long enough to practice garter stitch (really on just the knit stitch), simple lace (increases and decreases), button holes, and seaming. But the whole project is not too long to be seemingly endless or monotonous. The class gave me enough information to really start knitting and to start using Ravelry and You Tube resources that were overwhelming to me before.

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  103. You've got a ton of suggestions here - my apologies if this gets repetitive. I would not say I'm a patient person and I always prefer to have someone show me how to do something in order to learn. Having said that, I successfully taught myself how to knit from two main sources: (1) the book "Stitch 'n Bitch: The Knitters Handbook" by Debbie Stoller (which was a great source to move from very basic techniques to more advanced projects); and (2) the website knittinghelp.com which has great videos on every technique under the sun. Once you are more comfortable, Ravelry.com can be a greats source of inspiration. Best of luck in your knitting adventures.

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  104. My grandma taught me to knit but anytime I run into trouble I use the VeryPinkKnits youtube channel. It also has great beginner tutorials, the best on youtube in my opinion:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/verypinkknits

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  105. Ravelry is probably one of the best resources out there for patterns and discussion boards, I used it to find patterns (lots of free ones) and I pretty much youtubed how to knit and learnt (and still learning) that way...if I don't understand the term I YouTube it...

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  106. Hi Tilly - I just discovered your blog and will be in reverse using it to get myself dress-making! I taught myself to knit using youtube and a couple of books which had good photos (just through browsing in Waterstones and seeing what I could understand). I recommend making a jumper for a toddler, as it teaches you loads of techniques and you get the satisfaction of seeing a piece of clothing come together in a short amount of time. Also it helps to have a second pair of needles and yarn on the go, with which you practice each new stitch before doing it for real on your piece. If you use brightly coloured wool it's easier to see the stitches. Another tip is thread some different coloured yarn through the loops on your needle (literally follow the needle) before attempting something complicated, so that if it goes wrong you can undo it all and stick your needle back in where that thread is. Hope that helps!!

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  107. First, go to Ravelry.com, make an account, and be amazed by the huge selection of lovely free patterns. You can even sort them by difficulty. Find something simple that you like, see what you need for it, and then print it out and ask the people at your yarn shop what to get :). This site http://www.knittinghelp.com/videos/learn-to-knit has some great instructional videos to help out too!

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  108. Oh yay!! I've just really learned to knit this year and I'm loving it. What's really helped me is having books everywhere and YouTube. My favorite pattern books so far are Simple Knitting (http://www.yarn.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/product.detail/categoryID/247388EE-09EA-4B9C-B96B-CFB89503EA1F/productID/24E2C2E2-6B9F-446C-9079-FACF2011FEBE/?p=KNIGHT20&gclid=CNCJuJCRlLsCFUjxOgodlCoA4w) and Knitting by Design (http://www.amazon.com/Knitting-Design-Inspiration-Fashionable-Projects/dp/145211739X).

    Good luck!

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  109. I kind of make it up as I go along, but I LOVE Ravelry for patterns. As far as styles of knitting, I'd definitely recommend the Eastern European style - you move your hands much less and are at a lower risk of repetitive-motion injuries (i.e carpal tunnel). Plus, it goes so much faster! I'm sure there are plenty of video tutorials to be found on YouTube. Good luck, knitting is so much fun, and easier (for me) to do while watching Netflix than sewing is. :)

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  110. I took that class a little over a year ago and LOVED it. I learned a lot, and have been knitting furiously ever since. The projects are fun and easy, and way more exciting than a boring knit knit knit scarf.

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  111. Hi Tilly, if you're still reading this far.

    So delighted you're giving knitting a try. I'm new to it myself and some beginners blog posts by someone with impeccable taste is exactly what I need.

    I've a couple of suggestions for starter projects which I have been really pleased with and would suit your style I think. I used a really chunky pale grey 'Mirasol' yarn from Knit With Attitude on Stoke Newington High St (lovely shop).

    A quicker, just as simple and way nicer alternative to a scarf. I LOVE this one: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/wham-bam-thank-you-lamb-neckwarmer

    A simple hat that will match it well: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/hat-shaped-hat

    If you make something you are really actually pleased with and want to wear as a first project it's a great boost. Good luck, can't wait to hear how you get on.

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  113. Ups! I comment about the giveaway here, sorry. About knitting I learned when I was a girl and I not knitt like my mom or grandma. I twisted the thread when I'm kinitting I don't know how to explain it. But a tip I like to knit with those nails (I don't know the name in english) with a nylon in between like a cord. One piece. I like them because the weight is better distributed when you knit a sweater for example and not only in one side.

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  114. Ravelry is awesome! That and youtube. I learnt how to knit when I was a kid - my mum tried to teach me but I was a pain, so she bought me one of those knitting books for kids. I also go and see the local CWA ladies if I'm having real trouble with things - they're great for giving little tips and tricks :)

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    1. Knitty is also a great little site :)

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  115. Holy cow great variety of advice! I totally agree with Ravelry (I'm a happy hooker myself, too impatient for knitting) also the knitting/crochet with the bits in (colour blocks inserted like sewn appliqué but part of the fabric) is called INTARSIA just so you know ^^

    Happy Stitching!

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  116. Wowee, don't know if you'll get this comment as it's at the bottom of a long list of suggestions, but my friend Siobhan has recently started teaching beginners knitting classes from her home so this could be the way to go?

    http://www.hello-flower.net/2013/11/learn-to-knit-class.html

    I would say start big! I've been knitting since I was a littlen and have only just started to branch into smaller knitting needles. It's so much more satisfying when you're learning to knit to use 10mm needles (or 20 if you're as lazy as me) otherwise it can feel so daunting and time consuming.

    Good luck. Knitting is such a great hobby! It is therapeutic to do in front of the telly or listening to the radio instead of the constant noise and speed of the sewing machine.

    Isabel.x

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  117. Ohhh I see you added the owl jumper to your favs, I made that a while ago, it's a cute jumper. x

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  118. i know i'm a bit late to reply, but I took that Knit Lab class in August and as someone who didn't even know how to hold needles, it was a perfect introduction to basic stitches and getting familiar with all the stuff you need to know. I have already knitted several projects and it's only been a few months! I absolutely love it! Watch out for yarn stash though... it's almost worse than fabric haha!!

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  119. My sweet co-blogger Hetty taught herself to knit with videos only, she shared her experience on our blog http://modewaerts.wordpress.com/2013/11/10/how-i-taught-myself-to-knit-the-story-of-a-great-love/

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  120. Know someone that knits? Have them teach you. Or at least in the same room when you first start to try so you can ask what you are doing wrong!

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