A Beginner Guide To Practice Knitting
We’ve all seen our grandmothers and great-grandmothers knit as a hobby, and sometimes, even our mothers.
Indeed, knitting is something many women - and some rare men - have always enjoyed, especially when there is news of a new member of the family coming soon.
Although the shopping malls are full of cute little sweaters, mittens, and shoes for newborn babies, there is just something else entirely to get a few items knitted by someone we love.
Many of the previous generations still love to knit something – even if it’s a token and not something to be used regularly – when there is a new baby coming into this world.
To the outsider, knitting might seem quite difficult, especially the work of an experienced knitter who can do it very fast. In truth, knitting is quite simple to master, and with some practice, anyone can become quite an expert.
It might be quite a while before you can actually knit a whole sweater, but it doesn’t take much time in learning how to knit. Simply by following the right steps, you can surely begin to knit like a pro in no time.
First of all, you need to get the basics right, prepare yourself for your knitting experience.
Select an Easy Design.
You can knit a lot of things with the right material, but it is best to start with something simple. The simplest and the easiest design would be a scarf, which is a straightforward knitting pattern without any turns or twists.
Making a scarf means you would have to learn a simple pattern and continue with it until you have reached your desired length. Every beginner starts with knitting a scarf as it is the easiest item to make and takes the least amount of expertise.
Get the Right Needles
The right tools are extremely important for a beginner in knitting, especially the needles. You are going to need the needles that are the easiest and the most convenient for you to handle.
The plastic or the aluminum needles are better than other materials for first-timers; the larger needle sizes are also easier to handle for beginners as well.
Aluminum needles are more slippery and helpful when you want to slip some yarn off the needles quickly, but this can be tricky as a beginner. The simpler patterns are better with larger needle sizes, as well, since you can learn to use them more quickly.
If you are following a pattern or an online tutorial, it will mention the needles you need. The usual needles generally size 6 to 9 in the market, and you need to get the one mentioned in your pattern or design.
However, it is also important that you touch and hold the needles you want to buy because it is very important that you are comfortable with using them.
Choose the Comfortable Yarns
Some yarns are just comfortable to work with, especially when you are new to this. The type of yarn you need of course depends on the project at hand, but it is better to go with a yarn that you feel most at ease with.
If you are making something for yourself or for a gift, the yarn should feel comfortable in your hands. The less the weight of the yarn, the better it is to work with, as well.
The best way to buy yarns, therefore, is to physically touch them first, because you need to hold them in your hands first. Local craft and yarn shops can have a more expensive stock, but you can at least feel the yarn between your fingers before buying.
Besides, for your first few projects, the bulkier knits are easier to achieve with thick yarn. They are usually thicker than regular yarn, more like the size of the needles you’ll be using.
They are easier to handle and faster to knit with, because you can clearly see the patterns you are making instead of the intricate ones.
However, bulkier and softer yarns can cost more than regular yarn. For your first projects, it makes more sense to practice with some less expensive yarn.
Gather Other Important Tools
There are a few other tools that you would require in your knitting sessions, i.e. a pair of crafting scissors to cut your yarn, a few sewing needles to sew your pieces together, and a few crochet hooks for when you need them.
Some beginners also keep a knitting journal in their first days, mainly to keep a track of their progress. A knitting journal is a great way to note down details about your projects, i.e. the needles and yarn you are using, the pattern name and type, and any problem you faced while working on that particular pattern/project.
This journal is going to help later if you decide to turn knitting into a full-term hobby; you can learn from your previous mistakes and trials.
Next, comes the Patterns you have to learn.
For making something as simple as a scarf, you’ll need to learn and practice a few beginner’s steps: the cast-on, the knit stitch and the cast-off.
The first and the third step is of course required to start and finish off your project, but the knitting can go on for as long as you want the scarf to be.
Video tutorials are much better for learning your steps than written words on an article, and you can get thousands of such videos on YouTube to get you started. Like the following:
However, this article can at least tell you about the steps you need to follow one after one to get your scarf done.
A Cast-On Knit
Casting on means to start the first weave on one of your needles. The number of weaves you make will become the width of your scarf and you can increase the length for as long as you can.
For scarves, it is better if you use a rather long needle so that you can make a wide scarf, especially if you are using a thicker, bulkier yarn.
For a bulky yarn, you’ll need to cast-on around 30 to 40 stitches for a standardly sized scarf; if you are using regular yarn, you’ll need to make double the number of stitches.
The Purl Knit-Stitch
One of the easiest knit stitches is a Purl-stitch, perfect for a long and simple scarf. This stitch starts after you have casted-on the width of the scarf on one of your needles, and can go on until you are satisfied with the length.
You’ll need to complete a whole row on knit-stitch before you start the next one. One after another, each row of knit will gradually create the length of the scarf.
The first few rows can take a long time, but as you go on knitting, you will start getting better and faster. Over time, people can automatically go on knitting while their eyes are glued to the television, a book, or someone else.
Within a few rows, your moves will become automatic and your hands will start mechanically creating the rows without having to concentrate on them too much.
A Cast-off Knit
Casting-off means closing off your rows at the end of knitting when you’re done with elongating the scarf. This is a fairly easy stitch pattern that will securely hold your rows in place, the final row in your knitting.
The Casting-off is one single row that will cover the entire width of the scarf, and bind off the knits. At the end of the row, the last knit needs to be manually knotted off, and the excess yarn needs to be cut off. With the Casting-off knit, your scarf has no chance of coming off.
However, just to be extra careful, you can use a sewing needle and thread to sew around the edges, making the cast-off more secure.
Other Advanced Techniques
There are some other special knit patterns and techniques that you can use to make your scarf look prettier and much more professional.
Although not exactly for first timers, you can definitely try these techniques after you have successfully completed your first project.
Trying two Knits together
When you are using a tight knit with regular yarn, there is a chance of the scarf curling up rather than staying straight. To avoid this, a great technique is to try two different knits together; alternatively, you can try the same knit inversely in each row. This will keep your scarf straight.
However, you won’t need this technique if you are using a bulkier yarn to make a loose knit. Curling only occurs if the knit becomes too tight with regular, thin yarn.
Introducing a New Color
Simply by introducing a different color in your knitting, you can create a pretty design in your scarf. This can be a different color to create a thin border along the edges or a multi-tiered scarf with different colors in it.
Introducing a new color is simple enough; you simply need to leave behind the yarn you are working with and start up with the different colored one.
This needs to be done at the beginning of a new row rather than in the middle to make things easier for you. In the same technique, you can introduce not one, but up to five or six different colors in the same scarf.
Stopping the Edges from Curling
The edges along your scarf can start to curl, no matter if your stitches are tight or loose. There are a number of techniques you can try to stop this from happening; the simplest one is to create an additional border along the edges after you have completed the whole scarf.
The border can be a simple one in keeping with the rest of the knits, or a decorative lace pattern made from a different colored yarn.
Knitting isn’t just about making yourself a scarf or a sweater, or making a gift for a newborn baby; knitting also happens to be one of the most relaxing yet productive hobbies ever.
In this fast-paced world, many enthusiasts absolutely love the relaxing effect of knitting, enjoying the feel of yarn and needle in their hand, and appreciating the joy of being creative.
This isn’t a particularly hard hobby to try, especially not at first if you try something simple. Practice is the key in knitting and if you are interested in learning more, it won’t take much time for beginners to try something more complicated and come up with an astounding creation.