Want to Knit? Here are 5 tips to help you get started

We are firmly planed in fall here in NEPA -- 40 degree nights and 60 degree days, foggy drives to work and sunsets on my way home. Leaves are even starting to change color!

So as I sit and knit my hats (new colors are available in the shop, BTW), I've also been noticing more posts than ever about wanting to get started in the knitting world. Here are my top tips for newbies:

  1. Be patient - like learning anything new, it takes some time to build up good habits and muscle memory. Your first project won't be perfect, so don't make life hard on yourself. Instead of jumping right into a fancy sweater or sock pattern, focus on the basics -- a simple knit and purl stitch. Take your time with these skills and show yourself some grace as you go.

  2. Buy the right yarn - There are so many beautiful yarns out there, but when you're first starting, ease is going to be more important than anything else. So go to the store and pick up a yarn that looks thick and smooth. Flip the label over and find the key details. Your yarn weight will be the big number inside a picture of yarn. Choose a number 4, 5, or 6 (worsted or chunky) in a light color. This will allow you to see your stitches easier. (Whatever you do- do not pick a dark color! You'll thank me later.)

  3. Buy the right needles - Once you've got your yarn, you'll want to buy needles that are made to work with that yarn. Go back to those key details on the back of your yarn. Somewhere near your yarn weight you will see a picture of two needles with a number above and below it. This is the suggested needle size. It should say something like a size 6 yarn might call for a size 13 us needle. Now take that number to the needle aisle and find your favorites! (Beginners might want to start with bamboo or wood needles. The metal ones can be slippery in the beginning.)

  4. Use the internet!- Have I ever told you that I learned how to knit via YouTube? It's true! I don't remember what video, because I'm the kind of person who probably ran through a bunch looking for some different examples, but I can promise there are a bunch of great ones! Just type "How to knit" into the search bar and a ton of videos will come up. Get cozy and be patient with the trial and error. 

  5. Practice - This one should be obvious, but knitting doesn't happen over night. It took me FOREVER to finish my first scarf, and at the end it had so many holes/dropped stitches that Dean compared it to Swiss cheese. That's okay! YOU MADE A SCARF! Life will go on, your stitches will get better, and with a little practice, you'll be making those fancy socks in no time.

PS- You can do the same exact thing for crochet instead, just look for the hook image on the label instead of the needles for sizing.

Any fiber folks have any other tips? Feel free to leave them in the comments!

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