Knitting Tips for Beginners

My Best Knitting Tips for Beginners

Too many mistakes can put you off. Therefore I have listed all the knitting tips for beginners I wish that I had known when I was first starting out.

When I started knitting I made all kinds of mistakes. I still do after ten years – and that’s ok! But, some of them are a bit unnecessarily…

I hope these tips can be helpful for you, Fellow (newbie) Knitter!

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Choose circular needles over straight ones

If you just take one tip with you from this post, I hope its this one!

Switching from straight to circular needles has been so beneficial for me.

  • Circular needles put less strain on my body than straight ones. This means that I can knit more and for longer sessions. Without getting numb or having pains in my neck, shoulders, back, arms and hands. Love it!
  • Straight needles have a habit of disappearing. At least mine do. I look away for a minute and one of the needles has escaped and I have to crawl around and look for it under the furniture / under the car seat / among the kid’s toys… the cable on the circulars prevents the tips from getting lost.
  • You can knit flat on circulars, but you can’t knit in the round on straight needles. Unless they are double-pointed.
  • Knitting in the round, two tips connected by a cable is a lot easier to master than five double-pointed needles.
  • Circular needles are more portable. You can easily put a project with circular needles in a bag. Straight needles need more space.
  • Circular needles can hold a larger amount of stitches, thanks to the cable.

My favorite knitting needles!

I have a set of interchangeable knitting needles, which means that I have needle tips in a range of sizes and separate cables in different lengths that can be mixed and matched together. The set I use is available at Amazon.

All the tips and cables fit in one flat little case that also has room for my most used notions. I can easily bring everything with me around the house or when I’m on the go.

The fact that I can use the same needles for knitting flat and in the round saves me both money and space as I don’t need as many different needles.

Reading tip:
I have written about this several times before. If you want to know more about circular needles and why I love them so much, please read more in these posts:
Why beginner knitters need a crochet hook

The crochet hook can be the knitter’s best friend!

It doesn’t matter if you haven’t got a clue on how to crochet, you will still have good use of this tool for things like…

  • Picking up dropped stitches, a crochet hook makes picking up dropped stitches much easier. And let’s face it there will be a few (or, a lot) dropped stitches in the beginning.
  • Knitting Surgery, if you discover a mistake a few rows down you don’t have to frog (rip out) several rows of knitting. Instead, let the column of stitches unravel and then use your hook to pick the stitch up and correct the error.
  • Picking up stitches, this is easier with a hook than a needle. You need to pick up stitches for a lot of projects, for example, button bands, sock heels, collars, and edgings.
  • Love a fringe? Use the hook to thread and knot yarn strands through the edge of your knitting.
  • Add pretty edgings, if you have crochet skills you can enhance your knitting projects with lace, picot or a contrasting row of slip stitches.

Knitting tip for beginners: Learn to combine yarn and stitches

A rule of thumb for matching yarn and stitches is that the fancier the yarn is, the simpler the stitch.

By this, I mean that if you choose a yarn with a lot of structure or variegated colors it’s a good idea to choose a simple stitch as garter or stockinette stitch.

This is because your efforts with cables, lace or other stitches that require a little more work will be drowned by the yarn.

If you wish to go for more advanced stitches, choose a smooth yarn in a solid color. Such a yarn will make your stitches pop and really show off!

Knitting tip for beginners: Choose a plain yarn

Keep to the plain yarns, to begin with. They are easier to knit with. Also, keep on the cheaper side, it’s hard to feel free to make mistakes and learn if you’re knitting in an expensive yarn that you don’t want to ruin.

Once you’ve got the hang of things you can go for the fun yarns!

Always make a swatch

You’ve got your yarn and needles on hand and are ready to go. Now is the right time to make a swatch!

A swatch? Yes, a swatch is a knitted square that you knit to see how your knitting turns out. Especially if you are a beginner, knitting swatches are super helpful. You get to will practice a bit before heading on to your project. And it’s valuable to see how your combination of yarn and needles turns out before starting a big project!

Maybe you discover that your knitting turns out too tight or too loose? Then change your needles and give it another try. Tight knitting calls for a larger size of needles and Vice Versa.

When you have knitted your swatch you can also use it to determine your gauge. That’s how many stitches you get per 4 inches or 10 centimeters.

Sometimes you also need to know your row-gauge. This is how many rows you need to knit to get 4 inches/10 centimeters.

Reading tip:
––> How to measure Gauge

Knitting newbie tips: If your tension is off – don’t give up!

All knitters struggle with their tension now and then. I know I do. Actually my tension still varies within the same project sometimes.

When you’re just starting out your tension will vary within the rows, the stitches will hang loose at the edges and it will look messy. It’s only one thing to do about this, keep knitting.

Don’t let this hold you back, it’s just the way it is in the beginning. The more you knit the more the motions of knitting will set in your muscles and the more even your knitting will become. But it can take some time.

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How we feel can have an impact on tension

Even experienced knitters have tension problems. Sometimes we are stressed or have pains or watch a very thrilling movie. We’re just humans and how we feel affects the way we hold our needles and how we tug the yarn.

If you see that you’re knitting looser or tighter, try changing your needle size. To make your knitting tighter, take a smaller size. To make the knitting loose you should choose a larger size.

Plan your knitting projects and take notes

When you’re starting a new project it’s a good idea to have a plan.

Make a drawing, take notes of the name of the yarn, the pattern (if you have one) the needle sizes you’re using and other things that can be important for the project.

This is both for thinking things through before you get started knitting and because you won’t remember everything a few weeks later. You think you know, but no, you don’t. Trust me on this one…

Reading tip:
Because I struggle with remembering things, and because I love graphic design, I have put together a printable Knitting Planning Sheet for you to use as much as you like. You will find it in this post: Free Knitting Project Sheets pdf Template

Read the whole pattern

When you’re ready to get started with your knitting, do yourself a favor and read through the whole pattern before you cast on!

I have done the same mistake so many times. Because I get so eager to get started I don’t give myself time to read the whole pattern. Instead, I read the first few lines, and get started.

After a while, I discover that I have missed an important instruction or misread something just because I didn’t read the whole thing at first. So please do as I speak, not as I live!

The most important knitting tip for beginners: Have fun!

There were a few dos and don’ts in this post. But, the most important thing is to have fun with your knitting. Not what you create, how perfect you make it or how fast it went.

So go and search youtube for a good knitting video and get started learning to cast on and do the knit stitch. Then you’re good to go!

And, while you’re at YouTube it will be very happy if you subscribe to my channel. It’s all about Knitting Hacks and Techniques!

Subscribe to my channel here: Don’t Be Such a Square on YouTube

Knitting Tips for Beginners | "Have Fun Knitting" + nine more tips for Newbies
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