Learn to Knit: A Beginner’s Guide

Learn to Knit

If you learned to knit when you were very young, chances are you won’t have forgotten everything.

But, if like me, you didn’t really get on with knitting and focussed on sewing instead, now’s the time to have another go! It doesn’t matter how old you are -if I can do it, so can you!

There’s no mystery, but here’s a few tips and pointers to get you (re)-started

What you will need: WOOL right?

Wool hmm….  (well, not necessarily wool!) You’ll need some kind of yarn to knit with, most people start with acrylic because it’s not expensive and when you’re first learning to knit (like any new skill) it’s inevitable that you’ll probably drop the odd stitch here and there.

Acrylic is available in some brilliant colours-it’s best to start off with a mid tone (not too dark or too light) so you can see the separate stitches.

 You will also need : Knitting Needles

Sometimes referred to as knitting pins.

Bamboo or metal are options, but why not try children’s knitting needles; they’re short and they’re flexible so they’re easier to handle, and because they’re usually bright funky colours, most yarn colours show up really well and make it easier to separate the stitches.

Knitting a scarf for a Teddy

Knitting a scarf for a Teddy

…and of course you’ll need a healthy dollop of time and patience.

Here’s how I started last year; with a 25g ball of Robin DK and 4mm kids knitting needles. An experienced knitting friend cast on 15 stitches and showed me stocking stitch, that’s one row of knit stitch followed by one row of purl stitch.

It did take a little while to get the hang of it, but after a short time, Ted actually had a scarf!

So many different weights or thickness of knitting yarns – how do you know which one to choose?

Most beginners start with Double Knitting yarn or DK as it’s also known (we will follow up this blog post with another post with more detailed explanation of yarn weights).

A good place to start is with one of the-S brand Learn to Knit Kits

-2 small balls of acrylic DK yarn, a pair of 4mm kids knitting needles and a clear instruction booklet.


Ok, so now you have your knitting yarn, how do you know what size needles to use?

Yarn Care Label Example

If you’re using DK yarn, you’ll most likely use 4mm needles. The best indication of the needle size that you need is either stated on your pattern or if you’re just starting out and practising-take a look at the ball band.

In this photo, you can just see a crossed pair of needles in a circle logo which in this case states 3.75mm to 4mm. Underneath this logo, the US needle size is also given. So, if you have an American pattern, you’re in the know! (US 6 is a 4mm)

If you have inherited your Grandma’s knitting needle collection with old UK imperial sizing, or indeed have unearthed some vintage patterns-you’ll need to be able to convert imperial needle sizes to current European and UK millimetres and this handy gauge helps you do just that

So back to that ball band – alongside some very useful laundry instructions, there is a grid logo which gives some crucial tension square information; if you work x no of sts (stitches) over x no of rows, in theory you should end up with a 10cms by 10cms knitted square.

Cat with knitting needles

Here’s my latest project – Cats Protection are asking knitters to donate blankets for rescued cats.

As you can see Mabel here, is not that impressed, she’s more interested in playing with the needles, but I reckon that the cats won’t mind the fact that I’m still dropping stitches and knitting quite unevenly -it all good practice!

For all your knitting yarns, pattern books, kits and tools, the-stitchery is now online or you can visit us in our lovely shop in Lewes, upstairs at the Riverside.

There are sometime offers online that aren’t available in-store – don’t forget you can buy online and collect from the-stitchery for free! If you do want us to deliver- delivery is free with orders over £25. How good is that?