2020 has definitely been the year of new hobbies and, alongside baking and gardening, knitting has been one of the most popular. It’s interesting to see that during a time filled with stress, loneliness and loss, that we turn to meditative, offline hobbies – a topic that we talked about on the blog a few weeks ago.
As many of our community of Woolyknitters have already graduated from the title of ‘Novice Knitter’ to ‘Expert Maker’, we decided that they were the best people to go to for knitting tips and advice. They are the ones who have been there, done that, and bought the tshirt rubbish yarn (before shopping at Woolyknit, of course).
So for anyone who has stumbled across our site in hopes of beginning a wonderful adventure into the world of knitting, here are some of our top tips to get you on your way to becoming an expert knitter.
- “Life is too short to knit with cheap yarn” (@rockallknits)
Investing in the right yarn is key to creating good quality knits – the better the quality of yarn, the better the quality of finish. If you’re looking for something to practice your first ever knit stitches, go for something chunkier like our Lofty range and some large needles (you can find the suggested needle size on your yarn packaging) to make it easier to see what you’re doing.
2. “The resources on the internet are endless and right at your fingertips” (@imogen.knits)
When in doubt, Google it! There’s an abundance of video tutorials on Youtube for each and every stitch, so if you’re looking for somewhere to get started, just pick a video and follow along. You could build up a playlist to work through and come back to when you feel like you need a refresher.
3. Don’t be afraid of patterns
A wise Woolyknitter said “patterns seem complicated but once you know the stitches, it’s easier than you think” (@spindelyshankz).
It’s also important that before you cast on, you read the whole pattern! That way you won’t lose your way or have any nasty surprises when you come across a stitch you’ve never heard of – give yourself plenty of warning so that you can practice new stitches first.
- “Dropped stitches aren’t as scary once you know how to pick them back up!” (@hookaduckcrochet)
When you’re learning something new, mistakes are going to be made, but there’s no need to throw in the towel. Learning how to fix your mistakes will give you a better understanding of the craft and will give you the confidence to experiment without the fear of failing.
- Don’t worry about speed
There’s absolutely no rush. You’re not going to be a speed knitter in your first week of knitting. Enjoy the slow pace and relax into it, you’ll naturally speed up as you get more confident and familiar with the technique.
- “Always, always knit a swatch, wash it and calculate your gauge” (@daintyknits)
We know that you’re eager to get started on your first pattern, but if you want your knit to fit, then it’s really important to do a swatch. This is how you check that your work matches the recommended gauge on the pattern (ie number of stitches per inch) – you can find this information on every pattern. Even if you’re using the correct needle size and yarn weight, your tension varies, and this is the element that we need to check for accuracy.
- Make your stitches the same size
Make sure that with every stitch that you create, that it is equal to the last. Keep your tension even and always make sure that you are wrapping your yarn around the main part of the needle and not just the pointed end.
- “Just buy circular needles from the get go!” (@tea.and.leaves)
A decision that we agree you won’t regret. Feeling restricted by your lack of equipment when you’re wanting to try new patterns can be really frustrating – treat yourself!
- Find another knitter! (@angbwatson)
There’s so many supportive knitters in the Woolyknit community who are keen to share their knowledge and expertise. Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone to ask for advice and chat to each other in the comments. In times like these, social media can be our enemy, but it can also be our best friend in enabling us to share interests and passions and lift each other up.
Knitting is great for mental wellbeing and learning a new skill is the perfect distraction from the ‘real world’. We hope that these tips have given you the confidence to pick up some knitting needles and experiment with new techniques and patterns.
Remember to reach out to the Woolyknit community if you need some advice (or encouragement) and don’t be afraid to share your progress on social media and tag us using @Woolyknit.