Knitting for the beginner is a great hobby to start because you can learn the basics in a short period of time without having to spend a lot of money on supplies. Knitting is not only relaxing and meditative, it’s also a great creative outlet. While one must take special care when knitting with arthritis or joint pain, there are tips and tricks to help keep knitting fun and pain free. Some even claim that knitting helps keep their fingers and hands flexible.
The fun part of knitting is that you are creating…and you can create just about anywhere. It’s a wonderfully mobile hobby that you can take virtually anywhere and do at any time. There’s almost an endless supply of resources available to help you learn techniques, projects, and patterns. Knitting for the beginner is a hobby you can evolve over time as your skills and experience improve. Most knitters that we know never get bored with the hobby.
Where Did Knitting Come From?
The history of knitting seems to date back to the Egyptians. The earliest knitted artifacts were complex colorful wool fragments and indigo blue and white cotton stockings from the 11th and 14th centuries. It is believed to have spread from Egypt to Europe by the Mediterranean trade routes. Knitting came to America with the colonists.
The word knit is derived from the word knot. This makes sense because the first form of knitting was done by tying thread into a series of knots and loops using a single needle. Many may find it interesting that men were the only ones allowed to join knitting guilds during the renaissance while women took care of the spinning. In many other cultures men are knitters also. Sailors, fishermen and shepherds all used to knit as did many soldiers. So, even if you are a male you can grab a book on knitting for the beginner and enjoy this hobby, too!
Knitting Fun Facts
- Early knitting needles were usually made out of animal bone, elephant ivory, or tortoise shell.
- The phrase “Knit Your Bit” was a slogan used by the American Red Cross during World War II to encourage volunteers to knit socks and warm weather gear for soldiers.
- William Lee, a clergyman, invented the first mechanical knitting machine in the 16th century. Today’s modern knitting machine is still quite similar to Lee’s device in operation.
- Although knitting has been around for ages, it wasn’t until the early 20th century before men started to wear knitted fashions.
Getting Started With Knitting For The Beginner
Knitting can be done on two straight needles, circular needles or a knitting machine. You can create many different patterns by combining the two main stitches known as knit and purl.
Although knitting for the beginner should start with the more basic patterns, as you become more experienced you can easily learn the more complicated patterns and projects.
The main terms in basic knitting are going to be the words “cast on” which means placing the right amount of stitches on the knitting needle to begin the project. The terms “knit” and “purl” are the two main stitches used for any instructions. And the term “bind off” means removing the stitches from the needle.
You will also need to learn the different types of yarn although the most common is 4 ply knitting worsted yarn. The term “skein” refers to a ball of yarn and is typically 4 ounces.
After you purchase your pattern book, needles and yarn, you can get started in this hobby for about $30.
How To Start Knitting
The very first thing you will need to get started is a pattern book which will give you a list of items you will need such as the size of needles and the type of yarn as well as how much yarn is needed to complete the project. Most books that focus on knitting for the beginner will have easy projects to get you started in the wonderful world of knitting. We recommend picking a pattern book that has plenty of pictures demonstrating each technique you need to learn. It is often much easier to understand the project instructions and steps if you can also see pictures.
One nice thing about taking up knitting for a hobby is that it is very inexpensive to get started. Knitting needles are only a few dollars per set and yarn is about four or five dollars a skein. For your first project you probably won’t need much more equipment than that (and the pattern book). As you learn and begin to create more complicated items you will need to add stitch holders, stitch markers, and yarn needles to sew the pieces together. Although none of these items are terribly expensive, you don’t really need to go out and buy them right away.
Once you have your pattern, needles and yarn you can begin to learn the art of knitting immediately. Don’t get too discouraged if it doesn’t turn out perfect on your first try. As with all new things, practice makes perfect and before you know it you will be knitting like a pro!
Tips And Tricks
The following tips and tricks for knitting for the beginner can make this hobby easier to learn and more enjoyable…
- One of the hardest things about knitting for the beginner is making sure the stitches are not too tight or too loose. This is something that takes practice and can be frustrating at first. It is best to begin with a practice piece before trying your first project. The trick is in not pulling your stitch real tight, so at first you might want to knit a stitch or two and then try to slide them along the needle. A good stitch will slide easily but is still fairly taught around the needle body. If it’s too tight, loosen the tension on the next few stitches. Continue this until you have the right tightness consistently.
- If you are just getting started and don’t use your hands frequently, you may also experience some minor cramping in your hands. Don’t let this discourage you. Start slowly and make sure to stretch your hands regularly. You’ll find that after a few sessions with the knitting needles, any discomfort will likely subside.
- For your first project, do yourself a favor and pick something simple. Don’t knit a sweater for your significant other. Why? Well, your first project may not turn out quite like you want and the recipient of your heartfelt gift may feel obligated to wear a sweater that doesn’t fit or has one arm longer than the other.
- Never leave your knitting needles unattended on the couch or chair! They can fall into the cushion crevices and provide quite an “Ouch” for the next person who sits down.
Ways To Grow Your Knitting Hobby
As you progress from knitting for the beginner to more advanced knitting techniques and projects, here are some ideas to help you grow your hobby…
- As you gain more experience and confidence with knitting, you may want to learn to make a little money from this great hobby! Many festivals have art and craft booths where you can set up your items and sell them to the public. If you aren’t into selling face to face, there are several sites on the Internet that sell hand crafted items and charge a small fee for the service. Knitting hats and mittens for local charities is another great way to expand your hobby!
- Although we enjoy the therapeutic and meditative aspects of knitting with needles, you can also take your craft to the next level by purchasing and learning how to use a knitting machine. These machines can be quite expensive but allow the knitting hobbyist to complete knitting projects at a far faster rate than is possible by hand.
- As you progress beyond knitting for the beginner, you may want to design your own knitting patterns. If this turns into a passion, you could even publish a book of unique knitting patterns for others.
Related Knitting Resources
The following resources can help you get the most out of your knitting hobby…
The Knitting Guild Association – TKGA, with over 10,000 members, this is the largest knitting association in America and a starting point for knitters searching for new ideas, products and patterns.
Ravelry.com – Ravelry is a community site providing a forum for knitters and crocheters to share tips and tricks. The site also provides a comprehensive yarn and pattern database.
KnittingHelp.com – A very cool knitting site that provides free videos and how-to resources for knitting for the beginner.
Related YouTube Videos
Check out the following videos to learn even more about starting this hobby.