Beginning Knitting - How to Start Knitting

For someone who wants to learn to knit, beginning knitting can seem confusing at first.  You may be wondering just how to start knitting and what you need to get started.

When you are just beginning knitting all you really need is a ball of yarn and some comfortable knitting needles.

I'll help you choose both of these supplies for knitting so that you can start knitting as quickly as possible.

Beginning Knitting And Choosing Some Knitting Yarn

Beginning knitting and choosing some yarn

Even I get overwhelmed with the amount of beautiful knitting yarns out there.

I can spend hours going through all the different types of yarn, the colors and those wonderful textures. 

There's always something new and amazing. 

And choosing the right ball of yarn for your knitting project can be puzzling.

So I'll help you narrow down your choices.

When you're getting started with knitting, buy a smooth worsted weight yarn like Vannas Choice or Patons Canadiana for example or even Red Heart has some lovely yarns too. 

Save the really fancy yarns for later when you've had some knitting practice.

Make sure to pick out a nice light color too so that you can see your stitches better. 

And also check out the yarn label (ball band) because it also gives you important knitting information that you'll need like the yarn type and size (weight).

Need help reading the yarn label? No problem. Here is how to read a yarn label.

One note on picking out knitting yarns.  I wouldn't buy cotton yarns yet as they don't have any stretch and may be rather difficult to knit with. Cotton yarns are wonderful though but give yourself some practice time first.

Beginning Knitting Needles - Which Ones to Choose?

Choosing knitting needles


Knitting needles are the next important tools for knitting. And there are loads to choose from.

Needles come in many different materials like bamboo, wood, plastic, aluminum and so on.

Every knitter has their favorites to knit with and over time you will too.

For now though I'll give you some suggestions.

Because you are beginning knitting and just starting out you may want to experiment with different needles to see which ones you like. After all you will need a few pairs in different sizes.

Or you may even want to consider circular knitting needles. You can still knit flat with them and the great thing is they hold a lot of stitches for bigger knitting projects. 

Every knitter has their favorites to work with though and you'll find out what you like as you go along.

I have two favorite interchangeable knitting needle sets I use and I love both. Denise and Knitters Pride.  In all honesty though I use the Denise needles the most.  

The nice thing about buying the set is you won't have to worry about having the right size needles for your knitting project.  Why? 

The sets come with all the standard sizes you'll ever need.  It's pretty cool. Of course you can also buy a set of straight knitting needles too.  

Back to the different materials in knitting needles...

Bamboo or wood needles are great choices for beginning knitting. The stitches won't slide off the needles as easily. They're also very comfortable to work with. 

Plastic and aluminum can be slippery and your knitting stitches can slip off the ends more easily. It all depends on how you knit and what your preferences are. 

You may love the bamboo needles or you may like knitting faster with the plastic or aluminum.

So which size knitting needles should you choose?

I would start knitting with a medium size needle (medium yarn, medium needles), around a size 7 (4.5mm) or 8 (5mm).

These sizes are often used for medium weight yarns and they feel the most comfortable in your hands.

I like these sizes too. Actually the size I use the most is a US 9 (5.5mm) mainly because I'm a tight knitter.

If you decide to buy straight knitting needles you may want to consider the knitting needle length too. They range in length from 7 inches which is usually used for children, and go up from there; 8 - 14 inches.

I find the shorter lengths less cumbersome and much easier to use than the really long ones. Even the ones for children are great while you practice. I have some short ones I really like knitting with for smaller projects.

Just remember that when you start knitting bigger items you may need a longer length knitting needle in order to hold all the stitches.

Note: The size of the knitting needles and the size of the knitting yarn should compliment each other so:

  • Really thin knitting yarn - really thin knitting needles and
  • Really thick yarn - really thick needles

I created a little page about knitting needle sizes here to help you understand about the sizing. Plus you can download a nifty knitting needle conversion chart as well. Pop on over, I'll wait right here for you.

All done?  Great... Let's continue...

Maybe you already have your ball of yarn and knitting needles?

So what's the next step? 

Then it's time to put stitches on your needle and it all starts with a simple slip knot.

Here is how to make a slip knot

Or maybe you're wondering how to hold all this stuff in your hands. Here are some ideas about

How to hold your knitting needles and yarn

Beginning knitting is fun and exciting. Hopefully you aren't confused anymore but understand some basics of knitting and are ready to start knitting up some fun.

When you're ready you can head over to my knitting instructions page, where I will show you some cast on methods and all the basic knitting stitches.

Take your time and have fun with it.

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