I’ve learned a lot from the time I started knitting. But to be honest, I started to crochet before I learned to knit. The lessons I’ve learned were invaluable and I just wanted to share some wisdom with my fellow beginners.
It’s okay if you don’t get it the first time 😫
Knitting (and crocheting) was a daunting thing to learn for me. I had put so much pressure on myself, that I was stressed while trying to learn to knit. At some point, I convinced myself that I’ll never get it.
Then one day it just clicked, and I was knitting and purling and haven’t looked back. Actually, after thinking about what I was doing wrong, I realized that the yarn has to go in the front for purling…then everything clicked.
The one thing that I kept telling myself is that I can learn to do anything. I know I won’t be an expert in it, that comes with time, but I can at least learn how-to do it and do it at my pace.
Learning something new is hard. You’re challenging yourself and pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. But when you finally do get it, it’s like a whole world of crafting opens up to you. Don’t compare your progress with some else’s, just keep your eyes on your own lane and celebrate your own victories.
Make a Gauge Swatch 😒
My first blanket was a mess. I learned the double crochet, but somehow instead I messed up that stitch. I don’t know what I was doing with that stitch. I ended up doing something with it. And since I was determined to just finish, I corrected the stitch and I didn’t frog anything.
Like I said, it was a mess. However, mess or not, it’s a blanket that one of my sons love, and it’s a reminder to me know where I started from. It wasn’t until I finished this project that I’ve come across this magical word swatch.
In the early years I didn’t care about swatching, I just wanted to play with my ever growing yarn collection. In reality tough, I’ve paid a dear price for it. Such as using the wrong yarn for a project, or needle size. I would finish the project, but was less than happy with my finished work.
The first time I did work a swatch, I learned how the item was supposed to come out, and how big I should make it. That was a game changer for me!
Since I’m on a sweater kick right now, swatching has become the first thing I do. I want my projects to fit, and a swatch will help with getting your sweaters in the right size.
There are things that making a swatch will not break your project, like shawls. However, a swatch will tell you how that fabric will behave—and if you think the swatch is too tight (or not the “right” feel for you), you can do something about it now.
Check your work (and gauge) always ✅
Again, I’m on a swatch kick lol. It’s one thing doing a swatch at the beginning of a project, but it’s always good to check your gauge as you go as well.
I’m not shy to take out a ruler (or measuring tape) to Check my progress. I want to make sure that I’m on target and I have made any major changes to my tension.
Truth is, the more you knit in a pattern (or the larger the project), your gauge will relax. You will become relaxed. So checking every now and then wouldn’t be that far off to do.
There 👏 is 👏 no 👏 knitting 👏police.
I can’t tell you how many times my concern was to “do it the right way.” I’ve tried to change my style of holding needles to adjusting myself to work in a technique that really didn’t suit me.
You are the creator of that item. Instructions are wonderful guidelines, but if you know of a technique that your more comfortable with—then go for it.
When I first started knitting and had to do an increase, I tried my hand at M1. But I always had a gap or hole. Then I learned about knit front and back and I used that a while.
These days I’m comfortable with either increases, but the point is no one is going to pop out and tell you it’s wrong.
YouTube is a great teacher 👩🏫
I love books, but I have a special love for video makers on YouTube. I’ve learned how to knit by watching videos. It’s one thing reading the information, but it’s another seeing how to the work is done. I’m so looking forward to giving back to that community.
The best thing is that if one teacher doesn’t suit you, then there are tons of others. You don’t have to stick with one channel—go out there and explore.
There are so many master knitters sharing advice online, it’s like having your own personal teacher. Everyday I’m learning new techniques and different ways to do things.
Don’t knit when tired. 🥱
This is sage advice for anyone. There are times when I don’t know what do with myself, that I deviations knit until I’m sleepy.
This is always a horrible idea for me. Come Morning, after a good night’s rest, I look at my work and I see all the mistakes I made.
It now takes me time to capture all the stitches before i unravel it. I would have saved myself the heartache if I had just gone to sleep and waited until the morning.
Write down your notes 📝
Over the years, I’ve learned to keep a bullet journal. I’m not fancy or decorative—it’s just a simple notebook where I write down, tape down notes from my projects.
I keep track of my notes for the project, how many rows I worked for a particular part and if that matched with my gauge.
One of my goals is to go back and transfer those notes (I.e. chicken scratch), so that I can share them.
Keeping s notebook allows you track your progress, and for you to see how long you’ve come.
Count and then count some more. 🧮
When working a complicated stitch pattern, I’m always counting my stitches. Between yarn overs and decreases, something could easily get lost. Lately I’ve employed the use of stitch markers between each repeat, so I can count the number of stitches when done with that set.
The last thing I want is to have extra stitches on my needles and wonder why the pattern is off. Be comfortable making a system that is going to work for you.
It’s always a good habit to count your stitches even now and then. If you are working a stitch pattern, that’s one of the best ways to keep count. If it’s wrong, then you did something wrong on the last row. Now that’s an easy fix.
Mistakes Are Not the End of the World 😱
I just loving knowing this! There are lifelines we can add if we have a repeat that we have to frog back to. You don’t have to unravel the whole project!
After making so many mistakes, I’ve come across a lifeline and it literally changed my world. I don’t have to loose all my work just frog back to that area I messed up on.
If I did something wrong but it’s a set of stitches (like purled instead of knit for example), then I can drop that one stitch and then bring it back up.
Once when I learned how to do that, making mistakes in knitting is not so hard.
Crochet on the other hand—you just have to rip out your work back to that spot. It’s your personal preference if you think one craft is easier than the other.
Make what you love 🥰
Looking online for patterns, you see so many cute things. I was drawn into these things that I could make, that I wasn’t interested in what I would do with them—only the fact that I could make them.
I, in turn, made a lot of things that was okay, but I didn’t love them. It was a waste of yarn and a waste of time.
These days, I make things that I love and that the person I’m giving it to will like. Most of all I’m a practical person, so everyone needs sweaters in the northeast for the winter.
I am venturing off into other things, but I hate to see wasted yarn (and time) on something that I really didn’t love to make. The more you dislike making a project, the longer it takes.
Buying yarn is its own hobby 🛍️
I started my crochet hobby with just 3 balls of yarn. Today, I can’t even say how many I have. I have yarn in cubbies in my bedroom. Yarn in tubs under my bed, and in a basket off to the side. This does not include the yarn that I’m currently working with.
When I would read about how people have a huge stash of yarn, at first I didn’t understand it. I though I would be the kind of person who buys yarn per project. Oh what a joke! Sales, eye candy, just because-are all good reasons for me to buy yarn.
Hunting for patterns has to be it’s own hobby too! After a while, you have to find something to do with all that yarn.
Have the right tools for the job. 🧶
Aside from a collection of yarn, I seem to have one of knitting tools and crochet tools. I originally started with a bamboo set from Amazon for $10. It came in many different sizes, and it was 9 or 10 inches long.
Then I needed longer needles, and bought one that was 14″ long. Then I decided that I needed needles that was easier on my shoulders and wrists (since I was carrying around a baby at the time). I finalized my selection of needles with interchange needles.
That doesn’t count the stitch markers, stitch holders, rulers, gauge measurements, that I’ve accumulated over time. I do find myself switching from everything I have every now and then, so nothing is really wasted.
I’m glad that I did start off with the bamboo set, because if I didn’t like knitting, I would have not lost that much money.
Have fun 😃
One more as a bonus–have fun. Knitting is therapeutic and helpful after a stressful day, but honestly, if it wasn’t fun, what’s the point? Enjoy your craft, and learn more about it. There is always something to do, and something to learn.
If a particular project has you down in the dumps for a while-put it away and start something else. When I feel like this, I usually start a crochet project (because I like crochet too), and then I have choices as to what I want to work on.
What are some advice you would like to give to the beginner knitter. What would add to this list?