While we may think of knitting as notoriously difficult, it’s actually surprisingly easy once you get the hang of it. There are plenty of knitting kits to help you create stylish cushion covers, cardigans, throws and more (keep scrolling for our pick of the best), but if you want to go it alone, this is how to get started.
Running out of things to do in lockdown? Made enough banana bread to feed a small army? Completed Netflix?
It’s time to move on to your next self-isolation cliché: learning to knit. We can’t be the only ones who have noticed that our social media feeds are increasingly full of novice knitters, learning how to create their own wooly items to help pass the time in quarantine and keep our spirits up. Studies have shown that knitting is good for our brains and mental health, too, helping to ease symptoms of depression and anxiety, reducing the risk of mild cognitive impairment and warding off dementia.
Pick a pattern
We love buying old-school pattern books from craft shops but as that’s not an option right now, simply search online for beginners’ patterns. Generally, a simple, chunky scarf is a good starting point.
All you need are needles and wool of which there are various types. Many knitters will recommend starting out with a chunky wool and thick needles as they’re easier to grip and see the stitches you’re working on. Make sure to cheek the wool’s label, as it will recommend the appropriate needles to go with it.
Learn how to cast on
This is the first technique you should learn as a knitter and is how you start creating stitches. It may sound complicated, but once you get the hang of it, you’re away!
- The first thing you need to do is create a loop (a ‘slipknot’). Leave a generous yarn tail and hold the yarn with both hands, bringing them together to make a loop, then take the yarn tail and pull it through the loop to create the knot.
- Place the slipknot on the left needle.
- Insert right hand needle into loop on left hand needle from the front of the loop to the back.
- Wrap yarn around right hand needle and pull back through.
- Place loop from right hand needle onto left hand needle.
Master the knit stitch
There are two basic stitches in knitting: the knit stitch and the purl stitch. The first to master is the knit stitch and whole projects can be created with this. Then you can combine the knit and the purl to create a stocking stitch, rib stitch, moss stitch and much more.
Learn how to cast off
You should now have some rows of knitting – well done! Remember that when casting off, you always need two stitches on the right needle.
Find inspo online
As well as all the useful guides on YouTube, there’s a real knitting community on Instagram where you’ll find tons of inspiration. Our favourite is @weareknitters, a sustainable
and fashionable knitting brand who are running free tutorials and technique tips on their page.
Support your local craft shop!
When choosing where to buy your knitting supplies, consider supporting your local independent arts and craft shop if you have one. They may well have moved all operations online recently and would really value your support right now.
While knitting isn’t difficult, like most skills, it does take practice to get the hang of it. Think of it as a mindfulness exercise and keep trying. You’ll soon be making jumpers for everyone you know.