BEGINNER KNITTING KIT | What would be the essential things you would recommend to a beginner knitter? Knitting has become hugely popular again and supplies for the craft have swamped in the market (which is amazing!).
If you’re a beginner knitter getting the right ‘kit’ can be overwhelming. Choice can be a really good thing especially when you’re on a budget but what really are the essential supplies that a new knitter needs to buy to get started?
YARN | Well obviously you need yarn. And when I say yarn you’re probably thinking wool – that stuff you get off a sheep – right? Oh no… shakes head the choice of yarn that the knitter has today is way bigger than just wool. You can knit with just about anything. You can get alpaca, camel, angora, silk, cotton, linen, bamboo, dog hair (yes you can and it’s called chiengora!). In fact some people even knit with fabric or old plastic bags cut into strips. The t-shirt yarn is trendy these days.
Having said all that most beginner knitters start off with good old acrylic yarn. I must admit I did myself but I’m not a fan these days. I do prefer natural fibres. If you’re going to spend time and money learning a craft I would say invest a little and start with a brand that is affordable like the drops range (they do great sales and you can buy a ball of merino for around 2 quid).
Personally I’ve always preferred quality over quantity when it comes to choosing yarn (in fact I’ve been called a yarn snob!) but the choice is totally down to your own taste. But I do think you’ll get a lot more enjoyment from working with natural fibres and the end product will be more wearable than that neon acrylic you bought in the bargin bucket of your LYS (unless neon acrylic is your thing!).
I think that Aran or DK is probably the best yarn weight for beginners and for me Debbie Bliss Rialto DK or Rialto Aran is an excellent choice. But if you are on a tight budget but still keen to use natural fibres then Drops yarns are best – especially when the sale is on and you can get balls of yarn for as little as £1 – now how tempting is that for building your stash.
NEEDLES | Okay so you can see a theme happening here already! Of course you need some knitting needles to go with your yarn (although you can knit with your fingers and hands – I’ve not tried this yet myself tho).
Now when it comes to choosing needles you’ve got different materials – wood, metal and plastic; and different types of needle – straight, circular and double-pointed. This is a lot of choice for a beginner. I would always recommend that you follow these three simple steps:
- Consider what you want to make for your first project. Is it a scarf? Well then perhaps straight needles would be best. Or are your a really adventureous beginner and want to knit a hat in the round. Well then you’re going to need some circular needles. Be realistic in your choice of first project. Start with something easy and then you won’t get overwhelmed.
- Choose the right material. Wooden needles are a good choice for beginners as they are smooth but not slippery. If you are a tight knitter or to put it politely a little heavy with your hands then metal might be better option as although they weigh heavier they are stronger and do not easily bend. As for plastic well, they are cheapest option if you’re on a budget. Plastic needles are very light but depending on the needle size they may be more prone to breaking than wood.
- Choose the right size / length. Needles come in different lengths and sizes to suit pattern requirements. So consider this when buying your needles. You will want to build your kit slowly over time as you work through different projects. So best just buy the needle size & length that is recommended in the pattern.
- Fixed vs. Interchangeable. There are pros and cons to both. If you are on a budget buying interchangeable needles are a good way to build your needle kit quicker. You may only need a few cables and then slowly collect the different sized tips as you need them for projects. The downside to interchangeable needles is that I’ve found with certain brands they untwist while you are knitting (no matter how much you tighten them!) and this can mean your yarn may catch at the join or worse the stitches might fall off the needles. I have both types in my needles case but these days I’ve been swaying towards fixed circular needles.
- Notions. Essential notions such as scissors, darning needle, crochet hook, row counter and stitch markers come in all different shapes and sizes. You don’t even need to visit a yarn store to buy them either. In fact you may already these things around your home already like scissors – most homes have scissors. But there are some cute notions that you can get these days. As a beginner I’d say don’t go mad. Buy the basics and then splash out of the querky things as you can afford too.
PATTERNS | Paper patterns are great as you can make notes as you go along but I much prefer the benefits of having them as PDFs on my iPad these days. Much more easier to transport and storage isnt an issue. Check out Ravelry as a good source for both free and paid patterns. You can search based on your requirements of yarn weight, needle size, project type etc.
I would encourage you to check out your local library. Most libraries have a craft section with a good selection of books to get you started. Borrowing a book is FREE and a good thing to do when you are on a budget. Plus you can get an idea if you like the book before you buy it. Starting out small and build your knitting library as you grow your knitting skills.
NOTEBOOK | Every knitter needs a notebook. Its an essential piece of knit for keeping a record of where you are in between knitting time. You can sketch notes about project, record your yarn details and little snippets of information about the pattern.
JOIN A KNIT GROUP | Knitting is one of the most effective ways to help with anxiety, depression and pain management. Joining a knitting group can increase your mood, help you build friendships and increase your social circle. Its fun to meet other knitters and sometimes you can
Look out for a knitting group in your area through your local yarn shops and libraries. You can also find knitting groups in your area on Facebook and Ravelry.
YOUR THOUGHTS | So what would you recommend for a new knitter? Did I forget anything? Love a comment below. I would love to hear your thoughts about this.
Simple | Stylish | Stitches