As an avid crocheter, you all know I love my hooks! My first love will always be crochet, but what you may not know is that I’ve always loved the look of knit stitches too! So I made it one of my goals for 2019 to re-learn how to knit (after learning way back in 5th grade. Oregon trail anyone??) Now I may not be Alexandra from Two of Wands or Chantal from Knitatude (#goals), but I’m not trying to be either! I just want to share a few knitting basics with you that I gleaned along the way as a crocheter beginning to knit.
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When I first decided that I was going to re-visit knitting, one of the biggest things I had questions about centered around knowing what tools to use. In the past, i.e. back in 5th grade, we used straight, aluminum needles, but the more I dug into finding out what tools a beginner should use, I discovered that bamboo needles were much more beginner friendly. This is because bamboo has a little more grip to them, making it harder for a beginner to drop stitches!
Once I knew that I needed bamboo needles, I combined that with the knowledge that I wanted to make a beanie at one point, and voila, the first needles I needed to buy were bamboo circular needles. I decided on the needle set below from Knit Picks via Amazon because it offered multiple needle sizes and cord lengths. Having different needle sizes appealed to me because I wanted to experiment with each to figure out which one was the easiest for me to use while learning. If this needle set is out of your budget, I’ve heard good things about Clover Bamboo needles!
A well written pattern will give you the proper needle size and cord length needed, however, if you want a good basic cord length, I’d stick to 16″ for hats/beanies. With regards to needle size, 8mm needles are pretty versatile if you’re looking to make a beanie with a bulky weight yarn, and 8-10mm are great for working with Lion Brand Thick & Quick!
This may seem like a pointless point to bring up, but I wanted to discuss it because it is something I struggled with in the beginning. I watched a YouTube video that recommended I learn with 5mm needles and a worsted weight yarn. For me personally, that was terrible advice. While my hands were learning how to hold the yarn, and work my needles at the same time, it was much easier for me to do that with thicker yarn and bigger needles. The perfect combo for me ended up being a super bulky yarn (Lion Brand T&Q) and my size 11 (8mm) knitting needles.
Some items I didn’t already have handy that I used while I was learning how to knit included needle point protectors, a row counter, and stitch markers that sit on/around the needle.
Needle Point Protectors: Not only do they keep stitches on your needles while you’re not working on your project, but they also keep the needle points from pulling out stitches in the already completed portion of your project.
Row Counter: For me, this was never really necessary in crochet as I could count the rows easily (and relatively quickly) enough, however with knitting, I found row counter to be extremely helpful and time saving, as I’m not nearly as quick in counting kitting rows.
Stitch Markers: While knitting in the round, the type of stitch markers that sit around your needle (my sister-in-law got me these for Christmas) right after your last stitch of the row, make counting completed rows much easier.
Because knitting and crochet both involve yarn, some of the tools I used as I was learning to knit stayed the same. You’ll want to make sure you have items such as a scissors, a darning needle, and a measuring tape handy. A crochet hook is also helpful if you do drop a stitch or need to frog any of your completed work.
Now to the fun part! How did I actually learn what to do with my needles, yarn, and stitch markers?! YouTube! If you haven’t already discovered it, YouTube is a great resource for both knitting and crochet tips, tricks, and techniques. So of course, that was my first stop. Listed below are some of the videos I used to learn all about the knitting basics I knew I’d need.
Continental Knitting – As a crocheter first, I was accustomed to having/working my yarn in my left hand, I found the traditional (also known as the English) way of knitting was very awkward. The Continental knitting style helped me learn how to knit while allowing me to handle my yarn in a way that was already familiar to me.
Norwegian Purl Stitch – While I may be used to handling my yarn in my left hand, that doesn’t mean my left hand is very dexterous. Therefore while learning how to purl, I struggled with coordinating my left pointer finger enough to bring the yarn in front of and around the needle. The Norwegian purl stitch fixed all of that for me! It allows you to achieve a purl stitch while keeping the yarn behind the needle. Learning to purl this way was a total GAME CHANGER for me.
Basic Beginner Knitted Hat (Beanie) Tutorial – Here, Brittany from b.hooked walks you through the entire creation of a knitted beanie, worked in the round. I found this tutorial extremely helpful as not only does she walk you through the stitches needed, and how to complete them, but she also takes you through the process of making the beanie step by step. This means there’s no guess work on our part as to how to do or complete a portion of the pattern.
I think it’s important to pause here and tell you that once I understood the basics of the both the knit and purl stitches, I practiced them over and over again, row after row. What does that mean? It means I would cast on 20 or so stitches, and practice the knit stitch row after row to really imprint the technique of it into my brain. After that, I switched to the purl stitch and repeated the process. While this may sound time consuming and boring, I think it is exceptionally important to master these basic stitches(and your tension) before moving on to a pattern.
Beginner Friendly Patterns
Hopefully by now you are well on your way to becoming a knitting wizard! You can knit, purl, and work in the round, so I’d say you’re ready for your first pattern or two! For me, I kept to head wear in the beginning so I’m going to link my favorite beginner friendly patterns below! As I explore more knitting patterns, and stitches, you know I would hesitate to share them with you!
Now, a little disclaimer, these are all paid patterns, but as a maker (and knowing how excited I get when I sell one of my patterns) I love to support other makers by purchasing their patterns.
The Roseaux Turban by DeBrosse – Teresa delivers another fabulous pattern full of picture tutorials for making a stylish turban-like headband.
The Dawson Beanie by Knot & Stitch – Are you looking to create a super bulky, ribbed beanie that looks amazingly luxurious? Look no further than this pattern. I made mine in Wool and the Gang’s Crazy Sexy Wool in their Cameo Rose color… I’m obsessed!
Alright lovelies, there you have it! All of the tips and tricks around knitting basics that I picked up as I traded in my hooks for some needles. I hope that if you’re a fellow crocheter, my insight as a hooker turned knitter helped you!