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Everything You Need to Know About Starting to Knit: A Guide From A Once, Reluctant Knitter

Me wearing the charcoal grey jumper I hand-made.

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So, whether you’re in lockdowns – Hello Melbourne! – or spending more time at home knitting and crochet can be a great hobby to keep your mind and your hands busy. I was a reluctant knitter and crocheter growing up. In fact, for many years I just straight-up hated it. Not to psychoanalyse this too much, but I think I didn’t like knitting because I saw it as such a feminine thing. I wasn’t buying into the female stereotypes at all back then.

As I got older though, and actually a bit before lockdowns started in March 2020, I went into a yarn store – something I would never have done in the past – and bought some balls of yarn and some needles. Over a few video calls with my mother and some youtube videos, I was knitting! It started off bad. There were lots of re-dos, dropped stitches, and angry fights with tangled yarn. If I am honest, these things still happen now, even though I am much better at the craft.

There was a lot I wish I had known about knitting and crocheting, which is mainly why I decided to share some tips and tools of the trade to help you on your journey. So let’s jump into it!

Get yourself a good comprehensive knitting book

A very beautiful friend of mine gave me this book for my birthday, and I live it! This book has great advice about how to cast on, different stitch types, and is filled with great patterns so you can knit up a storm. I recently just knitted one of their glove patterns, and I hope to start on one of their jumper patterns soon.

Hand-made fingerless gloves knitted by yours truly.

Buy your copy of Knit How here.

Here is me wearing the beanie from Knithow.

Store your work and your tools properly

It is really important to look after your needles, hooks, and scissors. I suggest getting yourself a project bag to store your projects in and even a pouch for your needles.

I bought this small project bag to fit smaller projects like gloves, beanies, and socks in. It fits a few balls of yarn, needles, and the other half of the project – already knitted socks and gloves waiting for their pairs.

Screen printed knitting project bag from CalarthaCreative on Etsy.

There are so many bag designs and shops to choose from, and you can browse them here. You can also find Japanese knot bags like the one pictured here on Etsy too. Find some suggestions here, here, and here.

Inside my project bag.

So, you have a place to store your projects, but what about your needles? Let me save you hours of tangled work and dropped stitches by telling you to go out and get yourself from knitting needles stoppers.

Knitting needle stoppers from StitchWOT on Etsy.

These little guys fit on the end of your knitting needles and make sure that your pressure stitches do not slide off while you aren’t working on your project. These have saved my knitting more than once, let me tell you.

Needle stoppers in action! Buy them here.

These are on 4 mm needles but I have used them on 8 mm needles too, so they can stretch really easy. Again, there are so many options for these on Etsy and you can browse them here.

Support local yarn stores

This one should be obvious, but it doesn’t hurt to reiterate it – it is always best if you can find local sellers or stores and support them if you can. I have learnt so much from the kind women who run the yarn stores around Melbourne. They have helped me pick out patterns, yarn types, and even needle and hook sizes. They are passionate about creating beautiful hand-made items and I will forever be grateful for their help.

I have bought yarn from a few online stores through Etsy. YarnDreamsHandDyed is from NSW, Australia and I got some of their sock yarn in Olive Dreams.

Olive Dreams yarn in 4 ply.

While we are on the topic of yarn – don’t be afraid to purchase nice yarn. I am not saying you need to pay hundreds of dollars for yarn, but that acrylic plastic yarn does not feel nice to knit with. I used to think that while I was learning how to knit, I should only use cheap yarn. Although, it sorta backfired for me, because the yarn felt so yucky that I also didn’t like knitting with it. So, my advice – treat yo’self.

Another yarn dyer I love is BombedYarns from Tasmania. They are on Etsy, but also have their own website now too. I have bought multiple yarns from BombedYarns and I have been thrilled with each one.

Here is the beginning of a shawl that I am crocheting in the colourway – Geisha from BombedYarns.

Also, before I go – when you are buying yarns remember to check if the yarn is in a ball or in a skein. A skein means that it has not been balled and will be very difficult to knit or crochet with. Most sellers offer a ball winding service for around 1 to 2 dollars. PAY THAT TWO DOLLARS. It will save you your sanity because ball winding is tricky!

Yarn from BombedYarn in Robyne – 8 ply.

There are so many more specific tips and tricks that I hope I can share with you as I embark on my own hand-made knitting and crocheting journey. Please let me know your favourite yarns and patterns. I would love to see what you are making whether you are a pro or a beginner like me. As always, share the reading love.

A shawl that I gifted to a friend this year. Yarn is the colour Okra from Wren and Ollie.