Welcome, aspiring knitters!
I am so happy you have found this blog post. Learning to knit is an exciting and rewarding journey, but, in the early stages, it can also feel like wrestling with a tangled ball of yarn and chopsticks all at the same time. Fear not, everyone has this experience at first and most importantly, this initial feeling does not last long.
In fact my beginner knitting lessons have people feeling considerably more confident with what they are doing (aka knitting) within 45 minutes! But until you have found you have found your knitting rhythm and flow I have some tried and true knitting 101 fundamentals to help you survive and eventually thrive as a beginner knitter.
In this blog post, I will introduce 4 beginner knitting principles that all my beginner knitting students have found helpful in learning to navigate learning something new with humour, patience, and a vital dose of self-love. So keep those knitting needles near by, as after this post I predict you will be feeling a lot more confident and hopefully emboldened to start your knitting adventures.
1. Remember to Breathe
Ah, breathing. That thing we tend to forget when we're too busy concentrating on what on earth our hands, fingers and the yarn is doing. As a beginner in anything, it's easy to get caught up in the "If I relax for a second, all this will fall apart" mindset. But trust me, taking regular breaths will not only keep you alive (a plus!), but it will also help you maintain focus and reduce stress.
And when we have stress in our bodies, we tense up. Our shoulders raise and stiffen. All that tension cannot help but travel down to our knitting hands, making learning how to knit with them harder than it needs to be. The knitting gets tight, the stress increases and so it continues....so just, breathe. Drop the shoulders. Shake out the tension. Take a break if you need to.
If you are taking my beginner knitting lessons you'll know that at moments I actually make a point of asking you, "Are you breathing?" You'll be surprised how many times you realise you are not. So, remember as you are learning to master your knitting needles, to inhale and exhale. Use your breath at moments to release any frustration or overwhelm from your body. You'll be amazed how much this helps your knitting. Oxygen is your secret weapon, new knitter!
2. Be Patient and Kind to Yourself
Patience, is the virtue that separates the knitters from the knitter-wannabes. All cosy sweaters come to those that knit, carefully and diligently.
Let's be honest, learning new things is hard. Especially when you are no longer immersed in an educational environment. Many of us have not learnt anything new with our hands since we were children. Be as kind and patient with yourself as if you were that school age student once more.
So many people I have taught to knit over the years have an internal narrative they are battling as they are learning how to cast on, knit and cast off. An internal voice telling them they will never get this, they are slowest one in the class, this was a mistake to think they could learn to knit. It is my job as a knitting teacher to cut through that unhelpful, false, distracting messaging and help you focus on just what you are doing, right now.
I want to encourage you to recognise that internal voice is just fear, new things are scary to our animal brains, but there is nothing to be scared of when learning to knit. We are not curing any awful disease, the stakes are not high, no one life is depending on us learning to knit. You can take your time and trust that you will get this. Because, and here's the big knitting secret, knitting is easy. Everyone can knit, that doesn't mean everyone will feel motivated to keep knitting but everyone is capable of it. You just need to find the reassuring approach that speaks to you. Learning something new is hard, initially, and then that something, knitting, is not so new. You start getting it, you start knitting.
Every mistake is a lesson learned, and it's okay to take things one stitch at a time. Patience is a quality that serves every knitter, no matter where they are on their knitting journey. A scarf, sweater, hat, it is not knit overnight. It takes time and it is the time, the care, the focus where we can find a sense of peace and calm amongst a busy life. So settle in, grab a rewarding beverage and embrace the fact learning to knit is a journey, one that you can enjoy, one stitch at a time.
3. Celebrate your Knitting Wins
Did you just cast on your first stitches? Did you just knit your first row? However small it may seem to you, make sure to recognise and celebrate the little knitting milestones. They will encourage you to keep going and to acknowledge your progress.
All too often I see beginner knitters downplay their initial achievements of a row of stitches, 4 rows of a small swatch, all because it is not yet a wearable, recognisable garment. There is a long way to go til any knitting is a wearable garment, an enjoyably long way to go but still, I think you get my point. You cannot allow that internal voice I talked about earlier to try to dissuade you from learning to knit without counteracting it with a well earned moment of pride in what you just achieved!
Give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back (or a bite of cake/sip of wine, if you're feeling fancy). You are knitting!
4. Learning to Knit means Accepting the Ugly
Newsflash: Your first few projects might not turn out Instagram-worthy. And that's ok!
By accepting the ugly, the messy, you free yourself from the pressure of perfection early in your beginner knitting journey. Your first mis-shapen creation is a testament to your progress and a reminder that mistakes are part of the learning process. Who knows, that uniquely shaped scarf might just become a cherished family heirloom someday.
The truth is the best way to become a great knitter, is to keep knitting. The more you knit, the more you find your personal flow, knitting needle hold, the best way to hold and wrap your yarn. Slowly but surely you will make tweaks and adjustments, imperceptible even to you sometimes, that will make knitting feel more comfortable and easier than it was even an hour earlier. But you must be able to see past the first attempts and keep knitting to get there. Do not let your first misshapen scarf derail you and stop you from discovering the beautiful knitter that you will become.
So, knit on, embrace the quirks, embrace the progress and remember that beauty lies in imperfection. You're crafting memories and laughter along the way.
To Cast Off...so to speak!
Learning to knit should be fun, calming in the focus it requires initially and above all rewarding. By remembering to breathe, having patience, celebrating every victory (no matter how small), and embracing the not-so-pretty moments, you'll unlock a world of knitting wonder. So, my curious and potential beginner knitters, keep those knitting needles to hand and in knitting action: you are on your way to becoming a knitting maestro and there's a lot to knit and be delighted with on the way.
Should you wish to learn to knit with me, whether that be at your own pace with my pre-recorded classes or online together, I would be honoured and delighted to help introduce you to the world of knitting. You can find my classes and courses under the Knitting Lessons tab above.
Happy knitting friends!
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