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SFCDave 01-04-2013 11:59 AM

New Knitting Guy needs help
So I am new to knitting, very new...I am going out to get my first set of needles and yarn this weekend. I have been watching my wife crochet for a few years now and I miss the sweaters that my grandmother used to make for me. Because of this I have decided to learn to knit, I also figure it will help with dexterity and zenning out.

What are your suggestions for the size of needles that I need, the size of yarn and a good project for learning?

I have spent the past hour or so looking at knitting and craft websites and this seems to be a good place to start, so a pattern here would be great.


GrumpyGramma 01-04-2013 12:07 PM

Welcome to KH and to knitting. I think you're gonna love it!

I suggest worsted weight yarn in a light solid color and US size 9 or 10 knitting needles to start. With a light color yarn it's easy to see your stitches and the worsted weight yarn is easier to work with than skinnier stuff. You'll want a yarn that's smoother rather than a fuzzy or bumpy yarn. I'd suggest cheap acrylic for practicing, such as Red Hear Super Saver. It will stand up to repeated ripping out and when it gets frayed you can cut it off and toss it away.

suzeeq 01-04-2013 12:28 PM

Hi Dave, Welcome!

Yes a smooth, light colored medium weight yarn and about size 10 needles are good. I think the circular needles are easier to lean on than straight ones as you don't have to balance the ends as you learn and remember how to make stitches and wrap the yarn. The circs are more versatile as you can use them for both flat knitting as well as in the round.

GrumpyGramma 01-04-2013 12:41 PM

Good point about the circs, suzeeq. Plus, it's much easier to retrieve a dropped needle when it's on a leash!

SFCDave 01-04-2013 12:48 PM

So does that mean because I am a guy that I am going to be all thumbs as I start out? I'm not even forty yet, and a Soldier... I think I will pick up the circular ones.

salmonmac 01-04-2013 01:44 PM

If you're good at texting, being all thumbes might be an advantage!
Lots of guy knitters here, too.
I like circulars and I thnk it's a great idea to start out on them.

Antares 01-04-2013 02:34 PM

I am a female and a long-time crocheter, an editor who types a lot, and a former piano player, but when I first started trying to knit, I was still very much all thumbs! So I don't think it has anything to do with gender or even hand dexterity; however, I have noticed that those who excel at mastering repetitive hand motions (without getting carpal tunnel, let us hope) tend to pick up knitting/crocheting faster.

In short, though, we were all "all thumbs" when we first started. It just comes with the territory. And if you accept this fact, then you're much less likely to get frustrated with yourself as you learn.

Welcome to the forum and to the wonderful wacky world of knitting. With help from this site, you can do anything knit-wise and crochet-wise!

GrumpyGramma 01-04-2013 03:15 PM


Originally Posted by SFCDave (Post 1365401)
So does that mean because I am a guy that I am going to be all thumbs as I start out? I'm not even forty yet, and a Soldier... I think I will pick up the circular ones.

:zombie: Nope, it's gender-nonspecific. If you'd seen me recently with dpns you'd have sworn off knitting before you started. :roflhard: I'm always dropping a needle for one reason (or none) or another. When I do, my chair eats it. When I put my knitting down and come back to pick it up, one needle almost invariably will get dropped...I do prefer my wild needles tamed with a leash. ;)

You're a soldier. Thank you.

DavidSydney63 01-05-2013 06:29 AM

All I can say is "go for it" - I'm an obsessed knitter. Drives my partner spare! haha

Love it big time. If you can pick up a "teach your self to knit" book. Patons sell an excellent one here (I'm sure you can get something similar).

My adivice? Start knitting a scarf, it'll sort out your tension and get you comfortable with the feel of yarn - wrangling ...

mojo11 01-05-2013 01:07 PM


Originally Posted by SFCDave (Post 1365401)
So does that mean because I am a guy that I am going to be all thumbs as I start out? I'm not even forty yet, and a Soldier... I think I will pick up the circular ones.

As a guy (and former soldier) who didn't learn until after 50 (and is missing 3 fingers on my left hand) my reflexive answer is "Yes!" But I don't think it's necessarily gender or occupation related. EVERYBODY starts out that way. It's like learning anything else. And dexterity is dexterity whatever you're doing.

Guys tend to have larger hands, so when you're starting out I'd avoid doing hats in the round as a first project. You'll eventually wind up using a 16" circular, which typically have very short tips which -- for ME at least -- were a little hard to manage at first. I'd say don't do what I did and jump in the deep end all at once. start with the most basic thing you can find. A scarf, a potholder, or even just a swatch. Something flat and rectangular anyway, that doesn't require any shaping. And as boring as it will seem to you later, just start with a simple garter stitch (where you knit every row), then advance to stockinette (and beyond) after you've gotten the hang of that.

For yarn, I would recommend finding something that doesn't split easily. If you're not sure, roll a strand of it between your fingers and see if it starts coming unplied (untwisted). If it starts unraveling right off the bat, it's probably best to avoid it until you've done a couple of things. Almost EVERY yarn will do this to some degree, but what you're trying to avoid is the stuff that starts falling apart as soon as you touch it. You'll also want to avoid the "furry, fuzzy" yarns or any of the fancy art yarns that change thickness. stick with the most string-like stuff you can find for the first project. You'll be a lot less frustrated.

Looks like you've already gotten lots of recommendations on needles, but I'd second any motion that says start with a US 8 or 9 -- or even larger. The bigger the needles are, the easier it is to see the structure of the stitches in the fabric you're making, and THIS will help you more than anything else in the learning process.

And (this is important) knitting is NOT machining, nor is it rocket science. You can't hold tolerances down to 0.005" with yarn, it just doesn't behave that way. I had to figure this out after many, many hours of wrapping the yarn tight around the needle in a vain attempt to make all the stitches the same size. It worked as far as THAT went, but the stitches were so tight that knitting them -- especially if there were any increases or decreases -- sometimes involved industrial lubricants and a ball peen hammer. This is NOT recommended.

Also, be prepared to do stuff wrong. And when you do, take notice that the world is still on its axis and the International Space Station is still in orbit. The absolute WORST thing that can happen is you'll find yourself pulling out a bunch of stitches and starting over.

Welcome to the dark side!

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