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Old 03-14-2011, 10:29 PM   #1
thelmarini
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Interested In Knitting
I am interested in learning how to knit but am wondering what materials are a must have to start out with and what size/type of needles would be recommended for a beginner. Any input is greatly appreciated
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:18 PM   #2
ZoeS
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What are you interested in knitting?

You should probably start with something very easy like a scarf or wash cloth, and just knit in garter stitch (knit every stitch). Try a bulky weight yarn and size 10 U.S. needles.

Pick a yarn that is light in colour and smooth, not fuzzy. It'll be easier to see your stitches that way. The type of needle doesn't really matter - metal, resin, bamboo, etc. The bamboo needles are a little less slippery, though, and if you are knitting loosely it will be harder for them to slip off accidentally while you are getting used to holding your needles.

If you don't know how to cast on, that's what you need to learn first. There are videos on this site that show various methods of casting on. You can also try youtube.

Start with something like 20-25 stitches and go from there. You can use your scarf as a swatch. Once you feel comfortable with the knit stitch, try the purl stitch (again, check out the videos).

If you are so inclined, you could pick up a "learn how to knit" type of book, but I've found that videos are much easier to follow.

Good luck
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:23 PM   #3
TEMA
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I'm no expert but here's what I think....
First... knitting needles... straights or you can try some circulars if you are interested but I feel, for myself, tho' others may think differently, that it is essential to start simple and basic.
There are a lot of videos here on this site (see front page) that can help you get started... perhaps on a dishcloth to begin with.
There, at least, you would learn how to knit, purl, cast on, cast off, do garter (just knit) and stocking stitch (purl one row, knit the next one).
One of the books I found really helpful was Knitting for Dummies (once I got over the name, that is... ) They assume you know nothing and start you from the beginning but a lot of the stuff you can learn from this book can also be found here in the videos I mentioned earlier.
I also think it is important to get friendly with another knitter in your vacinity... someone with experience that you can ask questions of and who can get you on the right track. Someone helped me that way years ago.
The library is also a good source of beginner books with easy projects to make so you can practice what you've learned.

The yarn... I wouldn't want to start with expensive wools... try some acrylics to practice on. They can be very beautiful, colourful and best of all, washable.

Knitting is not hard. IT takes practise to get really good at... I'm still trying.. but in the process you learn more than just how to knit and I've found knitting to be very therapeutic... except right now, of course, when I'm tearing my hair out over some botched up sleeves... grrrrr!
But try it... you'll like it and everyone loves a handknit item.

Or so I've heard...
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:28 PM   #4
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Thank you so much for the help I will definitely use the videos seeing as I am much more of a visual learner and hopefully will start working on a scarf tomorrow.
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:30 PM   #5
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Use a medium weight yarn rather than a bulky, but do use the size 10 needles. With bulky yarn, the needle might be a little tight. The larger stitches are easier to see and work into. I think it's easier to learn on circulars (2 short needles connected with a cord) than the traditional straight ones which can be hard to balance while you learn how to make the stitches. You want some smooth, light colored yarn, nothing textured or furry.
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Old 03-15-2011, 12:00 AM   #6
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When I asked my friends and the owner of my local yarn shop what needles and yarn to teach my 8 year old granddaughter, they suggested a inexpensive wool or wool blend, and bamboo needles size 8. Light colored yarn will show the stitches well, but will also show all the mistakes. Too dark a yarn is hard to see so I don't recommend that. I personally hate acyrlic for what it's worth. I love using circular needles but didn't start out on them. I used bamboo in the beginning. Don't use any fancy looking yarn, but stay with the basic. Too bulky would not be a good choice. Too light weight might be difficult too. Sport, DK, or worsted weight would be my choices. Not to confuse this anymore, if you asked 20 people, you might get 20 different answers. Will you learn to knit english or continental. English might be easier at first. I learned continental because that's how my grandmother knitted. Good luck and I hope you really come to enjoy this great hobby.
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Old 03-15-2011, 06:35 AM   #7
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Here's my recommendations.

Knitting Needles
Material: Bamboo (because it doesn't drop stitches as much as metal)
Size: US 8-10 (Meaning any size within that range I learned on a size US 8)
Length: 9 inch straights (added this because I bought some 13 inch metal ones in the beginning and those are ANNOYING. The 13 inch ones were way too long and got in the way a lot.)

Yarn
Material: Acrylic or Wool Blends (or just choose something cheap, you 'are' learning after all. Mistakes will be a given.)
Texture: Smooth (as everyone mentioned, it's easier to see your stitches with a smooth yarn.)
Color: Light (again as previously mentioned, easier to see stitches.)

When I learned to knit (about 3 years ago) it was on size US 8 bamboo straight knitting needles, using pale yellow acrylic yarn. The person that taught me taught me the long-tail cast on and made me cast on over and over again, for half an hour (thanks to that I never had a problem with the long-tail cast on).

After that I was taught the Knit stitch and got comfortable with that before she taught me to bind-off. After that it was time to learn the Purl stitch. So cast on a new swatch, Knit a row, taught to Purl a row, and continued with the swatch. Your swatches will probably be uneven, have dropped stitches, and have many mistakes, but don't worry and just keep going.

Once you get the basics down you can worry about tension and other things. Side note, I still have those swatches from my lessons.
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Old 03-15-2011, 09:58 AM   #8
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Sheri made a good point about English vs. Continental. They are two different ways of knitting. I knit English (when you hold your yarn strand in your right hand) and likely always will as that is how I learned. I tried, and learned continental (hold the yarn in your left hand) but it just wasn't easy or intuitive for me. If I could re-learn from scratch, though, I would learn continental. I believe it is faster.
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Old 03-15-2011, 10:28 AM   #9
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Neither style is faster or better, it's just whichever you can use better and are more familiar with. The world's fastests knitters include both english and continental knitters.
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Old 03-15-2011, 12:40 PM   #10
ZoeS
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Originally Posted by suzeeq View Post
Neither style is faster or better, it's just whichever you can use better and are more familiar with. The world's fastests knitters include both english and continental knitters.
Hmm.. I suppose it's like the various types of keyboard, it's more about the person using them. That said, I was sure I'd read that continental is faster because the movement required per stitch is lesser.
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