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Old 01-18-2009, 12:05 PM   #1
bailchri
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What do I need to start?
I have never knitted before, I'm just starting...well, wanting to start. I broke my leg on Christmas Eve and can't put any weight on it - I spend A LOT of time just sitting on the couch - so I was looking for a new hobby.

What do I need to get started? I'm going to be sending someone (husband - maybe?) to the store to get me supplies to start and I don't even know what to have them look for. Can I get your input about what size/type of needles, yarn, anything else that should be in a beginners bag?

Also, if you have any sites to recommend that might be beneficial for a beginner that would be great (though this one seems thorough I should be able to learn a lot from here).

Thanks so much!
Bailey
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Old 01-18-2009, 12:41 PM   #2
DebbieJ
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Bailey, you need some knitting needles. I would go for a size 8 or bigger, and some yarn. Look in the Video section on this site and check out the videos. There are all sorts of written instructions on the net also. I would start with a simple scarf pattern. There are plenty on the net.

Good luck and I hope you are on the way to mending.

Debbie J ~ who learned to knit at 54 years old.
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Old 01-18-2009, 12:49 PM   #3
TrishL1975
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If you're lookng to start very quickly - (as I did - go out, get some yarn, knit) it might be best to decide what you'd like to try first. A simple hat and scarf combo that can either be used now or tucked away as a gift?

I jumped in because I wanted to make a scarf for my MIL. I grabbed a set of acrylic straight needles that were in the right range for the bulky yarn I picked out according to the label. A 2x2 rib didn't really need much gauge, and I had a finished product in 3 days. There's lots of free patterns (especially at Lion Brand, although their site appears to be down this morning) especially from the yarn manufacturers - they want you to use their yarns, and it makes it easier for a beginner to put everything needed together.

To be honest, I have changed needles three times on my current project. I started with those acrylic straight needles (three sizes for $10), moved to a $7.99 pair of aluminum circulars that were frustrating as heck, and finally ordered a set of KnitPicks Interchangeable Nickel-Plated Options circulars ($59.99) that I adore.

Yarn too - acrylic is cheapest, and machine washable. If you want to practice, a standard worsted weight is probably easiest to practice stitches with. I'm doing this project with it, but I don't like the feel of it. My next project will be in cotton. I find I dislike bulky yarns, but maybe I just haven't found the right one yet.

A word on patterns - pick something small and fast. I abandoned an afghan because it was too big. I hear knitted dishcloths are good for that - you can learn simple to elaborate patterns on them, and who doesn't need dishcloths? JoAnn's has cotton Sugar and Creme for $2/skein, and Hobby Lobby has something similar for around the same price.

Oh, and a Ravelry account (free, but might need a day or two to get the account invitation) is AWESOME for patterns, recommendations, techniques, questions, etc.

I'm sure more people will be around to give you much more advice - I'm just a beginner myself, and this is what I've learned in the last month.
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Old 01-18-2009, 01:18 PM   #4
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I wouldn't worry about a pattern for anything at first. Just get some yarn and needles and play with them. Size 10s would be good and a medium weight light colored or multi colored yarn so you can see the stitches easily.

Then cast on and just knit for several inches. Then add a row of purl - or you can purl all rows for a few inches, this will look like it did when you knit all rows, it's called garter stitch. If you alternate a knit row and a purl row you get stockinette stitch, like a sweater. That should keep you busy enough for a week or so, then you could practices decreases and increases, or ribbing - knit 4 sts, purl 4 sts on the same row.
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Old 01-18-2009, 01:19 PM   #5
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I personally think that starting with a project in mind (a scarf for your husband or yourself, maybe) is helpful, because then all kinds of decisions become much easier.

For instance, if you or your giftee is fussy about what you wear, take that into account before you decide on what to buy. (For instance, I like to wear and work with mainly natural fibres, which means I largely ignore acrylics.) If cost is an issue or if you're not sure you'll actually like knitting, stick with low range tools and supplies at first, there's absolutely nothing wrong with them and I've seen people do beautiful work with them.

Another thing to consider is to buy a kit -- have your husband simply ask for a kit that comes with everything you need to complete the project. It'll have needles, yarn, directions, everything you need to make a scarf or hat or whatever it's for.

All knitting is pretty much the two stitches of Knit and Purl, with a few more techniques thrown in here and there, like yarnovers and slip stitches, etc.. Amy's videos make learning them very easy. After that, mastery of knitting means expanding your technique, learning to choose materials and projects well, and refining your tension and control over the fibres.

I've been working with various textiles in various techniques since I was 4 years old, and I've taught in many of those techniques throughout my career, but only started knitting on New Year's Eve of 2009. I can't believe I ever found it unlearnable, but I did! I've tried several times to knit over the years, but it's never stuck. I think it's perhaps because I always started with cheap materials and very basic tools -- I'm a snob about fibres and tools, so I don't know why I didn't take that into account.

Other people I know have knitted things in acrylic and with cheap plastic needles all their lives, and been very happy to do so, making beautiful things with them.

So everybody's different, we all learn different ways, and if you want to knit, you will probably get a better success rate if you take the way you learn and enjoy doing crafts into account when you plan your attack on learning knitting!

Good luck -- this forum and website has been invaluable to me in getting going and learning the finer points of knitting!

ETA: when you are buying skeins of yarn, the label will almost always give a recommendation of size needle for an acceptable result. The larger the diameter of the yarn, usually the larger the diameter of the needle. A very easy way to start knitting is to buy a chunky or ultra-thick yarn and very large needles.
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Old 01-18-2009, 02:10 PM   #6
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Yep, you basically need yarn and needles. I don't know where your designated shopper will be able to shop, but even Wal-Mart has some passable stuff to get started on. Lots of yarn these days has a rating system for the thickness of the strands of yarn on the skeins (all of them don't have this). If your shopper looks on the skein for a little emblem of a shein of yarn with a number on it, that tells the "weight" of yarn. The smaller the number the finer the yarn. I'd look for a "4", although you might like a "5". Like someone said the skein will have a suggested size of needle. That is a good place to start.

A lot of the needles you'd find at a Wal-Mart type store are 14" long. Personally I hate those long needles. They are unwieldy and can be heavy. WM also has a few 10" straight needles, I'd go with those over the long ones. They make needles called circulars that have the two needle tips connected by some sort of line between them. Those are also good choices, you just use the two ends like individual needles.

You will need a pair of scissors or something to cut yarn with (fingernail clippers or even a knife will work as a last resort), and you probably have something that will work without having to buy anything.

One item that I think is a "must have" for a knitter is a crochet hook. The size of the hook isn't terribly critical, although you can't use a tiny hook on big yarn or vise versa. If you are using size 4 or 5 yarn you could probably use an H, I, or J hook. You may not use the hook immediately, but you will want to learn to fix mistakes and a crochet hook is really good for that.

If you make anything that will involve seams (just down the road) you will need a blunt needle with a big eye. But to get started I'd say, knitting needles, yarn and a medium size crochet hook.
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Old 01-18-2009, 02:13 PM   #7
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you would need knitting needles some worsted weight yarn and go to the video sections and play the basic videos casting on, knit, purl, and bind off are basic you need to know and from then on you would need to know how to read patterns so you'll also need to know what are all those abbreviations stand for. and then go on trying some easy patterns. for now you will just have to keep watching the basic videos and keep trying until you get hang of the basic knit and purl stitches.
good luck
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Old 01-18-2009, 05:25 PM   #8
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I learned to knit doing dishcloths. Get some skeins of cotton, and a pair of needles the size indicated on the label. There are dozen and dozens of dishcloth patterns free online, and it's a great way to learn all kinds of new techniques. A cloth is finished quickly enough that you don't get sick of looking at it before it's done, and trying new stitch patterns/techniques keep you from getting bored of miles of garter stitch.

Like noted above, who doesn't need dishcloths? Even the ones that turn out wonky (you should have seen the awful non-square shapes I churned out while learning ) are still usable if you don't feel like ripping them out and starting over. And they make great gifts, too... for Christmas this year, an aunt gave me a little Christmas tin bucket with several knitted dishcloths, a small bottle of dish detergent and a nice hand lotion.
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Old 01-18-2009, 05:55 PM   #9
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Bailey, I'm pretty new to knitting myself. For a Christmas I was given 2 skeins of Vanna's choice worsted weight yarn and a set of #10 14" boye aluminum needles. I also got the book 10-20-30 Minutes to Learn to Knit. I needed a little more help than just that book so I used the videos on this site, they are awesome! I just started playing with the needles and yarn with the basic stiches. I started doing the dishcloth pattern from the book and decided that I wanted to do something a little more... so I went and got some circular needles and did a hat for my little boy. Now I'm doing a scarf and hat set for him and my husband (pattern in the 10-20-30 book) I'm also starting to do some socks. You can see it's easy to become addicted to it. You don't really NEED anything but yarn and needles to get started. I'd start with a scarf or dishcloth if I were you. Or like someone else suggested, just start with a few rows of garter stitch, then do a few of stockinette, then maybe a seed, etc... It's really a lot of fun and very relaxing. Good Luck and hope you heal quickly!!
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Old 01-18-2009, 07:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
If you are using size 4 or 5 yarn you could probably use an H, I, or J hook.
I like using a much smaller hook, even with thicker yarn. So E, F or G is good.
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