Tools you need to get started in knitting
Gather these essential tools before you start knitting
If you've always wanted to learn to knit, but you've been putting it off because you didn't know where to begin, here's your chance. Find out what tools you need to get started in knitting. You'll find many gadgets in craft and yarn stores, but most of these are unnecessary. Here are the essential knitting tools for beginners.
Experienced knitters sometimes design their own patterns. But as a beginner, you should work with a prepared knitting pattern, preferably from a professional source that will limit mistakes in published patterns. You can also find many good patterns for free online. Some of these are done in a professional manner and some are not.
Many professional patterns adhere to a common set of standards. One part of these standards addresses the skill level of the pattern. For a first project, choose a pattern marked "Beginner" or "Easy." If the skill level is not marked, look for patterns in a solid color, without fancy stitches, cables, or lace. Avoid patterns with a section that explains special stitches, which can be complex.
You cannot get started in knitting without the appropriate needles to complete your project. As you become more experienced and choose a variety of patterns, you will probably expand your collection of knitting tools. You could buy a whole set of needles, but you may never use all of them, and sets of knitting needles can be expensive. Gauge plays a factor in determining which size needles you need to get started in knitting.
Patterns will usually indicate a suggested needle size and a gauge. If you want a project that is exactly the size of the model piece, you will need to make a gauge swatch according to the pattern instructions. A gauge swatch allows you to compare how many stitches and rows make up a given measurement. If your gauge matches the stated one, you will use the same needle size the pattern indicates. If your gauge is smaller or larger than what's stated, you will need a larger or smaller size of needles, respectively. If you don't care about gauge, you can just buy the needle size indicated in the pattern. (Gauge is very important for garments but not always as important for toys, accessories, afghans, purses, and so forth.)
The pattern will identify the yarn used for the model project. The easiest way to choose yarn before you get started in knitting is to use the exact yarn given.
But sometimes you may have a hard time finding that yarn, or it may be way more expensive than others. You can substitute yarns if you choose one of the same weight and drape. The weight (lace, fingering, worsted, bulky, and so forth) is often marked on the label or indicated on the manufacturer's website.
Drape involves how flexible the knitted fabric is and how it hangs. You can compare knitted swatches at some stores that will show you how the yarn works up. Often you can guesstimate drape by choosing a substitute yarn with the same type of fiber (bamboo, mohair, silk, or others) as the original yarn used in the pattern.
A yarn needle has a blunt tip and an extra-large eye. You will need a yarn needle to weave in ends. If you progress to more advanced projects after you get started in knitting, you'll also use the needle to sew seams and graft stitches.
What About Other Knitting Tools?
These four knitting tools are all you really need to get started in knitting. Some people find a row counter helpful, but if you learn to count your rows manually, you can just keep knitting instead of trying to remember at the end of each row to stop and advance the number on the counter. A flexible tape measure is a handy thing to have if you do much knitting at all, but you can probably make do without one on your first few beginner knitting patterns.
Resources to Get Started in Knitting
The two basic stitches are knit and purl. Check out these illustrated tutorials by the Craft Yarn Council of America:
Or if you prefer, you can check out some free knitting videos that discuss basic techniques. Videos can also be helpful as you seek to expand your skills and try new, more advanced techniques after you learn to knit.