Updated: Feb 9, 2020
Have you wanted to learn how to knit for a long time, but you just don't know where to start, or even how to start learning? Here are your BEST resources, right at your fingertips... for FREE!
This first resource is one that you probably already use multiple times a week, but have you thought to use it for a knitting resource? YouTube is full of funny cat videos, gaming videos, music videos, and so much more. It also includes lots of great information on learning how to knit -- or even listening to other knitters talk about their knitting projects!
You can just search "knitting tutorial," "learn how to knit," or "basic knitting stitches" to get started. A few people/companies have really embraced the opportunity to share their knitting knowledge with the public and are well-known for their knitting tutorials. To name a few, you can check out Very Pink Knits, HappyBerry Knitting, Purl Soho, and Bernat Yarns.
A few terms to get you started... you will want to start with a cast on. I recommend searching for a basic knitting cast on. After you have cast on, you will want to learn how to work the knit stitch. Most knitters start by learning how to knit a square (like a dishcloth) or a rectangle (like a scarf). (Keep reading and you'll come across some great beginner recommendations.) Once you feel confident with the knit stitch, you want to learn the purl stitch. After you've learned both the knit stitch and the purl stitch, you will know the entire basics of knitting! Pretty simple, right?! All of the stitches after this point are a combination of knit stitches and purl stitches, and some different techniques with these stitches. When you near the end of your project, you will want to learn how to cast off your project.
As an aside, if you are totally obsessed with knitting (like a lot of us!), I highly recommend checking out some knitting podcasts on YouTube. You will learn a lot about knitting patterns, yarn, knitting designers, knitting terminology, and what the knitting trends are -- and it's a casual, relaxed, not--so--academic environment! You can search "knitting podcast" on YouTube to find some favorites of your own, or to get you started, here are a few popular podcasters:
Grocery Girls Knit -- a podcast hosted by 2 fun ladies in Canada who are very welcoming to diverse audiences. Tracie and Jodie have both recently entered the knitting design front. Be warned, though... occasionally there are some topics that come up that you may not want your kids listening to. There is always lots of laughter and enthusiasm in this podcast.
Hey BrownBerry -- a podcast hosted by a very sweet lady in southeastern USA. Marce has a very calm, gentle demeanor and loves to talk about spinning and knitting. You are sure to feel welcome and cozy in this space.
Kristy Glass Knits -- a podcast hosted by an energetic and lively lady in New York, USA. Kristy loves pink, loves knitting, and brings so much energy and passion into the knitting community. Her channel is full of interviews, events, and finished projects.
Are you thinking, "Ok, this is all great and everything, but don't I need a pattern? Like, how do I even know what to knit?!" Great question, thanks for bringing it up! The next free resource that I want to talk about is a platform for patterns (and so much more)!
If you haven't ever heard of Ravelry before, your mind is going to be totally blown. If you have heard of it (and maybe you even use it), you probably don't realize how extensive this platform is.
First things first, I think we all initially hear of Ravelry because patterns. And, although there are so many other features to Ravelry, this is the primary reason we all use Ravelry.
So what is Ravelry? Ravelry is the largest resource for online knitting and crochet patterns. There are free patterns and paid-for patterns; kids patterns and men's patterns; sweater patterns and stuffie patterns... anything you can think of. And if you've thought of something and it's not there? You can design it and put it there.
What I love so much about Ravelry is that it is like Amazon, Pinterest, and Facebook for knitters... all in one place. Let me explain myself.
Filters: When you are searching for a pattern, you can use tons of filters to go through the millions of patterns stored on this database. Filter by yarn weight, pattern level, and project type to find exactly what you are looking for. You can even filter for exclusively free patterns.
Favorites: Save all of your favorites for later in an organized way, just like your Pinterest boards! And yes, it can be just as addicting and time-consuming!
Groups: There are a ton of groups on Ravelry (many that are linked to knitting podcasts), which have forums for discussions, giveaways, knit-a-longs, and more!
Sign Up for Ravelry today and have a little look for yourself! Here are a few patterns that are perfect for a first knitting project:
Grandmother's Favorite Dishcloth -- this knitting project was one of the first projects I knit. Don't worry too much about creating a perfect square. Focus on the techniques, and when you have the techniques down, you can focus on your tension. If you'd prefer something that is a plain knit square, just cast on 44 stitches, knit until you have a square, and then cast off. If you use Sugar & Cream yarn (or a yarn of similar size) and US size 7 needles, you should get a dishcloth-sized project!
Seeded Stripe Dishcloth -- this knitting project is simple and utilizes your knowledge of both purl stitches and knit stitches.
Garter Stitch Scarf -- not ready for purling yet, but you don't want a small little dishcloth? This pattern is equally as simple as a plain knit dishcloth -- it's just a lot longer!
Garter Stripe Scarf -- this knitting project is the scarf equivalent to the Seeded Stripe Dishcloth: a simple rectangular shape that will utilize your knowledge of knitting and purling.
Once you're feeling confident with your knits and purls and want to take your knitting up a notch, try these simple patterns that I have for sale on Ravelry (listed from easiest to hardest):
My Favorite Simple Knit Hat -- this knitting project will use all of the techniques that you've learned from your YouTube videos above, but take it a step further. Use this pattern to practice knitting in the round on circular needles to create a round shape and then decrease stitches, so the top of the hat gets smaller.
My Favorite Cable Headband -- this knitting project is knit flat, but it uses a technique called cabling. Learn how to knit cables while creating this beautiful, and practical, piece of art.
With Love, from the North (Mittens) -- this knitting project is slightly more complex, utilizing your new-found knowledge of knitting in the round, and adding colorwork (the knitting technique of using more than 1 yarn simultaneously) or duplicate stitch (the technique of using a darning needle to hand sew the second color onto the finished project in such a way that it looks as if it were knit) to your repertoire.
Did you find a pattern that you love, but it looks a bit more complicated? Fret not! Take a little time learning the knitting and purling stitches, and then continue to expand to new techniques! I'd recommend finding projects that use no more than 4 new techniques in the beginning stages, just so you don't get overwhelmed. But if you're ready for the challenge? Go for it!
If you haven't heard of this platform, you're probably living under a rock (but that's totally ok, 'cause I'm not going to judge!). Instagram is typically where we post about our romantic walk on the beach, our out-of-this-world vacation to Jamaica, and our baby photos of our first child, who is obviously a perfect little angel. But, I've also found it to be an awesome knitting resource.
No, Instagram will not be your search engine for "how to" videos or your go-to pattern database, but you will find so much inspiration, knowledge, and community. You can follow knitters, knitting designers, and yarn dyers (did you know that there are people that hand dye yarn?), and you will discover new patterns (including brand-new patterns that are just released), luxurious yarns, and a huge community of everyday people who love to knit...and share about their life, too! You can search for "knit designer," "yarn dyer," or "knit" in the Instagram search, but not everyone uses these keywords in their handle. Here are a few well-known Instagram folks from the knitting community:
@dreareneeknits -- Andrea Mowry is a phenomenal knitwear designer with a beautiful feed.
@brooklynboyknits -- Louis Boria is knitwear designer and teacher from New York who is constantly initiating exceptional activities to improve and extend this community of knitters.
@boylandknitworks -- Caitlin Hunter is an exceptional knitwear designer who is the mom of a tribe of boys and lives in Oregon.
@jojilocat -- Joji Locatelli is a beautiful soul from Argentina who designs (some of my favorite) knitting patterns and shares about her life in her Youtube Journals. She also recently opened a company with beautiful bags (@jojiandco)!
@ocean_bythesea -- Ocean dyes calm, subtle colors using natural botanical materials in England.
@thefarmersdaughterfibers -- Candice is a Montana farm girl who dyes stunning yarn colors and speckles.
@fruvalborg -- Petra lives in Sweden, dyes some of