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Beginner's Knitting Lessons & A Roundup Of Projects
Knitting stitches can be used to make a wide range of items including blankets, chair covers, scarves, gloves, jumpers, cuddly toys, hats and much more - and all you need to start learning is yarn and knitting needles.
The first list of links direct you to excellent online lessons for beginners, and the following links provide you with hundreds of free tutorials, inspiring ideas and patterns.
I hope you find this page useful!
Top-Rated Knitting Books
Like most knitters I am self-taught, and along with using Youtube videos, I also bought quite a few books to aid my learning, including two I have listed below. Books contain excellent diagrams for the basics, but I find that books are mainly useful for knitting texture patterns and ideas, expert advice, informational theory, and beginner projects. I just like the fact that you can find everything in one place, so I definitely recommend any beginner to buy a book to start you off on the right path.
A quirky, fresh and fun knitting beginner's book which, along with all of the basic instruction, includes 40 free patterns for items including a manly sweater, a cat bed and a Queen of Hearts bikini.
A huge and comprehensive guide for teaching you how to knit, with so many techniques covered and an abundance of clear instructions and diagrams. Great for keeping on the shelf and using as a reference - even for advanced knitters.
If you already know the very basics of knitting, this is a good choice for taking your skills to the next level. 30 modern projects are included in the book, such as an open weave sweater, a washcloth and a men's crew cap.
For Absolute Beginners
Knitting was something that was taught to me by my Nana when I was a child, and I unfortunately didn't pick up knitting needles again for several years until my late teens, and funnily enough, I remembered the basics straight away (which isn't like me because I'm the forgetful sort!) Anyway, this inspired me to progress my skills so I bought a book and found so many techniques that I didn't know even existed...I'd only ever seen straight needles before so I didn't know anything about circular or double pointed needles at all and I have to say it kind of overwhelmed me.
And that's what I think I need to say about knitting for beginners - you will feel overwhelmed when you see all these different abbreviations and complicated looking methods, but you shouldn't let it stop you. I did end up giving up very quickly because it seemed too much of a mountain to climb to get to where I wanted to be (fair isle was my aim), but I came back and got stuck in and eventually I promise it does 'click' in your mind. I now have learnt all the basics and am working my way through circular and DPN knitting, with a view to hopefully being able to accomplish some fair isle knitting by the end of the year *fingers crossed*
I think a list is always helpful to give you something to work through when you don't know where to begin, so here are the techniques I think you should try to learn (in this order), using straight needles:
- Casting on: How to put the very first stitches onto one of your needles. This is the very first step of any project. There are a few different casting on methods, and you can try a few out to see what you like best, but I prefer the 'long tail casting on' method personally.
- Knit stitch: The main stitch you require for projects. Knitting row after row of just knit stitch creates what is called 'garter stitch' which is quite a chunky kind of knit.
- Casting/binding off: This is what you do when you finish your project and want to take the stitches off the needle.
- Purl stitch: This is the other main stitch besides the knit stitch. Alternating rows between knit and purl stitch (e.g. first row knit, second row purl, third row knit etc.) creates 'stockinette stitch' which is a thinner knit than the garter stitch.
These are the absolute basics you need, and next you should move onto increase techniques and decrease techniques which allow you to increase or decrease the number of stitches on your needles whilst you are in the middle of your work so that you can create different shapes than just simple rectangles. At this point, I think buying a book would be a good idea to guide you through the rest of the techniques available so you can choose which you want to learn and which you don't.
I have listed quite a few projects below which are good for practice when you are starting out in this hobby, so I hope you find this page useful...and fun!
Learn to Knit a Dishcloth
Online Knitting Lessons for Beginners
Discover techniques, find tips, and learn the knitting lingo on the pages listed below. For instance, a swatch is a 'sample' of the knitting project you are going to be making (i.e. it is a small section made using the same needle size and yarn as you will be using for the project). A swatch is made to measure gauge when you are creating something wearable or something which must be a certain size.
- Beginner's Info
Advice about needles, tools, terms and basic stitches.
- Vogue Knitting
Knitting how-tos, pattern reading tips and new techniques.
- Knit Simple
Brilliant knitting basics.
A dictionary for many simple and complex stitches and patterns.
- Stitch Finder
A list of knit techniques and trims.
- A Beginner's Guide
Nice and easy starter instructions.
- Knitting for Dummies
Loads of basic info plus helpful diagrams.
- Yarn Overs & Directional Decreases
A few handy technique instructions.
- Intarsia Knitting
How patterns of different colours are often made.
- How To Choose The Right Knitting Needles
Straight, circular or double-pointed needles?
- Advanced Techniques
Videos showing how to use different needles, including Magic Loop and circular.
- Circular Knitting
Trio of videos to get you started on this type of needle.
Square Block Blanket
More Stitches & Techniques
- Entrelac Workshop
A pretty way of using up leftover yarn.
- Pick Up Dropped Stitches
The cure for when something goes wrong.
- Domino Knitting
A technique which creates a fun design of square holes.
- Blocking and Rag Knitting
A collection of tutorials including one on blocking.
- Double Knitting
Knitting with 2 yarns at the same time.
- Knitting Tutorial Collection
Fab selection of step-by-step how-tos for knitted bobbles and more.
- Mattress Stitch
A stitch used to connect knitted pieces in toys.
- Kitchener Stitch
Step-by-step for joining knitted sections seamlessly.
Easy Scarf for Beginners
Simple Starter Projects for Beginners
- Woolly Sheep
Made from just a square of basic stitches.
- Baby Blanket
Super easy striped rectangle blanket.
- Cozy Lampshade
A pretty knitted lampshade wrap with buttons.
- Knit Bangle
Refashion plastic bangles with a knitted rectangle.
- Simple Bauhaus Throw
Lovely soft mohair throw in a checkered design.
- Knit Headband
Cool boho band for keeping your hair back.
- Coffee Cozy
Quick and simple covers for your coffee cups.
- Ear Warmer
Turban style accessory for the colder months.
Elephant Tank Top
Free Patterns and How-Tos
- Purl Bee
A huge resource of beautiful patterns.
- Winged Heart Tattoo
Quirky and fun tattoo themed design to download.
- Knitty Patterns
Large archive of excellent free patterns.
- Watermelon Hat
A cute hat for little kids especially.
- Knitted Stool
Use chunky size 15 needles to knit a pouf.
- Loads of Patterns
Including a knitted bulldog and a wolf patterned hat.
- Gnome Hat
Lovely tall cone hat in a soft knit.
- Handy Creations
Instructions for hats, scarves and more.
- Embroidered Conversation Hearts
A free heart pattern plus a cute idea for adding yarn embroidery.
Flat Knot or Star Stitch Scarf
Knitting Projects & Patterns
- Myriad of Mushrooms
How-tos for a range of toadstool designs and shapes.
- Market Bag
A classic tote bag pattern.
- Felted Bowls
How to knit and then felt your own little bowls.
- Chunky Cowl
Huge cable knit neck scarf.
- 27 Knitted Ornaments
Fun decorations for your festive celebration.
- Chocolate Cake Cozy
Tea cozy with icing and a cherry on top.
- Cupcake Pincushion
Squishy cake cushion to keep your pins and needles safe.
- Posey Pincushion
Three layers of flower shapes.
- Two-Way Girly Dress
Made with the lovely chunky brioche stitch technique.
Sunshine Coffee Sleeve
A coffee cozy is a perfect beginner's project, and you can find the pattern for this one by clicking here.
Socks, Scarves & Other Wearables
How to Knit a BOW
Fun Novelty Makes
- Lego Brick Doorstop
Giant lego piece made using a brick.
- Halloween Wig
Fun bob in bright pink knit.
- Mario Sweater Vest
Amazing geeky gaming pattern.
- Caution Tape
Knit your own caution tape in yellow and black.
- Pixie Hat
Stretchy hat with a cute little point on top.
- Cozy Keys
Fun little t-shirts for your keys.
- Mr Ed-Less
Humorous and gory horse's head pattern.
Click here for the free pattern for these fun toys.
Softies, Toys & More
- How to Stuff a Plush Toy
Tips and advice on stuffing a knit toy.
- How to Add Faces
Tutorial on adding eyes and facial features.
- Jack Russell
Adorable knitted dog softie.
- Reversible Duck Bunny
Mini duck and bunny toy in one.
- Flying Pigs
With cool golden wings.
- Little Birds
Free pattern for a mini bird softie.
A character from the animation Despicable Me.
- Baby Gators
Fun little crocodile pattern for free.
- Stripe Elephant
Lovely elephant plushie toy.
- Snails & Slugs
Knitting can make even slugs cute!
How to Do a Basket Weave Stitch
Creative Knit Tutorials
- Monster Booties & More
Plenty of knitted cloths, rugs and other projects.
- Monster Longies
Toddler leggings with a fun pattern.
- Bunny Hop Slippers
With roving added on the inside for added comfort.
- Duck Feet
Funny little webbed feet for a toddler.
- Striped Legwarmers
Great textures and funky design.
- Harry Potter Crafts
Inventive and creative projects for fans of the famous books.
Public Art Knitting
Knitting Crafts Roundup
- Endpaper Mitts
Gloves with a cool geometric pattern.
- Slouchy Hat
Textured beanie hat in a baggy style.
- Star Ornaments
A shape that can be used for all kinds of decorative project.
- Bramblewood Vest
Pretty tank top in a classic style.
- Fair Isle Hat
Ski style design on a classic woolly hat.
- Polar Bear Hat
Adorable animal hat with added pom-poms.
- Chunky Lined Bag
Straightforward bag design with lining.
- Cable Knit Purse
Gorgeous thick knit bag with round handles.
How To Add a Tassel Fringe - Instructions For Adding Yarn Fringe to a Knitted Scarf or Other Item
There are two ways to add tassels to a knitted product (e.g. a scarf or a bag), and they are as follows:
What You Will Need:
* Crochet hook (mid-size)
* Yarn needle
* Small, sharp scissors
* Scrap cardboard
This method is best for larger knits (or even knitted/crocheted rugs), or for if you want to add tassels that are relatively large.
- Take a piece of cardboard and cut it to a particular width - a width which depends on the length of tassel you want to make. For instance, in my diagram I have cut the width to 7" because I want to make 3" tassels, so just think what length you want the tassels to be, double it and add 1".
It doesn't matter about the length of the cardboard as long as it's more than 4" or so.
- Fold the cardboard in half lengthways as shown in the diagram so that the width is halved (to 3.5").
- Put a length of yarn inside the folded card so that it sticks out of each end by a couple of inches. You can put more than one (equal) length of yarn inside the card if you wish, as this will be the loop that will attach the tassel to the knitting, so you can use more yarn if you want this link to be stronger.
- Next wrap yarn around the card, moving from left to right and trying to cover the cardboard as you go. Try not to layer yarn on top of other yarn too much.
- The amount of wrapped yarn will determine how wide and chunky the tassel will be so this is personal preference. For a 3" tassel I would have evenly covered around 3" of the card.
- Carefully take the ends of the yarn piece(s) inside the card and move the yarn to the open side of the folded card.
- Tightly tie a secure (double) knot to gather the yarn at the top.
- Take your scissors and cut through the yarn at the bottom (the folded edge) of the card. You can neaten the ends up after you remove the card, so as to make them straight across.
- Take another long piece of yarn and lie the tassel onto it so that it is in the center and the yarn piece is around 1/2" below the top of the tassel.
- Start wrapping this new piece of yarn around the 'neck' of the tassel to make the classic tassel shape. One end will wrap around clockwise and the other will wrap around anti-clockwise. Keep doing this until you are satisfied with the appearance (perhaps around 6-8 wraps).
Knot the wrapping in place and then cut the ends so that they are in line with the other pieces of yarn in the tassel.
- Now you simply have to attach the tassel to your knitting using the free ends of yarn at the top.
- Attach a yarn needle to one end of this piece of yarn and thread it through your knitting where you want to attach the tassel. Thread the other end of the yarn through your knitting in the same place but in the opposite direction.
- Pull this loop tight, then using the yarn needle thread each of the ends into the top of the tassel and down through the wrapped yarn section.
- Separate the yarn in the tassel with you hands and try to arrange it so that the ends you just thread through are in the center and lie next to each other. Then tie these together in a secure knot so that the knot is as hidden and as close to the wrapped section as possible.
- Cut the yarn so the ends are all straight if they aren't already, then if you want more tassels, do the whole process again!
This way is best for finer tassels or fringing and it embeds the tassels into the knitting rather than tying them on with a loop.
- This time you won't need to fold the card in half so just cut a piece of card that has a width equal to the length you want the tassels to be, plus 0.5". So for 3" tassels, the card will be 3.5" wide.
- Wrap yarn around the card evenly, moving from left to right and not doubling back on yourself. Estimate how much yarn you will need, remembering you can easily make more fringing later if you don't have enough.
- Cut the yarn along one edge of the card, giving you lots of individual pieces measuring 7" long.
- Plan out where you will be inserting the tassels/fringing onto the knitting piece before you start, so you can space them out evenly as you go.
- Take a crochet hook and insert it into the knitting where you want the first tassel to go, then pull it back out again after hooking onto the center of a few lengths of the yarn. The number of yarn pieces you include depends on how thick you want the tassel to be. I have shown 4 pieces in the diagram.
- Take the ends of the yarn and feed them all through the space where the crochet hook is.
- Pull the yarn tight so that it is secured. Try to keep the yarn ends together as you do so.
- Trim the yarn ends if they have gone wonky and you want to neaten them up.
- Repeat this as many times as you want.
Hen & Chicks
Fun Things to Make
- Baby Cocoon
Cocoon to wrap your baby up nice and snug.
- Patchwork Blankie
Comfy throw with many different textures.
- Tree of Gondor Chart
Colorwork chart for Lord of the Rings fans.
Create little conkers that are placed inside an outer husk.
- Bubble Up Towel
Towel with a pretty bobble border.
- Blue Bunny Hat
With cute little pom-pom tails.
Adorable little toy elephant.
- Fashionable Ombre Bag
With cool studs and leather straps.
More Knit How-Tos
Fun idea for a dinsosaur softie.
- Inga Hat
Intricate repeat pattern on a classic knit hat.
- Lizard Ridge Blanket
Large colorful ripple blanket.
- Toy Lobster
Crustacean toy with pincers included.
- Berroco Patterns
Pages of free patterns for jumpers, cardigans and more.
- Monster Mask
A scary balaclava in a gargoyle demon design.
- Royal Corgi
How to knit a little Corgi dog.
- Knitted Necklaces
Chunky textile necklace made by knitting a long rectangular strip.
DIY Knit Projects
- Flamingo Softie
With funny little string legs.
- Gingham Plaid Technique
Click on the magazine page to zoom in on the pattern.
- Dye Your Own Yarn
How to dye your yarn so you get a lovely colour gradient.
- Pumpkin Pattern
Squishy little pumpkins, perfect for Halloween.
I love the colours used for this dinosaur.
- Dr Zoidberg
Funny monster head balaclava project.
- Mushroom Wrist Warmers
I love the free toadstool pattern.
- Heart Tattoo
Embroider the name of your loved one on the 'ribbon'.
- Sheep Mug Mat
Nice for beginners to learn how to make circle shapes.
Knitting With Roving
Knitting Blogs, Ideas & Inspiration
- Knitted Works of Art
5 Classic artworks recreated in knitting.
- Furniture Legwarmers
A simple idea to add knitting to your home.
- Lion Brand
Pages of free patterns in a variety of categories.
Huge collection of user submitted patterns.
- Flickr Group
Hundreds of photos of knitted items, to give you ideas.
- Cool Knitted Creations
The most creative knitted designs from around the world.
- Rainy Cloud Mobile
Knitted mobile made up of clouds and raindrops.
- Yarnbomb Your Furniture
Add a lovely soft finish to your chairs and tables.
- A Sofa & Tentacles
A fun combination of amigurumi patterns.
- Yoga Balls
Make yoga balls into decorative furniture by adding a knitted cover.
- Amusing Knitted Boyfriend
Funny knitted human that is quite creepy!