You only need a few essential tools to begin knitting. It doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated.
You can get by with less than a handful of things if you want to trial knitting as your new hobby. But be warned, you’ll be sucked in and soon you’ll find yourself with a plethora of knitting-related objects.
THE ESSENTIAL TOOLS YOU NEED TO START KNITTING
1 – YARN
You’ll need some kind of yarn. I recommend a wool yarn or a sock yarn (about 80% wool, 20% nylon).
While it’s tempting to go for that baby bottom soft alpaca, now is not the time. Alpaca, camel and other delicious exotic fibres are too slippery for most beginners. Cotton and linen, in turn, are too stiff.
You’ll never find me advocating for acrylic yarn. Except for the rare novelty yarn mostly used for toys, I really don’t see the use for acrylic yarn.
We’re getting into Goldilocks’ territory here and most simple wool yarns will be just right.
Choose a colour that’s not too dark and you may want to stick with a solid colour so you can see all your stitches clearly as you learn.
New knitters are often advised to learn on big needles with big yarn. I don’t agree with this advice at all. I think it’s fiddly for most people to hold knitting needles bigger than a pencil and try to work with big yarn.
Instead, what I always tell people is, to choose a yarn somewhere in the sock, fingering, sport, DK or light worsted range. Sock and fingering will require smaller needles, sport is in the middle and DK or worsted require slightly larger needles but all are within the sizes that are comfortable for most to hold and work with.
Would you like to know why most people will advise you to use bigger needles? It’s because we’re so used to instant gratification. Bigger yarn and needles mean bigger stitches which in turn means that you’ll have to do less knitting to end up with a finished product.
I don’t think the hassle of the working with bigger yarns and needles are worth the “instant gratification”. It’s much more gratifying to see your stitches slowly but surely improve as you practise with your smaller needles and yarn.
2 – KNITTING NEEDLES
A set of knitting needles is the second item you’ll absolutely need. When you have needles and yarn, you can learn how to knit.
There are three main types of knitting needles. Straight, circular and DPNs (Double Pointed Needles).
It’s a good idea to opt for a light needle, bamboo is good, carbon is even better. I like these interchangeable knitting needles as they let you build your collection of needles with way fewer pieces needed.
For your very first needle, opt for a circular needle in a size that fits the yarn you chose. You can find the recommended needle size on the yarn or look it up in this handy dandy yarn weight chart. Print the chart and add it to your knitting journal
3 – SCISSOR
Your kitchen scissor or children’s craft scissors will work just fine. But be warned, just like a pair of good fabric scissors, you may end up wanting a beautiful and practical pair of scissors to keep in your tool bag.
4 – DARNING NEEDLE
You need some kind of needle to weave in the ends once your project is done. You can use any needle with an eye big enough for you to thread your yarn through.
A darning needle is good because a blunt needle means fewer stabbing injuries. The kind with a loop for the eye are very easier to thread.
This set also includes some stitch markers, which you’ll need as you move beyond the basics.
5 – INSTRUCTIONS
Finally, you’ll need someone to show you the basics. Your preferred learning style will guide what kind of instructions you’ll need.
Some can learn to knit from a book.
Other’s will need someone to sit beside them, show them and physically guide their hands through the motions.
Most people can figure out the basic stitches for a beginner knitter by watching videos online.
Honestly, I don’t think you should do a project right from the start. It puts undue pressure on you to “get it right”. Instead, knit away until you can form your sts evenly and without constantly dropping stitches. When you can get gauge, you’re ready to cast on for your first project.
TOP 5 ESSENTIAL KNITTING TOOLS FOR A BEGINNER KNITTER
You really don’t need more than these five things to begin knitting:
- knitting needles
- a pair of scissors
- darning needle
But you’ll likely want to build out your toolkit as you gain more experience.