Knitting advice for beginners

What do I need?

You will need to set yourself up with some needles and yarn – don’t start too small as the stitches will be a bit too fiddly. In our experience the best type of yarn to start out with is a medium weight wool, such as a DK (8ply) or worsted wool, and using 4mm or 5mm knitting needles. This is the easiest to learn with for beginners.

Where do I start?

Never underestimate the power of a YouTube tutorial video!! There are literally thousands of online tutorials covering every aspect of knitting and crochet that you may need. Once you actually see the stitches being created, suddenly the penny drops and you’re away! You just hit pause, and mimic what they are doing on screen…

Videos are also useful to learn what to do if you miss or drop a stitch, so you don’t panic when it happens!

Firstly, it’s a good idea to learn how to cast on and off correctly so that will give you a good idea of where to start.

Types of stitches?

There are many different knitting stitches out there, but the simplest and most widely used are knit and purl. So master these ones first, and then when you feel more confident you can start branching out.

What knitting needles to use?

These days there are many different types of knitting needles, including plastic, wooden, bamboo aluminium, straight, circular, double pointed, and the list goes on! The most important thing to remember is to get the right size for the pattern you are knitting. Most knitting patterns will include what size needles are required. This is usually dependent on the weight of the wool or yarn the pattern uses. For example, 8ply wool will often use 4mm knitting needles.

The material of the needles is really a personal preference, so try a few different types and see what you like the best. My preference is for wooden and stainless steel needles.

What yarn to use?

There are an overwhelming number of yarn and wool types in existence. Different materials, different weights and so many different colours! Again, this is entirely a personal preference. We recommend you start with a fairly plain yarn that isn’t too difficult to maneuver.

Selecting a pattern?

When you’re ready to start, here are some of our favourite knitting patterns for beginners. View our collection of easy skill level patterns

Why does my yarn have knots?

When ball of yarn is manufactured it will have been made by two different processing routes. During these routes it is necessary to to wind the yarn onto various size bobbins and cones. The different bobbins in these stages are not always sized into multiples of one another and this means a knot must be used when winding on to larger bobbins, there is no other way. Processing yarn with 100% continuity would result in enormous costs that would certainly be prohibitive to knitters.

Instead, efforts are made to lessen the number of knots to an absolute minimum by using staff awareness of the problem and also by asking knitters to look for an upcoming knot before they start each row.

Download our Wool Lovers Guide for more information, including caring for your yarn.

Why does my yarn fade?

The warmth of wool is one of the pleasant luxuries of life and in today’s market, demand for brighter and whiter is always paramount. The wool too must be made brighter and whiter than nature provides. Many colours other than white need to be bleached, so that often soft colours like pale pink must be bleached first. Unfortunately when wool is bleached it has a tendency to yellow when exposed to ultra violet light or heat and will do so even more readily when in the damp state.

The crucial time from the point of view of yellowing, is during the drying process, i.e. while the garment is damp. So if you want your optical garments to stay white, it is better to play safe .and dry them indoors away from direct sunlight and not near a heater.

Download our Wool Lovers Guide for more information, including caring for your yarn.

Why does my knitted garment pill?

The pilling behaviours of a knitted garment during wear is related to many factors and can be influenced as much by the customer as by the manufacturer of the yarn.

We choose types of wool, yarn construction techniques and twists used to make our yarns reasonably resistant to pilling in wear, but always bearing in mind that the product must be acceptable in handle to the customer. The use of very coarse wool and more intensive twisting would reduce the likelihood of pilling, but the yarn would lack appeal to our customers.

People vary in the severity with which they treat their clothes and this factor alone will give a wide range of pilling behaviour for a given yarn or pattern. Domestic washing is also a very important variable and if any felting of the wool fibre is allowed to develop, subsequent pilling is an automatic consequence.

Wool is a natural fibre and will inevitably pill at some stage of it life. Gentle use of a pilling comb generally removes little balls of fluff and helps retain the fabulous look and feel of Wool.

Download our Wool Lovers Guide for more information, including caring for your yarn.