What do I need to start knitting?

Before you sit down to start your first knitting project, you need to make sure you have all the equipment you need. Finding out you’re missing some important supplies or a vital tool after an hour or more of knitting could leave you disappointed and reluctant to finish the project, so make sure you do your research – or let MakeBox do it for you!

Needles

Choosing the right needles is important. Depending on the size of the project you’re starting on, you could be using them for a long time, and if they’re uncomfortable or not quite right for the task, it’s going to have a big impact on your life!

To an extent, the nature of the item you’re knitting dictates the kind of needles you need: If you’re making a sweater or another garment that requires knitting ‘in the round’ you’ll need circular needles: a pair of knitting needles joined by a flexible cord or cable. This means you can knit round a project without having to turn it. For a smaller item like a sock, or children’s clothing, you might want double ended needles, which have a point at each end and allow for a similar effect.

You can use circular or double sided needles in a similar way to standard knitting needles, but if you’re just starting out it might be wise to start with the basics: a pair of single ended, separated knitting needles, like you imagine when you picture someone knitting. These come in various sizes and materials: large needles are large stitches on large projects like blankets, small needles are for small stitches and fine details.

For a beginner, the experts agree that a medium sized set of needles are likely to be most comfortable and suit most grips. Wood or bamboo are the preferred materials as they offer a little more resistance and friction, and the yarn is less likely to slip off. For a beginning this could be a vital factor that spares you a lot of frustration!

Yarn

Knitting yarn comes in lots of varieties, and even materials – wool predominates as you might expect, but there’s finer cotton yarn, and natural fibre yarn.

A medium weight woolen yarn is probably the best option for a beginner, but more so than what’s on the label, what’s important is how it feels. If you have the option of visiting a craft shop, do so. Pick up the different wools, weigh them in your hand and feel the fabric. Pick one that feels comfortable, as you’ll be working with it a lot. Resist the urge to get the cheapest yarn on offer: better quality wool will have a more even texture and be easier to knit with.

Light colours are also a good idea: it’s easier to see the stitches in light coloured wool and work out what you’ve done – right or wrong!

Starting small

When you’re excited about a new craft hobby it’s tempting to go out and raid the hobby shop and buy all the best equipment. This can lead to you feeling overwhelmed and under pressure to take on the most ambitious projects, and burn out rapidly!

Be guided by the projects you take on – buy what you need as you approach a new pattern or project and you’ll soon build up a library of the equipment and materials you need as your confidence and skills grow!

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