January 17, 2024 11:41 am

Michelle Waters

Remember those abandoned knitting needles gathering dust in the corner? Yeah, mine too. Fifteen years ago, I dipped my toes (okay, fingers) into the world of yarn, but life (and lesson plans!) got in the way. This holiday break, though, something clicked. Maybe it was the cozy winter nights or the urge to make something snuggly for myself and my crew. Whatever it was, the knitting bug bit hard!

But here's the thing: my knitting skills were as cobweb-covered as those needles. I needed a refresher, a friendly guide to lead me back to the land of purls and knits. So, I dove headfirst into the amazing world of online knitting resources. And let me tell you, it's a treasure trove! From beginner-friendly tutorials to inspiring project ideas, I found everything I needed to jumpstart my crafting comeback.

So, fellow crafters (new and returning!), gather 'round! I'm here to share the map that led me back to knitting bliss. We'll dust off those dreams, pick up those needles, and spin some yarn-tastic magic together. Get ready for cozy projects, happy needles, and maybe even a few laughs along the way. Buckle up, it's gonna be a purrfectly delightful ride!

How to Get Started Knitting

The first things you want to do to get started knitting include figuring out how you want to hold your thread and then learning the knit and purl stitches. Here are some videos below to get you started on the right foot. Also, these videos are all assuming you’re right handed. If not, I’ll include some information at the bottom.


I recommend starting out with a bulky or super bulky yarn. It’s easier to hold the threads. That said, if you’ve already been crocheting for years and are familiar with working with needles/hooks and yarn, you may just need a bit of time to practice before starting with other weights. Since it had been 15 years since I knitted, and I love warm, chunky scarves, I chose a project that required a super bulky yarn.

  • The owner of my local yarn shop recommended this Interchangeable circular needles set (which I purchased from her).
  • I chose shorter straight metal knitting needles for my initial, small projects. This set also includes a measuring tape, tapestry needles for weaving in your ends, and stitch markers.
  • If you’re brand new to working with yarn, you may find that the metal knitting needles are too slippery. If that’s the case, you may want to purchase this set of wood knitting needles.
  • If you plan to knit while you travel on planes (first check with your airline and TSA before you flight), you may consider taking some inexpensive plastic knitting needles in case someone decides to confiscate them.
  • If you’re wanting to buy some practice yarn, then the bulky or super bulky Lion Heart or Red Heart brands will work for you. They are blends of acrylic and wool or polyester. 
  • When you start making projects for other people, I highly recommend using wool, alpaca, cotton, or other natural fibers for a softer, higher-quality feel.
  • Also, if you knit pot holders or dish clothes, you’ll want to use 100% cotton (not acrylic or polyester) yarn so it won’t melt. I recommend the Lily Sugar’n Cream brand.

How to get the yarn on the needles

Getting the yarn on the needles is called casting on. The first thing you’ll need to do is learn how to tie a slip knot and cast on your yarn.

The first thing you'll need to learn is the slip knot. This will enable you to secure the first stitch to your needle: How to Tie a SLIP KNOT for Total Beginners

I love this cast on technique. It looks super complicated, but once you break down the movements, and then do them a few times, it’s super easy: How to CAST ON Knitting for Total Beginners

Does your pattern call for a long tail cast on? Longtail Cast On for Beginners

How to hold the yarn and needles

My favorite beginning project videos, which I'll share later, featured the English method of holding the working yarn, so that's what I use now. This means that I hold the yarn in my right hand. One day, I'd like to switch to the continental method, in which I'll hold the yarn in my left hand, like I would do while crocheting. Here are some video tutorials featuring both methods.

The most commonly taught English method: How to Hold Yarn and Needles for English Style Knitting

The basic stitches you need to know

Once you've cast on your first row, you need to start creating the fabric of your project. While there are hundreds of stitches you can use, they are all based on two basic stitches: The knit and purl. Below are some videos featuring these two stitches and some simple combinations.

Practice this stitch until you have it down. Knit just this stitch on straight needles and you'll create a fabric with what is called the garter stitch. The KNIT STITCH for Total Beginners

Once you've figured out the knit stitch, you'll need to practice the purl stitch. Also, know that if you knit one row and purl the next, you'll have what is called the stockinette or stocking stitch (which tends to fold). How to PURL STITCH for Total Beginners

Once you've figured out the knit stitch, you'll need to practice the purl stitch. Also, know that if you knit one row and purl the next, you'll have what is called the stockinette or stocking stitch (which tends to fold). How to PURL STITCH for Total Beginners

Make 1 (M1) is a stitch you'll need once you start knitting beanies and other clothing items that require you to increase stitches. How to m1 (make 1) m1R (make 1 right) m1L (make 1 left) in knitting and tips to make it easy

Basic knowledge that will make your life easier

As I continue learning, I'm find more concepts that are integral to successful knitting for fun and for practical wear for you and your loved ones.

Suggested beginning projects

I don't have a lot of extra time or patience, so I immediately looked for quick projects such as scarves, dishcloths, and beanies. Here's what I found.

This tutorial also includes the recommended straight needles and yarn weights that you need.

If you’re a fairly patient person, this is a super easy scarf. It took my about six days to complete my first one, including adding the fringe. How to Knit a Scarf for Beginners Step By Step

I also like this washcloth tutorial and the downloadable pattern. Here is the link to download the pattern. I received it a few moments later in my inbox and downloaded the printable PDF.

If you’re looking for a faster project, you may consider knitting these dishcloths. How to Knit | Grandma's Favorite Dishcloth - Beginner (Right Handed)

Would you rather knit a beanie instead? How to Knit a Big Hat (Step-by-Step) - Part 1

More techniques you need to know

One of the main things I've learned from knitting is that being good at something isn't about perfection. It's about recognizing when you've made a mistake -- and learning how to fix that mistake. It's also about knowing whether fixing a mistake requires completely starting over, ripping out your stitches back to the point where you made the mistake and redoing it (called frogging, since you rip-it, rip-it), correcting the problem when you get back to it in the next row, unknitting (tink -- knit backwards) or continuing the work and just letting the problem go. 

No matter how hard I try, I still end up with extra stitches sometimes. How to Fix EXTRA STITCHES

Dropped stitches are also the bane of my existence. Here's what you do to fix them. How to Fix a DROPPED STITCH

Sometimes you need to undo the knitting you've just done. How to Tink (or Un-Knit) a Row of Stitches - Knit and Purl

You'll also need to understand some techniques to complete your projects. Here are the most important ones you'll need.

How to join a new ball of yarn in the middle of a project: How to Join a New Ball of Yarn

The owner of my local yarn shop swears by circular needles. Knitting in the Round for Beginners

Includes tips on long-tail cast on and using stitch markers: 9 KNITTING TIPS You Need To Know

Includes tips on yarn bowls, blocking, and thrifting yarn: 11 More KNITTING TIPS You Need to Know

Looking for community?

I highly recommend looking for local yarn shops or groups where you can meet with people who are more experienced knitters. They can help you troubleshoot your work. I also love finding online communities where I can meet people all over the world, talk about my work form the comfort of my home, and search for threads on the topics or questions I need help with at my convenience. So far, the online communities I recommend include:

Tags: Knitting

As Editor and Publisher, Michelle oversees the content creation for the site. With a background in art, design, and writing, her interests are in color theory, mixed media, and gestalt.

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