Recently, I was reflecting on when I first started knitting and what I have learned since then. Here are 7 things that I really wish I had known when I first started that would have made me more successful in the beginning.
When I first started knitting I never took a gauge, I didn’t know to care. The I tried to knit my first pair of socks (they were hilariously bad, for more reasons than just the bad gauge) and when my socks didn’t fit I couldn’t figure out why. I had followed the pattern exactly, but they were WAY too big. If I had taken the time to take a gauge I would have known to change my needles so they might have fit (at least better anyway).
Invest in good needles:
When I first started knitting I used whatever needles I could find or that were given to me. This was great when I was starting, but as I got better I found that I could work faster and with a more consistent gauge if I used good quality needles. My thoughts on needle purchases are that I would rather buy a good tool that will last me a lifetime than a product that I won’t love in a year. Plus, you reuse needles, and rarely reuse yarn.
Not all yarn is created equal:
When I first started, I had no idea about plys or fiber content and what fibers lend themselves to which kinds of projects. Granted, this knowledge comes with time, but I wish that I had known that I did not know this. I used whatever I had for whatever project I had in mind. This means I have made socks (that didn’t last) out of single ply yarn and I attempted to make a bag out of lace weight yarn. I also didn’t know about different weights of yarn and hurt my hands trying to use worsted weight yarn for socks on a tiny needle (see again gauge).
A notion case is a must:
I didn’t know about all the notions that I would ultimately end up buying and using regularly so I had no idea that a case is a great idea. I keep my stitch markers, little scissors, tapestry needles, yarn scraps (you never know what you’ll need), tape measure, cable needles, needle gauge, crochet hook, and a pencil in my little knitting tin (you could use anything). This also makes it easy when I travel to grab my whole tin and I know that I will be prepared for anything that happens while away from my living room.
There are no mistakes:
When I first started knitting, like many others, I found giant holes in my knitting and weird amounts of stitches. Sure, when I started these seemed like the end of the world and I needed to rip everything out and start over. I wish I had kept my first project and not frogged it so I could look back and see how far I’ve come. What I learned years later was that all those “mistakes” I would come to do intentionally.
This goes with the last lesson, but to not be afraid if something is too difficult and try it anyway. I did not learn and get better by only staying in my comfort zone. Challenging yourself is the best way to get better at something!
Ask for help!
I was so scared to ask for help and face someone’s judgement that I didn’t know how to knit the second row (true story, just move that needle to your left hand again and keep going!). But I was lucky to have a great local yarn store that could answer my questions. I wish I had gone and asked more questions early on.
Buy enough yarn for your project
I cannot tell you how many times I have looked at a pattern and thought to myself “Oh, I only need 1 ball for this!”. This is not true! Look at how many yards are in the recommended yarn versus what you are actually using because some skeins have 500 yds and some have 90 yds. I also learned that it is much easier to return a skein that was not used than it is to find the same yarn, in the same color, and forget about finding the same dye lot! I learned that it was so much easier to just buy enough from the get go.