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What should a beginner knit?

Updated: Jan 28

So you’ve decided you want to learn to knit, welcome! Great choice! But you don’t know what project is a good to start with, well let me give you some inspiration! Here are seven things you can knit as a beginner. All of these projects can be knitted in any weight of yarn, you just have to work to measurements, and most of them you don’t even need a pattern for either!

  1. A scarf or snood

Of course, it sounds silly but knitting a scarf is the simplest and most useful thing to start out with. You don’t even need a pattern! You can just cast on as many stitches as you feel you want the width of your scarf or snood to be and just knit. You can either just keep doing knit rows until you master the feel of knitting, this is called Garter Stitch. Or if you want to learn Stocking Stitch, one row of knit, one row of purl, you can also do this too. You can literally just knit until you feel you have a scarf or snood the length you want! To make it a snood you just have to sew the two ends together to make it in to a circle.

2. Dishcloths or flannels

Dishcloths or Flannels are a really easy and useful knit. All you need is a 100% Cotton yarn, and you just need to knit it to a square roughly 20cm x 20cm. Just like with a scarf you can knit them in either garter stitch or stocking stitch, or like with the blanket you can practice new stitches. Dishcloths and Flannels make great easy gifts for friends too.

3. A blanket

Knitting a blanket sounds extensive, but it gives you the chance the get your rhythm. Not only that if you do a blanket out of squares, each square you can try out a new stitch, so in the end you’ll not only have learnt to knit with a library of stitches, you also have a cosy patchwork blanket at the end. The best part about this is that by knitting squares you are working on many small projects, so you feel that rush of joy at finishing each square. The only draw back is sewing them all together at the end, but if you are organised you can start sewing them together as you go alone so it’s not such a huge chore at the end!

4. A cushion cover

Another easy knit, if you’ve got a cushion already that you want to replace the cover on, or you can buy a new cushion pad to work to. You can make your cushion cover by knitting two large squares and sewing them together round the edges, or you could knit multiple smaller squares to sew together creating a patchwork cover. For the closure side you could sew on snap fasteners, or if you know how to use a sewing machine you could put a zip in.

5. A headband

Knit a rectangle that measures 45cm x 10cm, sew the two ends together. Knit another smaller rectangle that measures 9cm x 4cm, which you will put around the width of the headband and sew the ends of that together, this will draw in your headband creating that super cute ruched section.

6. Wristwarmers

Wristwarmers can be as complicated as you want them to be, but they can be really simple. All you need to do is knit a rectangle around 22cm x 23cm, then fold it in half lengthways, sew the long side together 4cm. Leave a gap of 4cm, and then sew the remaining 15cm together. The 4cm gap left is your thumb hole! The best part is you can use any weight of yarn for it project.

7. A hat

So you’ve perfected knitting and purling, now you want to try something a little bit more advanced, a hat is the perfect answer. Hats tend to be relatively quick knits, especially if you use a Chunky or Super Chunky weight yarn. You can either knit a hat on straight needles and sew it up at the end, or you can practice using circular needles, which avoids any sewing up! This is a project where you will definitely need a pattern though, as you will need to know where to decrease to get the shaping.

What was my first knit?

I've always been very ambitious and creative, and my ideas are never "straight-forward". My Mum taught me to knit when I was a lot younger but I never took it up as a huge hobby, I think she probably tried me at knitting squares, but I obviously didn't carry on as I don't have anything to show from it! It wasn't till I was 23 and working here (back when it was called Altered Images) that I re-taught myself. I picked two completely different yarns; James C. Brett Rustic Mega Chunky and Rico Fashion Fur Double Knit, I knitted rectangles that I then sewed together to make a long snood. It is lovely and warm, I still have it to this day! Although in hindsight it wasn't a good idea mixing the two yarns, as the Mega Chunky is much heaver than the Fur, which meant over the time of wearing it, and wrapping it round my head it grew twice the length, so it really is a huuuuge snood, every time I wear it I can pretty much wrap it an extra time around my head! Ambitious me also chose a fluffy yarn, which isn't great for a beginner as you can't see your stitches, so I'm sure if you inspected it closely you'd find dropped stitches, and places where I gained stitches. But to this day it probably is the warmest snood I own because I can wrap it round that many times.

Has that inspired you to pick up your knitting needles and learn?

Any of the above would be a great knitting project for a beginner, and all of them are something you would use, or you could make as a gift for someone. You could pick one or work through all of these to gain more and more experience as a knitter. Welcome to the beginning of being able to knit your entire wardrobe and so much more!