You now want to learn a new hobby but you don’t know how or where to start. And out of all the 100+ hobbies you can choose, you decided to go for knitting.
There’s woodworking, jewelry making, quilting, metalworking, drawing and other indoor hobbies. But you chose knitting because it looks good and you just love the handmade creations resulting from the hobby.
Whichever is your reason, anytime you can just start learning and then decide if knitting really is for you. There are a lot of online resources and tutorials out there. However, the choice would be too overwhelming and often they present contradicting information. How and where do you really start?
Keep it simple & quickly gain momentum
Knitting can be overwhelming for beginners. From buying the right needles and yarns up to which projects to start with, every decision point presents tons of choices. Perhaps that’s why many beginners actually gave up long before touching the needles. It’s all just overwhelming and when it comes to learning a new hobby such as knitting, it’s just easier to give up than pursue this path.
The effective solution to this is to start small and simple. You don’t have to buy dozens of yarns and needles to get started. You don’t even have to decide whether bamboo or metal needles are the best for you (you can always go back to it later). And yes, you don’t have to start with knitting a full adult sweater or blanket. There’s a lot of time for that later.
So for now, start with making a small baby sock or beanie. You can start with a few baby and children’s patterns which you can finish within a week even if you’re a beginner. To learn the basic stitches and how to complete those small creations though, it’s highly recommended to hire an instructor or attend a class. There’s no substitute for in-person learning.
Well, following an online video tutorial sounds very convenient because you learn at home and at your own pace. However, knitting is a 3-dimensional activity. Although it’s about simply creating loops with the aid of 2 knitting needles, getting it right often requires seeing it in real action.
Also, there’s no substitute for real-time feedback when it comes to learning a new hobby or skill. Having someone to correct your movements and how you hold the needles can make a huge difference in how fast you’ll learn the skill. It’s also good to learn things right in the beginning. Habits are fast to solidify and any mistakes will be magnified or repeated down the road.
Holding the two needles and performing the basic and purl stitches all seem easy. But wait until you do them yourself. The act of knitting seems easy and natural. But most likely you’ve only watched knitters who have at least 5 years experience doing that. All the movements seem natural if an experienced hobbyist is doing it. Ask any beginner and you’ll notice the struggle from just how they describe knitting.
This doesn’t mean to scare you. The goal here is for you to get started more effectively and set clear expectations. Just like any other hobby, it takes time to learn knitting. But the entire thing becomes easier if you start simple and avoid overwhelm. Start with a very small project. Nothing can motivate you more than a visible accomplishment.
Don’t buy boxes of supplies yet
Have you ever felt unstoppable that you can learn and accomplish anything? Have you ever felt so powerful that you know you can do a lot of things within an unreasonably short time?
Many beginners actually felt that when they first tackle knitting. It’s all exciting after knowing there’s an endless list of patterns and projects to choose from. Even when buying yarns, they excitedly buy everything they can get their hands on (Alpaca, Katia, Bellissimo, Cleckheaton and more).
However, it can be all overwhelming and makes it more intimidating to get started. With more choices comes a higher difficulty level in getting started. With more options, it gets harder to come up with a firm and prompt decision.
It’s always true especially in knitting. That’s why it’s highly recommended to limit your choices at the start. Begin with just a pair of needles, one or two yarn sets and a single pattern or project. Don’t spend too much money on things you might not use in the future. Aside from being wasting money, too much stuff can actually make it harder to learn the hobby.
When you attend a class or have an instructor to teach you how to knit, most probably you’ll start with a few supplies and a single project (perhaps a very small sock, scarf or beanie). The goal is to complete something very quickly. This way, beginners can get motivated more quickly by the visible output they produce. In addition, starting small and having a few supplies makes it a lot easier to visualise the final output. You’ll have a quick idea how to put the pieces together.
Stop searching for inspiration: Just get started
By now you’ve already browsed through hundreds of knitting creations in Pinterest, Instagram and popular knitting and crafts websites. You get inspired by those amazing and very detailed creations.
Well, there comes a time that this should stop and you should actually get started with knitting. Browsing online through the different knitted creations is good if you want a boost of inspiration. But believe me, you’ll actually get more inspired if you’ve made awesome knitted creations by your hands.
Many other beginners make the mistake of searching for that “final push” so they can finally get started with knitting. However, that “final push” might not come at all. There’s an endless list of knitting patterns and projects you can view online. There’s also hundreds of blogs out there about knitting. You can actually spend a decade of searching for inspiration and have nothing to show for it.
So for you to get started, take some action that puts you closer to your goal. Even if it’s just a small step such as contacting a knitting store about supplies you’ll require as a beginner, do that. It’s much better than reading another blog post or watching another YouTube tutorial. Humans learn best by doing (not just by reading). And if you do just one thing today to get you closer to actually learn knitting, you’re way ahead of the 99% of the people who are just interested with the hobby.
Final tips when getting started
Almost every hobby is actually a skill. Knitting requires practice until you gain the muscle memory. With enough practice, you can make knitting semi-automatic for you.
In just 2 or 3 days you can learn how to properly do the basic and purl stitches. However, don’t expect much because the output may still be far from perfect. The results might be what you call crude, but at least it’s a start. It really takes time to make something good and worthwhile.
Also expect at least 15 hours of dedicated and focused practice before you can really get it. You can spread the hours within a few days. The key here is to practice every day until your hands and eyes achieve great coordination. Also, humans tend to get rusty very quickly especially when picking up a new skill. In the beginning, focus and do it every day. If you step back for too long, you’ll be back from zero.
To ensure you’re getting that amount and level of practice, set aside the time for it. If it’s not on your calendar or schedule, most likely it’s not going to happen. It’s like building a system where everything automatically falls into place. Life often gets busy and most likely you’ll forget to pursue the hobby if a little distraction comes up.
To go from “I want to be a knitter” to “I just knitted a nice sweater”, it might take a few months before you can achieve that skill level. Whether you attend a class or have someone to instruct you (e.g. an experienced knitter looking over your shoulder), you might just start with learning the basic and purl stitches and making rectangles and squares. Then, you’ll move forward to more complex shapes and patterns. Slowly, your skill base will build up and you will be ready for tackling more interesting patterns and projects.