By Grace Hill
Without a doubt, Pinterest is my most used website. Since teaching myself how to knit and crochet a couple of years ago, I’ve recreated some of my favorite pins and made endless birthday and holiday presents for my friends and family. Knitting especially is a daunting skill to learn, but with the help of my tried-and-tested list of fiber resources, you should be on your way to wearing that cool sweater you saved to your board months ago.
A word on tools and materials:
Knitting is not a cheap hobby by any means, but knowing what to invest in and what to save on is essential. Firstly, acrylic yarn might be the most cost-effective, but your pieces won’t last as long or wear as nicely. For cheap wool/wool blends, I look for colors and textures I like in thrift store knits and then clean and deconstruct those sweaters to harvest the yarn. Here’s a good video on the process! You can find pretty high-quality material if you look hard enough, but for deals on bulk yarn for bigger projects, Hobbii and KnitPicks are my go-to websites.
For needles, you can either knit “flat” or “in the round”, and your knitting needles will change with either technique. Knitting “flat” means you create all the pieces (front, back, both arms, etc) individually then sew them all together, and you can do so with long, straight needles. Knitting “in the round” means you use corded knitting needles to create tubes that join together, usually seamlessly. An interchangeable needle set gives you the most flexibility since you can switch out the needle size and the length of the cord for the different parts of a project, and these can be used for knitting flat as well. Interchangeable sets are very expensive though, so if you only want to make one thing and move on, you can buy pretty cheap corded needles that come as one solid piece from most craft stores. For all other accessories, most of the time you can substitute with things you have on hand already. I’ve used bobby pins or safety pins to keep track of stitches, but for tools like a darning needle for finishing or a crochet hook to fix mistakes, those are pretty cheap too.
My biggest tip - tap into your middle school self and get back on Youtube. I have learned 95% of what I know about knitting from how-to videos and following along with someone else’s project, and it's the best place for visual guides on the basic stitches, patterns, and jargon you need to know to start. Some of my favorite creators are Tiffany Liew, Well-Loved Knits, Sheep & Stitch, and Zhade Lang, and you can find a tutorial for pretty much anything and at any level of experience.
Once you’ve gathered your materials, learned the basics, and figured out what you want to make, you can go one of two directions; either you do a lot of measuring and math to make your own pattern, or you find someone else’s pattern that's pretty close to what you’re recreating and go from there. I would recommend the latter, and for that I like Ravelry, but most yarn brands have websites with free curated lists that use their yarn to make it easy.
If you want to make your own pattern, Knit Anything has a cool feature that designs the garment for you based on the type of stitch and measurements you input, and thinking about the Percentage System can help keep your projects proportionate if you don’t have an item of clothing you are referencing.
There are a thousand other things to know about knitting to avoid messing up, going back, or restarting your project, but learning from those mistakes and seeing yourself improve is half the fun. Hopefully, this guide has given you those tools to get started on a new hobby or just a one-time recreation. Happy knitting!