Laerning to Knit

Hi Everyone,
My name is Dave and I would like to learn how to make knitted prayer shawls. I have a friend who is ill and I would like to make one for that person. I have never knitted before. How should I learn? There is a local knitting store that offers private lessons but they are fairly expensive. Is there a good book that I could learn from? I don’t even know which needles or yarn to buy. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated. Thank You.


Scroll up to the top of the page and click on the videos. Start with “Getting Started” and continue on to the others. If you have any questions or problems, then by all means come back and feel free to ask.

Get yourself some needles sized US 8 or 9 and some smooth, light colored yarn. By smooth I mean not fuzzy, glittery or bumpy because it makes it easier to see your stitches. The light color also helps you see them better.

Then watch the getting started page and the videos for casting on and knitting. Just practice till you’re comfortable with knitting then learn purling and then mix them up. Those are the two basic stitches for knitting.

Welcome to Knitting Help! :yay:

Welcome to the craft of knitting. You have some good advice to get you started. There is loads of help on the internet. You tube has a lot of videos too, but this site is a very good place to get started and someone always has an answer here. :slight_smile:

Most libraries have several beginner/learning books, so in addition to the videos that’s a good way to get started.

Our church makes prayer shawls all the time. They recommend using Red Heart acrylic yarn because it holds up well in the washer. They’ve had complaints that other yarns fall apart under repeated washings. Red Heart has Supersaver yarn skeins that you can buy. These are 8 ounce skeins that are available at Walmart. You’ll need three or four of them. This is a worsted weight yarn.

Use size 11 or 13 needles. Cast on 57 stitches and knit back and forth in straight garter stitch. Knit until the blanket measures 5 feet or 60 inches in length. You can use variegated yarns, make stripes, or do fancy stitches if you want to. This is the basic pattern that most of the prayer shawl knitters use.

I don’t want to discourage you from making one. I think it’s admirable that you want to help your friend. You can check with some of the local churches and see if they have a prayer shawl ministry where you could get one for free. It might be worth giving them a call and asking.

Gah! I wouldn’t use RHSS (red heart super saver) for any next to skin garments. There are other softer acrylics for washability.

ETA: and to the response that it’ll get softer with washing… a tad maybe, but not enough IMO. Personal choice I guess.

If I’m gonna use acrylic (which I don’t typically do) I would use Caron Simply Soft. Though it has a tendency to get fuzzy after a while.

So, besides Caron Simply Soft, what other acrylics are softer than RH SS???


RH has one called Soft, Lion’s woolease isn’t bad, it’s a blend, so it Plymouth Encore. If you have a Hobby Lobby nearby, their house yarn I love this Yarn isn’t bad. Can’t think of any others, right now.

RH SS is an individual preference though - some people can’t stand to touch it, some don’t mind. I’m one who doesn’t mind it and it does get a lot softer after washing. Go by Joann’s or Michaels and start petting and squeezing yarn, see what you think.

I’m just saying Red Heart is the one my particular church recommends for these. I usually avoid it myself because it is scratchy, although some colors are better than others for softness. One that isn’t too bad and which I adore is RH Mexicali. It’s got rainbow colors. I still fondly remember the jacket I crocheted for my son when he was two, outgrew everything, and winter coats were out of season. I added on to the length and the sleeves as he got bigger and he wore that hooded jacket for about two years.

You can make individual shawls using whatever yarn you like. They generally stick with acrylics because they wash without shrinking and some people are allergic to wool. Caron One Pound wasn’t too bad, but I had trouble getting the tension to look even. Lion brand Pound of Love is soft and easy to work with. Sometimes it splits. Simply Soft is another one, in answer to KnitCindy’s question. There are probably others, but I thought those were the most economical. I’ve used those a lot for charity mitten knitting.