New to knitting, need help with purchasing needles and yarn

Hi there,

I am very new to knitting and quite frankly I am a beginner. One of the patients where I work knits and she inspired me to learn how to knit.

Now, my question is what size needles do I need to start knitting and also for a beginner and what kind of yarn do I need to start off. Also, what book(s) do you recommend to help me with patterns and learning how to knit? I’d like to start off learning how to knit scarves, and then work my way up to different things, like mittens, hats, etc.

You might be able to find some books at your library, but this site has a lot of good videos which may be better than still pictures. It’s a little easier to learn if you can watch someone do it. But there are beginner patterns in the books too so they’re worth looking at, and they’re free.

As for needles, a size 9 or 10 and a medium weight yarn (this may be called worsted or have a 4 on the label) in a light or multi color would be good to start with. That’s a larger size needle than a lot of people use and will say to knit that type of yarn with, but it makes larger stitches which are easier to see and to get your needles into. And for a scarf or practice piece it doesn’t matter anyway.

I’d recommend starting off with some size 10 needles and some inexpensive worsted weight yarn just to learn the basics.

Above all else I would advise patience and cutting yourself a lot of slack. It takes time and practice.

Edit Please forgive my poor manners, I forgot to say welcome to KH!

I am also fairly new to knitting and am mostly learning from books. there are several very good books out there but I highly recommend you go to the library or book store to look them over before buying them online. I love Amazon prices but some of the most popular books had glowing reviews yet were not great for beginners, or were nowhere near what was promised.
as mentioned these video clips are perfect for really seeing each technique but I have also googled exact questions and have been amazed by the generosity of talent that people have offered up. there are some really detailed knitting blogs out there.

I forgot to ask, is there any specific brand of needles and yard you recommend?! I know there are different brands and I don’t know which to pick or which is the best. I saw these purple knitting needles, I really like.

People like different brands and types of material, there’s metal, wood and plastic/acrylic needles.

Wal-Mart has wonderful supplies for beginners, inexpensive yarn and needles. I also recommend a size 10 needle as it’s large enough for you to see and notice what you are doing, and not too large for the yarn you should buy (worsted weight is a 4 and listed on the label) yet small enough to not make it feel like you’re learning with the huge pencil you learn to write with in kindergarten.

Since you’re a beginner, I also recommend going to your local library or seeking out used book stores for knitting books for beginners. Anything higher will assume you know more than you do and the shorthand knitters use will confuse and frustrate you.

Ask your patient questions, if you can. They would probably love to talk knitting with someone. It’s rare (except for here) that we get to talk to other who share our love of the hobby.

Welcome Lovebug. What they all said. I can only add practice, practice, parctice. :wink:

I recommend Michael’s…if you are reasonably close to one, for needles/deals on yarn etc. Pick up tip/needle guards, too. They fit over the pointy sides of needles to prevent your knitting from falling off/protect whatever bag you carry your knitting in.

So I should be knitting with size 10 needles?! Mine are 7 or something!

For beginners to practice with and to make scarves, 10s are easier than 7s. If you knit loose then 7s are okay too. I rarely knit on sizes smaller than 9s, just because I don’t care for dense knits.

If I knit worsted weight with 10s, I get lace, but that’s just me. If 7s work for you, then use them. Use whatever feels right in your hands and gives you the look you want.

As for yarn, this is not the time to spend a fortune on a single skein of something hard to handle. Go for a smooth light color in a lower-priced (maybe not completely bargain bin, but not expensive) yarn, so you can see your stitches. If your hands will put up with wool, buy a skein of Lion Wool or Classic 220-not-the-superwash kind, knit yourself a small purse, iPod cozy or other little project, and felt it. It’s a lot of fun and any mistakes you make on your first piece will disappear in the wash :wink:

I would recommend buying circular needles. Most people discard their straight needles once they get going on knitting.

Circular needles can be very confusing to a new knitter, and I feel, anyway, that it’s best to learn on straight needles and get stitch identification and the back and forth down first.

The hardest thing when learning anything new is the frustration that comes with learning something new. If you try to eliminate the many things that can cause frustration to the new knitter, then people will keep knitting and not give up because they are having trouble with a fundamental understanding of the hobby.

I recently mentored a young university student who was interested in knitting. She is slowly moving forward as she has time and has tons of questions and observations (which has caused me to observe my own knitting closer) and it’s been a wonderful experience in learning for both of us. She pointed out to me recently when she had a question on wrap and turn, that wasn’t covered in the two knitting books she’s gotten. Now, if I had not been there to talk her through it and explain things, odds are she would have given up on what she was knitting and never picked it up again, because she’s new and it hasn’t yet turned in to a passion for her (if it ever does).

I feel, as a somewhat experienced knitter, that it is incumbent upon me to nurture a new knitter and allow as much opportunity for that passion to grow as possible. I’m happy cheering on and teaching the building blocks for a good knitter, and let the more experienced folks here add to her knowledge as they do mine. So, for me, I try to recommend the things that are easiest to learn on before moving up, as we all much crawl before we walk.

So sure, you can easily learn on circs, people do, but, all things being equal, learning on the straights will set the foundation and once they have that down, they can easily move on to circulars and find out why most of us knit on them. Which can lead them to DPNs and Magic Looping and the wonders of tubular knitting.

Here endeth the lesson :stuck_out_tongue:

I knit with mostly circulars too. But, I agree, it is easier to learn on straight needles. Light colored worsted yarn with some spring like acrylic or wool blends is a good starter yarn.

A coworker asked me to show her how to knit and came to work with circs (probably because that’s what I was working on). She had no problem learning on them. Having tried to do a sample last year on straights, I had the worst time ever. I can see that they add some difficulty to the learning curve for a new knitter. You have to juggle these long sticks as well as learn how to wrap the yarn and make stitches. The needles in circs are shorter and easier to hold. The cord doesn’t get in the way, as long as you use a 24-29" one.