"Self taught Knitter"

Greetings to everyone!!!

My question is more along the lines of curiosity!! I’m wondering what “self taught knitter” means. I will occasionally see people on here say they are “self taught” and I wonder:

  1. What does that mean
  2. What other kinds of knitters are there
  3. What difference does it make (if any) in how instructions or patterns are worked
  4. If my questions are being too rude don’t be afraid to tell me!!!


By self taught, I personally mean I’ve looked for the information I’ve needed as and when, although I was taught the basics by my mum. We don’t knit the same kind of things, so I’ve had to research and build my own skill set, so to speak!
Some knitters might follow all patterns to the letter, others improvise a lot (I suspect most fall in between and do both, however).
Written patterns can make sense to the person writing it, but other knitters may need to reinterpret it so they understand it better. Some directions are going to be awkward to word no matter what! I don’t know if being self taught, as opposed to being experienced makes a difference here.

Hi, I take it to mean I taught myself- which I did with some help from my mom. But that’s a good question. Don’t we all pretty much teach ourselves by following patterns. One thing I do wrong but doesn’t affect my pattern is how I do my knit stitch. I go behind the needle to pick it up. I told myself when I finish this sweater, I’m going to try and do it the correct way! Lol

I’m like you. My mum taught me the basics when I was about 8 but she’s still very old school, knitting in pieces on straight needles and seaming together whereas I love knitting with circular needles cause I hate having to sew it all together. And I suppose in that respect (and all the other techniques over the years - I’m now 55) I guess you could call me self experienced not necessarily self taught.

Too rude? I should say not! I like this question. To me self-taught means I’ve searched out the things I need to know without following a curriculum set by someone else. Mostly it’s the best way for me to learn. In fact I learned to knit through help from this forum and learning to find what I need when I need it. I don’t follow patterns precisely much but I think that’s me more than the way I learned to knit. I used a pattern and tried my best to follow it for my first project and that may have been the last time it really worked for me. Even when I follow a pattern I always end up doing something different. BTW I learned knit, purl, yo, and decrease from a booklet then a few years later had high speed internet and learned to knit, that is I learned to do something with those basics. I’m still self-teaching. My current obsession with colorwork has led to all sorts of discoveries.

I think why people learn to knit is interesting too. I was a crocheter and made lots of things. My grandson picked a yarn for a sweater he wanted. It didn’t crochet to my satisfaction. It was then I found KH and muddled through that first pattern. The things we do for love.


I have to agree with everyone so far I have not had any formal knitting tuition. I lived with my grandparents for 1 year when I was 8yrs my grandmother taught me the basics to keep me occupied while they had an afternoon nap. Since then I have researched, experimented, edited designs to suit my needs, taught others the basics, so on and so on. Isn’t that part of the knitting experience?
To all who read this stay safe, stay well, keep those needles working and most of all enjoy.


“Self taught” means that they have discovered and invented knitting all by themselves!

Actually, what they meant to say was that they learned by themselves. That is, they looked through some books, watched videos, and think they learned it. These things all have teachers behind them! There is someone that wrote the books, or made the videos… except there is no feedback from the student. In any good learning experience, there needs to be feedback to measure progress and to correct mistakes and to answer questions. That doesn’t happen. So these “self taught” knitters create bad habits for themselves, without knowing it, and cause all kinds of problems.

A proper education would clear this up. Your grandmother or aunt is not always the best teacher! And you don’t need formal classes. But a good foundation is absolutely necessary… in my humble opinion. Sure would make it a lot easier for all of us.

Sel taught - ‘Having acquired knowledge or skill on one’s own initiative rather than through formal instruction or training.’

And one person’s ‘bad habits’ is another person’s doing things their own way.


That’s what I think I meant to say - I didn’t invent knitting, but I did learn (from others, indirectly) the techniques needed, to make what I wanted to make, under my own initiative.
If someone has a different way of doing something, I’m not going to call it a bad habit if you can’t tell what that habit was just from looking at their finished projects.
My brother taught himself how computers work - he never had formal IT lessons, yet he’s the person we all turn to (even our neighbour sometimes tries to nab him when he visits!) if we need help with computers or phones, etc.

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We have all evolved in our skills :blush: Knitting itself has evolved. When my mum taught me 40 plus years ago, she taught me how she knitted (and still knits) on straight needles and seamed together, English style but holding the yarn between my thumb and index finger. I’ve never ever knitted a swatch or blocked anything because she never had (although I’ve found pretty much everything I’ve made has turned out fine - maybe I’m just lucky). She marvels now that I knit on circular needles Continental style. But she does what still works for her whereas I like to learn new ways of doing things.


Progress! I’m impressed and amazed. There is hope for you! I’m working on a top down piece right now. I looked at a pattern photo and saw something that wasn’t actually there and set out to make it happen. It’s working. I’m learning. I’ll have a summer top worked in cotton/elastic yarn to wear soon. Maybe I can tag you in the photo if I post it so you can critique it for me and give the opportunity to use your expert guidance. I’m working on an applied lacy border on one sleeve and then will do the other. That leaves all the yarn remaining to add length. Such a pity I never had a good learning experience and learned to do something right. On the other hand, I might be stuck in a box of someone else’s making and not have a clue that I could skip the pattern and combine a circular yoke and raglan shaping. I could be in your lofty circle.

Truth is I take exception to your statement. I did have good teachers, right here, who gave me valuable instruction and started me on the road to learning more.


Paddi, your post is an excellent example of someone who was “self taught” interpersonal communication.


Hello it’s me again!

The reason I asked about this is because sometimes people will post responses on this forum and preface their statement with:

“Well, I’m a self taught knitter so…”

It sounded like it makes a difference in how they learned to be able to answer the question. To me, learning is learning. No matter how u learn, the final product is KNITTING!!! I don’t think it matters all that much how u get there! Just so u get there!!!



I agree. The apologetic “I’m self-taught” before stating the problem makes it sound like it’s a less desirable way to learn to knit. Many people learn many different things from book, videos, whatever source is available and do amazing things with the skills they acquire. Knitting and crochet are no different. A person who has sought out and worked hard to achieve the things they know how to do might well do better than someone who had opportunity to have classes. The teacher and student might be a poor match since different people learn differently and there’s not much in the way of a guarantee that the teacher should be teaching the way they do things. Not all expert advice is equal and often what’s really needed is help from someone who knows and might be at a similar skill level. I take issue with anyone who claims to show or teach the right way to knit. Often they seem clueless in the videos I see and obviously don’t know much about what they’re doing.


I was watching Suzanne Bryan on You Tube earlier and she said she taught herself to knit. It occurred to me that anyone who is a TKGA certified master knitter is self-taught. They’re given the assignment and it’s up to them to figure out how to do it. I doubt I could make it through the certification program even if I wanted to but I have a lot of respect for those who have self-taught themselves all that’s required to do so.


I consider anyone self taught if the person has not had any teacher (=family member or a teacher at a knitting course, etc) watching over her/his progress. When having a teacher, the teacher provides the material and gives the tasks. When learning by oneself one has to find the material and finding out how to fix mistakes by oneself.
Thus I also consider anyone who has been learning from Youtube to be self taught as the one making the videos is not watching over the progress of the learner and the one learning from them is usually not able to ask all the questions that she/he might want to ask. Also Youtube channels are usually not organized into lessons in a certain order, which a normal instructor would do. The one learning would need herself/himself to figure out in what order to watch the videos and that is already a learning process.


I would think a self-taught knitter would be considered to be someone who has learned to knit from books/magazines/videos. Some people just find it easier to learn that way. My mother taught me how to knit, but I learned how to knit tubular style double-knit from a magazine article. It would have been nice if I could have discovered that when she was still around, then I could have returned the favour and taught her!



Up until a few years ago I used to give my mum the parts of a jumper and the pattern and she’d pick up for the neck and sew it together… for 40 plus years!!! Then she showed me so now I do it all myself from start to finish.

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Exactly! That’s what I am saying! Does no one listen anymore???

I’m deleting my comment because I shouldn’t have made it.

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