Self Taught Knitters

For those who taught themselves how to knit, what are some best practices you can offer to those wanting to self teach?

I am still new and consider myself a self taught knitter. I decided to jump right into advanced projects versus easier ones in order to immerse myself into the world of knitting a little better . The advanced projects forced me to research and learn various types of stitches as well as learn how to read knitting patterns.

I have since completed a sweater and a pair of mittens that had a cable pattern. After starting with advanced jprojects I have found it much easier to read just about any pattern

What would you “self taught knitters suggest to new and aspiring self taught knitters?

I am a self taught knitter. What I did was to try stitch patterns when ever I saw a stitch pattern I liked. My first knitted item was a baby blanket for my High school teacher in my senior year. The blanket had outlined set of boxes that started after the border until halfway done and then you decreased in the pattern to make the outlined other half of the boxes.


Sounds really cool! Do you have a picture of the blanket ? Would love to see it

Self-taught here as well. My first attempt years ago was a disaster so I didn’t keep it up.

But about five years ago, I saw a friend knitting and said something about it. She suggested I take a look at the Stitch 'N Bitch book, which I did. Read it cover to cover and tried again. My first project? I always say looks like it was made by a demented kindergartener. Horrible. But I learned from it and the biggest thing for me I learned from the book was that there was more than one way to hold the yarn. Took up continental and never looked back. (Although, I have learned English as well so I could do two colors in two hands.)

Learning for me means reading everything I can get my hands on. Reading the generic “how-to” sections of different pattern books can help with understanding because maybe that third book finally explains how stitches sit on the needle in a way you understand. I found this forum and worked my way back through years of posts learning from other people’s questions. I found blog’s like techknitter’s and read through those. Once I started learning the terminology, it was a simple thing to be able to start to Google the answers to my own questions. (Which I still do!)

I then took all that reading and looking at my early projects, just kept trying things. I did different cast-ons, never repeated a hat pattern, lots of small projects to work on my tension and other skills. I was pondering the whys of construction a lot as well as learning about yarns and fibers and what I liked, which is how I ended up designing my own patterns.

But … I think my experience is a little extreme. Most people just want to be taught enough to be able to make those plain vanilla socks in pretty yarn, not understand the eight ways of casting on a toe-up sock or questing for the perfect heel. They just want socks. :grinning: Which is perfectly awesome. But for that, my recommendation would be to find a sock/hat/mitten knitter you can sit with and ask questions of until you figure it out. That’s the easiest way to learn that one thing.


Unfortunately, no I didn’t have a camera then,I graduated in 1974.

Ahhhh gotcha ! well I’m sure it looked wonderful!

I am self taught and later in life when I was 53. (65 now) I personally preferred to start with basics and practiced with the usual short garter stitch scarf then a few dishcloths which used knit/purl. I also learned to read patterns by downloading them and just reading them and looking up how to do things. Within 3 mos I was making a magic loop pullover sweater. Simple, but provided a feeling of success.

I usually recommend someone start with basics because they can get their hands used to the movement of the needles, how to hold the yarn in a way best for them and help even their tension. I feel that frustration often causes people to just quit. But this is just my take on it. :wink:


Really cool! i plan to start designing patterns soon. I fee like it might be a bit tedious so I want to be able to sit down and really hammer a few out with confidence, test them out etc.

I love how you really dove in and learned so much about knitting. I feel like immersion is such a great way to learn in order to become a really great knitter.

I started by following some video tutorials but once I learned how to read patterns I couldn’t sit and watch the videos anymore Lol. One of my very first projects was cables. I was determined to not be intimidated by cables. I have heard many knitters say they wont touch cables.

I’ll definitely be checking out Techknitter.

Btw what’s continental?

I would have to agree with you about how frustration often causes one to give up. I once said I would NEVER knit but now Im hooked.

What is your feed back on shortrows?

Continental is the knitting style where you hold and tension your yarn with your left hand. Despite being right-handed, I never could quite get the hang of tensioning the yarn with my right hand, and things didn’t click for me until I tried the other way.

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Short rows are pretty cool. I love the way they shape things, but of course it’s a learning experience. There are different types as well. I’d start with a swatch and play with the different types to see how they behave.

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One thing I think is VERY necessary before you delve into writing patterns. Read a LOT of them. Learn to word instructions so they are easy to follow. If you are assuming knowledge in the pattern make sure you say so right in the notes/info. If you’ve got a fancy cable in the pattern it’s fair to assume the knitter has a basic knowledge of cables. I know the knitters here in KH can probably help out with ideas. Hmm…I need to rewrite at least one of my patterns that I did early on. I’m going to post a thread and I’ll tag you in it.


That would be awesome Jan, thank you!

And thanks for the pattern information too ; really good to know.

Oh okay - I think I am actually familiar with that style but never knew the name. Thanks for explaining!

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I learned from Knitting Help.
I had my sister teach me crochet on the phone when I was agorphobic. I was somewhat better when I decided to knit but I don’t know anyone who knits.

I hate patterns.


Pretty Impressive Mike that you learned how to crochet over the phone - good for you!

Lol, I can understand your disdain for patterns. I did , at one time, avoid them like a plague. One day I felt like taking the challenge and decided to learn how to read them. Its been great . But I say what ever works. Some prefer patterns and some don’t.

Thanks for listing the Knitting Help as a resource!

She didn’t think she could teach over the phone. I told her to just describe it as she does it.
I can follow patterns, I’d rather just knit. At some point there is some pattern following even if it’s to pick a cable out of a book to put on something.
I still go to the KH videos for decreases and increases.


I’m not exactly self taught as my mum showed me what to do at first, but after I’d learned the basics I taught myself a lot. I just wanted to have fun with it! I make toys and accessories and one ambition is to make realistic animal patterns to sell. That’s what keeps me learning and experimenting with stuff like shaping and different textures.
I do watch videos or look at clear diagrams/descriptions for new stitches or techniques I can’t visualise by myself.
Overall, I’d say don’t do boring basic stuff that will take ages to begin with (like mile-long garter stitch scarves!). Blanket squares in different stitches, pot holders, that type of stuff is usually much better.


Sweet! - do you have an online shop!

Oh I must say I agree with your comment

“Overall, I’d say don’t do boring basic stuff that will take ages to begin with (like mile-long garter stitch scarves!)”

Lol! That’s exactly how I felt when I started so after knitting a few mitts and a hat I decided to knit a sweater - which I just completed!

If the pattern does not have some
Sort of intricate structure to it I am completely bored !

It’s the more complicated knit designs that have helped me develop my knitting.

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I would continue to browse this site for ideas.

You tube has also taught me a ton!

Have fun!!

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