Ah, the memories of those early days of knitting! Whether it was twenty years or just twenty minutes ago, we all know the excitement of picking out our first skein of yarn and feeling slightly overwhelmed trying to decipher the patterns and techniques. While we love that feeling of embarking on a new crafting journey, when it comes to knitting, there are some things we wish we could have known before casting on our first WIP, and in today's post we're sharing what they are.
Let's take a look at what we wish we'd have known before we started knitting!
Don't start with a scarf, make a hat!
New knitters often start with a garter stitch scarf, but it can be time-consuming, and by the end, all you've learned is how to do the knit stitch and probably how to cast-on and off (but then the cast on was so long ago you've already forgotten!).
Instead, knit a few small swatches to start and then try a simple stocking stitch or ribbed hat in chunky yarn to learn knitting in the round, combining knits and purls to create stitch patterns, decreasing and shaping - all in one project that you will be wearing long before that scarf is cast off.
Swatching is an essential part of knitting, but did you know that your swatch can sometimes lie to you? Many things can alter your gauge between your swatch and final project; the size of your swatch, if you added a border, how you blocked it, and even your mood!
To keep your gauge consistent, never add a border to the stitch pattern you are swatching for, always wash it in the same way you will be washing your FO, and measure the gauge of your swatch before and after blocking it. That way you will be able to check the gauge of your project as you work, and not only when it is finished and has been blocked.
Learning to cable without a needle will save so much time!
We love cables, but they can be slow to knit (mainly because we spend most of the time hunting for the cable needle between the couch cushions!). Cabling without a needle can seem scary at first because it involves slipping live stitches off the needle, but once you get the hang of it it's not that bad. Just be sure to practice with a 'sticky' yarn first like something non-superwash with a high wool content.
It's easy to accidentally add or drop stitches, and catching the mistake early can save you a lot of time and frustration later. If you are working with a pattern repeat, add markers between each repeat so you can easily see if your stitch count is looking off somewhere.
And finally, don't worry about getting it wrong!
You can read all the tips and tricks in the world before picking up your needles, but you will always make mistakes, and it's a good thing! That's where you learn the most and grow as a maker, and before you know it, you'll be sharing your own list of things you wish you'd known to new makers picking up their needles for the first time!
Do you have any tips that you wish you'd known when you started knitting? Share them with us in the comments below!