When I knit, I often get looks, like I am doing some sort of arcane and wondrous thing. I occasionally even get comments. They run the gamut from surprise that anyone knits anymore (I still get this, oddly), to incredulity that I would enjoy spending my time doing such a weird thing, to “I could never do that, it’s too hard!” I have learned that most people don’t believe me when I tell them that knitting is not rocket science.  And they look at me like I have 3 heads, and decline my offers to show them how to start. 

The truth is, it has taken me many years to get to this point. My grandmother tried to interest me in knitting at the young age of 8 years old. I knit about 5 rows in bright green acrylic yarn, on huge needles, and dropped at least 1 stitch per row. I also promptly quit knitting. I started up again when I met my husband. Here was someone who I saw a future with, who I wanted to make something for. And I guess you could say I haven’t really stopped knitting since then (the main exception being the bout of tendonitis I have been fighting recently, but that is a post for another time). I haven’t taken any classes, and besides for the remnants of what my grandmother taught me, and a quick “this is how you purl” lesson from my mother, I primarily am self-taught.

In an effort to support the beginning knitter, I want to provide some good sources of information, and books that I used while learning, as well as share some of the knit-skeletons in my closet, in the hopes that others will either learn from my mistakes, or be encouraged to work through their own mistakes.

So, without further ado, I give you – The FIRST Thing I Ever Knit!!

So I was going to post a picture of the first disaster, er, hat I ever knit. But the owner of that hat could not find it, in 10 minutes of searching. So instead, here is the 2nd hat I ever knit! (modelled by a lovely stuffed animal)

The 2nd hat I ever made

The 2nd hat I ever made

The first hat I ever knit (not pictured) had about 4 inches of extra hat tucked away inside it because I didn’t really do such a hot job for the first 4 inches, and used the original bright green acrylic yarn I’d originally learned on. All I really knew when I started was how to knit a stitch, and how to purl a stitch. I sort of bumbled through using a circular needle and joining knitting to knit in the round, decreases, and using double pointed needles (which is scary enough that some people have figured out how to do without!) – 4 skills learned (ok, fumbled) in my first project.

I highly recommend a hat as a first project – maybe because I always get bored of scarves, and hats require less time and yarn to make. But also because hats force you to learn some new things! And you don’t actually have to do the decreases and the double pointed needles, you can just knit a big tube, and once it is long enough, thread the yarn through each of the stitches, and draw the top closed.

So, to help you out with your first hat, I have a couple of suggestions:

This is a Great Instructional Book that I continue to use as a reference, even though it does not let you make a hat first. It will get you started, at the very least, though for more involved techniques, I find that this website is better. You can also find a wealth of information on youtube. I recommend starting off with whatever yarn you like, with the proviso that if you pick skinny yarn, you are going to need smaller needles and more stitches – this sounds like a ‘duh’ moment, until you get home with beautiful light weight yarn that you love, and you start your cast-on, and 150 stitches later, you can start your first row! And here is an easy roll brim hat pattern to get you started (since I have totally forgotten how I did the decreases on the hat above – I’ll work on figuring it out and will show you next time!). I firmly believe that your best bet is to go look at that pattern, buy some yarn and needles (that one requires circulars and double pointeds and a yarn needle), and then muddle through, using a book or the internet when you get stuck on a direction – for instance, stockinette stitch is just knitting, so that particular pattern just wants you to knit, not knit and purl.

Happy hatting!