Helpful resources for beginner knitting

by | Jan 19, 2021 | Artistic Endeavors, Yarn Crafts | 33 comments

Our 3-day weekend turned into a 4-day weekend due to a rare snow day here in Minnesota.  We get snow, but they know what to do with it and trust people know how to drive in it, so schools aren’t often closed.  (And the kids have recess outside until is below 10º.)  So, I ended up doing a lot of hanging out with the family this weekend and only did a little work yesterday.  It’s catching up with me today, though, and I’ve been running a little behind.  In today’s blog post, I’m going to share all of the resources that have been helpful for me as a knitting beginner.

knitting project bag | grain sack | dunn by designs | miss mustard seed

 grain sack project bag | Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick Yarn

First of all, I have been reading through a few different books that have been a helpful resource.  I like reading out the information and then, if I get stuck, I’ll find a video tutorial online made for knitting beginners.  It’s sometimes helpful to see the knitting in action.  For me, anyway!

Vogue Knitting – The Ultimate Knitting Book

This book is a comprehensive book for knitting.  I would say it’s been helpful for me as a beginner, but so much of it is over my head.  I do think it will be a good book to use as a resource as I continue to learn.  It has so much great information from different types of stitches to how to fix mistakes and even how to design your own patterns and designs.  This book does not include any patterns, though.

vogue knitting | beginner knit resources | miss mustard seed

Vogue Knitting | The Learn-to-Knit Book

This book is very similar to the Vogue Knitting book, but it does stick more to the basics and it does have some patterns for beginners.  If you’d like some projects that work with the tutorials in the book, this book is better to start with than the book above.

vogue knitting learn to knit book | beginner knit resources | miss mustard seed

The Knitter’s Book of Knowledge

This book is very similar to the first Vogue Knitting book.  It’s a resource book and guide but doesn’t have any patterns.  In hindsight, I could’ve just bought one or the other, not both.

The Knitter's Book of Knowledge | beginner knit resources | miss mustard seed

Sereknity | Peaceful Projects to Soothe & Inspire

I bought this book because it’s full of projects that are small and don’t look too complicated.  I’ve already marked several I’d like to try to make.

sereknity book | beginner knit resources | miss mustard seed

I watched a lot of tutorials on YouTube and various sites and HappyBerry Knitting YouTube Channel was one of my favorites.  She was very good and teaching beginner knitting basics and has some great projects, too.  She taught slowly and carefully but wasn’t painfully slow or repetitive.

I watched her How to Cast Off to learn to cast off…

I was knitting for a couple of weeks before I finally decided to make something instead of just squares and rectangles.

beginner knitting fair isle hat | miss mustard seed

Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in Grass & Fisherman

I found this great tutorial – How to knit a hat for complete beginners.  She teaches the long-tail cast-on, knit & purl stitches, and other basics while working on the project.  This is a great place to start for knitting beginners…

The first hat I made ended up being way too small (like toddler-sized), but I adjusted the pattern to make it a little bigger.  I also went rogue and added in a second color of yarn, which makes the pattern smaller and less stretchy.  I think I need to increase the needle size when I do the two-color work.  So, I need to find a toddler to give the little green hat to I made the blue checked hat for myself, but that one fits a little funny, too!

beginner knitting resources | simple hat | miss mustard seed

I think when you’re a beginner ar something, like knitting, it’s so important to celebrate what you’ve learned with each project as well as the experience that’s been gained.  I know that the first few projects I make will be wonky, especially when I’m ignoring the pattern and trying my own thing!  I just can’t help myself!

And, of course, I’m already having a great time shopping for pretty needles and yummy yarns.

alpaca fingering yarn | beginner knitting | miss mustard seed

100% Alpaca Fingering Yarn | I got the beautiful rosewood needles off of Etsy, but the shop is now closed!

I’m trying to buy supplies for specific projects that I want to make, but it’s easy to fall down a rabbit hole.

super soft merino wool yarn | blue and white | beginner knitting | miss mustard seed

Purl Soho Super Soft Merino in Gray Denim & Heirloom White

My favorite places to shop for yarn are EtsyPurl Soho (a reader suggested this site to me and it’s awesome!  They even have free patterns and video tutorials for beginners.), Ingebretsen’s (this is a Nordic yarn shop in Minneapolis that carries beautiful wool yarns.)  I’ve even bought some yarn off of small shops selling on Amazon. I’ve also  Love Crafts for free patterns and they sell yarn and supplies, too.

Oh, also, I love the look of these twisted yarn hanks, but they are a nightmare to work from!  I did end up buying a yarn winder & swift off of Etsy last year so I can wind them into balls when I’m ready to use them.  Just be mindful of that!

Does anyone else have helpful resources to share for beginner knitting?

PS – You can find my knitting vs. crochet post HERE if you missed it last week.  The comments are fantastic!

 

33 Comments

  1. Margaret

    Even though I see the attraction of beautiful needles, many (most?) of us prefer circular needles–or DP needles.
    Something to think about before you sink a lot of $$ into pairs.

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, I bought circular needles and double-pointed needles, too. The rosewood ones were a Christmas present, but the others are just inexpensive bamboo.

      Reply
  2. Dee

    Marian, Ravelry is a good site for patterns. And Very Pink Knits has wonderful tutorials. Another good place for some tutorials is Fruity Knitting Podcast, although the tutorials are not in every podcast. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a knitting group in your town which meets regularly. Knitters are always open to helping each other out. And any yarn shop would probably help you out with any issue you have.
    I enjoy your blogs. Stay safe and knit on!

    Dee S.

    Reply
  3. Tracy

    I love your knitted hat!

    Reply
  4. Sally

    Marion,
    You are knitting very well for a beginner. I agree about Vogue Knitting. It is so helpful to have on hand. Thank goodness for Youtube, especially since Covid.
    Raverly has free patterns and many of these knitters sell on Etsy as well.
    I follow Knot and Stitch, BKnits, WoolyBearKnits, IzzyMatteo on IG. Knot and Stitch sells kits on Etsy. Or you can just purchase yarn, patterns or the homemade faux fur pom poms.
    If I am going to spend time knitting I want quality yarn. Although Lion Brand is okay, I just enjoy the feel and the end result of great yarn.
    Also, check out Izzy Matteo on Etsy. She has beautiful handmade stitch markers. They don’t snag the yarn and are so much fun to work with.
    Keep up the great knitting. Also, if you knit in the round it is much easier. I purchase Addi turbo needles.

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      Thanks for all of the tips! Ues, I did purchase a couple of pairs of Addi turbo needles to try out. Also, I agree about nice yarn! I have mostly bought quality wool and cotton yarn. I like the Lion Brand Wool Ease for these early projects, so I don’t feel like I’m wasting good yarn on things that are wonky! I’m hoping to dig into my nicer yarn soon!

      Reply
  5. Callie

    It’s an older one, but Knitty.com is an online magazine that has a great pattern library, which is handily rated by difficulty level. They also supply links to quality tutorials on various techniques.

    Reply
  6. Ruth Ann

    Knitpicks is a great spot for yarn and needles too. Good for you for learning one more craft and inspiring others along the way.

    Reply
    • Michelle

      Knitpicks is my go-to source for yarn!

      Reply
    • trina

      I too second the Knitpicks suggestion. Great yarn without breaking the bank. Although I also love the Lion Brand yarns too. Enjoy your new hobby.

      Reply
  7. Meredith

    Another vote for Ravelry! I learned to crochet just before Christmas and have really loved all that the site offers for both crafts. Those Merino skeins are delicious!!

    Reply
  8. Erin

    Marian, you’re off to a great start! Welcome to the fabulous world of knitting. The hats look great! I just have a few more comments to add or second what’s already been said. Yes to KnitPicks for decent, affordable yarn. Especially when you’re ready to try a sweater. Ravelry is an amazing resource; you can even look up patterns to see how knitters have adapted them and suggested improvements. Anything published by Interweave Press is gorgeous – I have saved years of Interweave Knits magazines for future projects.

    Two tips:
    1. I read that you bought a winder, but you can also just learn to wind a skein of yarn into a ball by hand. Stay loose so you can pull from the center. There are YouTube videos to show you how. Sometimes local yarn stores will even do this for you, when shopping in person is easier again.
    2. By any chance, have you learned to use smaller needles on the cuff of a hat? It’s hard to tell from photos, but it looks like the cuff might be knit on the same size needles as the hat body. If you knit the 1x or 2x rib cuff on needles that are two sizes smaller, it will fit much better and stay on your head. Ex: size 5 for cuff and size 7 for body. (If you did this – or are not ready for this yet, please ignore me! I’m just suggesting it now that you’ve completed a few projects and it looks like the beginner video doesn’t explain this.)
    Have fun knitting! It seems like the perfect extension of your skills. It’s fun to follow along.

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      No, I didn’t, but I will give that a try! Especially with the two=color work, the tops of the hats are smaller than the ribbing right now, so switching the needles sounds like a good idea!

      Reply
      • Kris

        Like Erin, I really enjoy the comments portion of the knitting patterns on Ravelry. It’s a great way to discover if a pattern is poorly written (which happens disappointingly often), if the sizing runs big or small, and so on. Take the time to read them–you will be grateful you did.

        One of the things I like about knitting is that if I want something easy and soothing to knit, I can find a pattern (I used to call it “Downton Abbey knitting” back when that was a thing). If I want a challenge and to learn new stitches/techniques, I can find a pattern. Life has many seasons and I find that my knitting tends to follow those seasons.

        Reply
  9. Cheryl

    Marian, you are doing great! Another great place to get beautiful yarn is Heidiandlana.com. This is run by Margaret and her husband, Jake out of Ohio. I love buying from small businesses. Happy knitting! 😄❤️

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      Thanks for sharing! I’ll check them out.

      Reply
  10. Loretta

    For 2 color work you have to carry your yard loosely to avoid the shrinkage. As you are no doubt learning, tension is a learned skill and is a lot about muscle memory. Knitting a swatch, in pattern is always helpful. Needle sizes listed are a guess based on the designers gauge. But beginning knitters often knit tight. Gradually, you learn to relax and become more consistent.
    You are doing a great job!

    Reply
  11. Jane

    I just love the Arne and Carlos videos!

    Reply
  12. Tallulah

    Here is an oldy but goody that set me up to be a master knitter long ago.
    Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmerman
    There are many used copies available on several sites online. This book unlocked the secrets of knitting to guage and helped me become a relaxed knitter.

    Reply
  13. Roberta

    Our sewing group are making hats for babies in the nursery. Mostly they are doing them in purple to remind people never to shake a baby. One of the hospitals was asking for red ones for heart babies. I made 30 one year in all colors, some knitted for boys and some crocheted for girls…I put a flower on those. Your yarn is beautiful.

    Reply
  14. Elizabeth

    Hi Marian: Another great yarn source is Littleknits.com out of the Seattle area. They have a large selection of beautiful, quality yarns. My favorites are the Malabrigo yarns from Uruguay. Their prices are great and also carry closeouts. Yarn.com or WEBS is a great all purpose yarn store and carry just about everything. I also love Sunday Yarns from Carol Sunday. She also develops her own patterns using these yarns but her designs are probably beyond your experience at this point. Her yarns from Italy are beautiful and soft and its fun to browse through her designs and dream a little!

    Reply
  15. Pam

    May I suggest “Very Pink. com” , her videos are most helpful& clear.

    Reply
  16. Kathy

    I have been following you for years. You constantly astound me with your ability to create and inspire. You are a Renaissance woman!

    Reply
  17. Karen B.

    You definitely inspire me to start knitting again. Thank you.
    Your work is amazing and I’m always so wowed by your artistic talent.
    Karen

    Reply
  18. Gloria

    Did I read in Decemberthat you would have a pattern for a cat bed. I don’t remember if it was knitted or crocheted. Looking forward to that. You do a beautiful job of knitting. When I first started I had to go up a size sometimes two because I knitted way to tight.

    Reply
  19. Alissa

    Lots of great Youtube recommendations so far! I found these sites to be really clear and helpful, too: Knitiversity, 10rowsaday, Roxanne Richardson, Stephen West, Sheep & Stitch, So Woolly, Woolandthegang. I started learning to knit in October. When I get the confidence I want to try EarthtonesGirl’s No Fear Sock Knitting series.

    Reply
  20. Miche Ortega

    Marian, your hats are adorable. I learned knitting about 10 years ago. I haven’t knitted in a while, but when I started, I fell down the rabbit hole. I think I loved all of the paraphernalia more than actually knitting. I get so frustrated when I make a mistake and have to rip it out and try to pick the stitches back up. I did make a toddler “playground” coat and hat out of the really chunky yarn for a friend who was having a baby boy, and that turned out really cute. The chunky yarn hid some of my mistakes. I made a hat on the circular needles with the yarn that has several colors, and it is so cute, and baby booties are fun and easy for beginners. I look forward to seeing many more fabulously knitted items.

    Reply
  21. Tracy K

    I have found “Knitter’s Companion” by Vicki Square to be a great resource.

    Reply
  22. celestial

    I’m so glad you are trying knitting! It seems that people either gravitate towards knitting OR crocheting; it is rarely both. Your gauge is beautiful so your practice is paying off. I find that knitters tend to like colorwork or texture and stick with that. Colorwork would be those beautiful Scandinavian sweaters with multiple colors traveling in bargello-like patterns around the neck, while texture is usually one color, like Fisheman’s knit sweaters with lots of cables and intricate patterns in a cream yarn. I like doing lacework but in a busy household it is difficult because you have to really concentrate. I love Ravelry and get 90% of my patterns there. After years of trying out needles I’ve found that the very basic Takumi bamboo ones work best for me because they have more “grip” than metal needles…and they are very inexpensive so that when I sit on one and break it it is not a tragedy. Keep knitting! (It has been found that active knitters have a brain wave pattern similar to those in deep meditation.)

    Reply
  23. Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm

    More great knitting/crochet/yarn resources include The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt and was out of print its first run and costs the absolute earth should a first edition be found!
    Another great knitting resource is, if you have one, the local knitting shop. Back in the ancient days, I taught myself to knit with a simple soft cover book but then found a knit shop and was taught more than basics and made a beautiful sweater.
    Finally, if you’re near a Fiber Festival…GO! You’ll be astounded at the diversity of everything…yarn, animals, patterns, people, classes… If I have a happy place, it’s a Fiber Festival and the last one I attended was WoolFest in Cockermouth, England…total BLISS!

    Reply
  24. Deb

    Your knitting looks very impressive! My grandmother taught me to knit when I was 8 or 9 and it’s always been one of my favorite things to do. I found a yarn at Michaels- Patons Kroy sock yarn; it comes in various ragg colors. I have made sweaters and hats for my grandsons. It’s great because the sweater will be striped without changing yarn colors (something I never really liked much!) I agree with others that suggested Purl Soho and Ravelry, excellent resources. Happy knitting!!

    Reply
  25. Denise

    You’re knitting is fantastic. A friend of mine got me into knitting about 10 years ago. It’s such a relaxing and fulfilling hobby for me. I have to second (or third or fifth) the recommendation for the website Ravelry (revelry.com). It is a treasure trove of patterns (both free and for purchase). A few online yarn makers whose yarns I love are Miss Babs Hand Dyed Yarns (missbabs.com) and Neighborhood Fiber Company (https://neighborhoodfiberco.com/).

    Reply
  26. Toni

    I’ll chime in for Ravelry! Its a great source to find a project and see it done in many different colorways and or variations…or if you love a yarn but don’t know what to make with it you can do a search by yarn to find a suitable project! I’ve been with them since they started testing their site and they’ve grown like crazy through the years! Its definitely a rabbit hole worth going down at times! Another that I love and have found many different free patterns is Knitty…I love that site! Its kind of like a seasonal “newsletter” and you can look up patterns and also sort by difficulty level or type of project. And a favorite place to shop for yarn (besides KnitPicks which I love) there is Webs (yarn.com). They have tons of yarns and I’m fortunate to live about an hour and a half away, so I also get to visit their store and the warehouse where I’ve gotten amazingly beautiful quality yarns that are just being discontinued. That’s my weigh in! And I have to say that you have picked up knitting as quickly and nimbly as everything else you dabble in! I love following your adventures! Thanks for all you share!

    Reply

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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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