Knitting Tips & Advice for Beginners

Knitting Tips For Beginners

Having asked our customers and members within our Knit It, Stitch It, Share It Facebook Group for their favourite and most useful Knitting tips, we thought why not put together an easy list for those just starting out with Knitting…

With over 100 amazing tips sent in, here are some of the popular ones:

(Including a bonus Knitting Pattern to make a shawl)


  1. Experiment with the length of knitting needles, some are more comfortable to work with but that is a very individual preference
  2. Interchangeable needles (circular) are brilliant once you are able to knit with straight needles but best to learn on the straight ones first
  3. Bamboo needles are so comfortable to work with and are kinder to the hands and fingers


  1. Don’t knit whilst watching scary scenes on the television, it will mess up your tension!!
  2. Don’t worry about tension when you are first learning to knit. Find a pattern that does not require a particular size like a cushion, scarf, shawl etc.
  3. You will find your own style and natural tension with practice
  4. If you find you are a tight knitter then go up a needle size to cast on & off and especially when casting off jumper neck holes
  5. When you have practiced making simple items and progress onto more complicated knitting make sure you always do a tension sample ( we have a blog about how to do this and what to do if your tension is tighter or looser than it should be )


  1. Read patterns through before starting
  2. Highlight or circle the size you are making in a multi size pattern
  3. If not using the yarn stated on the pattern always do a tension square
  4. Note down each row with pen and paper
  5. Remember to check the yardage if you are using a different wool from the pattern
  6. Knit both sleeves at the same time so that the shaping is equal and the sleeves are equal length
  7. Check websites for free patterns there are lots of projects from small to large
  8. Go through your pattern and write down the amount of rows you need to knit. Then cross off each row as you knit them. Use a different colour for the back & a different colour for the front. This means the length of the back & front are the same
  9. When knitting from a pattern, photocopy it first so you can write notes on the copy and keep the original clean


  1. Buddy up with an experienced knitter
  2. There are great tutorials on you tube
  3. Don’t worry about holes appearing when you are learning, its normal
  4. If you are knitting stocking stitch count your row on the purl side of the knitting
  5. Start with easy projects – squares of knit and purl to master the basics, you will soon end up with enough patches for a blanket which is a big achievement
  6. Note down each row with pen and paper to keep track of where you are up to
  7. Always slip the 1st stitch and knit into the back of last stitch, this gives a perfect edge if you have to pick up stitches
  8. When casting off always knit the last two stitches together to prevent a long loose stitch
  9. Teaching a child to knit ? Try the rhyme “ Down the rabbit hole round the tree, up the rabbit hole, off pops she”
  10. Cast off using a crochet hook
  11. Block your finished knitting. It really evens out any uneven stitches and gives a lovely smooth look. Lay a damp towel out flat and lay your finished knitting on it making sure it measures the size you want then lay another damp towel over the top and leave till dry
  12. Use needle protectors to stop your work falling off the needles when you pack it away


  1. Use a decent yarn/ wool because some cheaper wools don’t knit up that well and it could put you off. Paintbox & Stylecraft do a range of basic yarns and they work really well and are not expensive
  2. Use a space dyed yarn. It will hide all the wonky tension and imperfections. It is so much more encouraging to have a finished piece that looks good

Overall keep at it, enjoy knitting and don’t let your cat help you!!



Cast on 3 stitches, knit the first two, then knit into the front and the back of the third stitch to end up with five stitches.  Keep doing this, knitting to the front and to the back of the third stitch until you have enough material to make a shawl.  Cast off when your shawl is the size you want it.

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