It took me over ten years to learn how to knit. Ten! And I'm not the dullest crayon in the box, but whenever a friend or my poor mother (I'm so sorry mom) tried to teach me, watching their needles and yarn twist and loop into fabric made my head spin.
But after ten years (and countless tangles), I figured out where I went wrong and have knit scarves and wraps for my friends, as well as over fifty ornaments for my Christmas tree. So if you're trying to learn and find yourself with more dropped stitches than pretty purl rows, it might be time to try something new.
To paraphrase George Constanza, it's not you, it's your knitting.
1. Do NOT go to the store!
Look at this. LOOK AT THIS. If all this choice isn't stressful for you, who are you and can we chat about how not to be stressed? Thanks.
Remember the first time you had to go shopping for bras. (If you don't wear bras, just imagine.) Your mother brought your young self to the bra section... Bras hung menacingly in neat rows, with weird sizing, they were all so expensive, and everyone else seemed to know what they were doing besides you?
That's how I felt about shopping for yarn. To be honest, that's how I feel about a lot of things. ANYWAY-
Start at home. Since yarn comes in different weights, you'll have to pick one.
2. Sweet Yarn O' Mine
Next we need to pick our yarn. This is important - we are still at home, preferably in some comfortable pants.
Choose a yarn that is a light, solid color made of a smooth, dense twist.
Light colors will allow you to see your stitches, and the density of the yarn will help prevent you splitting the yarn in half with your needle when trying to knit a stitch.
Let's look at some yarns.
This pink yarn is so pretty, but its loose twist and weird texture will be a whole mess to knit with as a beginner. The purple yarn on the right is a little dark, but the stitches are even and clearly defined since the yarn's twist is dense.
We know we need a dense twist. But what yarn do we pick?
Choose either (4) worsted weight yarn or (7) super bulky weight yarn. Let's look at the pros and cons for each.
3. Let's pick a pattern!
Here's the fun part! (Just kidding, all of this should be fun!)
I would suggest joining ravelry.com for a ridiculous amount of free patterns and wonderful community support. You can also use ravelry to glean inspiration for future projects and track your own!
The Unassumingly Fabulous Dishcloth
If you've been frustrated by trying to make an entire scarf and finding one end drastically wider than the other, try a dishcloth!
"But I don't use dishcloths, you ridiculous person!" you say. Neither do I, but would you rather have 1 random dishcloth and a complete knowledge of how to knit and purl, or would you like another weirdly-shaped scarf?
Also, I talk a big game about dishcloths, but scarves are much simpler to make in super bulky weight, so those are the patterns I found for you.
4. Knitting Needles
Before you go to the store, print out your pattern, save it on your phone, or write down these things:
If you'd like to try circular needles, pick out the ones you'd like best. If you find your stitches always fall off your needle, try wooden or bamboo needles. If it's hard to get your stitches off your needle, try metal needles. Circular needles also allow you to rest the weight of your knitting project on your lap or table, which reduces fatigue. And I need my hands for petting my dog after she gets grumpy when I don't pay attention to her while I knit. Poor baby!
5. Thank YouTube for Being a Friend
The absolute best tip I could give you was the only reason I ever learned how to knit: YouTube.
Hundreds of videos will teach you how to do a knit stitch, a purl stitch, drop a stitch, or any sort of thing you'd need to learn. The best part--if you don't like a certain camera angle, or if you're not understanding this method, you can always click to another video to find a better person to teach you. This video by Wool & the Gang is one of my favorites for all of the skills together in one video rather than clicking around, but find what works best for you!