Over the years I’ve had family and friends come to me, wanting to learn how to knit and asking where to start. That’s why I’m writing this post, and sharing about my very favorite book for learning how to knit. If you’ve been wanting to learn how to knit, or know someone who does, I hope some things I’ve shared here will be helpful on your knitting journey.
On November 28, 2018, I wrote on the calendar that our son learned to knit and started knitting a hat. He was so excited! B had just turned 8 the month before. He had been interested in learning to knit and had been asking me to teach him. Watching me knit his entire life, he had always been interested in playing with yarn alongside me. When he was younger, before he was ready to learn how to knit, but when he wanted to play with some yarn, we started with a knitting tower. He worked with it a little bit, but what he really loved was learning to finger knit.
Our friend taught him how to finger knit when we took handwork classes with her at the Waldorf School in town. I searched for a tutorial to share with you and was grateful when I came across this video by Sarah at Bella Luna Toys because she does a great job of showing how to do it. (There are more complicated finger knitting methods you can learn, but her tutorial shows the method we learned, and the one that is great for children to begin with.) I wanted to mention it here because B loved it so much, and would gravitate towards it whenever he needed a relaxing, quiet activity. I thought some of you might enjoy it too.
When B wanted to learn to knit with knitting needles, I surprised him with the book ‘Susan B. Anderson’s Kids’ Knitting Workshop.‘ What a delightful book! I love it so much, I cannot recommend it enough. I truly wished I had that book when I was first learning to knit, it’s such a great resource, and that’s why I wanted to be sure to share it with you here. (And it’s not just a great book for kids, but people of all ages who want to learn.) B and I decided to start with the project Susan recommends starting with in the book- Little Hat. We went to Cozy yarn shop to get the knitting needles, and for B to pick out the yarn he wanted to use to knit the hat. I loved his excitement as he picked out yarn for his very first knitting project.
I was amazed by how quickly he learned to knit. I thought perhaps watching me knit all those years might have had something to do with it? For me, I found it challenging when I was learning to knit- several different people showed me how and each had their own method, and I was confused and overwhelmed and it was tricky for me to get the hang of it at first. I want to mention that in case any of you felt discouraged. When it finally clicked for me it was the best feeling, and felt like I had always been knitting. And then I remember thinking ‘this is simple, why did I think it was going to be so hard?’
If I were to learn again I would probably go to a quiet place and watch a video showing how to do the knit stitch over and over again, and practice until it became second nature. There are a lot of videos on youtube to teach you how to knit! It’s also wonderful to learn from a knitter in your life. I’m very grateful to the people who taught me to knit, and to the friend who walked me through many of my early projects. I’m especially grateful because knitting became such an important part of my life. I’ve found knitting to be so soul-filling over the years, which is why I love sharing it with others.
Now it’s a few years later since B first started his hat. In the beginning excitement, he showed his hat proudly to our friends at fiber festivals and yarn shops, and it was sweet to witness everyone’s enthusiasm and encouragement. (You sure can count on a group of knitters to cheer on new knitters!) His interest in knitting has ebbed and flowed since then, he picks it up now and then and knits a few stitches or a few rows and then sets it down again.
Out of the blue last month he asked me to teach him the purl stitch. He wanted to do a row of purl stitches in his hat, and that is what he was working on in the picture above. He has been looking over his hat, talking about wanting to keep it just as it is- mistakes and all- because it’s special, being his first knitting project. I felt the same way about my first knitting project, I didn’t know how to fix mistakes yet, and liked seeing how my knitting progressed throughout. My first knitting project (back in 2005) turned out to be a wonky bit of knitted fabric, but I loved it so much and was so proud I had made it.
Awhile back, when I was asked to teach a knitting class for our homeschool co-op, I suggested that anyone wanting to participate get the needles and yarn to make the Little Hat project in Susan’s book. I agree with her that knitting in the round is the easiest way to begin. I cast on the projects for everyone participating and just had them focus solely on learning the knit stitch. There were a few teens there who picked it up immediately, and again I was amazed at how quickly and easily knitting can come. (One of them knit the Wrap Bracelet pattern in the book, rather than the hat because she wanted to make something she could finish that day.) Many of the younger kids watched with interest for a few minutes and then wanted to run off and play in the sunshine (I didn’t blame them.) It made my heart so happy to get a few people knitting that day.
I wanted to write this post to encourage those of you who have been wanting to learn how to knit or have been wanting to teach someone else and are looking for a good way to start. I recommend ordering Susan B. Anderson’s Kids’ Knitting Workshop book, and getting the knitting needles and yarn to make the Little Hat project. The book does a great job of walking you through the process, and then there are always online videos or local knitters that can help too. Happy Knitting!
P.S. The book is not only great for beginners, but also for seasoned knitters who are looking for fun, simple projects. There are adorable patterns throughout and I’ve knit a few of them for gifts. This headband pictured is the Toasty Headband pattern from the book. I knit this one for my nephew to wear during his skiing lessons. (The yarn is Quince & Co. Puffin in the River colorway.) B kindly modeled it, so I could snap a quick picture of it before I mailed it out.
P.P.S. Another pattern I knit from the book- the Cowl pattern on page 63. The one pictured I knit for Jeff’s grandson. (The yarn is discontinued.) I also knit this Cowl pattern for my son and shared about it in this post. This is such a great pattern for a simple cowl, and I have yarn set aside to knit another one soon. I also have yarn set aside to make the Owl Toy pattern and there are so many other projects from the book on my to-knit list!