So, you’ve decided to be a knitter? You have just learned how to cast on and off and how to knit and purl? And now you’re wondering where to go from here? What could you knit? And use when it’s done? Which projects would be a fun for beginners to learn and practice their knitting skills with?Here I give you 8 types of fun beginner knitting projects. (And continue the knitting addiction enabling.)
1 – The obligatory scarf
This is what most knitters have started with in the past. Scarfs are usually straight, so you won’t have to do any increases or decreases. Since the construction is simple and doesn’t require much attention, you could put your focus on stitch patterns. Or even add color with some fun stripes.
The downside is: A scarf is pretty long. If you are looking for quick gratification, then this is not for you. If you’re really set on a scarf, try using thick, bulky yarn. Or use it to practice your patience.
2 – Shawl
A shawl is actually more like a very large scarf. It’s really nice for bundling up in winter, though. I personally prefer shawls to scarfs because they can also add extra warmth for my shoulders and I can wrap them around better to cover more of me. The lighter versions also keep your arms and shoulds cozy on summer evenings. But they do require even more patience than scarfs.
If you do feel up to it, there are a lot of pretty shawls that would be suitable even for beginners. Livezey House Wrap requires you to learn how to increase, decrease and change colors – it’s a very pretty everyday shawl. Pradera Wrap again requires increases and decreases but you can also learn how to meld colors in a very easy way. And Drea’s Shawl is a striped garter stitch triangle that is also easy to knit. If you want a lacy summer shawl Clapo-Ktus is a good place to try your hand at not only increases and decreases but also knitting through the back loop and intentionally dropping stitches. And with Reyna or Wendy’s Fern, you’d learn about yarn overs.
3 – Ponchos
Similar to shawls ponchos can teach you the same things. And you don’t have to knit a really long one, you could just knit one that covers your shoulders and upper arms and still have a useful garment for cool summer evenings (Lace Waves Poncho) or even fall (Calais).
4 – Baby blanket
If there is a baby due in a little while in your vicinity you could knit a baby blanket. They can be large rectangles (Malt) – which has the same benefits and drawbacks as knitting a scarf. But if you want to learn how to increase you could start a circular blanket instead (Pinwheel Baby Blanket). Or you could learn about increases and large color stripes and knit something like this Chevron Baby Blanket.
Again a blanket – even for a baby – is a commitment. You will need some patience and if you aren’t that quick a knitter yet. So, I would advise starting early or the baby will be a toddler before you’ve cast off. But knitting for a new baby is wonderful and motivating in itself (again, see the previous post where I already touched this subject). You won’t find sticking to it quite as hard as with a scarf. It is that way for me anyway. If I knit something for the wolflings or a new baby of a friend I knit like the wind.
5 – Bags
Now bags may require some sewing but that is also a skill that will be useful in your knitting career. It’s not a piece of clothing but still something practical you can use when you’re finished. And you could even learn about intentionally ruining and shrinking your knit item – which is also known as felting (Anatolia). Or you could take some cotton yarn and try one of those popular market bags.
6 – Cowls
Now we get to smaller stuff. Beginner cowls require knitting in the round or sewing (the more advanced ones might need you to do a provisional cast on and graft). But they don’t take as long as scarfs and are very fun to knit and wear. And there are tons to choose from. We are however also entering a territory where gauge is beginning to matter, so you may want to do a swatch first. Wolkig is a nice lace cowl and Oats is just perfect for the coming fall.
7 – Cuffs
They keep your hands and forearms warm on colder fall days and are very quick knits. You will likely have to knit them twice however since people mostly come with two arms and hands. Wribbed Wristers are knit flat and therefore will have to be sewn together with mattress stitch. Super Soft Wristworms are simple knit tubes and are knit in the round, the twisted rib pattern means you will have to knit through the back loop – you could however easily just do plain knit stitches every time it calls for knitting through the back loop. That will change the overall look a bit, however. Georgia Sleeves are very simple tubes that are well suited for a beginner. You wouldn’t even have to necessarily knit a gauge swatch first as you could test the fit while you’re knitting the cuffs. Knitting a swatch is good practice, though, and usually advised. It’s better to make it a habit early on.
8 – Hats
Hats tend to be really quick knits. And very good beginner projects. Again I would advise a gauge swatch. They can easily turn out too tight (I have a very large head, as do my kids) and you may want to look into stretchy cast ons if you are knitting them from the cuff but they usually also fit with standard cast ons. For the longest time I only ever cast on with the long tail method and I only had one case where a had turned out too tight. (No, I didn’t do a swatch. Yes, I should have made one. But I frequently ignore my own advice… Bad habit.)
Barley is a simple and quick knit. (And yes, I like tincanknits patterns a lot. The patterns are well written, check out my review of Flax. And they have an entire collection of beginner knits.) And Wurm still is a very popular knit.
What do you think of this list? Would you add anything? What would you recommend for a beginning knitter? What was your first project? If you are a beginner what do you want to knit?
Completely unrelated: My sheep clothing is growing nicely. It doesn’t look like much yet – I will need to wash it for the yarn to look prettier. I’ll be knitting the sleeves soon. It’s a surprisingly quick knit.
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