It’s easy to pick up your needles and hooks for the first time and get started learning to knit or crochet – but what divides those who continue on to create beautiful handmade masterpieces from those who walk away from unfinished first attempts?
Contrary to what you might be telling yourself, it’s not laziness that’s stopping you from filling your wardrobe with gorgeous knitwear or crocheting a little army of amigurumi pals.
Here’s what we think stops beginner knitters and crocheters in their tracks before they’ve completed their first project – they’re not having fun! Learning a new hobby should be exciting, but these all too common habits of newbie crafters may be getting in the way of your ability to make the most of your newfound skill.
Not knowing what you are going to make
This may be a controversial take but I’m going to be brave and say it – I don’t like practice yarn or practice projects, and I actively discourage new crafters from both.
Knitting and crocheting for the first time can be a frustrating and slow process. It’s even less fun when you are making an endless scarf, or a project that you are not looking forward to finishing. In order to get over the hurdle of picking up a difficult new skill, it’s really helpful to find reasons to be enthusiastic about what you are making in order to push through when the process still feels awkward and difficult to master.
The solution: Find a project that you are really excited to see come to life! Make sure it is beginner friendly and that it won’t take too long to complete – that way you get the dopamine hit of having a finished project instead of the endless task of ‘practising’.
Using materials that you don't like
We don’t expect artists to paint with a colour palette that they don’t love, but it’s all too common for newbie knitters and crocheters to end up using a yarn that is dull, scratchy or difficult to handle. One of the most beautiful things about the technique of knitting and crocheting is that it’s a slow and careful process, and that is something that is especially true of a first project. You are going to have to be staring at your project for a good few hours, so it’s worth choosing materials that you will enjoy looking at and feeling!
The solution: It’s completely understandable that you aren’t going to want to buy a luxury yarn for a hobby that you are trying out for the first time. However, there are a lot of ways to find a good value yarn that you love. Cotton yarn is wonderful to work with and holds its shape well. Alternatively, a chunky-sized yarn of any fibre content is a great idea for anyone who finds the stitches hard to see. Even polyester or acrylic yarn can be great for a first project because there are some fantastic colours out there to choose from! It's also worth looking in second-hand shops to see if local yarn shops are having a sale of old stock, in order to snag a bargain.
Equipment is another important consideration, so here are our recommendations for products which are stylish and sturdy, and won’t break the bank:
KnitPro Symphonie Straight Needles individually or as a set
Clover Pom-Pom Maker – making your own pom-poms can be the perfect finishing touch to a project!
Learning on your own
The internet is a great resource to learn from, but even the best-explained tutorial may leave you with a few questions. There are a lot of new terminologies to wade through, and that’s before you start trying to read written patterns! It can get very confusing very quickly to learn on your own, especially if you are someone who thrives in social situations.
The solution: Find a knitting or crocheting group to join! There are a ton of fantastic and friendly groups out there in person and online. Some of the best ways to find them are via social media, or by enquiring in local yarn and hobby shops.
If you have a project that needs a bit of troubleshooting it can be really helpful to have a group of fellow enthusiasts on hand to help. Not to mention, it's a great way to make friends who are passionate about the same hobby as you!
Your first project might not look like you imagined – and it’s easy to get put off if your tension isn’t quite right straight away. It’s perfectly normal for your first piece of knitting or crochet to be very imperfect and that can put some people off from pursuing it any further. Here’s my advice as a knitter and crocheter of many years:
The solution: Celebrate what you have achieved, and don’t worry too much about reaching a certain standard! There are plenty of future projects that you can spend hours fine-tuning, but your first project is a success for different reasons. It’s always a challenge to learn something new, and your misshapen, wonky project is proof that you are learning and doing really well! It’s well worth keeping your first projects instead of unravelling them straight away – you might not be happy with them right now but after you have been crafting for a while it can be very nostalgic to look back on the project that you first started with. It’s a really nice way to show yourself how far your skills have come.
Do you love or hate these tips? We’d love to know what your knitting and crocheting opinions are, and what your best advice for newbies would be!