so you want to learn to knit this winter

The weather is getting chilly (well it is here) and you’ve decided this year you are going to learn how to knit…..or you’re going to pull out the needles and that scarf that you never finished or that wool that has been sitting there and you’re going to start. Thanks to a lovely reader Susan who messaged me on the weekend and inspired this blog post. She wants to learn to knit and she wanted to know where to start.

First place and wish it was around when I started knitting is youtube. There are so many great tutorials on there….and some not so great ones. I really love the videos from GoodKnitKisses because she takes it nice and slow and close up. There are loads and loads of videos on youtube now if you put in beginner knitting or how to knit and let me tell you that they have certainly improved since I first started using youtube and there were some scary finger nails and cats walking by.

A next great place to start is your nearest knitting store. Almost all knitting stores will have some classes and a beginner class and seeing it all in real life might be the ticket for you. If you’re in Sydney then Morris & Sons run loads of classes and lots of great times so check them out. Just google to find your nearest store and call them up. And if someone in your family is a knitter then why not ask/bribe/be nice and get a lesson too.

Now some people prefer books and I admit that I retaught myself with debbie bliss books when I discovered the knitting section of John Lewis in London many years ago. If knitting for little ones is your goal then a couple of my favourites are Baby Knits for Beginners, Essential Kids and Junior Knits which have the kids covered. If you have no interest in knitting for kids then she has a great book you might be able to get called Knitting Workbook which is a bit of an oldie but a goodie and I also love Stitch n Bitch The Knitters Handbook which covers everything and also has great patterns and stories too. If you’re an op shopper or ebay lover then check out Patons Woolcraft – I have 2 editions and it’s great for basic stitches and how to.

You’ll need some yarn and needles. You can find your nearest knitting store and get some advice and what you need and shopping in person is so lovely because you get to pat the wool and check out all of the colours and patterns for yourself. I thing 8 ply wool and 4mm needles or 10 ply wool and 5mm needles are a great way to start. Spotlight, Lincraft, Big W also will have what you need but be prepared for more acrylic than wool at big w but when you’re starting out a ball of yarn and needles is all you need. If you’re going to start with a big scarf or blanket then don’t forget Bendigo Woollen Mills and their 200g balls of wool which represent excellent value and have a big range of colours.

Now when you’re starting out you don’t need anything fancy but I was asked last week on instagram what I thought of interchangeable needles. I love them. I have 2 sets of knit pro (previously called knit picks) and love them both but do prefer my nickel set over my karbonz. I use both but still love my nickel plated most. It’s an initial investment but you’re rarely stuck for needles when you find a pattern and it says you need a 3.25mm 40 cm circular or whatever it says. By getting a set and a few more cords you’ve got everything at your house to get started on a project and they are nicer to use than cheapies. But when starting out it’s good to start with the cheapies in case knitting is not your thing.

Next you’ll want to join Ravelry where you can set up your profile, enter the details of your first knitting project, find groups to join for your interests and there are so many groups to join. And spend hours searching for patterns too. You’ll see a button at the top of the screen for patterns and just type in what you’re after like beginner baby cardigan or toddler jumper etc etc. Lots of inspiration, ideas and patterns you’ll want to make and I can’t imagine knitting without ravelry.

A couple of my other knitting posts you might like are How I substitute yarn into my knitting projects, my favourite how to knit books, what I knit with and how I care for it, some of my favourite baby knits, knitting for babies in winter and I love knitting for newborns.

Got a question or something else to ask just ask away……………………….it’s a great time to get those needles out and start knitting!


  1. There is a Morris and Sons in Melbourne at Level 1, 234 Collins Street
    Melbourne VIC 3000

  2. I came across my knitting needles last week, but I must admit I had no inclination to do anything with them! I was thinking about re teaching myself how to crochet though, and have just reserved some books on crocheting granny squares from my public library. All four of my kids are doing swimming lessons this term, so for the first time I might be able to sit and do something while watching.

    • Crochet is another great one where using youtube can be a real help. For me I was getting stuck with granny squares but needed someone to spend 10 minutes with me and I worked out my mistake and was off! good luck

  3. I’ve done a class at Yarn & co in Fitzroy (Melbourne). Lovely mother and daughter team to teach you learn, highly recommend it!

  4. My local library has a craft group – a mix of ages & crafts -I helped a lady remember how to crochet recently -and sometimes some bring their children – it’s not all old ladies but a real mix. Check out you local library – they may have something similar. Also most Steiner schools/ kinders have craft groups. And yes – yarn stores such as wool baa in Albert park and Morris and sons. Once learnt it’s a skill for life!

    • it is a skill for life that is for sure! thanks for that tip will add to the post, I know Manly library in Sydney did a knitting group for a while:)

  5. I wish I could crochet. Had a dismal try last year but have decided to give it another go this winter (my winter sport of choice). I have a couple of beautiful crochet books that I love looking at. I would even be happy if all I could make were dish cloths xo

  6. I highly recommend Youtube – I wouldn’t be knitting if it weren’t for all the great tutorials. When I started knitting nearly 2 years ago I never dreamed I would be the full on knitter I am now, I actually thought I wasn’t capable! It’s been a wonderful thing for me, even growing into a hand dyed yarn business, something else I never would have dreamed of, knitting is just such a joy :)

    • I can’t believe you have only been knitting for 2 years! It is so great and I can’t imagine not having it as my hobby! good on you! I really can’t believe it’s only been 2 years though:)

  7. I just did a crochet class at Sew Make Create in Sydney. Highly recommended. Small class sizes allows everyone to keep up – and for the fee you get a hook and wool to get started. I’m currently snowed under granny squares!

  8. Just wanted to add to your comments about circulars and interchangeables – I’m a big big fan of using circular needles for everything, including “straight” knitting/knitting thats not in the round. I found this much easier when I was learning – no long pointy needles jabbing me in the armpit, no dropping needles on the train and watching them roll down the aisle – so much less cumbersome than long needles! And yes, I love having interchangables – so many options on hand :)

    • yes you are so right! much gentler on my wrists too and just habit. I know some people think I’m knitting in the round when I’m knitting on circulars but it’s definitely a nicer way to knit. I did learn quickly that you need a few extra cables when you’ve got a few projects on the go:)

  9. Thanks for your advice Corrie. I learnt crochet through youtube as I’m left handed and just couldn’t seem to get it from right handed people. I’ve been wanting to knit for quite a while and thanks to you I’ve just purchased a second hand book of Debbie Bliss the knitters handbook from Amazon and I’ve also placed on hold at our library another starter book by Debbie.

  10. What a lovely post Corrie. Sharon Brandt’s The Ultimate Knitting Bible has been in constant use for me – it is the only how to book I have used that tells you how how to fix all sorts of mistakes, how to unpick properly, and other things that are mysteriously left out of most beginners’ books! It is a bit hefty though.

    • ohhhh I’ll have to check that one out, that’s a new one I haven’t heard of. Thanks for that! unpicking – the worst job of knitting!

  11. I am one of those beginners who can currently only knit and purl and only anything straight – no increasing or decreasing and only on pointed needles. I have challenged myself this knitting season. I purchased a book that has 200 block patterns in it that I will slowly make my way through. Eventually this will become a blanket but will and I am hoping I will grow in confidence along the way. Circular needles make me nervous for some reason, they look so complicated. Small steps though! Actually it was your blog Corrie that prompted me to re-pick up my needles. I learnt off my grandmother and mother but had not knitted for years other than a few really scattered and simple items for my children along the way. Your beautiful pieces of work inspired me to learn and push myself so thank you Corrie xx

    • awwww that is so nice to hear. Knitting is so wonderful and it looks hard but it really isn’t. Let’s hope you’re increasing in no time as that is when you can start to do a few little jumpers and things!
      thank you for sharing as I love to hear that

  12. Thank you Corrie, I just started knitting last week so this post was really helpful x

  13. I just simply cannot learn how to knit. I’ve tried but I’m really slow and my tension is terrible. Sigh!

  14. I saw something really cool on instagram the other day. Maybe if I had the time.

  15. And here I was thinking I was the only one who liked to pat yarn! Sometimes I just like to sit in my craft room and stroke my stash 😉

  16. Lesley G says:

    I’ve only just caught up with this wonderful knitting blog you posted. Thanks to your inspiration I picked up the needles again after a 29 year gap. On my recent trip to Tasmania by plane I took my knitting, after checking with you first that it was ok, and boy did I peak some interest from passengers who had a desire to learn to knit. I suggested they visit their local yarn shop and also take a look on utube. How I wish I had known about Goodknitkisses so I could have directed them there first. She is brilliant! Well I now I know so thank you. By the way I had a few passengers tell me I shouldn’t have brought them on board and how did I get through security. Raspberries! Not really I was polite and explained it was allowed.

  17. Susan Butterworth says:

    Thanks so much Corrie for those tips and this post! Just a little update- I’ve almost finished my second infinity scarf! Made one for Miss A to wear to school on our chilly mornings and have a couple more rows on Master O’s in rainbow bright yarn. They are both in plain stitch, but it has been great learning on a real project which the kids will wear with love. I can now confidently cast on and off ! And tonight will start another little scarf project for Miss H and try my hand at purl stitch. I can see how knitting is addictive x

  18. Jessica says:

    Corrie do you have any recommendations for beginner crochet books? Ive self taught myself to knit using your recommendation of Debbie bliss, beginner baby knits and youtube. I like having the book as a reference point rather than on youtube all the time, even though sometimes nothing beats the visual of watching a pro! Thanks :)

  19. Corrie thank you for such an informative post! I’ve recently started another crochet project however when I’ve finished I might give knitting a go. Thanks again

  20. Tangled Yarns is shut now unfortunately. For knitting and crochet lessons in Brisbane I highly recommend Side Street Vintage in Bulimba. (Find them on Facebook for full class timetable)

  21. Dorcas McGarry says:

    Hello Corrie, just fell into your blog while looking for HELP with my project.
    I will try to be brief.
    Came across Debbi Bliss’ 2008 Design it knit it book while on a short break with my husband last month. Had to pass time waiting for him to finish work then got caught in a thunder storm. I was shown a chair and spent the next hour totally transported.
    Used to knit, many decades ago. Learnt at 5 y/o at my aunties knee, stopped by arthritis at 55 and seduced by Debbie Bliss’ book and encouraged by Other Half, have picked up the needles again. After an agony of decision making on what to choose for my first attempt after 21 years (76 tomorrow) I wisely tried out on the Multi-textured throw p.68 (should you have the book) and managed to persevere through stiff fingers, cramps etc., with stubborn determination. Have successfully completed the bask, the increase row and begun the pattern BUT…I don’t know how to incorporate the ‘Pattern Panel’ given at the beginning. Patterns and abbreviations are written differently now but I have worked them out following Debbie’s instructions at back of book. But this Pattern Panel, she has in other patterns too, is not explained.
    We live in the outer suburbs of Melbourne and going into the city for tutorials is not my first choice. Any suggestions? The person I asked at the shop I bought the wool shook her head and couldn’t help.

    • hi there, ahhh how annoying! I’m going to link you up on ravelry and see if I can find a discussion post on the pattern. Over on ravelry there is a debbie bliss group and they have discussions when people get stuck on a pattern. If you have a phone/camera can you photograph the page for me and I’ll have a read of it for you and explain. Always happy to help, I know the feeling when you get stuck on something!

Leave a Comment


Optionally add an image (JPEG only)