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You’ve picked your yarn, you’ve chosen the right knitting needles for your experience level, and you’ve learned a few important knitting terms. What’s next? It’s time to pick a knitting project! Choose something that appeals to you visually and fits your current skill level. There’s no point trying to run before you can walk—or, rather, trying to knit a cable-stitch cardigan before you’ve knitted a garter stitch scarf! Here are a few knitting ideas to get you started.
From items you wear to things you can use around the home, here are some great knitting ideas for beginners and for more advanced knitters. Start with simpler projects and work your way up to more complex ones—you shouldn’t find the learning curve too steep.
Start With the Basics
Knitting for Complete Beginners—How to Knit a Coaster
1. Knit a Sweater
Sweaters are a goal project for many knitters, but they take time and require knowledge of intermediate and advanced knitting techniques. But the end result is a beautiful item that can be worn for years.
Sweaters can be simple, without any fancy or technical stitches, or decorative with multiple colors, patterns, or cables. However, even a simple sweater requires the ability to knit stretchy ribbing around the cuffs, neck, and the bottom.
Raglan sweaters are a good sweater project to start with. As Skillshare instructor Davina Choy states, “if you can knit comfortably in the round using circular and double pointed needles, then you have all the skills you need to knit a sweater.”
If you want to take your sweater knitting to the next level, take a class in the Fair Isle technique, brioche stitches, or bouquet cables. These can be used for all kinds of items but add interest and beauty to larger projects like sweaters.
2. Knit a Cardigan
Cardigans are similar to sweaters when it comes to the required knitting techniques, with the main difference being the opening at the front. This makes them a bit more complicated to knit than pullover sweaters because different techniques and stitches are required. They often need some kind of fastening or tie, like buttons (and therefore the ability to knit buttonholes!) or a sash, although some styles of cardigan can be left open.
3. Knit a Hat
Whether you want to knit a French-style beret or a casual beanie, knitting a hat requires the ability to knit in the round, knit with double-pointed needles, and decrease your stitch numbers, making it an intermediate-level knitting project. You can embellish the hat with a pom-pom on top, too. This is a great skill to have if you live in a cold climate!
4. Knit Mittens
Mittens are a great knitting project to practice with. They’re much simpler than gloves because they don’t have all the individual fingers, just a thumb and a single pouch. You do need to be able to knit in the round and to knit stretchy ribbing, though, so mittens are still an intermediate project. However, once you’ve mastered them, they make a great gift as they’re both cozy and useful.
The following projects are better suited to beginners because they use just a few simple techniques. After taking a beginner knitting class, you should have all the skills you need to complete them.
5. Knit Coasters
Coasters are a great project for beginners because they allow you to practice the fundamentals of knitting: casting on and off and knit and purl stitching. Plus, they’re small so they shouldn’t take long. An alternative to coasters is washcloths or dishcloths, which use the same simple techniques.
6. Knit a Scarf
Once you can knit neat and tidy coasters, knitting a scarf is a natural next step. They’re also simple (unless you want to jazz them up with patterns or stripes in different colors), plus you can show off your knitting skills when you wear them! After you develop more advanced knitting techniques, you can add cables or patterns to your knitted scarves.
7. Knit a Table Runner
Table runners are another great beginner project because they’re straight and flat and don’t require the ability to increase or decrease stitches. A simple table runner can be made in a single color, but you can liven things up by alternating your yarn color. You can even make special occasion runners in holiday colors.
Unlike scarves, for which you’ll want to use a thick, chunky wool that feels good against the skin, table runners are best made with less bulky yarn. You’ll want to place it on a table with other items on top, so a lumpy yarn may create an uneven surface.
Knitting is a skill, which means anyone can learn to knit with practice and dedication. You don’t need to be a creative genius—you just need patience, the right tools, and good instruction. If these examples have inspired you to pick up your knitting needles, watch a few tutorials and start knitting!
Knit a Gorgeous Cowl
Next-Level Knitting: Cables