Very-Beginner Knitting Patterns

I have recently been asked to teach a few friends and coworkers how to knit, and it reminded me of something I have meant to do for a long time, which is to compile a list of good patterns and resources for beginning knitters. Obviously this is much easier to do now that things like Ravelry and Youtube exist – it is a little crazy to think now that they were not around when I was learning. Technology, right? I’ll save links to online and print resources that actually teach you how to make these projects for a separate post.

Moving right along. These are patterns I would suggest as first, second, or third projects. I chose them because the instructions are very clearly written and the skills required are the first ones knitters learn – mainly knit and pearl  – but also because I think they are a little more appealing than knitting endless scarves. Not that you can ever have too many plain scarves (I would even say I don’t have enough.)

1. Jared Flood’s Noro Striped Scarf

I wish I had realized as an early knitter that just because my skills weren’t advanced, that didn’t mean I had to use gross yarn. It should be the opposite. Nice yarn will totally carry a simple project. This scarf is great because the changing colors of Noro in the stripes keep it from ever being dull, and it gives you plenty of practice knitting and purling. Bam.

2. Jen Geigley’s GAP-tastic Cowl

I like big needles and big yarn. In no time at all, you have a super wearable thing. More knitting and purling, but this time in seed stitch, which is a nice change from stockinette or ribbing, and you learn to knit in the round.

3. Helen Waittes’ Watch Cap

Another super simple and fast project. Hats are nice because they include decreases, (or increases) depending on the direction in which the hat is knit. Those are good to learn for bigger projects that require more shaping. And everyone likes to wear hats.

4. Leslie Friend’s Toast (or Toasty)

Toast is essentially a tube – just a really simple but pretty wrist-warmer kind of thing. Toasty adds a thumb gusset, which is not as scary as it sounds. Knit toast, then work your way up to toasty if it intimidates you at first. The nice thing about knitting something stockinette in the round is that there is only knitting and no purling. In my opinion, that is the best of all possible worlds.

So there you go. Four things that it would be really easy to get started with. Any of these could be a first project that you would actually want to wear on your person. That is more than I can say for a dozen garter stitch scarves.

(Nothing against garter stitch scarves.)



  1. Michelle says:

    I wished I had these post before I discovered ravelry and knit 5 garter-stitch scarves…

    1. Chelsea says:

      I cannot even tell you how many garter stitch scarves I have knit! So many! Before sites like ravelry, it was so hard to find patterns that didn’t assume I was already good at knitting (which I was not). I wasn’t sure how helpful this post would be, but if nothing else, I figured it would give me a go-to list of nice starter patterns whenever a friend wanted knitting lessons. And maybe it will be helpful to others too!

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