One of the cool things that have come out of COVID is that there are a lot of new and inexperienced knitters out there, so I’ve been on the lookout for patterns and projects that you guys can do at home without the support of an in-person class. I think Four Scoreis a great sweater project for newbies or just people whose skill threshold isn’t advanced, but they want to try and do something more.
The sweater is worked flat in four pieces, on two straight needles (or circular if you prefer) and sewn up later using mattress stitch. The back and front are the same. A generous 4×4 rib pattern makes this a stretchy, flattering sweater with a bit of cling. It is designed to be worn with 3-6” of ease.
The yarn, Drops Air, is also super accessible. It’s super soft, light as air (hence the name), fluffy (which can be both cozy *and* forgiving), and affordable. I think this project is one you’ll love making as well as snuggling into. It’s a good thing many people are working from home, because when people see your new sweater they are going to ask you to make them one!
The skills and techniques used in this project are not complicated! The most advanced skill is seaming. Don’t let seaming scare you, it isn’t complicated, you just have to do it to practice it. The yarn that this project is made with is a great canvas to learn on – you don’t have to be perfect, the fuzzy aura will obscure so many sins.
ssk (slip, slip, knit – an easy type of decrease)
knit 2 together (a very easy type of decrease)
purl 2 together (a very easy type of decrease)
bind off in rib (knit the knit stitches, purl the purl stitches)
seaming with mattress stitch
If you’re looking for help on the interweb I always recommend the following two resources to new knitters:
I think a free online knitting course for kids is an AWESOME thing! The internet is teeming with people who want to teach you how to knit for free, but the content is directed towards adults, and anyone who has a kid in their life knows that kids do not learn the same way as adults. Kids also organize and process information in different ways, so the way you approach a pattern needs to be different too.
Rowan’s free mini course teaches kids how to do a few main skill (cast on, knit, and cast off) and some minor skills (simple seaming, sewing buttons & beads & etc, alternating colours, weaving in ends). I also love that the course includes four small projects kids would actually want to make: a puppet, a rosette, a snake and a cowl. The first three projects are very small, which is great because kids have much shorter attention spans than adults and a little bit of instant gratification goes a long way. The course also includes written instructions for four projects; the cowl from the last video lesson and three more bonus little projects (a spider, a kitty cat, and a little purse). The written instructions are clear and easy to follow.
The materials simple, it just requires some thick yarn (my favourite for beginners of all ages is Drops Andes), appropriately sized needles (I like the Knitter’s Pride Basix 9mm/US13 – 10″ for kids and adults), and a large eye tapestry needles (my favourite thing about the Knitter’s Pride tapestry needles is they come in a pack of 4, so when one gets lost, you still have three left!). You’ll also need to source a few buttons, a sewing needle and thread, some large-ish beads, and strings & stuff from around the house. If you have a spare brooch pin kicking around you win a prize!
The only down-side is that the videos are hosted on Rowan’s own website (learnrowan.com) and you have to log in and register for them. I don’t like putting walls between kids and learning, and having to rely on an adult to go to the website and log them in is a barrier. For my niece and nephew I’d keep the login and super password easy for them to remember, and I’d add the site to their tablet’s ‘Home Screen’ so they can go directly to it.
Drops Andes: 1 ball to learn (the course uses about 3 different colours)
Many thanks to Rowan for creating this content for kids! If you want to get your kid a book and take their knitting to the next level I suggest Kids Knitting by Melanie Falick; it’s the best I’ve ever seen, and it doesn’t shy away from building up to projects like socks and even a sweater!
The Reversible Wrap by Jo Sharp is one of those under-appreciated patterns that’s flown under people’s radar for way too long! It’s an amazing project for newbies, it’s basically made from two rectangles that are cleverly sewn together – easy peasy knitting! The only skills involved are cast on, cast off, knit, purl, basic mattress stitch, and basic wet blocking. The pattern is written for two versions, one long and one short. It’s also reversible, you can wear it right side up, or upside down.
We made the long version and used two skeins of very economical Cascade Eco+ (costs less than $60). It’s a very flexible garment, as is the yarn, so if you want a garment with a bit more drape and stretch feel free to go up in needle size. It’s also a pattern that can be in a warmer winter yarn or a cooler fibre for spring/summer. Affordable yarn options include Cascade Eco+, Berroco Vintage Chunky, Cascade Avalon, and Berroco Remix Light.
Approximate Yardage Required (chunky or heavy aran weight yarn): version 1 (short): 400(470) metres, version 2 (long): 535(670) metres.
Cascade Eco+: version 1 short: 1(2) skeins, version 2 long: 2(2) skeins
We created our Beginner Knitting Kit with absolute beginners of all ages in mind. The kit includes a colourful skein of self-striping machine washable vegan yarn, knitting needles, a darning needle to weave in the ends, and a How To Knit booklet with clear instructions and recommendations, and comes in a clear re-closable bag.
This simple little summer top is lace top is super easy and novice-friendly. It’s knit in two rectangles from the bottom up and then seamed at the shoulders & sides to create the boxy shape. Great for beginners, especially those who want to try their hand at lace.
Fall has landed and knitting season is in full gear. Welcome back to all of our established stick-handlers, and a hearty welcome to the newcomers. Gift season is coming up in a few months, and we believe that even the greenest knitter can combine hobby and holiday budgets – you just need a little inspiration and guidance. To get you started …
Your new best friend is a website for knitters & crocheters, Ravelry.com. Ravelry is knitters’ Mecca and most of our links go there. It is free to join Ravelry, and you don’t have to give them any information you don’t want to. They won’t spam you or sell your e-mail address, but if you are concerned feel free to use a ‘junk’ or spare e-mail address to sign up (ie. gmail, yahoo or hotmail).
There is a TON of free technical support on the internet. Knittinghelp.com is an excellent place for novices to start, and Knitting Daily has an excellent glossary of terms. There are many good videos on Youtube from Knit Picks and Berroco. Techknitting is the place for those more experienced who want a detailed explanation.
Leave about 5 to 6 inch tails (ends), to make weaving in easier.
Knitting and crochet patterns are a bit like Recipes. They give you your ingredients first, and then directions, often written with standardized abbreviations. An explanation of the abbreviations used, or glossary, is usually included, or you can look them up on the internet. For more on how to read patterns there are some good instruction via the Craft Yarn Council.
Knitting needles come in a variety of sizing systems: Metric is the standard in Canada, Europe, Australia & New Zealand. The US has it’s own system, as do the Japanese. If you have old needles that came from Canada or the UK, they might be sized in the older UK system. See this chart for details. Contemporary patterns will give you a needle size based on the country in which it was published. Vintage patterns often give sizes in the old UK system. The easiest way to find out what size your needle is to buy an affordable (approx $3.50 to $4) little gadget called a Needle Gauge, which measures the circumference of your needle and tells you what it is in the various sizes.