- 1 pair size 8 straight wooden knitting needles
- 1 skein worsted weight yarn- preferably 100 % wool, solid color. Go for medium shade, not too dark.
That is it! This will get you started. This is where you will cut your knitting teeth. You will start off making little squares and rectangles. You can use these little souvenirs as coasters/mug-rugs or make a big enough rectangle to create a cellphone or Kindle cozy! No pattern is involved yet. You will learn to cast on (CO), knit (K), purl (P) and bind off (BO). You just got your first knitting lesson-before-the-lesson in knitting abbreviations!
About needles and yarn. Bear with me, but I will get on my soapbox and drum into you the importance of using quality yarn. To begin with you will want to get 1 skein of “worsted weight” yarn. Preferably wool. Cascade 220 is an excellent choice. It is not itchy. I promise. It is wonderful. It is nice and smooth. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get the good stuff. What you need to do is know where to shop. There are 5 great sources for yarn in Sonoma County. Healdsburg, Santa Rosa (2), Sebastopol and Petaluma. Cheap yarn yields disappointing results and feels icky. It splits, pills and does not “knit up pretty”. When you invest time in anything, you want the right tool for the job and you want quality. You can knit economically. There are good deals to be found. There is not much I am snobby about, except yarn. You can get a 220 yard skein of Cascade 220 for about $10 and that is a lot of yarn. A lot. You can make a hat and some cute mitts and have some yarn to spare with 220 yards. When you go into a good yarn shop ask for help. They will hook you up. Actually needle you up. Hooks are for crocheting. They can direct you to the yarn that you need. JoAnn and Beverly’s (love them) but not for yarn.
Needles are a matter of preference. Wood/bamboo needles (Clover and Knitters Pride) are excellent for beginners. They are reasonably priced and the wood somewhat “grabs” the yarn. Wood being porous is ideal because you are less apt to drop stitches. I knit a lot. I knit for speed. I use nickel-plated needles- Addi Turbo needles are my “brand”. They are a tad spendy. I love them. No grab, no grip. Fast and smooth. Germans don’t mess around. Addis are great. I also love them because they are easy on my somewhat-arthritic hands. Not so good when you are beginning because they are slick-surfaced and “turbo-fast”. When shopping for your first needles I suggest you go for the “woods”. Size 8 in a straight needle. No cord- those are circular needles. Great investment and great basic size. If you decide that you love knitting, you will use them time and again. What I will advise you against is plastic and aluminum (Boye brand) needles. Heavy, unwieldy and horrible feel. You almost have to try them to know what I mean. Hate is a heavy word to use, but I loathe plastic and aluminum needles. I would not steer you wrong here. I want you to have knitting success!
Next: Great books and website recommendations for beginners…