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What to Buy When You're Just Learning to Knit or Crochet

starting-out

When you're just starting out with a new craft, it can be daunting to know what supplies you need. You stand in the yarn aisle of your local craft store and everything seems overwhelming. Acrylic? Wool? What the heck does worsted mean? Do I want wooden needles? Plastic? It can seem like a lot to think about.

But it's going to be OK. Breathe. You don't need as many tools as you might think.

When you're just getting started, you mainly need yarn and either knitting needles or a crochet hook. It's also helpful to have a pair of scissors and a darning or yarn needle. That's it!

Getting back to that overwhelming yarn aisle, however, it can still seem like an insurmountable task. Which yarn do you get? What size hook or needles?

yarns

First, pick your yarn. To start, go with a worsted weight yarn. That's right in the middle of the road, size-wise, and easiest to work with. It is also known, using the Craft Yarn Council's yarn weight system, as medium or category 4. Lion Brand Vanna's Choice® and Lion Brand Wool-Ease® are both great for beginners. Make sure you get a smooth yarn without too much twisting or fluff, and no adornments like sequins. Choose a light or bright color, too. No black, charcoal, navy, or chocolate brown allowed! You need to be able to clearly see your stitches as you go. You can work with darker colors once you get the hang of things.

IMG_5314

To pick your needles or hook, you need to look at the yarn label. In general, worsted/medium weight yarn will call for a US size 7 to 9 (4.5 to 5.5 mm) needle and I to K (5.5 to 6.5 mm) hook. However, the label should tell you for sure what size is best for that yarn. The label for Vanna's Choice® is shown above; it calls for a US 9 needle or J hook.

Hooks and needles generally come in three materials: plastic, metal, or wood. Which one you use comes down to personal preference, so look at what's available and see if the feel of any of them grabs you. If you can't tell, it's perfectly acceptable to just get the most affordable option until you see if you are going to stick with the craft. You can always try the other kinds later.

Chibi-Large-Eye-Blunt-Needles

Scissors are self-explanatory, and you probably already have a pair at home you can use, though a pair of folding scissors is always helpful to have. The last thing to get is a pack of yarn needles. Like the ones pictured above (Chibi Large Eye Blunt Needles), the look like sewing needles, but bigger, with a very large eye. You'll need these for weaving in ends when you finish projects.

That's all you need to get started! If you're looking for instructions, we have illustrated guides for both crochet and knitting, as well as a glossary for when you come across any terms you don't know. Happy stitching!

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  • http://pattymacknits.com/ Pattymac Knits

    I actually just published my own blog post in this very topic!!! I also recommend Lion Brand Yarn as the perfect beginner yarn, though I suggest people start with super bulky weight yarn, Thick and Quick, and use bamboo size 13US needles. I think that's so much easier for beginners than worsted.

  • Kathy Berlinghieri

    Being left-handed, I tried for years to find someone who could teach me to crochet (I'm a long-time knitter, don't ask me how!). The best purchase I ever made was the book "I "Can't Believe I'm Crocheting!" published by Leisure Arts. It gives right-and left-handed instructions side by side---I was able to teach myself, & have made many items since!