How to start knitting: the easiest - and coolest - video tutorials for learning how to knit

As we trade our evenings out for weeks of nights in, there’s no better time to teach ourselves how to knit.

How to start knitting: the easiest - and coolest - video tutorials for learning how to knit
These days, knitting is not just for grannies Credit: Wool and the Gang

Back in the 1980s, when my grandmother would babysit me after school, knitting was just one of the many crafts we did together. My efforts weren’t up to much, and by the age of about 10 I’d dismissed it in favour of drawing and painting, but my sister and I ended up with entire wardrobes full of rainbow jumpers she’d made for us by hand.

These days, knitting is not just for grannies. Brands like Wool and the Gang and We Are Knitters have introduced the craft to a new generation who, fed up with the throwaway nature of fast fashion, seek something more meaningful from the clothes they wear. Making your own hand-knitted scarf or hat makes for something worth treasuring, instead of thrown out as soon as you get bored or trends change.

Making your own hand-knitted garment can turn it into something worth treasuring Credit: Getty Images

Now, as we trade our evenings out for weeks of nights in, there’s no better time to teach ourselves how to knit. Once you’ve grasped the basic technique, there’s no reason why you can’t watch a movie, listen to a podcast or sustain a conversation at the same time. It’ll also give your eyes a break from the endless and anxiety-inducing boredom-scrolling of Twitter and Instagram feeds.

So where does one begin? The UK is full of independent yarn shops that specialise in all things knitting-related, and though they are all closed for the next few weeks, you can still shop for essentials online and follow their excellent video tutorials. YAK in Brighton, Wild & Woolly in London’s Clapton and Loop in London’s Islington are all great places to browse.

You can also buy kits containing everything you need from Wool and the Gang and We Are Knitters.

Once you’ve got all the essentials, find an online tutorial to follow. Here, I’ve rounded up the best beginner knitting project guides online, whatever your ambitions.

How to knit a scarf

Sheep & Stitch has lots of YouTube tutorials, but I love the simplicity of this one, plus the result is genuinely chic, and wouldn’t look out of place wrapped around any fashion editor’s neck. Any wool or needles can be used, but for beginners, the presenter recommends a bulky weight Merino that will yield speedy results, and is easy to hold and manipulate.

How to knit a pom-pom beanie

There couldn’t be a cooler ambassador for knitting than yogi Tara Stiles, who talks you through how to make a slouchy pom-pom beanie using one of the Wool and the Gang kits. The kit contains instructions for beginner, intermediate and advanced knitters, but she demonstrates the easiest version, walking you through the process from casting on all the way through to making the pom-pom at the end. She includes anecdotes from her own experience of learning to knit too, which is reassuring if you’re struggling.

How to arm-knit a throw blanket

No, I’d never heard of arm-knitting either - it’s sometimes referred to as ‘extreme knitting’ too. The technique uses the knitter’s arms instead of needles, with ultra-chunky wool, and you can expect to have a finished piece within a couple of hours. Tea and Crafting has the best online course for this; it’s free, but you need to place an online order for it as if you were making a purchase. It’s then sent to you as a link via email.

How to knit a cushion cover

I love that host Kristabel Plummer talks about the mindfulness benefits of knitting here; she admits meditation and colouring-in hadn’t really worked for her, but knitting did. She uses a double moss stitch, which sounds complicated but is actually quite straightforward. To keep things really simple, and for a more professional finished piece, she attaches the finished knitted panel to a plain cushion cover - then it’s ready to be filled with an inner pillow and tossed on the bed or sofa.

How to knit a baby blanket

If you have a friend or relative who is pregnant right now, a baby blanket would be a much-treasured and meaningful gift. Make sure to choose an ultra-soft premium yarn that won’t irritate a baby’s sensitive skin. This version from Wool and the Gang includes a free downloadable pattern and is easy enough for even the clumsiest knitter to follow.

How to knit a cardigan

The cardigan has never been cooler, with countless street style (and catwalk) appearances over the course of fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris. It is a more complicated project than a scarf or blanket though. This thorough tutorial, above, by US-based B Hooked, breaks down every step of the process, from getting the sizing right to creating the ribbed edges. There’s a second part to the tutorial too, which you can find here.

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