Recommendations For New Knitters
I am learning how to teach knitting. In this quest for the best advice and what-not I have been collecting some really helpful and clear patterns, needle & yarn recommendations, and old country wisdom learned the hard way by yours truly. I think the world would be a better and cozier place if knitting were in the lives of every human on the planet. So! To that end, I give you my BEST as follows:
Best Needles for Beginners
US size 9 circular Bamboo needles (16 inch cable) - because they are hard-wearing, easy to find, and (most importantly) grip well to many types of yarn. Also, because knitting with circular needles makes losing stitches during travel less likely, losing needles impossible, and because you can enjoy knitting in any cramped space (waiting room, coach seating on flights, etc) without poking your underarm or your neighbors. Also, 16¨ is what you will use for knitting most hats and hats are some of the best first projects (more on that later). US size 9 or thereabouts is a good starting size that will allow you to get a good grip on the mechanics of the stitches because you can see stitches clearly and because you can make fast progress and keep the motivation going until your earliest projects are finished.
Best Yarn for Beginners
Because you are using a size 9 needle, you´ll want to use a bulky (size 5 or 6 on the label) weight yarn. I would like to start off beginners with a yarn that is not silky to the touch and, therefore, won't slip off the needles easily and send them flying off into a panic attack-like moment. I wouldn't waste time using anything that doesn't feel good in your hands, is against any ethical issues you hold dear, or is difficult to see in dim lighting. You need to see your stitches as you go to learn how to knit, so I´d recommend a light color that is consistently one color throughout.
Best Patterns for Beginners
Hats. Two specific hats from two specific designers: TinCan Knits and Wooly Wormhead. These are great first patterns to work from as they are both FREE and include comprehensive knitting instructions designed for total beginners with clear visual directions alongside written instructions. Also, they are modern design and gender neutral; you can make dozens of these once you get a few under your belt and gift-knit your freakin heart out.
Best Attitude for Beginners
You can always unravel and begin again tomorrow.
This is the cheapest hobby you can pick up beside skipping stones in the local pond or collecting chewed bubble gum off of city sidewalks. And as for hobbies, those other two options suck, honestly. At the bare minimum all you need, really, are (1) some patient knitter to guide your first steps (or an online tutorial), (2) a pair of chopsticks from the nearest Asian eatery, and (3) a few feet or of twine. There is nearly zero investment, once you get going you can take it anywhere, and there are limitless opportunities for creativity and productivity.