Yarn: pick a colour you like, and don’t choose anything too fine. We recommend starting with medium weight or worsted weight yarn, as it will be easier to work with than thinner yarn. Also, choose a bright colour. This makes your stitches (and thus your mistakes) easier to spot.
Needles: Needles come in different shapes and sizes. The thickness of the needle is supposed to match the thickness of the yarn, so if you’re starting with medium yarn, start with medium needles (sizes 6-8). Shorter needles are easier to work with whereas longer needles can hold more stitches which is necessary for larger items, so choose accordingly. Needles also come in many different materials, such as plastic, metal, wood, and bamboo. Ultimately, this is a matter of preference, but we recommend starting with wood or bamboo as the stitches won’t slide off as easily as on plastic or metal.
Patterns: knitting patterns are a plan which explains how to make a given item. You want to start as simply as possible (usually with a scarf!), and can find plenty of free ones online. This blog entry at OMGheart not only explains all the equipment you need to start, it also provides a starting scarf pattern!
Knitting vs. Crocheting: One of the first things to know is the distinction between the two main “needle arts”: knitting and crocheting. Both are great hobbies that allow you to make pretty much anything you can imagine out of yarn. There are, however, some key differences.
Crocheting uses a hook whereas knitting uses two needles. Knitting is a bit more versatile and is better for more intricate designs. Crocheting, however, is easier to learn and, very important for beginners, it’s easier to correct your mistakes in crocheting. Therefore, we suggest starting with crochet and using it as a springboard into knitting as you gain confidence. This article covers knitting simply because it is the more popular hobby.
For knitting, you’ll need to know some basic techniques. To start, you’ll need to know how to cast on (creating a starting row of stitches so you can start knitting), knit stitch, purl stitch, and cast off which creates a finished edge that will stop your stitches from unraveling. There are hundreds of step-by-step guides online, but this one does a good job of covering the basics.