What do I Need to Start Knitting? A Beginner's Supply Guide

Posted by Heidi Gustad

Learning a new craft from scratch can be intimidating. Luckily, Blitsy has you covered with a great selection of supplies. Let Blitsy's yarn expert show you what you need to get those needles clicking!

I know the feeling. You're handy with paper crafting or jewelry making or painting (or all the above!), but when it comes to yarn, you're stumped. Maybe learning to knit is something that's been on your bucket list for awhile. Maybe you're tried of forking out for TOTALLY cute cowls that seem like you could make them yourself. You know what? You totally can learn to knit. Yeah, there's a little bit of some up front practicing before it clicks, but I promise that you can, in fact, cross yarn crafting off your to-learn list! You can make that cowl. All you need is a little help and a list of starter supplies (because no one needs to understand how to read a yarn label on day 1, trust). Allow me to be your knitting ambassador! Read on to learn what you'll need to become the coolest cowl-maker in no time.

Supplies

  • yarn
  • appropriate knitting needles
  • tapestry needle
  • crochet hook
  • scissors
  • a pattern or tutorial for your project

Yarn, of course!

Let's begin by tackling yarn. The yarn pictured above calls for US size 11 knitting needles, as you can see by looking at the squares on the back of the label. Just look for a picture that looks like knitting needles, and read the number listed below it (in the case of the pictured yarn, U.S. 11 is listed under an image of crossed knitting needles).

A yarn I really like for new knitters is Lion Brand Heartland Thick & Quick. It calls for US size 11 needles, like the pictured yarn. Yarns that call for needles sized in the lower double digits (US size 10, 10.5 or 11) are nice because they're bulky but not too bulky. When you're just learning, you'll want your knitting to come together quickly, which is what bulky yarns are great for, but if you're doing something super bulky, things can get unwieldy, making mastering the new skill more challenging than necessary.

Pro tip: If you've never started a skein of yarn, check out this animation I made showing you where to find the end of your yarn. When you've got a skein of yarn like this, all you have to do is reach inside the center of the skein and fish out the tail. Then, your yarn won't get tangled as you knit.

Needles (and not the kind with an eye)

Next, you're going to need some needles to go with the yarn. I've already paired needles and yarn that are the right size for each other in the supplies at the bottom of this post, but if you're looking to go your own way (cue the Fleetwood Mac!), you'll need to flip your yarn over and take a look at the label like I mentioned. For beginners, I recommend starting with straight needles. You can get aluminum knitting needles very affordably, but some knitters, newbies in particular, prefer wood or bamboo needles because they're less slippery. I included recommendations for both wood and aluminum needles in this post - you can try both to see what suits you best!

Notions & Needles

In knitting, you'll come across some interesting/weird quirks in terminology sometimes. As with many crafts with long, cultured histories, knitting has been around a long time. For today's beginner purposes, you should know that there is more than one kind of needle used in knitting. There are the "sticks" we tackled above, but you're also going to want to add one or two large-eyed sewing needles to your craft stash when you take up knitting. These traditional, sewing-style needles are called tapestry needles and they, along with crochet hooks, are used to weave in your ends (a.k.a. the tails at the beginning, end, and on color changes in your work) when you've finished a knitting project. Beyond that, the only other item you'll need to get started knitting is a simple pair of scissors, and luckily, those are pretty self-explanatory!

It really doesn't take a crazy amount of supplies to get started knitting, but it can be hard to know where to start. I hope this post is helpful to turn you from a bucket list, would-be knitter into a confident, real-life knitter in no time! Let us know in the comments if you have any questions about getting started.