I've explained before why acrylic wool really isn't great for learning how to knit but I do get a lot of questions about what does make great beginners wool. So here is a little round up and free download check list for picking out your initial wool stash.
1. Get something you love
If you are going to invest your time in learning this amazing skill, you need to love what you are making. This is one of the reasons that acrylic really isn't the best wool for a beginner. But a nice soft merino wool is a good choice. More so if you get a ball in a colour that you love. Don't be tempted to pick a squishy ball of wool because it feels lovely but you are not quite sure of the colour. Get something you would truly wear when knitted up.
2. Get a ball not a skein
A ball of wool comes 'ready to knit'. You do not need to do anything to it other than remove the label and find the end to start knitting. You are learning so all these gorgeous skeins of silky wool will all still be there for you in a few projects' time but for now, give yourself a break and just start with the basics of knitting stitches straight from a ball of commercially dyed wool.
3. Have a feel
Yarn stores are the least intimidating specialist hobby shops you can find. There are people in there who can talk passionately about their craft and encourage you to have a go. It may seem overwhelming at first but that shop is scattered with people who will explain the difference between a chunky and a DK, how to read a yarn label. Even the people who don't work there. I've helped many a lost soul looking to learn in shops I've been browsing through.
4. Get a pattern
The best way to learn how to knit, is to do the knitting. Get a pattern, like one of our KISS patterns, developed especially for beginners. See what needles they recommend, check the yarn label to see if that matches what the pattern says and if you live near a yarn store, take it in with you.
5. Aim for that quick win
You are learning to knit so the thicker the wool, the rounder the needles, the quicker your work will grow. This means you get to see real progress and that scarf you are making will take you a week or so rather than a month or so.
Once you have all these things in mind, you are probably ready to get choosing your wool. But which wool to pick?
- Get something commercially dyed. You will make mistakes, make them on yarn that is a little on the cheaper side.
- Go for brand names that give you quality. West Yorkshire Spinners, Debbie Bliss, Rowan, Rooster, Rico and Drops all have some lovely ranges of colours in soft, durable wool.
- If you can't get to a local yarn store, there are plenty of online independent yarn stores that sell lovely wool to get you started. We love the Loveliest Yarn Company, Wiseheart Studio, Baa Ram Ewe who are all super lovely and helpful.
And remember, you are learning. You will drop stitches, make mistakes, get frustrated and want to fast forward to making that lovely vintage sweater instantly. You won't be able to instantly watch TV while you knit but if you practice, that time will come.