The Best Beginning Knitting Pattern is …. a Scarf

I’ve said this many, many times.  The answer to the perennial question:  “what should my first knitting project be?”  or “what is the best beginning knitting pattern?” is a scarf.  It’s been a scarf for centuries and I expect it will be a scarf for many more.  Why?

KISS:  Keep It Simple, Silly!

When you’re learning to knit, there’s a pretty steep learning curve.  You have to learn how to:

keep the yarn under control – it’s wiggly!
cast on stitches
knit stitches
purl stitches
“read” your knitting
stop adding stitches!
stop subtracting stitches!
tension your yarn (so your stitches are even)
read a pattern
knitting jargon
bind off
finish a project (don’t underestimate this one)

On top of all this, most beginners, and not-beginners, love to choose fuzzy, highly textured and/or very colorful yarns.  Bad idea.

These yarns can be very difficult to work with and even harder to “read” once they’ve been worked into your project.  If you’re just learning how to do, well, everything, adding a complicated yarn to the mix is just about a guaranteed way to fail.

Bragging Rights

Then there’s the pattern.  By now it should be obvious why you want to start with the simplest of patterns.  But you want to have bragging rights, too.  I mean, you’ll put hours and hours into this thing.  You’ll develop new skills and expand your vocabulary.

You want to have something you can show off at the end of all that.  You deserve to have something you can show off.

Sure, you could make a simple square washcloth out of cotton yarn (not the easiest yarn to work with), but who brags about a simple washcloth?  Or drags it around with them to show to everyone?  That would be weird.

A scarf can be very, very simple.  You don’t even have to learn how to purl.  You can just knit every stitch of every row.  It works with just about every fiber, every color, every weight (diameter) of yarn.  Once you have the correct number of stitches, which is determined by how wide you want the scarf to be, you just knit.  Scarves come in a lot of different sizes, so this is not a big deal.

Plan ahead when you see the end of your yarn coming and change to the new ball at the beginning of a row.  It’ll save you all kinds of aggravation.

Then knit some more.  Knit until your scarf is about 5 feet long.  Again, scarves come in a wide variety of sizes.  That includes length.  If shorter will work for you, or you prefer longer, go for it.

Now you have to learn how to bind off.  A little tricky, but after all the practice you’ve had by this point, you can do it.

Then, wrap your brand new, custom-made scarf around your neck and head out the door to show it, and your new knitting know-how, to the world!

Leave a Comment