How to learn a new knitting technique
We are all different which means we have different approaches to and preferences about how we learn. This is as true when it comes to knitting as it is in school or on a training course.
The good news is that there are lots of ways to learn knitting techniques so you should be able to find options to suit you.
Books and magazines
For a lot of older knitters, tutorials and written instructions in books and magazines the main way to learn a new knitting technique, expecially if they didn’t know someone who was good at the particular thing they wanted to try.
If you are happy to work though the instructions step by step and trust them, this can be very useful. I learned to steek – cut my knitting – from an Alice Starmore book. Because I had knit some her patterns and trusted them, I followed her instructions exactly and it worked. It was only years later that I discovered that this is regarded as a tricky technique!
This is a useful method for people who are happy try things by themselves and have the peace and quiet to do so. The problem comes if you get suck or you aren’t sure if your work is turning out as it should.
Learning from peers
Learning a technique from friends, family, members of you knitting group is something most of us will have done at some point. It might be a knitter saying “I know a way to do that you might want to try” – or it could be you saying “can anyone show me how to”.
A newer version of this, is posting a question in a Facebook group or other online knitting community. Knitters are a helpful bunch so there is likely to be plenty of advice.
And now thanks to Zoom we’re returning more to the knitting group model online, where we are sharing tips and advice almost face-to-face again.
A couple of words of warning. Some people are better at explaining things than others, so don’t be put off learning from other people if it doesn’t work for you the first time. On the other hand, some times it can be difficult to judge the value of advice – especial online when you might receive several differing answers to a question.
Workshops and classes
Signing up to a knitting course or a one-off workshop can be a great way to learn a new technique. You will see the technique demonstrated, work through it step-by-step, be able to ask questions and even help or learn from other participants.
If interactive, social learning suits you, workshops and classes at yarn shops or craft festivals are a great option. And now they are popping up online as well via Zoom and Google.
Learning in a group can benefit your knitting confidence – you may discover that you know more than you thought and/or that lots of other people can get stuck or take time to learn something.
Videos are a very useful learning tool for knitters. You can watch the same stitch demonstrated as many times as you like – just keep rewinding. You can try knitting along with the demo – beware of the speeded up “boring bits” though!
You will also be able to get a good look to how the stitch should turn out.
And because there are so many videos out there, you can find a style that works for you.
There are two downsides to videos though. Some may be better than others, so ask for recommendations and perhaps compare a few on the same technique to see what you like and which seem most informative.
Some people can become a bit dependent on videos and are only comfortable working certain techniques with the video running. As you start to get to grips with a technique, try to do it with the video paused and only play it if you are stuck.
Have a think about what has been the most successful learning to knit experiences for you? Do you like to ask questions or would prefer to work away by yourself? You will probably find that all of these learning opportunities have worked for you at one time or another. If so a mix of learning resources is what you might need. For example, following a magazine tutorial and then looking for a video to see if you’ve got it or posting a picture of your attempt in an online knitting group for advice or feedback.
The good news
In Knit School we provide a mix of all these styles. Our masterclasses include videos, downloadable resources to help you practice stitches, a members’ group where you can chat and share and live Q&A sessions.
Find out more about Knit School here and sign up for our waiting list.