Growing up, we all saw the members of our family knitting and for a long time it was considered a retirement hobby.

However, knitting has grown in popularity and is now a much more inter-generational activity.

Tools such as the internet have made it extremely easy to learn how to knit, buy knitting supplies and connect with like-minded people across the globe.

People turn to knitting as a hobby for a multitude of different reasons, from creating sustainable fashion to improving mental health or just doing something productive with their free time.

So let’s explore the topic!

The Main Benefits of Knitting

Why you should sit down and learn to knit? Well, here are three motivational benefits:

  1. Knitting is a stress buster and mental health booster - the art of knitting in itself is very repetitive and therapeutic, creating a rhythm that promotes mindfulness. Studies have shown that people who knit regularly are less stressed, promoting relaxation and overall well-being. Knitting can also help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  2. Knitting uses a variety of skills simultaneously. You need to be able to read and follow a pattern, count stitches and use your hands in unison. All of these skills help keep your mind active and research suggests that it helps to slow the onset of dementia.
  3. Participation in a fun and active community - the internet has made a positive impact on the knitting community. It is now easier than ever to be part of this wonderful group of people. There are many groups online where you can showcase your work, ask questions, and buy patterns. The most popular of these is Ravelry, which has a significant number of members.

Is Knitting an Expensive Hobby?

Knitting, like any hobby, can cost you a few pounds to start or over £100, depending on how many supplies you buy. With so many different options of both needles and yarn, it can be overwhelming to know where to start or how much to spend.

There are many different types of knitting needles; circular, straight, or double pointed, as well as being made from different materials - bamboo, plastic, wood, steel, and aluminium are the most popular choices. Each style and material has pros and cons and the best equipment to use will depend on what project you are completing.

Selecting yarn can be complicated, as there are a multitude of options and price points. A good starting choice is acrylic yarn. It is very cheap and can be found in most supermarkets and pound shops. It is also very grippy which helps stitches stay on your needle when learning knitting as a hobby.

Yarn can vary greatly in price, from cheap acrylic yarn up to expensive cashmere and angora yarn which can set you back over £30 for a 100g skein.

How to Start Knitting

Ready to start? Learn the basics of knitting below:

How to Cast On

There are many ways to cast on your knitting. The main ones are the long tail cast on, the single cast on, and the knitted cast on.

Here, we are going to explain the single cast on.

First, make a slipknot:

  1. To make a slip knot, wrap the yarn around your index finger twice.
  2. Pull the first loop under the loop at the top and off your finger.
  3. Insert the loop on your knitting needle and pull, but not too tight.
  4. To create your cast-on stitches:
  5. Holding your needle with the slip knot on, wrap the yarn around your left thumb, clockwise, hold the rest of the yarn in your left hand, making a fist. Stretch out your thumb to keep the yarn tensioned.
  6. To make your stitch, bring your needle down and under the yarn that is wrapped around your thumb before bringing the needle up and pulling the loop off your thumb and onto your needle.
  7. Pull slightly to tighten the stitch.
  8. Repeat these steps until you have cast on enough stitches.

How to Create a Basic Knit Stitch

  1. Cast on the desired number of stitches.
  2. Hold the needle with your cast-on stitches in your left hand.
  3. Tension the yarn with your right hand whilst holding your second needle.
  4. Insert the right needle into the first loop of the left needle, from left to right.
  5. Wrap the yarn around your right needle, bringing the yarn from the back over the top of the needle.
  6. Pull the right needle back through the loop on the left needle, bringing the new loop of yarn on the right needle through as well.
  7. Pull the stitch off the left needle.
  8. You should now have one stitch on your right needle.
  9. Repeat steps 4-8 for all stitches.
  10. When you have finished your row, turn your work and then continue.

Learn other important beginner stitches, such as the purl stitch here.

Easy Project Ideas for Beginners

Most people think that when you start knitting you need to start with creating a scarf. This might not be the best advice, as they take a long time to knit and as a beginner, it is hard to create the clean, neat edges needed for a beautiful finished product.

It is much more beneficial to knit a smaller project to give you a feeling of accomplishment and excitement to carry on and experiment with new stitches and projects.

Baby blankets make excellent beginner projects. They are made up of small knitted squares that are sewn together at the end.

Other products such as baby jumpers and hats are also good beginner projects and you will learn more techniques while completing these simple patterns.

Knitting as a Hobby

As knitting continues to grow in popularity, it becomes an even more appealing skill to learn.

Not only can you get creative and produce wonderful finished products, but you can join a thriving community of fellow crafters, coming together to share inspiration and joy.

So, if you are wondering what to do in retirement, it is a great option.

And it is exactly why Mirthy hosts a variety of arts and crafts events - so come along and join in!

Further Resources and Tutorials

Browse more Mirthy articles by clicking here.