In high school, I noticed that a knitting club had sprung up at the beginning of my junior year. At the time, I had been looking for a hobby to pick up and immediately imagined myself knitting posh sweaters and tea cozies. I showed up to a meeting and found that everyone in the club had already known how to hold the knitting needles, how to do basic stitches, and how to cast on and off (I'll tell you what this all means later). I was starting from scratch and needed to catch up, so I taught myself how to do all these things, and you can too!

Though you might not be ready for sweaters and tea cozies quite yet, you can pick up knitting in no time. I'll tell you how...

First, it's important to start off with the proper needles:

When you walk down the knitting section of your nearest hobby store, you'll notice that there is a plethora of needles of all circumferences and colors. While the color doesn't matter, the circumference, or size, matters. Knitting needle sizes range from size 0 to size 50. Sometimes, you might buy needles from outside of the U.S. and their sizes will be displayed in millimeters. Visit this site to see a conversion chart for metric needles sizes.

What size needle you'll need for any given project depends on how big you want your stitches to be. If you want your project to be knit really tightly, you are going to use a smaller needle size. Conversely, a more breathable project would have you use bigger needles. The type of yarn you use for a project also determines what needle size you'll need. If you look on the yarn's label, it will tell you what needle size is appropriate for use with that yarn. To make it easier, usually a pattern for a particular project will tell you what size needles and what type of yarn you will need to complete it.

So how do I hold these anyway?

You are going to start with one needle in one hand (which hand depends on your handedness). Open your hand with your palm facing up and lay the needle, pointy side away from you, where your fingers meet your palm. Wrap your hand around the needle and hold it with your forefinger and thumb, then flip your hand over. Repeat with another needle in your other hand.

The Next Step and Beyond: Casting On, Knitting and Purling

If you're anything like me, it's absolutely hopeless for you to learn a new skill with only written directions. I found the best way for me to learn knitting was to watch video tutorials of particular steps in knitting. A site that helped me a lot in the beginning was After you've learned how to do basic stitches from this site, you can start your knitting career with a simple scarf, which would only require you to knit the stitches you've learned over and over again. From there, you can try your hand at the more advanced stitches also listed on the site, and then, maybe even a sweater or tea cozy.