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Once you’ve decided to learn how to knit, you might opt for a knitting book for beginners to learn the fundamental principles. We researched all the top books in this category, assessing them for essential features like step-by-step instruction of the basic knitting stitches, clear photos or diagrams showing how they’re done, and a few simple projects to begin with.
Our top pick is First Time Knitting: The Absolute Beginner’s Guide. It shows clear instruction on the main techniques, finishing up with eight simple projects to practice your newfound skills on.
Here are the best knitting books for beginners.
Best Overall: First Time Knitting: The Absolute Beginner’s Guide
Includes beginner-friendly projects
Demonstration photos can be small
If you’re unsure of where to get started with your knitting instruction, First Time Knitting: The Absolute Beginner's Guide gives an outstanding overview of what you’ll need to know and which supplies to get, as well as guidance on each aspect of knitting from needles to yarn. Clear and easy-to-follow descriptions accompany each section of the guide, ensuring readers will gain a thorough understanding of beginner stitches and techniques.
There’s also a chapter featuring nine beginner projects at the end of the book, including simple pieces as scarves, blankets, and more. Plus, there are distinct sections explaining textures, knitting in the round, shaping, basic knitting techniques, and more.
Users say First Time Knitting helped them learn how to knit properly and without frustration. They say it left them feeling accomplished being able to knit their very own hat or scarf by the end.
Best Inspiration: We Are Knitters: Knitspiration to Take Anywhere and Everywhere
We Are Knitters is a well-known knitting company that produces beloved knitting kits to help any beginner learn knitting. This book not only provides step-by-step tutorials, but its 175 pages are filled with beautiful, inspirational photography from around the world to inspire your next knitting project. It includes patterns for both beginners and advanced knitting students, and is the perfect book for someone who wants a little more story around their tutorials.
Knitting fans praise this book for its inspirational photography and down-to-earth guidance. The authors write clearly and eloquently to ease any beginner knitter fears. Even once you're past the beginner's stage, this is a good book to keep around for new patterns to try.
Best Yarn: The Knitter's Book of Yarn: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Using, and Enjoying Yarn
Comprehensive reference on fibers and yarn
Plenty of knitting patterns
Patterns may be a bit dated
Get the lowdown on every type of knitting yarn imaginable with this collection. This highly informative reference can help you figure out exactly which kind will yield the results you need for any and every type of knitting project. Take a peek inside to find the author provides a deep dive into such details as the fiber types of various yarn options, their ply combinations, different kinds of spins, and more. She gives insight into where the yarns come from and how they’re made as well.
No matter your question (how your favorite yarns are made, who makes them, how they’re transported to you, and what they usually turn into), this book will answer them. This is a must-have book for anyone who uses a lot of yarn, or just a knitter who wants to create the perfect piece. The author writes an online knitting review and edits the Interweave kid's site.
Best Pattern: 60 Quick Knits for Beginners: Easy Projects for New Knitters in 220 Superwash from Cascade Yarns
Projects for both beginners and experienced knitters
Book uses only one type of yarn
Especially created for the novice knitter, this book offers the best instruction on techniques and knitting patterns you’ll find. With 176 pages full of essential guidance for those new to patterns, this book includes clear instructions and fun illustrations.
There are numerous sidebars featured throughout the book pointing out important facts and insights. Readers can expect plenty of projects, varied to satisfy every kind of knitter. With some items specifically written for beginners, there are also plenty for more sophisticated knitters—we especially find it helpful that the projects are in order of difficulty throughout the book.
Best Stitch: The Knitter’s Stitch Collection: A creative guide to the 300 knitting stitches you really need to know
Relies a little too heavily on the charts
Featuring the top stitches for knitters, this book offers a collection of 300 favorite stitches both new and old. Regardless of skill level, readers will find a treasure trove of projects to dive into. Written by two highly experienced hand knitters, this guide is well-organized and chock full of instruction, explanatory images, and diagrams. There’s also a banner that runs along the bottom of each page with symbols used in the patterns and a full explanation in the final chapter.
Best for Star Wars Fans: Star Wars: Knitting the Galaxy
Adorable Star Wars projects
Some projects may be a challenge for young learners
In its 208-page frame, Knitting the Galaxy: The Official Star Wars Knitting Pattern Book brings to life all your favorite Star Wars characters from the first six movies in knit form. From throw pillows to costumes (sized for both children to adults) and so much more, kids who love Star Wars will love every item in the book. With patterns for every skill level, they will be able to make many of them easily too!
Each project is accompanied by full-color photos, so you can follow along and make sure your skills are on point. Readers will follow instructions using colorwork, lace knitting, and many other techniques to create George Lucas’ favorite creatures and some of their outfits. This book is written by Tanis Gray, author of ten knitting books with over 500 published knitting designs, who has also worked for HBO and Martha Stewart. She teaches knitting worldwide.
Best Socks: The Sock Knitting Bible: Everything you need to know about how to knit socks
Ten sample projects
Only features sock projects
If it’s socks you’d like to knit, look no further. Regardless of your knitting skills, this guide breaks down the structure of socks to help you knit your first pair. Taking our best beginners’ book for socks slot, The Sock Knitting Bible features the techniques you’ll need for abundant sock-making in easy-to-follow instructions. We love that the author makes sure to mention all the best types of yarn and knitting tools for sock-making as well.
All the knitters’ favorite methods are in this guide as well, so browse and readers can browse and choose one at their leisure. Also included is a section with ten sample projects created by top sock designers for readers to try out for themselves.
Best Specialty: Michael Pearson's Traditional Knitting: Aran, Fair Isle and Fisher Ganseys, New & Expanded Edition
Features unique patterns from England and Scotland
Interesting historical notations accompany the techniques
Patterns may be too challenging for beginners
This specialty option gathers together the patterns found in far-off English and Scottish fishing villages to create the most comprehensive and unique patterns of the regions. With their distinctive look and colors, these popular Fair Isle methods are revealed in technique within the 70-page collection. There are 17 color illustrations to back up the instruction as well.
Delve into mitten-making, jackets, hats, and so much more in these classic styles. An intriguing and well-researched reference, there are also interesting historical notations throughout the Fair Isle, Guernsey, and Aran techniques displayed. Users find that the patterns never get boring with the countless alternatives offered.
Best Color Knitting: Mastering Color Knitting: Simple Instructions for Stranded, Intarsia, and Double Knitting
Over 50 patterns
Some clothing patterns are incomplete
These pages reveal how the author uses multiple colors in her projects without the knitting being a bit more difficult. She provides clear instruction on how she works with advanced color knitting to create intricate, complex designs. Within these 176 pages, readers will enjoy the simplest variations of each technique based on the work of knitters nationwide.
This collection is full of chapters divided into projects, patterns, and explanations of the concepts necessary for creating certain pieces. There’s even a section on color theory so readers can knowledgeably choose the right color mixes for their creations. To boot, there are over 50 patterns and twelve lovely projects included.
What to Look for in Knitting Books
Introduction to the Basics
Knitting teacher and fabric store owner Jessy Gregg recommends finding a book that can first and foremost walk you through basic knitting stitches (primarily the knit and purl). You'll also need a book featuring a good overview of what you’ll need as far as materials and how to understand simple patterns. After that, you can start looking into techniques like casting on, increasing/decreasing, casting off, the garter stitch, the stockinette stitch, knitting styles, blocking processes, and more.
Step-by-Step Instruction with Photos
Just as it's helpful to have clear, concise, easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions, it’s also important to have images (photos, illustrations, or diagrams, preferably in color), available to make sure your hands are positioned correctly and you’re using the supplies accurately. These used together allow you to familiarize yourself with the basic steps at your own speed and double-check your technique as you go along.
Simple Starter Projects
Once you’ve mastered a few new skills, trying out some easy starter projects can make it all seem worthwhile. Look for a book that has as many as possible to choose from. After beginners have completed some simple projects, they may feel encouraged to do further learning and the mastering of more complex patterns.
What is the best thing to knit for the first time?
Starting out knitting can be a bit of a challenge, so creating something simple and useful can help make it fun. Gregg’s favorite beginners’ project is a simple stocking cap with a ribbed edge, which she feels is satisfying and easy to complete in a short time. Similar straightforward projects include basic easy scarves, shawls, ponchos, and baby blankets.
What supplies do you need to start knitting?
Gregg says all you’ll need for knitting are yarn and the needles to go with it. “Most modern knitters use circular needles (short knitting needles that are connected by a cord) even for projects that aren't knit in the round," she says. "They're less cumbersome than the long straight needles and they distribute the weight of the project more comfortably.”
According to Gregg, tackling something with a smaller diameter such as a hat will require needles with a 16-inch cable as well as a matching set of double-pointed needles for closing the crown of the hat.
What size knitting needles are best for beginners?
In Gregg’s opinion and personal experience, size 8 seems to be the most used average knitting needle size. “Yarn weights have funny names starting with lace (the lightest), sock, fingering, sport, DK, worsted, aran and bulky," she explains. "DK or worsted weight match best with size 8 needles and would be the best place to start.” Other projects for beginners require medium needles ranging from size 4-10 for easy handling.
Why Trust The Spruce Crafts?
This guide was created by KJ Callilhan, a writer for The Spruce The Spruce Crafts. She’s also written numerous shopping, activity, and gift guides for sites like CNET, Bob Vila, and AAA Northeast in addition to various other types of articles for Outward On, Ancient Origins, and Finfrock Marketing. For this roundup, she consulted Jessy Gregg, store owner and teacher of knitting, sewing, embroidery, and spinning.