Knitting Books With Patterns For Beginners

by dustytoes

Most knitting patterns books will include easier patterns with more difficult. This gives the beginner a chance to try new patterns as abilities progress.

All the books on this page I either own, or have researched and am planning to buy myself. I don't own many books, and you don't need many these days with downloadable patterns for sale all over the internet.

There is something about having a tangible book in front of me, or able to grab for reference. If you are alone in your quest to become a great knitter, like I am, books and videos are most helpful.

Instead of spending time searching all over the internet, why not pick up a book? They are inexpensive and can be used for years. Here I will list the knitting books that have helped me, and others that get good reviews from buyers.

We Need Someone To Show Us The Way

A short history of how I have learned to knit.

My grandmother did a lot of knitting.  In winter we had cute mittens with faces and long braids down the top.  I specifically remember those.  We had hand-knit sweaters with chunky cables up and down the full length.

When I began having kids myself, my Nana sent more knit goodies for the kids.  I still have those, but all the rest have vanished.  

If only my Nana were around today, I could learn so much from her!  What fun it would be to sit with her and knit up something special, with her giving me advice along the way.  Personal advice from an experienced knitter can't be beat.  

I remember trying to knit as a young girl, but it seemed way too difficult, so I gave up.  I felt the same way about playing the guitar!  Ah... youth... we quickly move onto the next thing.

For me, knitting instruction came late in life when I lived in New Hampshire and a local woman gave lessons in her home.  It was also a yarn shop which featured local hand-dyed (mostly wool) yarn.  I got far enough that I could make hats, and those are some of my favorite items to knit today.

With the basics down, I've recently decided to take up knitting again.  Although I live in a hot climate, I am determined to keep improving my knitting skills.  

Online videos can be very helpful, and there are a lot of good ones.  Unfortunately you must wade through the truly horrid ones to find them!

Books are my first choice when it comes to knitting advice these days, because most books will give instruction and patterns.  Everything is all in one place.  Find a comfortable chair to browse the pages, highlighting what catches your eye.  


Shawls and Wraps Can be Great Practice for a Beginner Knitter

Easy "Spindrift" shawl knit by me
Easy "Spindrift" shawl knit by me

Knitting Without Tears

I don't have this book, but it should have some good beginner options.
Knitting Without Tears: Basic Techniques and Easy-to-Foll...

What's Inside the Dummies Knitting Book? Everything!

The Knitting for Dummies book contains nearly everything you need to begin knitting - except the yarn  and needles!  Mine is the first version, but the one I link to below is the updated 3rd edition.  On Amazon, you can "look inside" this book and see all the information it covers.

When I first bought my Dummies book, years ago, I used it a lot to learn various stitches.  Most of the book was over my head, but now I am still learning from it - years later.  I still haven't graduated to making a sweater, but the basics for that are in this book.

From the simple and basic, to the more challenging, the Dummies book will be the perfect reference as your knitting skills progress.  And it contains patterns, how to read a chart, figuring gauge, and more important things "real" knitters use to be successful.

Lots of photos and images are included in my version, so I assume the same for the newest book.

Knitting For Dummies - The New 3rd Edition - A Must Have For Beginner Knitters

Good reference book for beginners or those who want to expand their knitting knowledge.
Knitting For Dummies

Try Out The Various Stitches to Make Swatches in Fun Patterns

The double-basket pattern
The double-basket pattern

Easy Practice Stitches Combine Knits and Purls

Small swatches can be made using a combination of easy knit and purl stitches.  You will be amazed at what these two stitches can do!  And because it's just a swatch, and nothing anyone will use, mistakes are okay.  

Use old, unwanted yarn to practice with and keep the swatches to show the pattern results.  These can be used for determining gauge as well.

Some examples are ribbing, which is used around the bottom of a hat, or on sleeves of a sweater.  Knitting a few rows, then purling a few rows can provide vertical lines of texture.

Alternating knits and purls can create seed stitch, moss stitch, basketweave, or double-basketweave (like my swatch to the left) and much more.  


Gansey Watch Cap Pattern From the "Hats On!" book

Gansey Watch Cap with Fur Pom Pom
Gansey Watch Cap with Fur Pom Pom
My photo

"Hats On", is a Knitting Book to Use For Years

This hat knitting book is one I have used often over the years.  I still have not progressed to the more difficult, multi-color hats, but I no longer live where these types of hats are worn.  For now, the inspiration is not there.

The simple "classic watch cap" or "stockinette watch cap" can be done by a beginner.  I have knit them myself.  For the more difficult patterns, you'll need to know how to read a chart.

The book contains photos of all the hats, and some of them are really stunning.

My Favorite Book of Hats to Knit - Some Are Very Easy to Knit

The only drawback to this book is many hats do not have a written pattern, so you must know how to read a chart. BUT, the simple hat patterns are easy to create without a chart.
Hats On!

The Fana Cap from "Hat's On" Book

My daughter is wearing the Fana Cap which I knitted from a pattern in this book.
Fana Cap
Fana Cap
My photo

Learning to Use Double-pointed Needles

Hats can be simple projects and help beginner knitters get the hang of using double-pointed needles.

I'll say I have mastered the art of knitting hats in the round.  Since DPN's are only used for a few rounds at the top, it's a good project for getting the hang of using multiple needles.

Socks and mittens and sleeves will require using them a lot more, so hats are a simple way to get the hang of double points.  

Wooden needles will hold the yarn better than metal, so most DPN's are made of some type of wood.  They come in various lengths and longer ones are fine for finishing up hats.

Needles Needed to Knit a Hat

Circular, 16 inch length needles are used, changing to double-pointed needles at the top. Size 6 needles are average for a hat, depending on the pattern.
Knitter's Pride 6/4mm Dreamz Fixed Ci...Knitter's Pride KP200128 6/4mm Dreamz...addi FlexiFlips Double Pointed Knitti...

More About Hat knitting

Most hats are knit from the bottom up.  The beginning row is the cast on, and that needs to look nice.  Don't skimp on that.  Use the cast-on technique suggested in the pattern.  YouTube has many videos that show various cast-ons.  Or you can check out the ones I have collected on my blog page: Methods for Casting On.

Once you reach the top of the hat, stitches will be decreased.  Multiple stitches will be worked together as one, until you get to the last few stitches which will be gathered up in a darning needle and tied off.

When there are fewer stitches to work with, double-pointed needles are needed because the circular needle will become too large.  You will knit the same way, just using smaller needles.

The video below is quite good, and to the point.  She does hold her yarn with her left hand, but overlook that and pay attention to how she uses 4 dpn's to hold the stitches and knits off using the 5th dpn.

Video Showing How to Switch to DPN's (double pointed needles) When Knitting in the Round

More Knitting Books to Learn the Basics

I don't own these books, but they get very good reviews.
Knitting For Beginners: A Step By Ste...Cast On, Bind Off: 54 Step-by-Step Me...

The Magic Loop Knitting Method, With Options to Knit 2 Socks at Once

This method is not exactly for beginners, but it is an alternative.

Most knitters (beginners at least) are frightened nearly to death of DPNs (double-pointed needles).  The reason is obvious.  We have just begun to get the hang of holding two needles in our hands comfortably and now we have to hold ... how many?

DPNs come in sets of five needles, all in the same size.  You will typically use 4 or 5 at once.  Either three needles will hold stitches and you will knit with the fourth, or four needles will hold stitches and knit with the fifth.  

Problems that arise with DPNs include dropping stitches off the needles that are just sitting there waiting to be knit.  Also, all those pointy needles can really get in the way of the knitting.  For hats, they are only used for a few rows at the top, so I can handle that.  

Socks and mittens are another story.  They are too small to use anything other than DPNs unless you use the magic loop method.

In place of using all those needles, there is a method called the Magic Loop.  If you think this may be something worth learning, check out the video below which is part of a series of Magic Loop Videos.

*I don't know how to do this, so I am not advocating a beginner learn it.  It seems a bit difficult to me!

Magic Loop Series of "How To" Videos

Updated: 10/29/2018, dustytoes
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dustytoes on 07/11/2018

Knee blankets sound like a wonderful use of "swatches" and lovely gifts for the ones who would otherwise be cold. I'll bet the blankets turned out colorful and interesting as well..! Homemade is the one thing that hopefully will never go out of style.

frankbeswick on 07/11/2018

Knee blankets are needed not only when old folk go out, but at home. There are many old people in our misgoverned society who cannot afford adequate heating for their homes in Winter. Knee blankets help them keep warm as they sit.

Veronica on 07/11/2018

As an extra point Dusty, regarding the swatches in various designs.

At Knit and Natter we made lots of these squares in various colours, stiches and patterns and sewed them together to make knee blankets for the old people in local nursing homes when they go out in wheel chairs. They need a knee blanket in our climate. They were very gratefully received.

Veronica on 07/11/2018

I think that for all we have become oh so very sophisticated, deep down we have a yearning for the traditional ways if only for relaxation.

You would be amazed at how delighted people are when at Christmas, I present them with homemade pickled foods, smoked mackerel pate, homemade jams and cordials, breads, knitted winter accessories for our youngsters and babies.

My niece put a photo of her baby wearing a hat that I had crocheted, to my own design, on social media and she was inundated with people wanting to buy one.

Deep down, we hark back to tradition.

frankbeswick on 07/11/2018

There is a trend now for some people to knit using wool from alpacas. They have a fine wool with no lanolin, which makes it hypoallergenic,a real luxury wool. I don't think that this will replace sheep's wool, but it is an interesting extra.

Farmers have found that if they keep alpacas in a field with sheep foxes will not dare come anywhere near them.

dustytoes on 07/10/2018

Veronica and Frank, thanks very much for the support. Glad I could stir up good memories for all of us ;)
I do think people are becoming more self-reliant, with backyard gardens popping up everywhere and handmade goods being sold at farmer's markets and on the internet.
I believe knitting has become popular because so many people DO find it relaxing and enjoyable.

frankbeswick on 07/09/2018

Though I do not knit, I am delighted with these posts of yours on knitting, for they not only remind me of my early years, but they and you are making a positive contribution to the movement for self-reliance.You are pointing the way to a better, ecologically positive future.

Veronica on 07/09/2018

Dusty I am so delighted you have posted about your knitting. It is a lovey thing to do. I find it very therapeutic and soothing and I hope you can make some lovely things.

dustytoes on 07/09/2018

Thanks for that info Veronica.

frankbeswick on 07/09/2018

Darning mushroom. The name makes sense. Thanks.

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