21 mistakes a beginner knitter can make and tips how to avoid them

beginner knitters, knitting mistakes avoid, tips

Knitting can be scary at first, especially when you make a mistake. Don’t worry – knitting can go wrong sometimes but it can also be fixed, let me give you some tips. Some of them might seem obvious, but trust me, we have all made silly mistakes. 

Needle choice

1. Fallen stitches

If you start knitting with metal needles, sometimes the yarn can slip. Try different needles to see what suits your yarn. Bamboo is the least slippery, metal is the most, wood and Teflon needles are in between those two.

2. Too loose stitches

Choose your needle size carefully. If they are too large, your garment will be too loose.

3. Too tight stitches

Don’t choose too small needles either because your knitting will be too tight.

TIP: Everybody has a different knitting tension, always knit a sample, wash it and check how it looks.

Yarn choice

4. You don't wear you summer top because it is hot

Choosing the wrong yarn: if you knit a summer top with warm wool or alpaca, you will never wear it.

TIP: Choose the suitable yarn for your pattern, for summer the best ones are cotton, bamboo or silk.

5. Yarn is nice, pattern is nice, but the finished knitting? Not really

Choosing a variegated yarn for a busy pattern.

TIP: Find your yarn choice on Ravelry and check the finished projects to see how the yarn looks after knitting.

Pattern choice

6. You don't understand the pattern and never finish

Make sure you choose a not too complicated pattern.

7. You have no idea, what is happening

Read the instructions before you start to make sure you understand the pattern.

8. The project is too large, you lost your motivation to knit because it seems to be a never-ending story

Don’t be overly ambitious at first. If you have never knitted before, don’t start with a hooded cardigan full of cables. Find something smaller, simpler, the progress to more complicated patterns.

During knitting

9. Broken needles - ouch!

Don’t leave your wooden needles out. Many have been broken by somebody accidently sitting on them.

TIP: Keep them in a secure, solid basket or box or put them on a shelf or table.

10. Forgotten details

Note down what needles you used for your swatch – you might not remember them later.

TIP: The best way to keep notes of your knitting is a project planner

11. You cannot follow the pattern

Use stitch markers so that you can keep track where you are in the pattern. You can buy some great ones or make your own from a contrasting colour yarn.

12. You have no idea where to continue

Mark where you are in the pattern when you put down your knitting so that you know where to carry on later.

13. Knitting backwards

Try not to stop knitting in the middle of a row. If you knit until the end of the row, it will be easier to continue later. Also, you avoid knitting backwards and have less chance of dropping stitches.


14. Too big/small garment

Always knit a swatch to ensure that you knit the correct size!


15. Make sure you use the same needles that you knitted your sample with

Different size needles and even different material needles will give different results.


16. You knitted a swatch, but the size is not good.

Don’t make your swatch too small, not just 20-odd stitches, but at least a 6x6" (15x15 cm) size.


17. Knitted a big enough swatch, and... the size isn't right.

Always wash and dry your swatch to see the final size and look.

TIP: Knit a 6x6" swatch, wash and dry it and if you are happy with it, use the exact same needles for your garment.



18. You worked a lot, washed your garment first time, and it can go to the trash :(

Be careful washing your garment, check the instructions on the yarn. You don’t want to felt your newly knitted garments in the washing machine.

19. You gave as a present what you have knitted and it is ruined

If you are knitting something as a present, make sure you include the washing instructions.

TIP: Hand washing is the safest, it is not that complicated and it will not ruin your piece.


20. Tangled yarn

Don’t try to knit straight from the skein, it will get tangled. Wind your yarn into a ball.

21. Run out from yarn

Make sure you have enough yarn for your project. Your yarn store might run out of the yarn by the time you realize you need more. Whether you are a beginner knitter or have lots of experience you will definitely succeed if you keep these in mind.

Is this too much too keep in your mind? Don't worry, download the checklist, and you can take a look on it every time you need it.

Happy knitting!