This is a photograph of my very first knitting project.
New knitters often wonder what to make that will suit their skill level, but also engage their interest. In my opinion, the best beginner pattern is one that teaches and reinforces basic skills. It’s one that uses the fundamentals to their fullest effect, to make something that’s attractive and wearable, that an advanced knitter might want to make, but that a beginner knitter could make. Something that has a high knit-to-glory ratio.
If you haven’t heard of the knit-to-glory ratio, it’s the amount of effort required to knit the piece relative to how impressive the finished object looks. For instance, socks knit in a self-striping yarn have a high knit-to-glory ratio because it looks like you combined all kinds of yarns into one tiny project. The Garter Traphas been an ever-popular pattern for us because it uses a long-repeat self-striping sock yarn combined with a solid yarn in an incredibly simple way: you just switch back-and-forth between the striping yarn and the solid yarn every other row, without ever cutting your yarn. In the end, it looks like you’re a colorwork master (but really a beginner could do it).
When you search for “basketweave scarf” on Ravelry…
So, I’m going to make a declaration. The Basketweave Scarf is the best beginner knitting pattern. After you spend a few minutes learning the knit stitch and the purl stitch, a basketweave scarf should be your very first knitting project. Many new knitters arrive at this pattern all on their own, because it’s practically self-evident that it’s the best beginner pattern. The fact that there are 152 hits when you search for “basketweave scarf” on Ravelry should say something… not only have at least 152 thought this pattern up, written it down and deemed it worthy of publication on Ravelry– 152 pattern designers on Ravelry have thought to name this pattern “basketweave scarf”. Call it what you will. The value is in the stitches.
It lays flat without edge treatments. Your gauge doesn’t really matter. It works at any width, or any length. The pattern consists of squares or rectangles which can be knit at any size or proportion. One could even change the proportions mid-way through. It’s infinitely variable. And most importantly, this pattern is bound to teach you to recognize the difference between knits and purls. The ability to read your knitting is vital to becoming a confident and competent knitter.
Here’s my official example of the Basketweave Scarf pattern:
Lauren’s Basketweave Scarf
Cast on 30 stitches.
Row 1-5: (knit 5, purl 5) 3 times
Row 6-10: (purl 5, knit 5) 3 times
While you’re knitting, stop and notice how your knit stitches look like a V at the base of the stitch, and your purl stitches look like a little bump. Flip your work back and forth and observe that the V (knit) stitches look like bump (purl) stitches on the back side. Think about the fact that the last 5 stitches of the row are purled, and then you flip your work over and knit across those same 5 stitches because in fact they are knit stitches on the back side. For 5 rows, you’re just knitting when it looks like a knit stitch, and purling when it looks like a purl stitch. When you get to row 6, you’re just purling the knits and knitting the purls. Try carrying on without looking at the pattern for a while, because you can see what to do by reading your knitting.
Repeat Rows 1-10 indefinitely, then bind off.
Pat yourself on the back because you’re well on your way to knitting mastery.