Beyond Scarves: Ideas for a First Knitting Project

June 12, 2010

When asked what they’d like to make for their first knitting project, many of my students suggest a scarf.  I encourage them to try something else.

It’s not that I’ve got something against scarves (in fact, I’m particularly partial to the Noro Stripe).  It’s that a scarf takes so darn long to finish.  By the time you’ve gotten the hang of knits and purls, you discover that you’ve got about 3 feet more to go before you finish. And the thought fills you with dread…. (A tip: if you’re sick of your starter scarf, turn it into a neck warmer. Finish it at 22″, add a couple of buttonholes, and you’re done!)

Finishing is the key to a successful first project. A first knitting project should be something:

  • you can finish in a reasonable amount of time (over the course of 3 or 4 weekly classes or about a week);
  • that gives you the chance to learn something more than casting on, knit, purl, and binding off — like increases, decreases, or mixing colors and stitches;
  • most importantly, you should finish with a sense of accomplishment and excitement about your next project.

Some examples:

A cotton facecloth with changes of color, garter and stockinette stitches, slipped stitches across rows.

Cotton knit facecloth

A golf club “cozy” with a pom-pom — knit by a student in my beginning knitting class.

knit golf club cozy

Baby hats — in any color, multiple designs, colors, yarns. If you don’t know a baby, make a hat and send it to your local hospital.  They have babies whose wee heads need to be covered in love.

four knit baby hats

A hat for yourself or a friend.  As you can see, Ashley was thrilled with her first project — she’s radiant!

2 Responses to “Beyond Scarves: Ideas for a First Knitting Project”

  1. […] finishing the primary goal of a new knitter’s first project. That’s why I recommend a dishcloth as a first project and definitely not a scarf, which can take an […]


  2. […] You Lamb Neckwarmer. Jean is seaming hers in the lower corner in the photo above. It fits my top requirement for a first project, namely that you’ll be able to finish in a reasonable amount of time and experience that […]


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