A list of simple beginner knitting projects that are still cute and fast to finish.
“What is the easiest thing to knit for beginners?” – I can’t even begin to tell you how often I heard this question. And to be fair, it’s a valid question. Because even though you just started with this amazing hobby, you do want to work on something meaningful, and not just a wonky swatch in mismatches stitches.
I put all my 30 years of knitting experience into this post and tried to find patterns and simple beginner knitting projects you can finish reasonably fast and look cute on top of that. The latter is the bigger problem.
Because if you look through my library of knitting stitch patterns or even browse through my free knitting school, there are tons of ideas even for beginners. But without practice, your results might be lacking the refined finish you might be expecting. In a lot of cases, learning the technique isn’t the issue. Creating consistent results is. So, you have to pick knitting patterns that are a little bit more forgiving.
I’ve seen people recommend sweaters, mittens, or socks for beginners. While you can certainly try to knit them, it’s not a good idea in my opinion. Why? Because aside from some more advanced techniques you also need to know a lot more about shaping and sizing. And you don’t want to start knitting a sweater and end up with a tent, right? 😉
With that in mind, here’s my list of simple knitting projects for beginners.
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1. A garter stitch scarf in big chunky wool
As an absolute knitting beginner, I do recommend picking a project that doesn’t involve too many complicated stitches or any kind of shaping. First, and foremost you will want to practice getting the tension right and learning to create even stitches across a lot of rows.
A simple scarf in garter stitch will give you exactly this opportunity. If you pick a big chunky yarn (which will hide minor inconsistencies much better) you can still create your first wearable.
2. A potholder or dishcloth
Another classic and very useful thing to knit as a beginner are potholders or dishcloth. Why? First of all, they are very fast to finish. Then you can pick very inexpensive cotton or acrylic yarn (in fact it’s recommended), and, they can be a more sustainable option.
But there is more. Potholders are basically just little squares. So, they are the ideal project to learn new knitting stitches. Maybe you want to learn the moss stitch or the double stockinette stitch? Then why not cast on a couple of stitches and learn it while knitting a dishcloth!
3. A simple beanie in a 1×1 rib
If you feel a little bit more daring, you could also try to tackle your first project knit in the round. I wouldn’t recommend knitting a hat on the first day you learned how to knit, but once you finished a couple of potholders and are secure enough with your knits and purls, it’s certainly a nice option.
Why? Well, you do need to keep challenging yourself. Because otherwise you will be knitting dishcloths for the rest of your life and I’m not sure your family is big enough to find a home for all of them. Socks have a small diameter and are usually knit using very small needles. So, they are not a good choice.
But hats have a much larger diameter and usually use much bigger wool. And you can finish them with the super easy magic loop technique. So perfect!
4. Fingerless gloves (on straight needles)
As a knitter, winter is always coming. But a lot of typical garments and accessories for the colder days require a lot of complicated techniques. Difficult increases, picking up stitches, and so on. Bad news?
Well, wrist warmers, on the other hand, are basically just a simple tube. And the best part, you can even knit them flat (so on two single-pointed needles) and join them in the round with a simple mattress stitch! So, an easy peasy project for beginners!
5. An Easy Garter Stitch heart
What better way to show your love than spending time thinking about someone special and presenting them with the labor of your love? No matter if it’s Valentine’s Day, a birthday, or even a wedding, this universal token of love is always well received. While there are many different ways to knit a heart, I compiled an extra simple version suitable for beginners.
6. A COaster
Do you have a table with a glass top? Or do you hate how your counter always ends up wet after drinking a cold soda? The obvious solution are coasters. And the good news is: You can also knit them! As a beginner, you might want to start with a square one but as you progress along your knitting journey, you will also learn how to knit round ones.
- Here’s how to knit a simple coaster
- Simple Coaster pattern for beginners
- Fun Christmas coaster pattern
7. A simple cowl
Do you know what a cowl is? Well, nothing but a simple round scarf that will warm your neck. While the more advanced patterns are knit in the round, you can certainly start with a really basic flat project and then join it with a simple seam.
A typical scarf needs to be at least 1.5 yards long. Otherwise, it will just look ridiculous. A small cowl, however, might only have a circumference of 30 inches. So, it’s much faster to knit and it will keep you much warmer on top of that!
8. A Mug Cozy
Do you hate cold tea? Your mug is too hot to touch? The easy solution is a mug cozy. These little projects are fast to finish and a great gift on top of that. Depending on the yarn weight you pick, it may take only an hour or two to create your own. These flat projects are held together with a simple button/clasp.
9. leg warmers
You don’t need to be a ballet dancer to wear leg warmers. They are just such a versatile accessory that can add an extra layer of warmth on a particularly cold day. Now, if you look around my blog you will find patterns for really complicated traditional bavarian half-socks.
But as you start out, a simple tube in a 2×2 rib will go a long way! And again, while you certainly try to knit in the round, a simple seam will join your flat project in the round.
10. A knitted bookmark
Bookmarks can be a well-received gift but they are also something everyone can use in the household. Some of them can be incredibly difficult to knit but I made sure to create a pattern that only uses 3 basic stitches and yet looks totally fabulous!
11. A pillow cover
A pillow cover may sound like a fancy project but if you can use simple mitered squares to construct one. And then what seems complicated boils down to a lot of easy and manageable little squares in pure garter stitch.
12. A simple baby blanket
Who doesn’t like a nice cozy blanket to keep you warm while watching TV? I certainly do. But most blankets are really big and involve a lot of stitches. The last thing, you as a beginner, want is starting a project that will take you months to finish.
But there are two ways to work around that problem: First, knit something smaller. Don’t start with a cover for your queen-sized bed but a baby blanket. And then you can also pick a nice big chunky yarn in a fun color so you finish it fast!
Check out the many amazing baby blanket patterns on Etsy
A little checklist for finding the best knitting projects for beginners
At the very end of this list, I wanted to give you a couple of additional information and things you need to know.
- Before you start, check your patterns. If it involves more than 3 techniques you don’t know, maybe start with a simpler project first. It’s nice to challenge yourself, but it’s equally easy to ask too much of yourself.
- Stay away from roving yarns. They look nice and are fast to knit. BUT they felt and pill like crazy. And they are very expensive on top of that. I know they are popular these days but do yourself a favor and pick a properly spun yarn.
- Projects for needle sizes 6-10 will be your best friend. Small needles are really fiddly and the really big needles are very cumbersome – especially if you have small hands.
- Pick patterns that include detailed yarn requirements. It’s quite easy to calculate how much yarn you need for a scarf but as a beginner, it just adds more complexity. A good a pattern will tell you exactly how much you need to buy in which color.
- Also, pick a beginner-friendly yarn. Don’t buy an indie-dyed yarn for your first project and stay away from Cashmere (etc). You want solid super-wash wool that will be easy to knit and forgive a mistake or two. Preferably something that comes in a skein and not a hank.
- Start small and gradually increase the difficulty. Admittedly, a potholder is maybe not the grandest project ever. You want to knit that sweater, right? And it might be tempting. But if you begin with a too complicated pattern the chances are really high you will be frustrated. Because it takes too long because the result looks not like in the pattern etc. Go for some short term gratification.
And last, but certainly not least, I would like to remind you to treat those very first projects as an exercise. Knitting is not hard to learn. At the same time, it takes time for your muscles and brain to truly command all these new techniques and motions.
I tried to pick patterns and projects that have a high chance of producing something truly wearable – even on your first try. Still, don’t be too disappointed when the results don’t look as finished as the pictures you see on my Instagram feed (make sure to follow me and say hi!).