Learning how to knit during the pandemic improved my mental health – here are 9 online knitting courses, kits, and books to help beginners get started

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Knitting projects
  • Hobbies that help you reach a flow state (where you’re relaxed while also engaged) have wonderful mental health benefits.
  • I started knitting during the pandemic and it helped me de-stress, keep my brain active, and feel more connected to loved ones.
  • Below are 9 online classes, books, kits, and resources to learn how to knit.

Getting into a state of flow – complete focus on whatever you’re doing that you lose track of time – has been long regarded as a reliable way to boost positive mental health. One way to enter a flow state is through fun hobbies that are challenging, provide a sense of achievement, and lead to greater self-discovery. 

Knitting, as it turns out, boasts some incredible benefits such as stress relief, relaxation, creativity, higher concentration, and even a stronger sense of community, according to one 2020 survey.

Like millions of others, I picked up a pair of knitting needles for the first time when the pandemic began. For almost a year, my new hobby has helped me unwind, keep my brain active, and avoid doomscrolling for hours on my phone. 

Knitting a scarf

But perhaps the greatest benefit has been a deeper connection to the people I’m knitting for. As an Australian living overseas, it’s been over a year since I’ve seen family or friends, many of whom have had new babies I haven’t had the chance to meet yet. As I knit and purl my way through a baby beanie, I imagine one day being able to place it on that tiny head, and it makes me feel closer to the people I miss the most. Plus, completing a cute handmade project at the end of the week provides a sense of accomplishment and pride many of us may crave.

So, if you’re ready to try your hand at a new hobby, below are 9 resources to learn how to do it, whether you’re a true beginner or looking for a more advanced challenge.

9 online courses, kits, videos, and books to learn how to knit:

Beginner level: How to Knit a Scarf for Total Beginners (Sheep & Stitch)

how to knit a beginner scarf pin

Scarves are the launch pad for most new knitters. They are super simple as you don’t need to follow a pattern, and sizing is not important. The free scarf pattern tutorial from Sheep & Stitch is really easy to follow and starts at the absolute beginning for anyone who has never picked up knitting needles before. 

It also walks you through choosing needles to casting-off, and the video is perfect for visual learners who want to follow along. All you need to get started is a ball of wool and some needles, and you can wear your new scarf by the end of the weekend.

How to Knit a Scarf for Total Beginners (button)
Beginner Level: How to Knit: Easy for Beginners (YouTube)

RJ Knits Merchandise

RJ Knits is an incredibly helpful YouTube channel run by Ryan, a writer by day, knitter by night. With over 126k subscribers, it’s safe to say he knows a thing or two about knitting.

Start at the beginning in this two-part knitting for beginners series. Once you have a handle of the basic knit/purl stitches, check out his other beginner projects such as knitting on the round, cable knitting, and knitting with two colors.

How to Knit: Easy for Beginners (button)
Beginner Level: Beginner Knitting Kit (Etsy)

Beginner Knitting Kit

If you love a chunky winter scarf, you can learn how to make your own with this beautiful pack which includes just the right amount of bright white or charcoal wool for an adult-sized creation. Earning hundreds of 5-star reviews, this beginners kit includes clear written and video instructions. 

Beginner Knitting Kit (Etsy) (button)
Beginner Level: Cozy Knit Stockings (The Crafters Box)

Cozy Knit Stockings

Another perfect beginner project is an oversized knit holiday stocking (because it’s never too early to think about Christmas!). All orders are bundled with the pattern and just the right amount of wool per stocking so you can choose between Christmas-themed colors (white, green, gray, or cranberry). Get started now and hang them with pride on your mantelpiece by the holidays.

Cozy Knit Stockings (button)
Intermediate Level: Luca Pom Hat Knitting Kit, (Amazon)

Stitch & Story Luca Pom Hat Knitting Kit, Navy with Dust Pink Pompom

This knitting kit includes everything you need to make an extremely cute contrast beanie with a big fluffy pom-pom. Simple instructions are included, but the swirl pattern can be a bit tricky, which is why we’ve classified it as an intermediate-level option.

While it may not be the cheapest kit, it includes extremely soft, 100% Merino wool and high-quality bamboo knitting needles that will last you a long time.

Luca Pom Hat Knitting Kit (button)
Intermediate Level: Learn Advanced Techniques with a Trendy Headband (Skillshare)

Intermediate Level: Learn Advanced Techniques with a Trendy Headband (Skillshare)

Join almost 1,000 students for the fourth and final class in this series, where expert knitting Davina will show you how to keep your ears warm with a comfy headband. With two slightly different patterns to try, you can knit one for a friend and keep one for yourself. We think this is one of the best intermediate choices — it’s challenging, yet quick!

Free with a 14-day Skillshare trial, then $13.99/month or $32/month.

Knitting IV: Learn Advanced Techniques with a Trendy Headband (button)
Intermediate level: 10 Rows a Day (Patreon)

Patreon Lifestyle Image

When you’re ready to take it up a notch, expert knitter Maryna is there to guide you. Her website 10 Rows a Day is full of simple tutorials, patterns, and handy sizing charts. Subscribing to her Patreon account gives you access to ad-free knitting video tutorials weekly, plus practical tips for everyday problems such as “Quick Way to See How Yarn Colors Work Together.”

Subscribe for $5 per month.

10 Rows a Day (button)
Intermediate Level: “Getting Started Knitting Socks” by Ann Budd (Amazon)

Getting Started Knitting Socks (Getting Started series) Hardcover

Who doesn’t love cozy, woolen socks on cold, winter nights? Make your own with this bestselling book, complete with detailed photo instructions, handy tips, and 16 patterns for feet of all sizes to help you whip up a perfect pair in no time. 

Getting Started Knitting Socks (button)
Beginner to Advanced level: The Complete Guide to Knitting | Beginner to Advanced (Udemy)

Lily Love Knitting Instructor Lifestyle Image (18)

Over nine self-paced hours, this 5-star Udemy course starts with scarf-knitting basics and ends on the expert techniques needed to finish a pair of gloves. The instructor is warm and engaging as she explains various techniques in a succinct and easy-to-understandway, covering the circular knitting technique, how to increase and decrease stitches, and a number of pretty patterns.

The Complete Guide to Knitting | Beginner to Advanced (button)

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