10 Ways to Begin to Knit For Free (Or Almost Free!)

This post was originally published on November 15, 2011.  It was updated on April 2, 2020.

I have a bad habit of picking up something, and then never finishing it.  So when I decided I wanted to start knitting, I wanted to be sure that I didn’t invest too much money into it.  In doing so, I have amassed quite a bundle of yarn that I have practiced and created some great items.  I have discovered quite a few neat ways to find yarn, needles, resources, guidance, and especially patterns.

10 Ways To Begin To Knit For Free (Or Almost Free!)

Search The Library For Books and Patterns.

Obviously if you’re just beginning to learn to knit, heading to the library for books that teach you how to knit are great, especially if you’re a literal (not so much a visual) learner, who finds it easier to read the instructions than look at the pictures.  In fact, I learned how to knit in the beginning mostly from Stitch ‘n Bitch: The Knitter’s Handbook. Also, your library often has great (mostly free!) beginner classes.  I have seen free Knitting for Beginners classes at my local library.

Ask At Your Church or Community Center.

Knitting, for years, was seen as the “little old lady” hobby, and there is some merit to that.  But for many seniors, it’s a great way to keep their hands active and their fingers strong.  If you look at your church or community bulletin, you might find an opportunity for women to get together to knit prayer shawls or hats, mittens, scarves, socks or any other project, for donating to various organizations.  This is a great chance for your to not only learn to knit, but also an opportunity to give back to your community by knitting something warm and wonderful for a sick person, a new baby, or a poor cold homeless person.  Sometimes, these get togethers also have people who have a spare pair of needles or a few extra balls of yarn that they’d be happy to give to you for you to practice with.  And who knows?  You might even make some new friends!

Ask for Supplies on Freecycle, Kijiji, WeShare, or Other Social Media Site.

I have received dozens of sets of knitting needles from my local Freecycle and Kijiji.  I’ve also been able to give away extra yarn to those who are looking to learn as well.  Post a message and see what comes up!

Purchase Them From Yard Sales.

I received a huge box of yarn from someone who just couldn’t get the hang of it for $2!  You cannot argue with that!  Even amongst that box, I found a gorgeous set of wooden knitting needles.  They are just so pretty!

Find Great Treasures at Secondhand Stores.

Yesterday when I stopped by my favorite secondhand store, I discovered they had changed their arrangement with yarn.  Rather than having a bunch of bags of mixed yarn, they now have a huge bin of random balls of yarn and a sign that says “Bag Your Own Yarn for $3, or $0.99 A Ball”.  Happy dance!!!

And of Course, The Internet.

Nevermind the patterns!  How about the resources available to you?  If you don’t know how to do a specific stitch or method of knitting, just hop onto the various beautiful craft and knitting blogs and you will find plenty of wonderful people who are happy to show you how!  Or have a creative way of finding (cheaper) alternatives.  And there are various forums of people who can help you troubleshoot your latest snarl.  Trust me, there is no mistake made in knitting that someone else online has not experienced.

Why Not Ask Skilled Family and Friends?

My mom loaned me her favorite knitting beginners book, which is how I was able to teach myself to knit.  A coworker taught me how to quickly cast on.  My aunt taught me how to bind off.  It’s so easy to find someone who can teach you something.  Hey, even that lady who knits on the bus might be willing to help you!  Knitting has a way of spreading warm, gentle feelings between people.

Peruse Local Craft Stores.

Our city has plenty of gorgeous knitting stores.  And I have seen plenty of courses and classes of people who want to show you how to knit for free or for a very reasonable fee.  If you look into it, I will bet you will find something similar in your neighborhood.

Use Gift Certificates and Coupons.  

It’s getting close to the holidays, so start making your desires known!  If you do secret Santa at the office, start mentioning to your coworkers your desire to learn to knit.  If your mother asks for a list of stocking stuffers, note your favorite craft store.  If you get a gift certificate for a big box store, go grab a pair of needles and a big ball of fluff.  Might as well give it a try!  Also, keep an eye on your flyers and newspapers.  I have two coupons on my fridge for 50% off at my local craft store so I can go get my hands on some delicious wool.

Don’t Forget To Give Back as Well via Volunteering.

Giving back to your community can open so many doors.  Why not head over to your nearest seniors home and have tea with a lovely elderly lady?  Ask her to teach you.  No wool sweater in the world could compare to the warmth in the smile of a senior who wants to share time and conversation with someone who is interested in what she has to say.  Or stop by a local women’s shelter.  Knitting is a destressor and is a great way to strike up a conversation while you’re serving others.  Or look at some of the wonderful knitting organizations out there who take your funny practice pieces and make them into something wonderful.

Do you have other tricks to find free or frugal knitting supplies and lessons?  I’d love to hear from you!  Leave a comment and tell us about it!

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