Anyone who sews can appreciate the need for, and attention to, tension. As I discovered during my first round of sewing lessons, the thread is wound around various places on the machine and then through the needle in an effort to keep it even.
Same goes with knitting.
When I first started knitting, I would simply pick up the working yarn and wrap it around the needle. After three scarves, I noticed they were thinner in the middle and flared on the ends. Before I started knitting gloves and socks, I decided it was time to learn how to properly thread the yarn through my fingers to maintain tension, resulting in an evenly knitted piece that was in the ballpark of the proper gauge.
If you're a crocheter, chances are you're already doing this. I tried to find a video on YouTube, but couldn't. So I created my own, which I uploaded to my Multiply site:
Left-handed, aka Continental-style, knitters will thread the yarn through their left hand.
Reading a pattern is simply a matter of understanding the abbreviations.
CO = Cast on
K = Knit
P = Purl
And so on. Patterns will often have a legend or box containing a list of abbreviations and the definitions, but it's helpful to have a glossary. Here's just on I found online:
If the pattern contains a term you don't understand, such as k2tog or YO, don't panic. Look it up on the glossary, and then watch a video. I've included two links to great collections that continue to help me.
Lion Brand's YouTube Channel:
Hooked on Needles:
On the subject of patterns...Where do you find them? In books, certainly, but there are loads of free patterns online. Places I go:
Lion Brand. Sign up for their community and have access to hundreds of patterns:
Red Heart: http://www.redheart.com/ And just about every other yarn site online.
Knitpicks.com, where you can find knitting supplies as well as patterns:
Ravelry, a knitting community that allows users to keep track of their projects, connect with others, and link to others' projects: https://www.ravelry.com/
Vogue Knitting: http://vogueknitting.com/
Each of those sites alone offer enough patterns to keep you busy for years. Combined, there's a lifetime of projects to be done.
Time to Try It!
You know everything you need to start knitting. Now, here's a fast, easy, and practical project to start off with!
Pattern Link (PDF file): www.ravelry.com/dls/staci-perry-designs/68317?filename=
And since I need a few dishcloths, I think I'll join you. I hope this has been an informative and helpful series. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask!