35 Basic Knitting Patterns: Knits for Beginners

So you’ve learn to knit. Congratulations! Now what? Check out these 35 basic knitting patterns to decide how to start your knitting journey. These are knits designed for beginners, but they’re also wardrobe staples that any knitter would love to have in their closet!

35 Basic Knitting Patterns for Beginners

What Makes Basic Knitting Patterns “Basic”?

A basic knitting pattern means simple techniques, easy to follow instructions, and aimed at beginners. It also means simple stitches and textures that you’ll want to wear every day!

As a seasoned knitter, working a basic knitting pattern is a breath of fresh air, a chance to relax and let your hands go on autopilot as you drive cross-country or just enjoy a movie.

Where to Start for New Knitters

As a beginner, you’re likely to fall into one of two camps: dip your toes or dive in deep!

Dip Your Toes (Quick Wins)

The dip your toes new knitter will take on small projects to accumulate wins. Each successive win gives them the confidence and courage to take on and conquer the next challenge/project.

If you’re a dip-your-toes kind of person (this was totally me), I recommend starting with a cowl, hat, or headband. These small projects will give you that quick win and move you on to the next challenge quickly.

I do not recommend socks or scarves. These can be easy projects, but they can take a surprisingly long time to complete. For my quick wins people, this can be discouraging when it’s the first go round.

35 Simple Knitting Patterns

Dive in Deep (Eat the Frog)

The dive in deep new knitter will tackle the hardest thing first—usually a sweater—to prove that if they can knit that, they can knit anything. They often find that after that sweater (which can take a long time and a lot of swearing), the rest of knitting comes easily.

If you’re a dive-in-deep kind of person, go for the sweaters or a shawl. A big shawl is A LOT of knitting. Either way, you’ll be halfway to a pro by the time you’ve finished.

Free knitting patterns each month with email sign up.

The Basic Knitting Patterns

So now that you know “basic” is not just for beginners (but totally can be) let’s dive in! Though these knits for beginners divide into two basic categories—accessories and sweaters—but of course I break it down even further so it’s easy to find what you’re looking for!

I’ve organized the basic knitting patterns so that the quickest/smallest pattern categories are first and the longer/largest knitting patterns are last.

Still not sure where to begin? There are some gorgeous options in the middle!

Basic Cowl Knitting Patterns

Cowls are my favorite place to start with new knitters. Whether knit in the round or knit flat, they’re quick and easy patterns with little-to-no shaping. Let’s check out a few basic knitting pattern favorites.

1. Winter Lake

Pattern and photograph by Megan Gonzalez: @nurtureknitwear

The shifting pattern of broken rib will give you a gorgeous cowl you’ll never get bored of knitting. And its close-fitting construction (with lots of options) will keep you warm, even if you’re darning enough to face its winter wind and waves.

2. Coastal Mountain Cowl

Pattern & photograph by Sara Lipka: @knittingwithnellie

Beginner friendly cowl knitting pattern with knits, purls, and slip stitches.

3. Tannenbaum

Pattern & photograph by Saysha Greene: @insayshable.knits

Tannenbaum is a cowl for advanced beginners looking to build their knitting skills. Combine bands of stockinette and garter, while utilizing increases and decreases to create a cozy cowl.

4. Seed Stitch Cowl

Pattern and photograph by Davina of Sheep & Stitch: @sheepandstitch

This fabulous knit for beginners is made entirely of knits and purls. Better still, this cowl knitting pattern is completely customizable so that you can use whatever yarn and needles you want and end with a gorgeous cowl or scarf.

Bonus, it’s a free knitting pattern!

5. Ridge Road Cowl

Pattern & photograph by Kate Nash: @KateNashKnits

The Ridge Road Cowl is part of a set, with the Ridge Road Hat. They were designed to be beginner-friendly knit accessories, using only a few basic stitches. Knitters will need to know how to cast on, knit in the round, purl, and cast off to complete the cowl; the hat requires knitters to also k2tog.

It’s a free knitting pattern.

6. Red Alder (Coming Soon)

Pattern and photograph by Megan Gonzalez: @nurtureknitwear

Red Alder is the epitome of an easy cowl knitting pattern. This cute bandana cowl is worked flat in garter stitch with a few tiny stripes to make it pop! Then you sew it together with a few quick stitches in the back!

Basic Hat Knitting Pattern

In my opinion, hats are the best next step after cowls. They’re often even quicker than cowls due to a smaller circumference, but require decreasing for the crown (the top of the hat) and managing a small circumference knitting method such as magic loop or double pointed needles (DPNs).

Hats are a staple in every knitters’ project basket, so give these basic knitting patterns a try!

7. Mütze: An Easy Men’s Beanie

Pattern and photograph by Norman from Nimble Needle: @thenimbleneedles

This simple 1×1 rib hat pattern is perfect for advanced beginners. It’s got invisible decreases to give it added class and the stretchiness makes it the perfect give for men and women alike!

8. Fern Hill Bonnet

Pattern & photograph by Ashlee Turnbull: @readstreetknitting

These little hats check all the boxes: great coverage for little ears, ties to keep them in place, not too bulky, and easy to knit!

9. Bryzha Beanie

Pattern & photograph by Sara Lipka: @knittingwithnellie

The Bryzha Beanis is a beginner ribbed knitted hat using bulky weight yarn. It’s a fun and easy knitting pattern for all levels.

10. Desert Sage Hat

Pattern and photograph by Megan Gonzalez: @nurtureknitwear

This ribbed hat knit in the round with some gorgeous sage-colored stripes. The pattern uses a simple, yet stunning technique to create clean stripes. Simple, mirrored decreases create a sleek X on the crown, making it a favorite for both men and women.

11. Urchin

Pattern & photograph by Saysha Greene: @insayshable.knits

This is an easy stitch pattern of knits and purls, knit with large needles and super bulky yarn; which means it is also a quick knit! The result is a seed stitch hat divided into sections by a vertical column of stockinette stitch.

It’s a free pattern!

12. Ridge Road Hat

Pattern & photograph by Kate Nash: @KateNashKnits

The Ridge Road Hat is a beginner-friendly knit cap, using only a few basic stitches. Knitters will need to know how to cast on, knit in the round, purl, and k2tog to complete this hat.

It’s also a free knitting pattern!

13. Coastal Mountain Beanie

Pattern & photograph by Sara Lipka: @knittingwithnellie

Beginner friendly pattern with knits, purls, and slip stitches.

14. Midnight Frost

Pattern and photograph by Megan Gonzalez: @nurtureknitwear

With a folded brim of 1×1 ribbing tucked inside, this hat is warm and toasty! And the simple stockinette in the round knitting makes it fast and fun!

Basic Scarf Knitting Patterns

Scarfs are a great place for beginning knitters who fall somewhere between the dip your toes and dive in people. Scarves go on for a long time and have little-to-no shaping. This means they’re the perfect playground for you to get comfortable with basic knitting stitches.

By the time you finish, those knits and purls will be carved into muscle memory and you’ll be ready for anything!

15. Harry Potter Scarf Knitting Pattern

Pattern and photograph by Davina of Sheep & Stitch: @sheepandstitch

This fabulous Hogwarts House scarf knitting pattern is knit in 1×1 ribbing, making it a great pattern for new knitters looking to master ribbing while making a scarf as fantastical as the world for which it’s named!

Bonus, it’s a free knitting pattern!

16. Midnight Freeze

Pattern and photograph by Megan Gonzalez: @nurtureknitwear

Use up those special single skeins of fingering weight with this skinny scarf! Worked in stockinette with single garter stripes, this scarf is the easiest knit around!

17. Stepping Stone Scarf

Pattern & photograph by Saysha Greene: @insayshable.knits

The Stepping Stone Scarf will allow you to combine basic knitting stitches (2×2 ribbing, garter and stockinette stitch) to produce a classic, unisex scarf. It utilizes only knits and purls, knit with large needles and a bulky weight yarn; which means it is also a quick knit, suitable for the beginner knitter who is ready to take the next step on their knitting journey!

18. A Scarf for Beginners

Pattern and photograph by Norman from Nimble Needle: @thenimbleneedles

The garter stitch scarf is considered the quintessential first knitting project for beginners! It’s the perfect canvas to get comfortable with the knit stitch, and when worked up in chunky yarn, can give you the pleasure of see the inches form under your fingers!

Bonus, it’s a free pattern!

Basic Sock Knitting Patterns

Knitters are obsessed with socks. They’re small, portable projects that are easy to take with you anywhere and they don’t require a lot of yarn.

Knitting socks uses basic increasing and decreasing skills and often you’ll need to pick up stitches or work some short rows. Don’t know how (or what that even means)? Don’t worry! These basic knitting patterns are designed to help you learn to take on a new skill!

19. Oh So Basic Sock #1

Pattern & photograph by Julie Ann Lebouthillier: @julieannknitter

Simple stripes turn this vanilla sock knitting pattern into something stunning! So grab your 100 gram skeins of fingering weight yarns and 2 coordinating minis!

20. Chunky Slipper Pattern

Pattern and photograph by Davina of Sheep & Stitch: @sheepandstitch

These chunky slippers are a great knitting pattern for beginners–all you need to do is cast on and knit! This quick project knit in super chunky yarn is the perfect gift for friends and family.

Bonus, it’s a free knitting pattern!

21. Simple Striped Shorties

Pattern & photograph by Kate Nash: @KateNashKnits

Simple Striped Shorties are basic vanilla socks that were designed to be used with self-striping Knit Picks Felici sock yarn, but they will work well with any fingering weight sock yarn. These socks are knit in the round, top down, with a heel flap and gusset and modified wedge toe. This pattern is suitable for a beginner sock knitter, and it can easily be customized by knitters who already know other sock techniques and their preferred methods

22. Knit Socks for Beginners The Easy Way

Pattern and photograph by Norman from Nimble Needle: @thenimbleneedles

Looking for a tutorial with absolutely everything you need to know about knitting socks from the top down? Then you’ve come to the right place. This sock pattern is easy and simple.

And, it’s completely free!

23. Perfect Double Stranded Sock Knitting Pattern

Pattern & photograph by Julie Ann Lebouthillier: @julieannknitter

If your toes are chilly and you’re looking for a quick and cozy sock, look no further than this fabulous sock pattern! Hold 2 strands of fingering weight double and you’ll have a new pair of socks in no time!

Bonus, it’s a free knitting pattern!

24. Desert Sage Socks

Pattern and photograph by Megan Gonzalez: @nurtureknitwear

Ready for some worsted slipper socks? These easy toe-up sock knitting pattern is the perfect way to dip your toes into the sock pool.

Basic Shawl/Wrap Knitting Patterns 

Shawls and wraps are another favorite among knitters. They’re big canvases to try out new skills and get comfortable with them. They’re also fabulous at warding off cold and styling up any outfit.

25. Simpliciknit Shawl

Pattern & photograph by Emily Davies: @HookedHazel

The Simpliciknit Shawl is an easy, meditative knit that allows you to indulge in fun techniques that combine to create a wonderfully drapey shawl. A horizontal braid runs between sections, giving a modern texture blocked piece that can be worn in a variety of ways.

Bonus, it’s a free knitting pattern!

26. Marion Wrap

Photograph by Blue Sky Fibers; Pattern by Megan Gonzalez: @meggonzalez

Garter stitch made amazing with easy color pops and a simple increase/decrease to create an arrow-like effect.

Basic Sweater Knitting Patterns

Sweaters, pullovers, jumpers—these are all the same thing in the world of knitting. And they’re all awesome! Warm and cozy, while dressing in style, these basic knitting patterns will get you comfortable with basic sweater shapes and shaping while adding classic silhouettes to your wardrobe. Get ready world, here you come!

27. Easy Like Sunday Morning

Pattern & photograph by Ashlee Turnbull: @readstreetknitting

This quick, cozy knit is perfect for lazy mornings. It is designed to be worn with 4-6 inches of positive ease for a relaxed, casual fit. A wide, off-the-shoulder neckline and ¾ length sleeves complete the look.

28. Glacier Run

Pattern and photograph by Megan Gonzalez: @nurtureknitwear

This sweater is as easy as it gets! Knit in the round from the top down, it’s knit stitch all the way baby! Made with simple increases (and optional decreases) you can knit this chic stripey sweater pattern in no time.

29. Easy Eyelet Yoke

Pattern & photograph by Chantal Miyagishima: @knitatude

This is a simple sweater at its finest! This basic sweater knitting pattern uses easy yarn overs to create increases on this beautiful yoke.

30. Elderwild

Pattern and photograph by Megan Gonzalez: @nurtureknitwear

Elderwild, a modified drop shoulder pullover, is a bas sweater for every occasion! The sweater is knit in stockinette in the round from the bottom up, with an optional folded hem and cuffs. The base sweater pattern includes a flattering mid-depth V-neck, which is picked up and worked in the round in 2/2 ribbing.

Basic Cardigan Knitting Patterns

Cardigans are often the next level after pullovers (though I knit 3 cardigans before I tried a sweater). They’re worked flat and, often, embellishments like the collar or pockets are worked in afterwards.

31. Jiji Cardi

Pattern & photograph by Chantal Miyagishima: @knitatude

The Jiji Cardigan is the perfect ovesized grandpa cardigan! Wrap yourself up in warmth and good memories with easy stockinette and a simple ribbed edging!

32. Copper Rain

Pattern and photograph by Megan Gonzalez: @nurtureknitwear

This simple, yet elegant top-down cardigan is my go-to choice to throw on with any outfit. Exercise simple techniques, like a seamless construction, a textured pattern, and a bit of positive ease, with a wonderfully drapey yarn to create a cardigan you can snuggle into all day. No matter your body type, this is the perfect mate to throw on over a tee or dress up for your date!

33. The Jackie O Cardigan

Pattern & photograph by Julie Ann Lebouthillier: @julieannknitter

This fabulous, super cozy cardigan is perfect for any beginning knitter. Knit from the top down, it requires no seaming. And with the super bulky yarn, it works up in no time!

Bonus, it’s a free knitting pattern!

Other Basic Knitting Patterns – Blankets, Dresses, & More!

If you think a shawl or sweater is a lot knitting, a dress or blanket knitting pattern is a boatload more! You can get familiar with your stitches in this vast and easy canvas. It’s not difficult, just a lot. And you’ll be a pro by the end!

34. Orfeas Blanket

Pattern & photograph by Lou: @malloo.knitwear

Simple, easy, chunky knit blanket pattern. The Orfeas blanket is one of the easiest projects you are going to make while you practice your knit and purl stitches.

Bonus! It’s a free knitting pattern!

35. Easy Eyelet Yoke Dress

Pattern & photograph by Chantal Miyagishima: @knitatude

When someone complements you on a dress and you say “I made it.” You BLOW their minds! This knit dress is simplicity itself with easy eyelet increases and simple details you’ll love!

36. Desert Sage Fingerless Gloves

Pattern and photograph by Megan Gonzalez: @nurtureknitwear

These ribbed arm warmers are knit in the round with some gorgeous sage-colored stripes. The pattern uses a simple, yet stunning technique to create clean stripes, even in your purl columns. These make excellent gifts and it’s the perfect pattern for beginning knitters.

And bonus, it’s completely free!

35 Beginner Friendly Basic Knitting Patterns

Knit Where Your Heart Is

Does one of these patterns jump out at you but you’re afraid that as a beginner you can’t do it? Well, let me tell you: YOU CAN!

If you’re excited about the pattern, excited about wearing that finished knit, you can definitely do it! Knitting is made of just a few basic stitches, every single one of which you can easily learn on YouTube. Don’t let fear hold you back!

If you think you should start with a cowl, but you fall in love with the Harry Potter scarf, then knit the Harry Potter scarf! If you think you should knit a hat but adore the Copper Rain cardigan, go for the cardigan!

Follow your heart and your excitement when it comes to knitting. That excitement will carry you through anything you need to learn and you will conquer!

So pick a basic knitting pattern and get knitting!

Free knitting patterns each month with email sign up.

A Note on Free vs Paid Patterns

I reached out to the design community and they responded with some amazing knitting patterns to share with you! I’ve marked the ones that are free. All others are paid.

Free patterns look different for every designer. They may offer all sizes free or just a selection. The pattern may only be free by signing up for their email list. (I have no control over the conditions!)

Patterns are available for sale as a way to compensate designers for a just a fraction of 20, 40, or even 60+ hours they put into the creation of that pattern. A good pattern takes time to design, knit, edit, test, photograph… the list could go on!

For me, design is an act of love that I’m so happy I get to share with you. I love that sometimes I can share one for free and do it when I can, but for most designers, they can’t do that every time.

35 Basic Knitting Patterns: Knits for Beginners35 Basic Knitting Patterns: Knits for Beginners35 Basic Knitting Patterns: Knits for Beginners35 Basic Knitting Patterns: Knits for Beginners35 Basic Knitting Patterns: Knits for Beginners35 Basic Knitting Patterns: Knits for Beginners35 Basic Knitting Patterns: Knits for Beginners35 Basic Knitting Patterns: Knits for Beginners35 Basic Knitting Patterns: Knits for Beginners35 Basic Knitting Patterns: Knits for Beginners
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