Knitting Basics for Success: Knitting Instructions for Beginners & All Knitters
So you've decided you want to learn to knit! Congratulations; I think you've made a great choice. Knitting is a centuries-old craft, mostly practiced out of necessity; if you wanted socks or a sweater, you had to knit it yourself.
Today, knitting is much more of a hobby, although I think it's an art form, and some might say it becomes an obsession!
When beginning knitting, it can seem overwhelming to look at all the yarn and patterns out there. But don't let it get to you—even the most accomplished knitter was once a beginner. Now let's learn how to start knitting!
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Learn How to Knit: Casting On
"Casting on" is the name for the technique used to get the first row of stitches on the needle, essential in starting knitting. There are several methods of casting on, but the one that we're going to learn here is called the "long-tail cast-on." It's a versatile and sturdy cast-on that you can use for most projects.
Learn How to Knit: Making a Slipknot
This cast-on starts with a slip knot, which is a knot that tightens up easily once you place it on the needle.
1. With the tail end of the yarn in your palm, wrap the working yarn around your index and middle fingers, and lay the working yarn across the tail end, forming an X.
2. Spread your fingers slightly and push the working yarn through your fingers from the back of your hand.
3. Pull this loop up slightly while holding the tail end of the yarn to form a knot.
4. Place the loop onto the knitting needle and pull working yarn to adjust the tension.
Beginner Knitting Practice: Make a bunch of slip knots, over and over and over!
Learn How to Knit: The Long-Tail Cast-On
1. Leaving a long tail (about 21/2" to 3" for each stitch to be cast on), make a slipknot and place on right needle.
2. Place thumb and index finger of left hand between yarn ends so that working yarn is around index finger and tail end is around thumb.
3. With your other fingers, secure the ends a few inches below the needles. Hold palm upwards, making a V of yarn (Figure 1).
4. Bring needle up through loop on thumb (Figure 2), grab first strand around index finger with needle, and go back down through loop on thumb (Figure 3).
5. Drop loop off thumb and, placing thumb back in V configuration, gently tighten resulting stitch on needle (Figure 4).
Be sure not to cast-on too tightly or loosely—stitches should easily slide back and forth on the needle without looking loose and "loopy."
Beginner Knitting Practice: Cast on 20 stitches. Now pull all of the stitches off of the needle (I know, I know . . .) and cast on 20 stitches again. Repeat this process until you feel really comfortable with this cast-on. When you are just learning to knit, it takes awhile to get that muscle memory ingrained, so keep at it! It'll come, I promise.
How to Work the Knit Stitch
One of the objects of the knitting game is to move stitches from your left-hand needle to your right-hand needle, making new rows of stitches in the process. These knitting instructions for beginners will help you gain the know-how and confidence to move stitches. Here we go!
1. Cast on 20 stitches.
2. Hold the needle with the cast-on stitches in your left hand, the empty needle in your right hand. Hold the needles a few inches from the tips, between your thumb and first couple of fingers.
3. With the working yarn in back of the needle, insert the right needle into the front of the first stitch (the one closest to the tip) from left to right (Figure 1).
4. Now with your right index finger, bring the yarn between the needles from back to front. (Figure 2).
5. With your right hand, pull the right needle—which now has a loop of yarn around it— toward you and through the stitch (Figure 3). You now have a stitch on the right needle. All you need to do to finish the stitch is to slip the old stitch off the left needle. Tug gently on the working yarn to secure the new stitch.
Repeat this process through the end of the row! When you have knitted every stitch on the row, you will have an empty needle in your left hand. Swap needles so that the "full" needle is in your left hand and the empty one is in your right hand, and do it all over again!
The Continental Knitting Method
There are several ways to accomplish the knit stitch; the two most popular are the English method (also called "throwing") and the Continental method (also called "picking"). The information above pertains to the English method, in which the working yarn is held in the right hand. In the Continental method, the yarn is held in the left hand. Practice both techniques to see which feels best to you. There's no right or wrong way to knit—well, I suppose there is a right way: whichever works best for you!
To use the Continental method of knitting, follow the steps below.
1. With the working yarn under and in the back of the needle, place the tip of your right needle between the front and back legs of the first stitch on the left needle (Figure 1). The tip of the needle should point away from you.
2. Wrap the yarn counterclockwise around the right needle (the one you just put through the stitch (Figure 2).
3. Pull the right needle back just enough to slip underneath the left needle and pull the yarn along with it, through the stitch on the left needle (Figure 3).
4. Slip the stitch off the left needle (Figure 4). You just created a new stitch!
Beginner Knitting Practice: Use the knitting instructions to cast on 20 to 30 stitches and make a practice swatch—just keep knitting rows! If you make a mistake, keep going. You aren't making anything but practice knitting, so you can ignore mistakes and just keep practicing the knit stitch.
Once you get the knit stitch down, you'll be well on your way. And there are so many knitting patterns for beginners out there, you'll find plenty to keep you busy as you learn to knit.
Beginner Knitting Pattern: Garter Stitch Scarf
Why not begin with a super simple scarf, such as this one featured above. This scarf is knit from a super bulky yarn (Misti Alpaca Super Chunky Handpaint). To begin, grab your size 13 needles, cast on 12 stitches and knit until you have 24 inches of yarn left, and then bind off and sew in ends.
Knitting patterns for beginners and favorite resources
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Knitting Daily TV Series 700
|KnitScene Easy, 2010
With 28 super simple projects, this
downloadable magazine is perfect for
experienced knitters and those just learning
to knit. Pick from the many knitting
patterns for beginners, and start your
next project today.
|Hip To Knit: 18 Contemporary Projects for Today's Knitter
(Print Book or eBook)
This engaging collection of quick and easy
patterns builds upon mini lessons to help
you gain knitting confidence along each step.
This book is the perfect resource for learning
to knit, being creative, and most of all having
fun while you're knitting.
|Getting Started Knitting Socks
(Print Book or eBook)
If you can knit and purl, you can knit socks!
Elements of the knitted sock are broken
down into a manageable sections to help you
understand the process. With 16 beginner
knitting patterns to choose from, you'll be
a sock knitting machine in no time.