How to Knit Like a Pro: Beginner Knitting Instructions
So, you’ve decided to learn how 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 learning how to knit, 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!
If you are looking for the ultimate guide for beginners and experienced knitters alike, look no further than the best-selling resource The Knitter’s Companion. Covering all your knitting basics including knit stitches and techniques, this eBook will help every knitter learn to knit with success. And that’s not all! Also included is a helpful DVD of techniques demonstrated by Vicki Square. From slip knots to various cast-ons and much more, this is sure to be a resource you turn to again and again. Order the book+DVD or instantly download The Knitter’s Companion today.
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.
- 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.
- Spread your fingers slightly and push the working yarn through your fingers from the back of your hand.
- Pull this loop up slightly while holding the tail end of the yarn to form a knot.
- 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
- Leaving a long tail (about 2 1/2″ to 3″ for each stitch to be cast on), make a slipknot and place on right needle.
- Place thumb and index finger of left hand between yarn ends so that working yarn is around index finger and the tail end is around the thumb.
- With your other fingers, secure the ends a few inches below the needles. Hold palm upwards, making a V of yarn (Figure 1).
- Bring the needle up through the loop on the thumb (Figure 2), grab the first strand around index finger with the needle, and go back down through loop on the thumb (Figure 3).
- Drop loop off the thumb and, placing thumb back in V configuration, gently tighten resulting stitch on the 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 a while to get that muscle memory ingrained, so keep at it! It’ll come, I promise.
If you are looking for help on how to start knitting, this workshop is for you. With lessons geared toward beginning knitting needs, you’ll get over two hours of instruction covering stitches, common mistakes, and even knitting in the round, yarn types and finishing techniques. Look no further than this how to knit video to get you started! Download the Getting Started Knitting video today.
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!
- Cast on 20 stitches.
- 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 the first couple of fingers.
- 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).
- Now with your right index finger, bring the yarn between the needles from back to front (Figure 2).
- 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!
Expand your knowledge of knitting techniques with this how to knit video download. Learn how to knit effortlessly, eliminate gaps, cast on perfectly and more; for a total of 50+ techniques and tricks. Whether you’re just beginning knitting or have been for years, you’ll love this incredible workshop. Order the DVD or instantly download The Knitter’s Toolbox: Lily Chin’s Techniques and Tricks for Savvy Knitters today.
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.
- 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.
- Wrap the yarn counterclockwise around the right needle (the one you just put through the stitch (Figure 2).
- 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).
- Slip the stitch off the left needle (Figure 4). You just created a new stitch!
After you’ve finished a piece of knitting, you’ll need to remove your needles without your stitches coming undone. This process is called binding off. Even beginners will be able to bind off with ease by following these simple binding off instructions.
- Knit two stitches as you normally would, moving two stitches to the right needle.
- Place the left needle into the first stitch (the one farthest to the right).
- Pull this stitch up and over the second stitch and draw it completely off the needle.
- Knit another stitch and repeat step three. Pull the stitch farthest to the right up and over the new stitch and completely off the needle.
Repeat step four until there is only one loop left on the right needle.
- Finish off the yarn by cutting it and drawing it through the last loop. Pull the yarn to tighten.
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, then bind it off and sew in the ends.
Once you’ve learned how to knit, you won’t be able to stop. Feed your new crafty addiction by shopping Interweave’s huge selection of yarn and knitting tools and supplies. Continue your knitting education with our knitting books and e-books, knitting magazines and knitting DVDs and videos. We also have knitting kits, which contain everything you need to complete one knitting project. These are perfect for beginners of all ages who’d like to practice their newfound knitting skills. Finally, once you’ve gotten the hang of it, browse our selection of knitting patterns to find new knit creations to bring to life.