How to Knit

How to Knit: A Step By Step Tutorial for Beginners

Learning how to knit may sound tedious, but it is indeed fun when you are committed.

The daily hustle and bustle can make life get boring. To escape boredom, many people resort to hobbies. Knitting is one of the interesting hobbies known to spice up your life

Knitting is not a new invention. The history of knitting dates back to the 3rd century. At the time, cotton was the major yarn material. Since then, the legacy has continually passed over generations to the current day. Notwithstanding, knitting has evolved. In the past, people minimally did knitting to provide for basic clothing. Currently, it is done commercially to meet the requirements of the growing market and fashion trends. In addition,  knitting was solely done by hand in the early times, but technological advancements have made knitting by machine possible.

Today, most knitting companies use machines to knit, but some companies specialize in hand-made textiles. Super Label Store is one company that offers value to its clients by supplying quality, affordable and customized labels. 

Do you want to learn how to knit for beginners step by step? Are you a knitter interested in refreshing your skills? If your answer in either question was a “yes,” and you do not know how to go about it, worry no more. This article will provide you a beginner-friendly mentorship with simple guidelines on how to knit.

Practical Benefits of Hand Knitting

How to knit for beginners
Image Source: Pinterest

Before you get hands-on with your knitting tools, it is important to understand that hand knitting is still significant. We compiled ten (but there are more) reasons why learning knitting is valuable. Hopefully, it will help someone who is still undecided to take up knitting as their favorite new hobby.

Below are the benefits of knitting by hand:

    • Knitting by hand remains relevant. Technological advancement cannot fully take over manual knitting. Many people knit for fun and psychological benefits that machines cannot offer. 
    • Anyone who likes knitting can knit. In many cultures, knitting is mostly associated with women. Yet, men have knit since the invention of knitting. Did you know that in the present day, 29% of knitters are men
    • It is an interesting hobby. Knitting triggers your creativity. You can easily design your patterns by playing around with colors and patterns.
    • Knitting is mentally fulfilling. The human mind is geared to enjoy mental stimulation. Learning how to knit and solving the challenges that come with it is a good way to engage the brains and keep them healthy.
    • Knitting is therapeutic. Knitting involves the coordination of the mind and hands. It may be a passive activity, but it is active in eliminating stress emotions. In addition, knitting prevents arthritis and tendinitis by building up cartilage on your fingers. 
    • You make or save money. For example, you can easily earn a few dollars by selling your knitted products to friends and relatives. Similarly, you get to save your money when you knit items for yourself or a loved one instead of buying from the malls.
    • Customized presents are perfect. If you are looking for great gift ideas, think of knitting. Take advantage of your skills to make unique gifts that express to your loved ones how much you care. You can alternatively shop at Super Label store for personalized woven labels.
    • There is a diversity of items to knit. There is no limitation in knitting. You can knit scarves, socks, shawls, or any other clothing you can think of. To enhance your clients’ experience, consider adopting care labels on your knitwear.
    • It is an enriching Recreation activity. It is fulfilling when you knit for a purpose. Some people knit to give back to the less privileged, for example, knitting items for donations. Besides, having a constructive hobby like knitting helps to break bad habits that usually result from idleness.
    • Knitting is for all seasons. Gone are the days when knitting meant warm clothing. Today, you can knit clothes fitting for any season of the year. Say, a cozy and warm cardigan for winter or a chic summer dress. 

Now that you are current with the numerous benefits knitting has, it is time to focus on the actual knitting. 

Learning How to Knit

Knitting is one of the oldest techniques of fabric making. It involves the use of knitting needles to interweave yarn into textile.

This segment of the article is suitable for novices. As a beginner, you will benefit from the tutorial and important knitting tips shared here

Learning how to knit basic stitches requires learning about knitting tools, knitting techniques, and the knitting process. 

Knitting Tools 

Knitting needles
Image Source: Create for Less

The two most basic materials for knitting are knitting needles and yarn but there are more optional tools knitters use.

Knitting Needles

Bamboo knitting needles
Image source: Wikipedia

They are also known as knitting pins. These needles/pins are different from the common sewing needles and pins; they are much longer and thicker, designed for knitting.

There are two major types of knitting needles, namely straight needles, and round needles. Each type comes in a different shape, size, and material.

To help you understand the needles better, see the comparison and contrast of the needles below.

Similarities between Straight and Round Needles

    • Both have sharp ends designed to pick out stitches from the other needle smoothly.
    • They are available in various materials ranging from wood, acrylic, plastic, and metal. 
    • Both have calibrations. The numbers denote different thicknesses and lengths of the needle. (Using various degrees of thickness results in different sizes of stitch- tight or loose.)
Contrast Between Straight and Round Knitting Needles  

Straight knitting needles

Round knitting needles

1.

They are suitable for flat knitting, i.e., flat rectangular pieces such as blankets, shawls, and mats. 

They are suitable for round knitting, i.e., To make cylindrical items such as socks and sleeves.

2.

They are straight in shape. 

They curve because a strand joins them 

3.

One end is pointed and has a knob on the opposite end. (The knobs help secure your stitches so that they do not come off the needle.

Have sharp ends (Knots that go off the needles are held in the strand).

4.

To knit, you need two individual needles, not one.

You need one set to work. The set is complete with needles and a strand. 

5.

They work back and forth on the wrong and right sides.

They work in One Direction.

Knitting flat circular needle
Image Source: Wool and the Gang

 Tip 1: Different continents calibrate the sizes differently but you can use this conversion chart to get the right needle.

Tip 2: When you learn how to knit with needles, it is better to use a needle that gives your hand a better grip. That way, you will have better control in keeping your loops put. 

Our take: Bamboo or wooden pins offer that grasp. Thus, will not let your loops slide off. As you advance, you can opt for more lightweight needles such as acrylic and plastic needles.

Yarn

Cotton fleece yarn
Image Source: Brown Sheep

The yarn is a very important tool during and after the knitting process. Once you finish knitting, only the yarn will be visible.

To attain neat knitting stitches (pun intended), you need a continuous yarn. No need to worry if your yarn cuts off because you can always join it by tying a knot. As much as possible, always knit using long continuous yarns for better results.

Many brands in the market sell yarns. The balls of knitting yarn come in different thicknesses, lengths, colors, and qualities. 

Various degrees of yarn thickness will give a different outcome. On selecting a color for the yarn, you become the expert! You can use any color you choose. If you are a beginner and still unsure, we recommend that you use a brightly colored yarn. 

Tip 1: When purchasing yarn, check out its qualities on the labels. It is easy to use smooth, medium yarn.

Tip 2: A bright-colored yarn makes your knitting more fun; it is visible, and you can easily see it as you pick out stitches. Alternatively, choose a color that contrasts with your needles. 

Once you have your yarn and knitting needle, you can start knitting. Later, you might need the scissors, among other knitting tools, at the end of your knitting.

Types of Knitting

There are two major types of knitting, namely straight knitting and circular knitting.

    • Straight Knitting

This is also known as flat knitting because it produces a flat sheet of fabric. Normally, it is worked back and forth using straight needles. If you want to learn how to knit a basic scarf or knit a blanket, then learning straight knitting is important.

    •  Circular Knitting

It is also called “knitting in the round.” The technique works one way to produce tube-shaped fabrics. It is the preferred technique for items like mittens and socks. Learn how to join knitting in circular knitting for a perfect finish.

This video can help you perfect circular knitting.

How to Knit with Needles (Straight Needles)

How to knit tutorial
Image Source: Sheep and Stitch

You will need two straight needles and a ball of yarn. 

For beginners, you must first comprehend how to hold the yarn and the knitting needle. Afterward, you can learn how to cast your first stitch through to casting off at the end of your knitting project.

How to Hold a Needle

Continental knitting
Image Source: Ten Rows a Day

When holding the straight needles, the knob faces down, and the sharp end faces up.

For a neat outcome, you need to hold your needle firmly. There are two common ways to hold knitting needles; the knife hold and the pen hold. Just as their names suggest, the former is similar to holding the dinner knife when eating and the latter, as you would hold a pencil when sketching.

Making the Slipknot

The slipknot is important because it is the premier stitch in every knitting project. How you make it will determine how firm your cast on stitches would be. 

To make the slipknot, tie a knot with your yarn, leaving an adjustable loop. There are various ways of doing this process. 

Below are the steps of making the slipknot.

    1. Wind your yarn one and a half times around a finger (most people prefer the thumb or the index finger of the left hand).
    2.  Firmly hold the thread so that the circular part of the winding is intact.
    3.  Take the longer part of the yarn and insert it into the ring to form a loop.
    4.  Pull it through
    5. Tighten the ring against the loop.

 You should have an adjustable loop. This is the Slipknot.

How to knit basics
Image Source: Pinterest

Making Cast-on Stitches

Casting on is the process of making your first row of foundation stitches. This is the process that sets the width of your knitting project. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to it. 

There are different ways of doing the cast on. The single cast-on is the easiest to do.

The process below describes one way of doing the cast-on process.

    1. Make a slipknot as described above.
    2. Hold the needle with your left hand and feed the slipknot into the pin using your right hand. This will form the first single cast-on stitch.
    3. Make the subsequent cast on stitches as follows. 
      • Wind the yarn around your right-hand index and middle finger. 
      • Take the pin with your left hand, and pick the yarn from between your two fingers.
      • Feed the formed loop into the knitting needle to form your second single cast-on stitch.
      • Tighten the yarn appropriately to ensure that you have even stitches.
    1. Repeat the procedure until you have the required number of cast-on stitches.

Tip: The cast on stitches should be tight to remain firm yet loose enough to accommodate the tip of the second knitting pin.

How to Knit Stitches Step By Step

The knitting stitches commence after the casting on process. This is where the second knitting needle comes in.

The only two categories of knitting stitches are the knit and purl stitches

There are different knitting patterns. Yet all designs are based on either category or a combination of both. The final pattern on a knitted fabric is the outcome of creativity between knits and purls.

Once you have the desired number of cast-on stitches, you can make your first knit or purl stitch.

How to Make a Knit Stitch 

How to make a knit stitch
Image Source: The knit stitch

You can easily identify the knit stitch from its pattern. The knit pattern on the fabric appears as several V shapes stacked into each other. Below are steps on how to knit stitch.

    1. Cast on the desired number of stitches
    2. Take the needle with the cast on and place it in your left hand. Take the empty knitting pin to your right hand. Ensure to hold them appropriately such that the Needles tips face each other.
    3. Insert the tip of your right-hand needle into the Last cast on (far-right) through the back so that the needles appear to form an X shape, with the left needle on top.
    4. Take your yarn and Wind it anti-clockwise on the right-hand needle.
    5. Pull the yarn through the middle of the two pins.
    6. Using the right-hand pin, pull out the loop formed (the yarn between the needles) to form a stitch on the right pin.
    7. Release the last stitch on the left pin. You should now have one stitch on the right pin and one stitch less on the left pin.
    8. Tighten your yarn appropriately.
    9. Repeat the procedure until you pass all the stitches to the right-hand needle.

Voila! You now have your first row of the knit stitch.

How to Make the Purl Stitch

How to make the purl stitch
Image Source: Knitfarious

The purls are a distinct pattern that forms from the loops. Thus, purls look like a sketch of mild ocean waves.

The process of making the purl stitches is slightly different from that of making knits. 

Below are steps on how to purl.

    1. Cast on your desired number of stitches on one needle.
    2. Hold the needle with the cast on using your left hand. With your right hand, take the other knitting needle. The pins’ tips should face each other
    3. Insert the tip of your right-hand needle into the nearest stitch on the left through the front side. The knitting pins should intersect so that the right needle is on top of the left needle.
    4. Anti-clockwise, wind the yarn around the tip of the right-hand needle.
    5. Pull the yarn through the middle of the two pins towards the back.
    6. Pull back the right-hand pin as you pick up the loop formed between your needles. (You will now have a stitch on your right needle).
    7. Release the last stitch on the left pin by slightly pulling the pin back. 
    8. Appropriately adjust your yarn to avoid loose stitches.
    9. Repeat the procedure for the rest of the stitches.

Once all the stitches are on the right-hand needle, then you will have made your first row of purl stitches.

Knit stitch Versus Purl stitch

Cast on row to knit logo
Image Source: Knitfarious

These two are the basis of all knitting. Decorative designs on knitted fabrics arise from the knitter’s creativity with the purls and the knits.

When knitting the purl and knit stitches, the major difference is how you cross your knitting pins (as described above).

Although purls look different from knits, they are the reverse of each other. Thus, the wrong side of knits appears like purls and vice versa.

How to Add Rows of Knitting in Flat Knitting

Each row is made up of several knitting stitches. A row is complete when all the stitches transfer to the needle on the right hand. That is when the first row of knitting will be on the right needle.

To start the second row, you must interchange the needles. The right needle then goes to the left. Similarly, the left (free) needle goes to the right hand.

As you did with the first row, you will start knitting the second row.

At the end of each subsequent row, you have to interchange the needles to begin a new row. The process goes on until you have the desired length of textile.

How to Bind Off Your Knitting

Binding off a knitting project
Image Source: Knit with Henni

Whether you want to keep a souvenir of your first knitting or present it to someone, you must first bind off its edges.

Binding off is considered as the last knitting row. Essentially, it is the process of securing your stitches from unraveling. Important to note, the term “bind off” normally substitutes with “cast off.”

Once you have knitted enough rows, you will still be having stitches on your knitting pin. If you happen to remove the pin from work, the loose loops will be exposed. Thus doing, risks disentangling the rest of your knitting. 

Casting off secures your project and helps you achieve a neat finish. 

Below is a simple description of how to bind off your work. 

    1. Position the needle with the work on your left hand and the other needle on your right.
    2. Make a knit stitch using the first and second loops. (You should now have two stitches on the right side)
    3. Take the left needle and insert it through the first stitch (far right). Using your left hand, pull the first stitch over the second and off the right needle. (your right needle should now have one stitch; the second stitch)
    4. Take our right needle again and knit on the third stitch to have two stitches on the right pin.
    5. Repeat the process of taking off the right side stitch from the right needle as above.
    6. Do the same for the rest of the left side stitches.
    7. Pick the last stitch over and on the right using your empty needle on the left.
    8. Once you remain with the last stitch on your right, clip off your yarn a few inches from the end and release your pin.
    9. Insert the clipped yarn into the loop and tighten it. 

Tip 1: You can slightly pull the last loop to enlarge it if you have problems inserting the yarn.

You should be able to achieve a neat, secure finish when you follow these steps. Nonetheless, do not worry if it looks imperfect because you are not alone. Many learners experience challenges at the beginning, but with practice, their skills refine.

Knitting for beginners
Image Source: Ten rows a day

How to Improve Your Knitting Speed 

Once you grasp the knitting concept, you will have a whole world of patterns to try and more projects to finish. At this stage, your learning curve should be rising. You might consider improving your knitting speed to meet your demands.

Below are five tips to help you increase your knitting speed.

    • Use Metallic Pins 

When you start as a beginner, we recommend wood-based or bamboo pins because they offer better friction to hold your loops in place. As you get used to control the loops, you can then advance to metallic pins. Therefore, the metal pins are smoother and will allow the yarn to slide off to the next needle faster. This way, you make stitches faster.

    • Opt for Pins with Sharper Tips

The tips are useful in picking up loops. Therefore, the thinner your pins’ tips are, the faster it is to insert them into the stitches. This is particularly best if you are working with tighter stitches.

    • Invest in Quality Yarn 

Use good quality yarn that feels good to the fingers. When buying, check out the labels to identify the one with a great finish. A comfortable yarn will let you work longer. Hence, you will complete the project sooner.

    • Engage Your Fingers

As you keep practicing, you will notice that you do not need to use your right hand to wind the yarn on the tips. See how you can use your fingers in both continental knitting and English style knitting

    •  Work Close to Tips

Move the loops towards the tips of the needle. It not only makes the easy pick, but it regulates the yarn tension.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q. Is knitting the same as crocheting?

A. No. Both techniques make cloth from yarn but in a different process and with different types of needles.

Q. What is the difference between Crochet and knitting?

A. There is a wide difference between the two. The major ones are summarized in the table below.

Knitting

Crochet

1.

The technique uses at least two knitting pins.

Crocheting uses one crotchet.

2.

Knitting pins interweave loops using the pointed ends.

The crochet pin has a hook at one end that interweaves the knots.

3.

It begins with the cast on stitches after the slipknot.

It begins with chain stitches after the slipknot. 

4.

The last row is secured using the binding off technique.

Only the last knot needs to be secured.

Q. I am left-handed. Can I knit?

A. Yes, you can. Even though most knitting tutorials favor the right-handed, that should not stop you from learning how to knit. If all you see are instructions for the right-handed, then read it in reverse. For example, left becomes right and anti-clockwise becomes clockwise, etc.

Q. Do round needles give the same result as square needles? 

A. According to an experiment, square needles yield more even stitches than round needles. Yet, to the knitter, the round needles are more comfortable to hold.

Q. I accidentally dropped a stitch, and my work unraveled. How can I correct it?

A. Unraveling work can make your knitting to be a painstaking process. If you are a beginner, this can be disheartening. The good news is that you can correct it without undoing your work. Watch this video to understand how to pick a dropped stitch.

Q. Which is the simplest pattern to knit

A. All patterns revolve between knits and purls, but the garter stitch is the easiest if you are flat knitting.

Alternating rows of purls and knits produce the garter stitch. On flat knitting, this is attained by maintaining one pattern on the right and the wrong side. I.e., purls only or knits only. As long as you have mastered any of the two basic knitting stitches, you can do the garters. 

Q. What are LH and RS in knitting?

A. It means Left hand and Right side consecutively.

Knitting normally uses abbreviations to denote patterns. As a beginner, it may be quite baffling. Check out this list of basic knitting abbreviations to understand them better.

Q. Is there a wrong side and right side to a knitted fabric?

A. Yes, there is. 

The sides are more conspicuous for advanced patterns that you will learn as you practice your knitting creativity. It is also easy to tell the sides of multi-colored knitting. Learn how to identify the sides with this read.

Q. Why do my stitches appear twisted?

A. If you wind the yarn in the wrong direction across the tip of the needle, you will end up with twisted loops. This is a common mistake beginners make but you can correct the twists, as shown in this video.

Final Thoughts

The art of knitting has survived for ages. Despite the advancements in technology, hand knitting is still well embraced.

Many people engage in knitting because it enriches various aspects of life, be it social, mental, physical, or financial. Understanding these practical benefits makes both beginners and experts find a purpose to fulfill. 

It is common for knitting beginners to face challenges as they learn the skill. Understanding how distressing this can be, this read seeks to help you out. The simple and systematic descriptions make how to knit simple and enjoyable for beginners.

To enhance your learning experience in knitting, you first need to familiarize yourself with the basic tools and materials for knitting, such as knitting needles and yarn. It would help if you practiced how to hold the needle and wind the yarn. The second tip is to study knitting techniques like straight and circular knitting. Finally, learn how to tie the slipknot, cast on, and knit and purl stitches.

To become a master knitter, ensure to practice more. Try perfecting your skills and learn how to knit socks, like making a sweater and how to knit a hat, and familiarize yourself with other techniques like finger knitting. Finally, always remember to cast off your work for a nice-looking and secure edge.  

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