You have your yarn and your needles, a comfortable chair, you’re relaxed, and you’re ready to get started knitting. There are different ways to hold your knitting needles. Some people hold their hands over the knitting needles like a table knife and some hold them like pencils. See How to Hold Your Knitting Needles and Yarn for pictures of the different ways. Try both and see what is most comfortable. There is no right or wrong way.
Casting on is the first step in knitting and is the process of getting stitches on the needle. There are a number of different Cast On Methods. The Loop Cast On is an easy one for beginners. It is quick and easy, but can be difficult to keep an even tension when knitting, so exploring other methods may be in order down the road. The Knitted Cast On is an easy method and you will learn the knit stitch at the same time. It is fairly stretchy and a good choice for many sorts of projects. KnitPicks has a good video and tutorial on this method.
There is more than one way to learn the Knit Stitch. The two most common ways to knit are the English knitting method and the Continental knitting method. Try both and see what you like best. You may feel awkward at first. Like everything else, learning to knit takes some practice and patience, and so does learning to hold your knitting needles and yarn. Just start knitting – you’ll get it.
Knitting is a 4-step process:
Insert the needle
Wrap the yarn
Pull through the loop
Pull off the new stitch
When you have finished the row, you will turn your work. Exchange the needle full of stitches in your right hand for the empty needle in your left hand, and start again. Knitting every row creates fabric with a series of ridges, each ridge being created from two rows of knit stitches. This is called the knit stitch or garter stitch.
The Purl Stitch is next, click below to watch the video or see the tutorial.
The process of alternating knit and purl rows creates the stockinette stitch. When you are knitting stockinette, the side that is smooth is considered to be the right side (abbreviated ‘RS’). The purl side with the bumps and ridges is considered to be the wrong side (abbreviated ‘WS’)
Sometimes projects will require multiple skeins of yarn, which will require joining a new skein of yarn. If possible do this at the end of the row.
Your knitting project is finished, congratulations! Now you need to get your knitting off the needles. Some refer to this process as casting off, some call is binding off. Click below to watch the Binding Off video, or see the tutorial.
Be sure to bind off loosely or the pattern will be “gathered” at that bound edge. If you find the edge is too tight when binding off, use a larger needle to bind off. Also, be sure to form the stitch on the straight part of the needle, not the tip.
Be sure to check out The Ultimate FREE Finishing Knitting Guide below.
Other good knitting resources:
You might also want to check out 10 Easy Scarf Knitting Patterns for Beginners.
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