Here’s a collection of step-by-step resources available online (for free!) that will teach you knitting.
All of these are for beginners and I’ve also included a selection of patterns towards the bottom of this article for you to practice with.
Step One – Cast On
To begin, you first need to learn casting on. This is what you do to get the yarn on one needle so you can start a project.
- Examples of 8 Ways: There are a few different ways to do this, I myself like the Long Tail method. It looks a little complicated at first, but once you get it–it’s super easy. At first you’ll leave yourself too short a tail a time or two, but you quickly figure it out and avoid doing it in the future ;).
Step Two: Basic Stitches
Next you need to learn (k=knit and p=purl)…
- Continental & English Methods: There are two different methods to try, the Continental method (left hand) or the English method (right hand). See which one you prefer, it isn’t dependent on whether you are right handed or left handed. I myself use the English method though some say the Continental is a lot quicker. These will also show you how to hold the yarn.
- Image Examples: Here is a written tutorial with some pictures to help you along (English Method).
- 4 Methods: Again there are different ways to doing this. If you find you prefer the Continental Method for the Knit stitch, keep consistent in all your projects and do the Continental Method for Purl.
- Image Examples: Here’s a good picture tutorial.
Step Three – Useful Things
You can now do a cast on, the basic stitches, and next you’ll want to figure out increasing and decreasing (it’s very easy!) and changing yarn colors.
Step Four – Finishing
Once you’ve made your piece, it’s time to cast off (or bind off) so the work doesn’t unravel. You’ll also want to weave in your ends (the yarn string at the beginning and end of the project) so there’s no loose yarn bits dangling.
- Casting Off / Binding Off
- Bind Off – Images
- Basic Techniques – Cast Off (images)
- Demo of a small project: Watch the “Demo of a small project” video, it has some coverage of weaving in ends. This page also has a bunch of troubleshooting tips.
- Weaving in Ends: You simply take a large needle and sew/weave the yarn string into the piece to hide it. When you get more advanced, you can look at tackling weaving in ends while knitting.
Now that you know the basics, practice with easy projects—but first you’ll need to know how to read a pattern, see these helpful pages:
Dishcloths are ideal items to start with, whip up a bunch!
- Waffle Dishcloth: This is lovely and one of my favorites.
- Three Cherries Design
- Designer Dishtowel Three to choose from, I love the “Blue” one.
- Grid (pdf)
Fixing Mistakes & Finding Help
If you are a crocheter, you know it’s easy to rip out and find your way to the place where you made an error. Knitting–it’s not simple. It takes a bit of experience and some knowledge of what the stitches should look like so you can spot where the error is and “unknit” or pull back to the spot.
I suggest practicing and taking some time to examine the stitches. Start with things like dishcloths so it’s not a big deal if they’re flawed a bit at first. You’ll know when something looks wrong or when there’s a bit of a hole, be patient and examine it so you can understand why it happened and maybe figure out a way to fix it. It also helps to look at mistakes as “opportunities” because you really do get more comfortable with finding and fixing things once you’ve messed up a few times.
When you’ve finished a row, pull out a stitch or two and see if you can figure out how to work it back on the needle. This will take practice, but over time it won’t be as intimidating. Here are a couple illustrations (along with instructions) that can help:
If you drop a stitch it must be picked up and placed on the needle. Use a crochet hook. Catch the loose one and work it up on the horizontal thread of each successive row until you reach the row on which you are working. Fig. 27 shows how it is done on the smooth surface of Stockinette and Fig. 28 illustrates the procedure on the purl side. For Garter you alternate these two movements.
Putting Stitches On The Needle After Ripping
Occasionally you will have to unravel your work to make a correction, or you may wish to place your dropped stitch back on the needle. It is important that you replace them correctly as in Fig. 29 and 30 or the fabric will look twisted.
Source: The Canadian Spool Cotton Company (1948)
*First published September 3, 2007 and moved to this page for better organization
This is done very simply by knowing your measurements. Then work a swatch to make sure your tension is same as in directions. Then multiply the number of stitches per inch by the number of inches you wish any part of the garment increased in size and add the required number of stitches.
Watch your work as you proceed and be sure you decrease or increase to give your garment the correct size and shaping for the different parts.
Watch your shoulder width, depth of armhole and shape of neckline.
Also if you need help, why not join a forum where experts and newbies alike help each other (like this one). You can also take your project to your local yarn shop, they usually have experienced people on staff that would be happy to help you fix a mistake (if they’re not busy)–it does help if you are a customer of theirs. Ask them too if they know of any groups that meet in your area. You should know at least the basics and be comfortable with the craft before joining one (depending on the group), but they’re a fantastic to discover new techniques and mentor each other.
The internet is a great source of help with new stitches to try, here are a few you might like:
- Bamboo: Right side: *yo, K2, slip yo over 2K*, repeat *-*; wrong side is purl all sts.
- Double Moss:
Once you’ve figured out the basics and are comfortable with beginner projects, holding your yarn and needles and reading patterns, you’ll be able to move onto things like socks and sweaters and all kinds of great things…nearly everything you want to know can be found online for free! This is a wonderful (and productive) hobby to enjoy, have fun!