Learn How To Knit

1. Knitting for Beginners

Knitting is a technique for producing fabric by intertwining loops of yarn or thread with knitting needles or a knitting machine. This timeless craft has been embraced for centuries, offering a creative outlet for individuals of all ages and skill levels. What makes knitting truly remarkable is its accessibility—anyone can learn with minimal materials and guidance. Once you grasp the fundamentals outlined below, you'll unlock a world of limitless possibilities in your knitting journey!

2. Essential Supplies for Starting Knitting

What essentials do you need to kickstart your knitting journey? Surprisingly few! Here are the basics:

  1. Yarn
  2. Needles for Knitting

While these two items are all you truly need, having a few additional tools on hand can streamline your knitting experience. Let's delve a bit deeper into these essentials before you make your choices.

a. Selecting Your Yarn

Selecting the perfect yarn for your project is crucial for achieving the desired look and feel. Yarn varies in weight, color, and fiber composition, offering a wide array of options to suit every project. While a detailed exploration of yarn weights is forthcoming in our upcoming yarn weight comparison post, beginners often find medium-weight yarns in lighter hues ideal for starting out. The lighter color facilitates stitch visibility and simplifies error correction.

For novice knitters, we suggest beginning with Sensy Softee Baby Yarn or a comparable alternative for its softness and ease of use.

b. Choosing the Right Needles

When it comes to knitting needles, there's a world of options to explore. Here's a breakdown to guide you in making the right choice for your projects:

  1. Needle Composition: Knitting needles come in various materials, each offering distinct advantages:
    • Metal: Known for durability and smoothness, ideal for speedy knitting.
    • Bamboo: Lightweight, flexible, and warm to the touch, providing excellent grip.
    • Wood: Similar to bamboo, offering various characteristics based on the wood type used.
    • Plastic: Affordable and lightweight, with a smooth surface, though less durable.
  2. Types of Needles:
    • Straight Needles: Traditional, long, and straight, perfect for flat knitting like scarves and blankets.
    • Circular Needles: Featuring two tapered needle tips connected by a flexible cable, suitable for both flat and circular knitting. Great for larger projects like sweaters.
  3. Knitting Needle Sizes: Needles come in various sizes denoted by numbers or letter codes, indicating the diameter of the needle shaft. Match the needle size to the yarn weight for the desired gauge.
  4. Gauge: Achieving the correct gauge ensures the project's dimensions align with the pattern. It's essential to match the pattern's gauge with the needle size and yarn weight.
  5. Specialty Needles:
    • Double-Pointed Needles (DPNs): Used for knitting small, tubular items like socks or mittens in the round.
    • Interchangeable Needles: Sets of needle tips and cables for creating custom circular needles.
    • Lace Needles: Sharp, pointed tips designed for intricate lacework.
    • Cable Needles: Short needles for temporarily holding stitches while creating cable patterns.
  6. Needle Care: Proper maintenance extends needle lifespan. Clean them when necessary and store them safely to prevent damage.

c. Essential Accessories

While not essential for every project, having these additional tools on hand can greatly enhance your knitting experience:

  1. Scissors: A sharp pair of scissors is invaluable for cutting yarn and tidying up loose ends.
  2. Yarn needles: These needles are indispensable for weaving in loose ends and sewing pieces together seamlessly.
  3. Stitch markers: Useful for identifying specific stitches or sections within your work, helping you stay on track.
  4. Measuring tape: A flexible measuring tape is essential for checking gauge and measuring your progress accurately.
  5. Other accessories: Consider using a yarn bowl or bag to keep your yarn organized and easily accessible. A stitch counter can also be helpful for keeping track of your stitch count.

Now that you've gathered your materials, let's dive into the knitting process! Below, you'll find a step-by-step guide to refer back to whenever needed. Remember, learning to knit takes time, and making mistakes is all part of the learning journey. Don't be discouraged—embrace the process!

3. A Detailed Walkthrough of Knitting

a. Initiating Your Project: Casting On

Casting on marks the outset of any knitting endeavor, laying the foundation for your project. Numerous casting on methods exist, each boasting unique advantages and appearances. Among these, the Long Tail Cast On stands out as the most prevalent and beginner-friendly technique.

Long Tail Cast On:

  1. Overview: Renowned for its versatility and popularity, the Long Tail Cast On yields a tidy, elastic edge suitable for diverse projects.
  2. Benefits: Suitable for both novices and seasoned knitters alike, this method's simplicity and effectiveness make it a go-to choice for many. 

1- Create a split knot, place it onto the needle, and grasp both threads of yarn with your left hand.

2- Place your thumb and forefinger between the two threads of yarn.

3- Tighten the yarn to form two loops.

4- Position your needle beneath the nearest strand, which is your outer thumb, and then thread it upwards through the thumb loop.

5- Move your needle across to the loop around your index finger and grasp the strand that is nearer to you

6- Swing the needle back and draw the yarn downward through the loop around your thumb.

7- Gently release the loop from your thumb.

8- Tighten the knot, ensuring it's snug but not overly so!

9- Repeat until you have cast on the desired number of stitches 

Additional Casting On Methods:

  • Knitted Cast On: Simple and akin to working a knit stitch, this method yields a firm edge with less elasticity compared to the Long Tail Cast On.
  • Cable Cast On: Ideal for scarves and projects requiring a firm edge, this technique utilizes a knitting needle to place new stitches onto the left-hand needle.
  • Backward Loop Cast On: Easiest to learn and requires no yarn tail, but may result in a loose edge, making it unsuitable for certain projects.
  • Loop Cast On: Similar to the backward loop method but with added adjustments to minimize excessive looseness, offering a bit more stretch.
  • Tubular Cast On: Advanced and yielding a seamless extension of ribbing, perfect for cuffs or hems.

With your stitches cast on, you're poised to embark on your knitting journey!

b. Executing a Basic Stitch: Knit Stitch

The knit stitch stands as the foundational stitch in knitting, essential for every knitting project. Here's a guide on executing the knit stitch:

1- Hold the needle containing the cast-on stitches in your left hand and the empty needle in your right hand. Insert the right needle through the initial stitch on the left needle, moving from left to right.

2- Wind the yarn anticlockwise around the right needle.

3- Draw the yarn loop through the stitch.

4- The right needle will now be positioned in front of the left needle, with a yarn loop resting on it.

5- Gently slip the stitch off the left needle.

6- Congratulations! You've just finished your first knit stitch! Repeat this process until all stitches have been transferred from the left needle.

Remember, practice makes perfect, so keep honing your knit stitch technique for flawless results in your knitting endeavors.

c. Transitioning in Your Work

After completing a row of knitting, the next step is to turn your work. This involves swapping the position of your needles so that the needle holding the stitches is in your left hand, while the empty needle is in your right hand.

d. Concluding Your Project: Casting Off

Once you've reached the desired length of your swatch or project, it's time to finish off, a process also referred to as casting off.

1- Work the first two stitches using the knit technique.

2- Insert the left needle into the initial stitch on the right needle.

3- Lift the first stitch over the second stitch.

4- Release the first stitch from the left needle. You've now cast off one stitch.

By following these steps, you'll successfully complete the casting off process, ensuring a neat and tidy edge for your knitting project.

e. Completing Your Project

After casting off all the working stitches on your needle, it's time to finish off the last stitch. Here's how to do it:

1- After finishing binding off all stitches, you'll have one remaining loop on your right needle. Cut the yarn, leaving approximately a 6-inch tail.

2- Withdraw the needle from the loop.

3- Pull the yarn through the loop.

4- Pull tight. Yay! You've finished binding off! Now all that is left to do is weave in the ends.

Congratulations! You've successfully finished casting off your knitting project. Now, all that's left is to weave in the ends to complete your piece.