Knitting for Beginners: A Step-by-Step Guide

Are you interested in knitting? Learning how to knit for beginners can be confusing. Where do you start? And what tools do you need? If you want to learn more about knitting for beginners, you have come to the right place. I am here to teach you all the basics of knitting, from the tools to the basic stitches.

If you are interested in making your own clothes, toys, hats, scarves, and more, knitting is a great way to do so. Knitting is a rewarding hobby that is relaxing and fun. However, understanding how to knit for beginners can be overwhelming. Do not let the unknown stop you from learning. Beginner-friendly projects are super easy to learn and master.

What is Knitting?

Knitting for Beginners

Knitting is a crafting technique that requires yarn and knitting needles. You use the needles to create interlocking loops of yarn. The continuous pattern created by the knitting process produces a fabric. You can use the fabric to create many types of items.

Knitting Projects, You Can Make:

  • Hats
  • Scarves
  • Shawls
  • Cowls
  • Toys
  • Blankets
  • Slippers
  • Socks
  • Home decorations
  • Coasters
  • Sweaters
  • Bags
  • Gloves
  • …and More

Is Learning How Knit for Beginners Easy?

Is it easy for beginners to learn how to knit? Yes, it is. Even a complete beginner can learn the basics in just a couple of hours.

When learning how to knit for beginners, you will start with the 2 most common stitches. These are the knit stitch and the purl stitch. After you learn how to make both of these simple stitches, you will be able to work on a wide variety of patterns.

What Tools Do You Need to Learn How to Knit

If you have never knitted before, you are definitely wondering what tools you need to knit. When first learning how to knit for beginners, you only need the basics. These include knitting needles, yarn, and scissors.

Unlike many other crafting techniques, knitting is fairly inexpensive. And you can find everything you need at your local crafting store and a lot of large box stores that have a crafting department.

Once you learn the basics of knitting for beginners, you can then add more tools to your knitting stash. These extra tools can make knitting easier and more enjoyable.

What Should My First Knitting Project Be

Learning how knit for beginners can be overwhelming at first. So, instead of starting with a large project, work on something small. Small projects will give you a chance to practice your stitches and when you are done, you will feel a sense of accomplishment.

For your first knitting project, I recommend a dishcloth, trivet, or coaster. Even a beginner can complete one of these projects in a single day. They are perfect for improving your technique. They also make great gifts.

What Tools are Needed for Knitting

Below, I have listed a wide variety of knitting tools you will need at some point during your knitting journey. However, as previously mentioned, when you are learning how to knit for beginners, you only need knitting needles, yarn, and scissors.

Some of these knitting tools are necessary, while others are designed to make knitting easier.

  1. Knitting Needles

There are 3 main types of knitting needles: straight needles, double pointed needles, and circular needles. The size and type you use will depend on the pattern you are working on.

  1. Scissors

You want sharp scissors that will not cause your yarn to fray. They also need to be comfortable to use.

  1. Yarn

You cannot knit without yarn. Check your pattern to determine the type and size of the yarn you need.

  1. Row Counter

A row counter will help you easily keep track of the row you are working on.

  1. Measuring Tape

Some patterns use measurements instead of a row count. For these knitting patterns, you will need a measuring tape.

  1. Tapestry Needle

You will need a tapestry needle to weave in the ends of your yarn.

  1. Stitch Markers

Stitch markers come in handy a lot. They are an easy way to keep track of your stitches.

  1. Stitch Holders

Stitch holders are comparable to large safety pins. When you take a break from your knitting project, slip one of these stitch holders into the last stitches you were working on. The holder guarantees the stitches will not come loose.

  1. Yarn Bowl

A yarn bowl will keep your yarn from falling on the floor and getting dirty.

  1. Needle Caps

When you need to walk away from your project, slip needle caps onto the tips of your needles to keep your stitches from sliding off.

  1. Yarn Swift

A yarn swift is a tool designed to wind yarn quickly and easily.

  1. Yarn Winder

A yarn winder is a tool designed specifically for winding yarn into cakes. Many knitters prefer working with cakes instead of balls or skeins.

  1. Yarn Guide

A yarn guide can be used to keep an even tension or hold two strands of yarn together.

  1. Needle and Swatch Gauge

Needle and swatch gauges are designed to measure your needles and the gauge if your work.

  1. Crochet Hook

Crochet hooks are a great tool for picking up dropped stitches.

  1. Blocking Mat

Blocking mats can be used to shape your finished projects.

  1. Pom Pom Maker

A pom pom maker is an easy way to make pom poms for hats and other projects.

The Basics of How to Knit for Beginners

How to Hold Knitting Needles and Yarn

There are 2 ways you can hold your knitting needles and yarn when learning how to knit for beginners. There is no wrong or right way. Simply choose the method that you are most comfortable with.

  • English Style
English Style Knitting

One way you can hold your yarn is with your right hand. This method is referred to as the English Style. You may also hear it called flicking or throwing. When holding the yarn, you wind it between your fingers to create tension. This is the method most people use when learning how to knit for beginners.

  • Continental Style
Continental Style Knitting

Some knitters are more comfortable holding the yarn in their left hand. This method is referred to as Continental Style. You may also hear it called picking. This method is faster for most knitters. It is also the easiest way to learn how to knit for beginners that already know how to crochet.

How to Start Your First Project

If you are still following along with me, that means you are interested in starting your first project. But before you begin, you must learn the basics of casting on, making the knit stitch, and casting off. Below, I have explained each term you will come across when you are first learning how to knit for beginners.

  • Casting On
Casting On

Casting on is the term used for creating the first row of stitches. There are different ways you can cast on your stitches. Each technique will generate a different look. Some techniques are designed to produce a stretchy edge, while others will make a firm edge.

How to Cast on Using the Long Tail Method:

1.    Make a slip knot. To do this, make a small loop several inches away from the tail of the yarn. You will want a long tail. Take the tail of the yarn (not the very tip) and hold it upwards against the back of the loop. The loop should look like it has 2 sections. Now gently pull a small portion of the yarn tail (not the tip) through the hoop. Pull down on the yarn coming from the skein to tighten the loop.

2.    Slip the slip knot onto your knitting needle. Pull on both pieces of yarn, hanging down, to tighten the slip knot.

3.    Take your right index finger and place it on the slip knot to hold it in place. You do not want the knot sliding up and down the needle freely.

4.    Grab the yarn tail with your left hand. Place your thumb behind the yarn near the hook. You now have a partial hoop on your thumb.

5.    Take the tip of the knitting needle and place it on your thumb, under the yarn. Slip the tip up and under the yarn into the loop on your thumb.

6. Take the yarn leading to your yarn ball and wrap it around the tip of the needle counterclockwise from the back to the front.

7. Take the loop that is still on your thumb and bring it over the tip of the needle. You now should have nothing in your left hand.

8. Grab the yarn tail and gently tug on it to tighten the stitch.   

9.    Repeat steps 3-8 until you have your desired number of cast on stitches.

  • Knit Stitch
Knit Stitch

The knit stitch is the very first stitch you will learn. It is the most basic stitch in knitting. You will find that you will use this stitch in almost every single project you work on.

How to Make the Knit Stitch:

1. Cast on your first row of stitches.

2. Hold the needle with the cast on stitches in your left hand and the empty needle in your right hand.

3. Take the tip of the right needle and place it under the first stitch on your left hand needle. This stitch is the closest loop to the tip. Insert the right hand needle from the front to the back.

4. Grab the working yarn and wrap it counterclockwise around the tip of the right needle from the back to the front. Push the yarn down between the 2 needles.

5. Slide the right needle down as if you were taking it out of the yarn. But instead of completely removing the needle, use the tip to pick up the strand of yarn that is now located between the first 2 stitches on your left needle. This strand/loop was created by the working yarn. If you tug on the working yarn, you will see it.

6. Slide the completed knit stitch onto the right needle.

7. Tug on the working yarn to tighten the stitch.

8. Repeat steps 3-7 until you reach the end of your cast on stitches.

9. Once you reach the end, turn your work, and make more knit stitches. To turn your work, simply move the needle with the stitches on it to your left hand and the empty needle to your right.

  • Cast Off

Casting off is how you finish your work and remove the stitches from the knitting needles. The technique secures the stitches together so they do not unravel.

How to Cast Off:

1.    To start your cast off, knit 2 stitches.

2.    Take the tip of the left needle and place it under the front of the bottom stitch on the right hand needle. Insert it from the left to the right.

3.    Pull the stitch up and over the tip off the right needle without removing the top knit stitch. You will be left with one stitch on your right needle.

4.    Make another normal knit stitch. You will not have 2 stitches on your right needle. 

5.    Take the tip of the left needle and place it under the front of the bottom stitch on the right hand needle. Insert it from the left to the right.

6.    Pull the stitch up and over the tip of the right needle without removing the top knit stitch. You will be left with one stitch on your right needle.

7.    Repeat steps 4-6 until you reach the end. When you finish your last knit stitch, you will no longer have any yarn on the left needle.

8.    Cut the yarn so you have a tail that measures a few inches long.

9.    For the last loop, either tie it in a knot or slide the tail through the loop and pull it tight.

10.  To finish your project, use your tapestry needle to weave the end in the fabric.

Above, I have taught you the basics of learning how to knit for beginners. I have listed all the tools you need and the basics of starting your first practice swatch of fabric.

We hope you had fun learning the step by step guide to knitting for beginners.

If you are interested in knitting, I am excited for you. Knitting is a lot of fun. You can make things for yourself and as gifts for other people. When first learning how to knit for beginners, just take it slow and start by practising casting on, knit stitches, and casting off.

If you want to learn more about knitting, check out the articles below:

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