Get Started in Kniting

Welcome to my "Get Started" page! Here you will find all the information you need to learn the basics, perfect for the DIY-ers out there. A special hello to everyone who has come to this page because we are all currently spending a lot more time at home and social distancing from our communities in order to keep each other safe, I hope you enjoy this experience and it is helpful for you.

This information is completely free for you to use, however if you'd like to make a contribution to support me and my business you can do so through the link below.

Materials: Needles and Yarn

Any set of knitting needles is fine, if you have some options then my favourite needles are size 3mm or similar. If this is completely new to you that means that if you push your needle through a piece of paper, the diameter of the hole it would make measures to 3mm. Easy!

My favourite yarn to use is a jumper weight, or 4 ply. This is generally a medium thinkness of yarn. Don't worry too much about having the perfect yarn at this stage. The important thing is to start learning to cast on!

I usually suggest casting on around 20-30 stitches to begin with, but you can practice casting on for as long as you'd like!

 

Notes:

It's so easy to accidentally pick up the "tail" or end of your yarn instead of the strand attached to the rest of ball. Try keeping it out of the way by catching it in your left hand.

Take a look at your yarn and see how many mini-strands it includes. My favourite yarn is 2 strands twisted together which means that it is possible to put my needle through the yarn and split it. This will make your knitting less strong and untidy. Make sure you are always knitting with the whole stitch and not missing half.

Casting On

The cable cast on is my absolute favourite. You get a great edge with this one, it is simple to explain, and it has a similar rhythm to knitting so its great for getting started.

Here's the written step by step, use these along with the video:

  1. Make a slip-knot with your yarn, place your needle inside it and pull the end to tighten it around the needle.
  2. Take your second needle and put it behind the first loop you have made. Notice how it is not going through the loop, only behind.
  3. Grab the strand of yarn that is attached to the ball and wrap once around the second needle, under then over.
  4. Pull the new loop through by pointing needle 2 upward and towards yourself. Pull through a couple of centimetres so its nice and loose
  5. Transfer onto needle 1, but include a twist. Think about the front of the loop being nearest the point you are using. Take the point of needle 1 and pick up the loop from the back.
  6. Slip needle 2 out and pull the thread to slightly tighten, just enough so it wont slip off the needle. If it is too tight it will be difficult to work with later.
  7. Congratulations! you now have 2 stitches! Push your needle behind the most recently made stitch (remember, behind the stitch, not through) and repeat the above steps until you have your desired amount of stitches. on your left needle.

The Knit Stitch

There are two main stitches is knitting: the knit and the purl. The great things about these are that its the same thing! A purl stitch is just a knit stitch from behind, so when you finish your knit row and turn it over, it will look like a row of purl stitches.

What we need to learn is how to create the stitch one way, then the same thing but backwards. First, lets knit!

  1. Hold the needle with your cast on stitches in your left hand and needle 2 in your right and put needle 2 into the first stitch (the last one you cast on)
  2. Wrap once around needle 2 (below then over), then pull the new loop towards you just like when we were casting on.
  3. Slip the cast-on loop off needle 1
  4. That's it! You are knitting!
  5. Repeat this with each stitch across your row,

Finishing One Row and Starting The Next

Exactly what it says there. Watch the video to see how simple this is.

Just make sure when you start knitting that:

  1. The needle with the stitches is in your left hand and needle 2 is in the right
  2. The first stitch you're knitting is where your strand of yarn is coming from
  3. When you knit your yarn starts behind needle 2. (when you purl it starts in front - were doing that next)

Practice by knitting around 5 rows at this stage.

The Purl Stitch

Exactly the same as knitting, just backwards!

  1. Start with your yarn in front of needle 2
  2. Put needle 2 into the first stitch, notice this time it is also in front of needle 1.
  3. Wrap once around the needle (over then down)
  4. Push backwards to create the stitch
  5. Slip the original stitch from the row below off needle 1 and you are purling!
St-st-garter-12

While we are at this stage it is important to look closer at how to tell the difference between a knit and a purl, this will become very helpful as you keep practising.

Knit stitches: flat, V shapes

Purl stitches: have bobble-y parts that sit at the bottom of the less visible V shape

Garter Stitch and Stocking Stitch

We are aiming to create an effect like in this picture. the bottom section is what your knitting should look like. This is called Garter Stitch and is created by knitting every stitch and every row.

We are now moving onto the top part of the picture, which is Stocking Stitch. This is done by alternating knit and purl rows.

While knitting stocking stitch we need to think about the Right Side (RS) and the Wrong Side (WS). Whenever a row starts on the Right Side we are knitting, and on the Wrong Side we purl. This makes sure that all the knit stitches end up on the Right Side (including purl stitches from the back).

Don't worry if this doesn't make sense right away, this is often a realisation that comes to people later on in the practice.

For now, knit one row, then purl the next to create the stocking stitch in the top half of this picture. In a knitting pattern it may be written like this:

Row 1 (RS): Knit

Row 2 (WS): Purl

Repeat for as long as you wish, at least 8 rows to make sure you get this flat, stocking stitch effect on the Right Side (or front).

rib

Knit One, Purl One

Once you have mastered knitting one row, then purling the next row, you can move onto knitting one stitch then purling the next and repeating to the end of the row.

Look closely in the video for the most important detail while doing this: you must make sure your yarn is behind the knitting for your knit stitches and then you move it to the front of your piece before you start to purl.

Take your time with this one!

 

Practicing this will come in useful for a few different effects, most commonly used is "ribbing". If you do this for a few rows, always making sure to stack knits on top of knits and purls on top of purls you will have a perfect piece of rib (pictured in blue).

I must remind you again here that when you finish one row and turn it over, it will be the back of your stitch, therefore the opposite. If you finished one row with a purl, then you turn it around to start the next, it will be a knit.

 

There are an infinite number of textures you can create with knit and purl stitches. Try out some of these from pinterest if you're interested!

When reading a chart: Each box represents a stitch, knit stitches are usually blank boxes and purl stitches are boxes with a dot in the middle.

Increasing

This is my favourite way to Make 1 (M1) or increase the number of stitches on the needle.

  1. Knit along the row until you get to where you want to make the increase
  2. Gently pull two stitches apart so you can see a joining thread between them
  3. Pick up this thread and put it on the left needle with the needle going in the front of the hole and out the back (the stitch will now be on its side)
  4. Put the left needle into the stitch from back to front and knit it as normal. This will create a twist and it helps make sure you don't have a hole in your knitting.

Decreasing

I have a few options for decreasing here, this first one is very simple. If you want to decrease by one stitch at a time, simply knit two stitches together. Sometimes known as K2tog.

Decreasing 2

This is a double decrease, great for when you need to decrease the number of stitches fast. I use this for the crown of a hat. Simply knit 3 together, or K3tog.

 

Try out some increasing and decreasing and take a good look at what they all look like once knitted. I would recommend trying these out on knit rows, doing one plain row between each experiment.

Join To Knit In The Round

This is used when starting a circular piece of knitting. Traditional Fair Isle is knitted in the round as well as common projects such as headbands, hats, socks and gloves.

The benefit of this is that you're always looking at the Right Side and knitting around and around which means..... no regular purl rows!

  1. Pass half the stitches onto needle 2, not knitting just passing over. This is often called "slipping"
  2. Fold the piece in half so that the two needles are side by side
  3. Take the strand from the last stitch knitted and pull it across to join the beginning and the end the rows together
  4. Using a third needle, knit the first stitch from the other needle and continue to knit
  5. When you get to the end of the first needle, use the newly empty needle to knit the first stitch of the next needle.
  6. One row is knitted when you have made one full rotation

 

Casting Off

This is how to finish off your piece with a clean line. This is the simplest way to do it but you can look online for some more options.

  1. Knit two stitches
  2. Using your left needle, pick up the first of the two stitches and pull it off the right needle and drop it.
  3. Knit another stitch
  4. Pick up the first of the two and pull it off the right needle.
  5. Repeat this until you have only one stitch left on the right needle.
  6. Break your thread and pull it through the last loop.
  7. You should be completely off the needles now.

This information is completely free for you to use, however if you'd like to make a contribution to support me and my business you can do so through the link below.

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