Learning how to knit from scratch might sound a little overwhelming to beginners. Knitting can be fun and useful for some and a relaxing hobby for others. With all the options available today, you can get confused about where to start. But we don’t want you to feel that way.

We have compiled a brilliant guide on how to knit for beginners that will help you start your knitting journey. Our guide covers everything, from choosing your yarn and holding your needles to some of the first projects you can take up. We’ll even help you cast that first stitch and give you pointers on how to execute the three basic types of stitches.

People have loved knitting for centuries, and today you’ll figure out why. So, let’s dive in and get our basics of how to knit clarified.

Choosing Your Supplies

Before you can start to practice your knitting stitches, you’ll need to choose your needles and yarn. It’s just that simple. With endless options on the market, you can pick up acrylic, woollen, cotton, ribbon, or even mixed yarn. 

And when we talk about needles, you can either start with wooden or steel ones. But which one of these is the best for beginners?

Choosing the Right Yarn Type for Beginners

Selecting the perfect yarn to start practicing your knitting is the crucial step in learning how to knit. We always recommend you choose a medium weight or a chunkier yarn. Selecting light colours like lemon yellow and baby pink can help you observe your stitches and catch any mistakes you’re making in the process.

Woollen yarns are much easier to knit with compared to acrylic and cotton yarns. Wool tends to be smooth and super stretchy, making it the perfect choice for beginners. There are both pros and cons of using cotton and acrylic yarn, but they are best suited for advanced knitters. 

Choosing the Correct Needle Size 

While you are learning how to knit as a beginner, choosing the correct needle type and size is extremely important. Most experts prefer starting with either a bamboo or a wooden needle. These needles help to hold the stitches better as compared to other materials. 

As a beginner, wooden or bamboo needles are much more comfortable to hold and knit with, unlike plastic or aluminum needles.

The width and the length of your knitting needles will also affect your knitting experience. Using a medium-sized needle would be perfect for a beginner. This means you should select a width between 4mm and 5mm, and a length of about 10 inches. 

As you advance and knit more complicated projects, you might need longer needles. Once you have gathered your supplies, it’s time to move on. Next, we’ll explore the actual stitching in our guide on how to knit for beginners.

Tying a Slip Knot

Tying a Slip Knot

The first thing you need to learn is how to tie a slip knot. It is the starting point of your knitting project. This knot can easily be loosened or tightened up by pulling on one strand.

  • Take a ball of yarn and unravel it. Make a small loop with the working end of the thread, which is attached to the ball. The loop can be made by placing the yarn from the right side, sitting on the left side tail.
  • Hold this loop between your left index finger and thumb.
  • Then grip the working yarn and make another loop by pulling it through the first one.
  • Now, hold on to the base of the knot with your left hand, pulling the loop up with your right hand until it clinches.
  • You now have successfully knitted your first knot, with our instructions on how to knit for beginners.

Casting Your Stitches onto the Needle

Once you know how to make the starter knot, it’s time to cast a few stitches onto your needles. There are a few different types of casting-on techniques that you can try out while learning how to knit. 

One of my favourites is the longtail cast-on. You can use this easy-to-learn and straightforward method to create a stretchy cast for most of your knitting projects. It also makes a clean, neat edge on your knitted project.

Before starting the longtail cast-on technique, leave a strand of the tail at the end of the yarn. The length of this tail will depend upon the number of stitches you will cast onto your needle. 

For example, if you want to cast ten stitches onto your needle, you should leave about 1 foot of yarn at the tail. 

  • Make a slip knot and place it on the knitting needle in your right hand.
  • Take the tail of the yarn and place it on your left thumb and the working end of the thread over the index finger. It should look like the letter Y.
  • By keeping the slip knot in place with your right index finger, swing the needle and place it under the yarn on your left thumb. Pull the needle towards your right index finger. 
  • Now place the needle under the loop on your left index finger. 
  • Following the same motion, move the needle back through the loop on your left thumb.
  • Drop the loop off your thumb. Gently pull one end of the yarn to grip the knot on your needle.
  • You now have the second stitch on your needle. Continue this process until you have the desired number of stitches cast onto your needle. 

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While casting on your stitches and learning how to knit, make sure you don’t cast them on too tightly or loosely. If your initial stitches are too tight, it will be impossible for you to work with these stitches. It can also leave a crumpled look to the edge.

However, if you cast the stitches on too loosely, it will create gaps between your stitches, making them look uneven. 

Learning the Basic Stitches

You’ve cast the first row of stitches onto your needle. Now it’s time to continue knitting and learn a few basic stitches. 

While you’re learning how to knit, there are some knitting techniques that you should be familiar with from the start. Knowing these will help you knit your first few simple projects.

Basic Knit Stitch

Before starting the knitting process, you should transfer the right needle with the stitches into your left hand. Your right-hand needle should always be empty, so you can grip and stitch your knots with it. 

  • For starting the basic knit stitch, push the tip of your right needle into the first casted-on stitch. Remember to always insert the tip from the front to the back of the stitch.
  • Now loop the working end of the yarn over the end of the right-hand needle. Hold this loop with your index finger to keep it tight and steady.
  • Pull the loop you just made through the first stitch on the left-hand needle. Let the stitch slip off from the left needle to the right-hand needle. 
  • Follow the same procedure for the rest of the stitches cast on your left-hand needle. Keep knitting until the left needle is empty.
  • Now switch the needles and hold the empty one in your right hand and the needle full of stitches in your left hand. Continue knitting the same way as you did with your last row.
  • If you have planned on doing a project, continue knitting rows until you have reached the desired length. However, if you are practicing, make sure you knit at least 12 rows to be familiar with the basic knit stitch.

Purl Stitch

Knowing the purl stitch opens the doors to tons of knitting patterns. You can knit up hats, gloves, and cowls with this type of stitch. But it’s the opposite of the basic knit stitch.

  • This time, instead of holding the working end of the yarn to the back, you have to keep the end forward and towards you. 
  • Now insert your empty needle into the front of the first stitch on your left needle. The two needles will look like a giant X, with the empty needle on the top.
  • Hold both the needles in place with your thumb and index finger. Wrap the working end of the yarn counter-clockwise over the right-hand needle. Once you have wrapped the thread on the needle closest to you, you should still find the working end in the front. 
  • Hold the first stitch with your left index finger while sliding the right-hand needle down. Once your right needle is at the base of the stitch, pull it up through the loop carefully. 
  • Slide the stitch up and move it on the right-hand needle. Pull the working yarn taut to secure your purl stitch. 
  • Repeat the same procedure for the rest of the casted stitches on your left needle. 
  • The purl stitch might sound a little complicated at first, but you’ll be knitting purls like a pro with enough practice. Once you have mastered both the basic knit and purl stitch, you will be able to explore a little more advanced knots and stitches, including rib, seed, and stockinette stitch.

Garter Stitch

Garter stitches create a stretchy fabric that lays flat and does not curl up on the edges. It is one of the most common and straightforward stitch patterns for beginners, which is fully reversible. 

  • Hold the needles with the casted stitches in your left hand and the empty one in your right hand. While holding the working end of the yarn in your right hand, point the left needle towards the thread.
  • Push the end of the right needle into the first stitch, moving from bottom to top. Here your right needle will be crossing the left one, forming the letter X. 
  • With the yarn lying to the back of your needles, wrap it around the right needle, counter-clockwise. Pulling the thread across the front of the right needle makes it sit between the two needles. 
  • Gently pull the tip of the right-hand needle through the first loop, making it sit on top of the left one. Make sure you pull the right needle towards yourself while holding the wrapped around yarn taut. 
  • Slowly pull the loop off the left needle and transfer it to the right one. 
  • Knit all the stitches on the left needle in the same manner until no casted stitches are left.

Joining a New Ball of Yarn Once you complete the first garter stitch row, switch your needles. Hold the empty one in your right hand and the one filled with stitches in your left hand. The garter stitch is perfect when you are learning how to knit as a beginner. And it’s ideal for knitting scarves, hats, bags, and blankets.

Joining a New Ball of Yarn

While you’re knitting your project, there’ll be a time when your ball of wool will come to an end. Learning how to knit and join a new ball of yarn is crucial to the overall look of your project. 

Here are a few ways to join a new ball of yarn to your knitting fabric quickly.

Tying a Knot

Joining the yarn using a knot is the simplest method you can use as a beginner. All you must do is take the old and new strands of yarn and tie them together. You can use this to join the new thread while practicing your knitting techniques.

However, this is not the best way to join yarns. When you simply tie the two threads together, there’s a chance that the knot will appear at the front of your finished work and spoil the look of your piece. The knot can also pull out the stitches surrounding it and unravel your knitted work.

The Drop and Join Method

This is one of the easiest methods when joining yarn to your knitting project while learning how to knit. All you must do is continue weaving as if there was no yarn break at all.

  • When your yarn ball is about to end, make sure to leave a 6-inch tail at the end to join the old yarn with the new one. 
  • Now lay the working end of the new yarn beside the old one, with their tails lying at the back of your knitting project. 
  • While leaving 6 inches of the new yarn, pick up this yarn with your right needle and continue knitting the rest of your row. Keep the new thread anchored with your left hand, so your knit does not unravel.
  • Once you have knitted the row, you will notice a giant hole near the joint of the new yarn.
  • By using your tapestry needle, weave in the loose ends while closing the hole.

The Magic Knot

A Magic knot is a much better and more robust way to join the two ends of your yarn. There is a tiny chance it might crawl its way up to the front of some stitches. But it will never loosen up the surrounding stitches and unravel your work. You can use it for garter stitch projects while learning how to knit.

  • Lay down your knitted project in front of you. The tail end of the old yarn should be pointing towards you. Now place the new ball of yarn parallel to the old one, pointing the tail end away from you.
  • Make the two tails of the yarn overlap each other by around 10 cm.
  • Place the old yarn string under the new yarn, and make it look like the number 4.
  • Now pull the old yarn over the new one (towards left) and then over itself.
  • By looping the old yarn under itself, pull tightly on both the yarn edges to tie a knot. The two yarn pieces are now knotted together.
  • Now take the end of the new yarn and loop it under the old one, making it look like the letter P.
  • Pull the new yarn over the old one (towards the right) and then over itself.
  • By looping the new yarn under itself, pull tightly on both the yarn edges to tie a new knot. Both the knots would now be around 5 cm apart from each other. 
  • Pull on the long ends of both the yarns to slip these two knots together. You have stitched a double knot that is impossible to unravel. 
  • Cut the short ends of both the yarns and continue stitching. There is no weaving required.

Casting Your Stitches Off the Needle

Once you have completed your knitted project and are happy with it, it is time to cast the stitches off your needle. You can use a few different methods to end off your project while learning how to knit.

The standard cast-off method is the easiest one of them, sealing off your stitches neatly and ensuring they don’t unravel.

  • Knit two stitches loosely on your right needle.
  • Now insert your left needle into the first stitch. Pull the first stitch over the second one, and then finally off the needle.
  • You now have one stitch on the right needle, and the first one has been cast off.
  • Knit another stitch and keep casting off the rest of the stitches, like the first one, until a single stitch remains.
  • When you only have a single stitch left, cut a 10-inch yarn tail from the working end. 
  • By wrapping the yarn around the needle, pull the last stitch over the tail. Now pull the yarn tail through the needle and tighten it up.
  • You have successfully cast off all your stitches and completed your first knitting project with our guide on how to knit for beginners. 

With our basic knitting techniques, you can quickly knit a garter stitch scarf, a dishcloth, a ribbed scarf, cardigans, or a baby blanket.