Knitting Instructions – How To Knit
v. To make by intertwining yarn or thread in a series of connected loops either by hand, with needles, or on a machine.
Knitting really is quite simple, I promise. It is also quite daunting when you hold the needles in your hands for the first time or try to decipher a pattern. Once you’re clear on what steps to take, the process itself is straightforward and with a bit of practice, you’ll be able to whip out the most intricate patterns with the best of them! A word of caution, however. If you’re short on patience (like me), you really must apply yourself if you want to learn this fantastic craft. It doesn’t come without some effort, but nothing worth knowing does, right?
To get started, you’ll first need to understand the basic knit stitch. This is the most commonly used stitch and you can make a wonderful variety of projects using only this stitch. You’ll want to start with a practice swatch of say, 5 stitches. So using the techniques for casting on in a previous article, cast on 5 stitches. These cast on stitches will be on the needle in your left hand.
Take the needle in your right hand and slide the tip of it into the top stitch of your left needle. Now the top stitch should be around both the left and right needle and both needles should be pointed in the same direction. Hold your needles so there’s a slight gap between the two. Using your right hand, take the working end of the yarn (the yarn that leads to the ball or skein) and wrap it back to front around the right needle. To do this, you’ll move your right hand behind the two needles (on the outside of the right needle) while holding the yarn, then bring it forward so the yarn rests between the left and right needles.
Fairly simple so far, right? It’s going to get slightly more complicated with this next step, but follow each direction carefully and you’ll have no trouble. Remember to take breaks if you’re frustrated, because you won’t learn much if you’re feeling this way:
Pull the string of yarn so it’s snug against the right needle. Hold the needles in each hand and pull them slightly apart. If you look straight down from the tips, you’ll see that the stitch you’d initially put your right needle through now has a gap between both needles. The next step is to, while still holding the yarn lightly against the right needle, point the tip of your right needle straight down into that gap and bring its tip toward you. Now, as long as the stitch is safely on the right needle, pull the right needle straight up so the stitch comes off the left needle.
If you cast on 5 stitches in the beginning, you should now have 4 on the left and one on the right. You’ve just knit your first stitch! For the next stitch, put the tip of your right needle up through the stitch on your left and complete this process.
This process is going to be awkward at first, but keep practicing and before long you’ll be able to knit a stitch in one smooth motion.
Starting the Next Row
Many people are stumped about what to do when they finish a row. Once you’ve finished a row, all the stitches will be on your right needle. To start the next row, swap needles so the right needle with all the stitches is in your left hand. Make sure the working strand of yarn trails out in front of your project, so it’s between you and the stitches you’ve already knit. This is called turning your work. Now, just start working on the top stitch as you did for the last row. Every time you finish a row, turn your work and start over on the top stitch.
It is really important to practice until you’re comfortable with this stitch before you move on to any other techniques. Aim for that point at which you don’t have to think much about what you’re doing and the process feels familiar and comfortable to do before you really try to make anything or learn more.