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Beginner Knitting: Start Your Knitting Journey Here

26th April 2023 Welcome 10 min read
Beginner Knitting: Start Your Knitting Journey Here

Are you a beginner knitting enthusiast looking to dive into this creative world?

And you chose us!

We are honoured.

Whether you're a complete novice or a seasoned crafter looking to expand your skill set, there's no better time to start knitting than now.

We've created a comprehensive guide for you right here, but if you want to skip it and see what we have to offer new knitters pop over here and find everything you need from yarn kits, online classes, free tutorials and more. 

Carol Feller built Stolen Stitches over 15 years to help knitters just like you. She takes you from never having held a knitting needle to all you need to know about yarn, patterns, and the tools you use.

You can also choose what level of support you'd like from 'send everything I need to my door' to 'I just want the online classes, please!' But whatever you choose you can begin with pattern from us.

Oh, and if you have a question, don't be silent! 

We have an FAQ guide, a fun virtual knitting community, and you can also contact us here.

Are you ready to start knitting? 

Let's go:

Basic Knitting Stitches

As a beginner knitter, mastering the basic stitches is crucial. Two of the most fundamental stitches are the knit stitch and the purl stitch.

The Knit Stitch

The knit stitch is a simple over-under stitch that creates a smooth texture, while the purl stitch is almost the reverse of the knit stitch and creates a bumpy texture. 

To start with the knit stitch, hold the needle with the cast-on stitches in your left hand and insert the empty needle into the first stitch from left to right.

Then, wrap the working yarn counterclockwise around the right-hand needle, pulling it through the stitch and sliding it off the left-hand needle.

Repeat this process for each stitch on the left-hand needle until you reach the end of the row. If you knit this stitch on every row you have garter stitch. See how this works in this video: 


The Purl Stitch

For the purl stitch, hold the needle with the cast-on stitches in your left hand and insert the empty needle into the first stitch from right to left.

Then, wrap the working yarn counterclockwise around the right-hand needle and pull it through the stitch, front front to back, sliding it off the left-hand needle.

Repeat this process for each stitch on the left-hand needle until you reach the end of the row.

Different Types of Knitting Needles

When it comes to knitting needles, there are many different types to choose from. The two most common types are straight needles and circular needles. Straight needles are straight, long needles with a pointed end on one side and a stopper on the other. Circular needles, on the other hand, have two pointed ends connected by a flexible cord.

Straight needles are more commonly used for knitting flat items like scarves and blankets.

Circular needles are useful for knitting in the round, making them ideal for knitting hats, socks, and other tubular items. You can of course work flat from side to side on circular needles. This is especially useful for larger projects where you want the weight in you lap and not your wrists. 

Understanding Yarn Weights and Fibres

Choosing the right yarn for your project is crucial. Yarn comes in different weights and fibres, each suited to different knitting projects. Yarn weight refers to the thickness of the yarn and is categorised into different groups, from lace weight (the thinnest) to super bulky weight (the thickest).

Yarn fibres can be natural, synthetic, or a blend of both. Common natural fibres include wool, alpaca, and cotton, while common synthetic fibres include acrylic and nylon. The choice of yarn fibre will affect the texture, durability, and drape of your finished project.

Knitting Tools and Accessories

Aside from knitting needles and yarn, there are other tools and accessories that you'll need as a beginner knitter.

Some essential tools include a tape measure, scissors, stitch markers, gauge, and a tapestry needle for weaving in loose ends.

Other optional tools include a row counter, a stitch holder, and a cable needle for cable knitting.


Tips for Casting On and Binding Off

Casting on and binding off are the first and last steps of any knitting project.

Casting on is the process of creating the first row of stitches on your needle, while binding off is the process of finishing your project and securing the last row of stitches.

One popular casting on method for beginners is the long-tail cast-on, which creates a neat, stretchy edge. Press play on this video to see how it's worked or scroll on for tips: 

How to Knit a Long Tail Cast On

1. To start, measure out a length of yarn approximately three times the width of your project. Make a slip knot and place it on one of your needles. Then, hold the needle in your right hand and use your left-hand thumb to create a loop with the yarn tail to place on the top of the needle.

2. Wrap the working yarn around the needle with your right hand, and pull it through the first loop over it, creating a new stitch on your needle.

3. Repeat this process until you have cast on the required number of stitches.


How to Bind Off Your Knitting

There are many different bind-offs to choose from. As you work through your knitting projects you will start to pair your bind off to your knitting project.

The first type of bind off that most knitters learn is the knitted bind off.

To bind off, knit the first two stitches as usual, then use your left-hand needle to lift the first stitch over the second stitch and off the right-hand needle.

Knit the next stitch and repeat this process until you reach the end of the row. Cut the yarn, leaving a tail, and use a tapestry needle to weave in the loose end.

You can see this type of bind off in action here:


How to Read Knitting Patterns

Knitting patterns can be intimidating for beginners, but they're an essential part of knitting. A knitting pattern provides instructions on the number of stitches and rows required, as well as any special techniques or stitch patterns. Patterns are typically written using abbreviations, so it's essential to learn common knitting abbreviations.

For example, the abbreviation "K" stands for knit, "P" stands for purl, and "YO" stands for yarn over. If you're unsure of any abbreviations, refer to our knitting abbreviation chart here or ask for help in our knitting community.

Choosing the Right Knitting Project for Beginners

As a beginner knitter, it's essential to choose the right knitting project. We don't believe in starting  with small, simple projects like scarves or dishcloths. While these projects are great for building your confidence and developing skills, we find that most knitters get bored and give up. 

This is why we created a beginner pattern collection and Beginner Knitting Kits that allows you to find something you want to knit. This allows you to imagine yourself wearing and using your finished object which keeps you motivated to finish your project. 

We also didn't want you knitting on your own wondering what comes next so we also created a more detailed project collection with accompanying step-by-step tutorial videos so we are right there with you when you need us. 

 Beginner Knitting Tutorials by Carol Feller

Fixing Common Knitting Mistakes

Making mistakes is part of the knitting process, but it can be frustrating for beginners. Some common knitting mistakes include dropped stitches, twisted stitches, and uneven tension.

For example, if you drop a stitch, use a crochet hook or a spare knitting needle to pick up the stitch and return it to your working needle. If you notice a twisted stitch, use a crochet hook to untwist the stitch and return it to its correct orientation.

Fortunately, many knitting mistakes can be easily fixed with a little patience and practice. You can see Carol work through a dropped stitch here: 


Blocking and Finishing Knitted Projects

Once you've completed your knitting project, it's essential to block and finish it. Blocking involves wetting the finished project and shaping it to the desired size and shape. This process helps to even out any uneven tension and gives the finished project a professional look.


Finishing involves weaving in any loose ends and sewing together any seams, if necessary. This process ensures that your finished project is secure and long-lasting.


Knitting Abbreviations and Terminology

As mentioned earlier, knitting patterns use abbreviations to save space and make instructions easier to read. Some common knitting abbreviations include:

Stitch Name Abbreviation Description
Knit Stitch K This stitch creates a smooth, flat surface and is the foundation of most knitting projects. Insert the right-hand needle into the front of the loop on the left-hand needle, wrap the yarn around the right-hand needle, and pull it through the loop. Slip the old stitch off the left-hand needle.
Purl Stitch P This stitch creates a bumpy texture on the surface of the knitting. Insert the right-hand needle into the front of the loop on the left-hand needle, bring the yarn to the front of the work, wrap the yarn around the right-hand needle, and pull it through the loop. Slip the old stitch off the left-hand needle.
Garter Stitch GART or GG This stitch pattern is created by knitting every row. It produces a textured, stretchy fabric that lies flat and is reversible.
Stockinette Stitch St St or RS/WS rows This stitch pattern is created by alternating knit and purl rows. It creates a smooth, flat surface on one side (the right side) and a bumpy texture on the other side (the wrong side).
Rib Stitch K1, P1 or K2, P2 or other combinations This stitch pattern alternates knit and purl stitches in a single row. It creates a stretchy, textured fabric that is often used for cuffs, collars, and borders.
Seed Stitch K1, P1 or P1, K1 or other combinations This stitch pattern alternates knit and purl stitches in a single row, but the pattern is shifted by one stitch in each subsequent row. It creates a bumpy texture that is often used for scarves and blankets.

Note: There are many other beginner knitting stitches, but these are some of the most common and useful ones to get started with.

It's essential to familiarise yourself with these abbreviations to read and understand knitting patterns correctly. You can see our full guide here. 

FAQs from Beginner Knitters

As a beginner knitter, you may have some questions about knitting. Here are some common FAQs and their answers:

What is Knitting?

Knitting is a craft that involves creating fabric from yarn using knitting needles. It's a versatile craft that can be used to create a range of items, from scarves and hats to sweaters and blankets.

Is it easy to learn how to knit?

Learning to knit can be challenging at first, but it's a rewarding skill to master. With practice and patience, anyone can learn how to knit.

What do I need to start knitting?

To start knitting, you'll need knitting needles, yarn, and some basic tools like

scissors and a tapestry needle. There are also many beginner knitting kits available that include everything you need to get started.

What is the easiest thing to learn to knit?

For beginners, the easiest thing to knit is something you are interested in that combines basic stitches and techniques and keeps you interested. We reated a beginner knitting collection so that you can start with whatever size project you would like. 

Can I teach myself to knit? 

Yes you can we have a full series of free tutorials and beginner videos on YouTube along with project workshops so that you can teach yourself to knit from the comfort of your favourite chair whenever you can find a stolen moment. 

More Knitting Stitches to Learn

Once you've mastered the basic stitches, there are many more knitting stitches to learn. Some popular knitting stitches include:

  • Stockinette stitch: This is a simple stitch that creates a smooth, uniform fabric.
  • Garter stitch: This is another simple stitch that creates a bumpy texture.
  • Rib stitch: This stitch is commonly used for cuffs, collars, and borders and creates a stretchy, textured fabric.
  • Cable stitch: This stitch creates a braided effect and is commonly used for sweaters and blankets.There are whole range of cables that are fun to knit and we popped a bunch of them in our tutorial section for you to explore. 

As you continue to develop your knitting skills, you'll be able to incorporate more complex stitches and techniques into your projects. You can search our full list of knitting tutorials or you can continue on your beginner knitting with our Knit Basics blog or take our online masterclass for beginner knitters. 

I hope you found this guide useful! 


About the Author

Carol Feller

Carol trained as a structural engineer, and she brings that love of analysing structure into her knitting, creating complex patterns that are easy to understand, while her approach to process is all about testing and playing, and making mistakes along the way. That’s where the joy lies!

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