My granda taught me how to knit when I was eleven, and I vividly remember the hours I spent carefully knitting my soon-to-be-born baby sister a teeny tiny scarf. It was relaxing, it was exciting, and the entire process was just overall lovely. I’ve since forgotten how, but have longed to pick it back up again. Enter: Jess; our fabulous in-house DIY’er who’s sharing each and every step!
How to Knit
Start with large needles and smooth, thick yarn so your stitches are easy to see. Another bonus- the larger your needles and yarn, the faster your project goes! There are only two stitches (the knit stitch and the purl stitch) you need to learn to make most knitting patterns. These two stitches are alternated in a variety of ways to create different patterns. Practice these two stitches until you feel comfortable with them, then you are ready to start with an easy project (we’re going to share a simple infinity scarf next week)!
1. Pull out a length of yarn that is twice as long as the width of the stitches you want to cast on. Make a slip knot at the end of that length by looping the yarn around your thumb and forefinger. Then twist the yarn so that there is an X shape. Grab the strand of yarn that is still attached to the skein with your thumb and forefinger and pull it through, so that your are pulling a new loop of yarn through the original loop. This loop is your slipknot- slide it onto the needle.
2. Hold the needle with the slipknot in your right hand, and make your left hand into the shape of a gun. Wrap the loose end of yarn around your left thumb, and the yarn attached to the skein around your left forefinger, then grab the tails of both strands with the remaining three fingers of your left hand.
3. Scoop up the yarn at the base of your thumb with your knitting needle, then bring the needle up to scoop up the yarn between your needle and forefinger.
4. Drop the loop of yarn around your thumb to the needle, then drop the yarn in your left hand and pull the the yarn to tighten.
5. Repeat until you have cast on as many stitches as desired. Trim the tail end of the yarn so you won’t confuse it with the yarn attached to the skein. Watch the steps in action here.
1. Hold the needle with the cast on stitches in your left hand and the empty needle in your right. Insert the tip of the right needle under the top stitch on the left needle, and push it through so that the right needle crosses behind the left needle.
2. Wrap the yarn around the right needle counter-clockwise, from back to front, so that the yarn sits between the two needles.
3. Look between your two needles- you should see two “holes” created by the middle yarn. Hold the middle yarn tightly with your right hand, and push the right needle through the left “hole” so that right needle crosses in front of the left needle. Carefully slide the old stitch off the left needle and gently pull the loose yarn to tighten the new knit stitch on the right needle.
4. Repeat with remaining stitches until you reach the end of the row, then flip the needles and begin knitting again. Watch these steps in action here.
1. Hold the needle with the cast on stitches in your left hand and the empty needle in your right. Push the tip of the right needle into the top of the first stitch on the left needle, so that the right needle crosses in front of the left.
2. Wrap the loose end of yarn around the top of the right needle, from front to back, and hold the loose end tightly in your right hand.
3. Gently pull the right needle back toward you, so that the loop on the right needle crosses under the stitch on the left needle. Carefully slide the old stitch off the left needle and pull the loose yarn to slightly tighten the purl stitch on the right needle.
4. Repeat with remaining stitches until you reach the end of the row, then flip the needles and begin purling again. Watch the steps in action here.
Purl every stitch or knit every stitch to create the garter stitch.
Alternate one row of purl with one row of knit to create the stockinette stitch.
Adding a new strand of yarn
If you run out of yarn and need to start a second skein, or would like to switch yarn colors, you can use this method to transition to new yarn. Tie a the new strand of yarn onto the tail end of the old yarn. Trim the excess yarn then continue to knit. Once the knot is knit in, you can tuck the strands of yarn by weaving them amongst the stitches.
In your final row, begin by knitting two stitches. Pluck the loop of the bottom stitch (closest to your right hand) up, and slide it over the second loop, then over the tip of the right needle and drop it off. Knit another stitch, then pull the loop of the bottom stitch over the tip of the needle and drop it off. Continue this until you reach the last knit stitch. Gently slide the last stitch off and thread the end of the yarn through the loop. Tie a knot with the yarn and trim the excess yarn. Tuck the yarn tail back into the knitting by weaving it through the stitches. Watch the steps in action here.
Every few rows, be sure to check that you have the correct number of stitches on your needle. If you find that you have one less stitch, then you probably dropped a stitch. If you look carefully at your knitting, you should see a hole where the stitch was dropped. If you have an extra stitch, you probably split the yarn in half during one stitch, or at the end of a row you accidently pulled a second loop of yarn onto the needle. Try to locate where the pattern diverges or the edges get a little wider to find the added stitch. In both cases, you should gently retrace your steps back to the problem stitch by “tinking” or unknitting each stitch and putting them back on the needle so you can re-knit them.
Photography: Ruth Eileen Photography