Welcome to the ABC’s of Knitting!
Before we begin, IT MUST BE SAID:
My attempt here to “teach” you to knit, will in no way replace someone actually sitting by your side, walking you through the process, helping you with any tricky stuff you may encounter. The VERY BEST instruction for knitting & crocheting is to sign up for a workshop or class at your LYS (Local Yarn Store). The steps and photos I show you here just will not be able to cover everything (like dropped stitches or mysterious extra ones:). This little tutorial will just be an introduction to the most basic steps to knitting. Hopefully it will get you kick-started and on your way. Then when you hit a snag…call up your LYS for help! They will be so glad you called and you’ll meet wonderful yarn friends there.
So here goes:
Stuff You Need
1. Worsted Weight Yarn:
Choose a mid-to-light color yarn (preferably a color that makes your heart sing) and look on the wrapper for the word “worsted”. You can also ask someone in a yarn shop.
2. A pair of size 8 or 9 Knitting Needles:
Preferably wooden or bamboo. Also “straight” as opposed to “round”.
**Be on the lookout for posts which expound and explain MUCH MORE about choosing yarns, needles and hooks! The above is just to get you going!
I will be giving you instructions based on a right-handed knitter. I have had left-handed knitters in my classes who successfully reversed these instructions AND those who simply felt comfortable knitting the “right-handed way”. If you are left-handed, you can choose. I hope these photos are helpful.
The very first thing you must do is make a SLIP KNOT. Click on the highlighted word to view a slip knot tutorial. Once you have a nice little slip knot on your left-hand needle come back here, and we will cast on some stitches.
Oh goody, you came back!
There’s a sweet little rhyme that is used to teach children at the Waldorf Schools how to knit. These children are taught how to knit around age 6 or 7 at the same time they are being taught to read. The idea is to engage both the right and left hemispheres of the brain which allows them to learn to read much more quickly and easily. Cool idea! You will use this rhyme both to cast on, and to knit.
CAST ON is a term used to mean the creation of individual stitches on the needle which are the FIRST stitches you will knit into. There are numerous ways to CAST ON. Perhaps at a later date, I can give tutorials for how to create the long-tail cast on, the crocheted cast on, the e-loop cast on, etc. There are scads of them and they each have their benefits. For now, I’m going to teach you a knitted cast on. This will get you using the first three steps of the knit stitch right from the git-go. Then all you’ll have to do is add the last step when you start knitting your cast on stitches. (If this lingo is new to you, it probably sounds like greek! Hang in there, pretty soon it will make more sense!)
So, click on the highlighted word, CAST ON, to view a tutorial for casting on your stitches. You can cast on as many as you’d like, since this will be your “practice knitting piece” (PKP). You may like to keep it simple though…perhaps cast on 20-30 stitches, so you can see your progress a bit more quickly than if you cast on 50 stitches or more. Once you’ve got your cast on stitches, return here to start KNITTING!
Yay! You’re ready to KNIT!
Here’s the rhyme in its entirety. I will break it down for you and show you in photos how each “step” or line of the rhyme should look.
In through the front door
Run around the back
Out through the window
And off jumps Jack!
Step One: Insert the tip of the right-hand needle, from the left side of the first stitch, through to the back. This is “In through the front door”.
Step Two: Holding both needles with your left hand, take the working yarn that is dangling down the backside of your stitches, and loop it around the right-hand needle. This loop goes all the way BEHIND the needle and then is draped over the top of it. This is “Run around the back”.
Step Three: Using the right-hand needle as a sort of lever or pick, pull this draped yarn through the cast on stitch on the left-hand needle. This is “Out through the window”.
Step Four: And now, INSTEAD OF placing this new loop back onto the left-hand needle, you will now let “Jack” jump off! “Jack” is the cast-on stitch (or the “window”) that you just pulled yarn through in Step Three. The new loop is KEPT on the right-hand needle while allowing “Jack” to jump off the left-hand needle. Oh, I do hope this is helping you!
And…drum roll please…you have just created your first knitted stitch!! Yippee!! Hurray for YOU! Look up, breathe deep, laugh a little, sip some tea, coffee, or sparkling water!
Now. Do it again.
As you begin the next stitch, you can give your yarn a little tug to make the last stitch more secure. Remember not to tug too tightly! (This first photo is taken from the cast on photo group, just to show “tug”.)
In through the front door.
Run around the back.
Out through the window.
And off jumps Jack!
Now you should have TWO stitches on your right-hand needle! Yay! You can give your final stitch a little tug here, like a pat on the back:)
You know what to do next. Do. These. Steps. Again. and. Again. Till you have knitted all the stitches on the left-hand needle.
I hope you have fun practicing your knitting. Check in with me as you go along. I’ll give you some encouragement, tips, and very soon, a pattern for THE BASIC KNITTED SCARF. Just enjoy the process! Don’t worry too much about how it LOOKS right now. Just concentrate on getting the steps into your muscle memory. You’ve heard the saying: Practice Makes Perfect. Well, IT IS TRUE with knitting as well as crochet. Just have fun with it!
And call up your Local Yarn Store if you get too bollixed up. They will throw you a raft, pull you in to safety and make you feel all comfy cozy about your knitting.