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Basic Knitting Instructions

Updated on December 17, 2012
Knitting used to be a man's occupation.
Knitting used to be a man's occupation. | Source

A Little About Knitting

Men used to be knitters. Back then knitting was an occupation rather than a leisure activity. When women began knitting, like the men, it was a means to earn money.

Today knitting is regarded as a leisure activity. There are machines that can make everything a person could desire in clothing, so knitting for income has become something of the past.

Machines can make every pattern, every stitch, every style society needs or wants, but there's not a machine in the world that can match the special feeling when someone knits something just for you.

Even if you knit the item, yourself for yourself, it will still have that something special about it that no machine can duplicate.

How I Became Hooked on Knitting

My mother was a big knitter. She knit all kinds of sweaters, scarves, hats and socks. She did the knit stitch, the purl stitch, cable cast-on's, slip slip knit, she was an amazing knitter. She always had several pieces going at one time. I learned to knit by sitting next to her on the couch while she knit. One day she said, "Would you like to try?" I was thrilled and accepted her invitation with enthusiasm. Knit stitch a row, purl stitch back, knit stitch, purl it back... Before I knew it I had knit a perfectly mis-skewed square. I was hooked.

Knitting Milestones for You

There are common miles stones we encounter as you learn how to knit. These miles stones come quickly and the commonality is interesting. Knitting is a rhythm. When you get the rhythm going it's like riding a bike. You may say to yourself, "That was simple and I was so
meticulous at first!"

When you knit for the first time:

  • The first few rows you'll focus on where the yarn is and where it's going, and the correct motion of the needles.
  • By the fourth or fifth row you'll realize you're not focusing as hard on your work at hand.
  • By the tenth row you can hold a conversation without dropping too many stitches.
  • By the time you get to row twenty, if you knit that far, or you start a new piece, you'll realize instead of meticulously knitting each stitch, you're thinking about dinner or what you'll be doing this evening.

By now you have the rhythm and you're stitching on auto pilot for the most part. You may find yourself daydreaming about what the piece your knitting will look like when it's complete, what you will fix for dinner and wondering just how long you've been sitting there knitting! (Beware: Time flies when your knitting!) These are your signals that you've got it. You are a knitter.


Cast On, Knit Stitch, Purl Stitch, Cast Off

CAST ON
KNIT STITCH
PURL STITCH
CAST OFF
1. Make a slip knot by twisting a piece of thread and pulling the working side throught the loop, then place the loop on the needle.
1. Insert the right-hand needle in the middle of the first loop on the needle, front to back. The left hand needle will be in front of the right hand needle.
1. With yarn in front of the work, place the right hand needle through the first loop on the left hand needle from back to front (or right to left) ending with the right hand needle in front of the left hand needle.
1. Knit the first two loops.
2. Place the needle in your right hand. With your left hand take up a piece of the working side of the yarn and make a loop.
2. Loop the yarn around and under the right hand needle.
2. Loop the yarn around the tip of the right hand needle from top to bottom.
2. Then pull the first loop you knit over the second loop and off the needle.
3. Slide the needle through the loop and pull the yarn snug on the needle.
3. Slide the right hand needle back until you can pull the loop through the original loop on the left needle and onto the right hand needle.
3. Slide the right hand needle back until the loop can be slipped through the original loop on the left hand needle and onto the right hand needle.
3. Knit the next loop and, again, pull the other loop up and over the last loop and off the needle.
4. Repeat until you have cast on as many as you need.
4. When the loop is safely on the right needle, slide the original loop off the left needle.
4. When the loop is on the right hand needle, slide the original loop off the left hand needle.
4. Continue pulling stitches over the first stitch until you get to the end and then pull the yarn all the way through the loop, cut and secure.
 
5. Repeat.
5. Repeat.
 
Cast on, then knit a row, purl it back, continue this pattern until the work is as long as you want. Then cast off.

Step-by-Step Knitting Video

Cast On

Before we start thinking about what you're going to knit let's take a look at how to knit.

After casting on (the first row on the needle) there are two basic stitches a beginner needs to know. The knit stitch and the purl stitch.

CAST ON - (See accompanying video.)

Casting on can be accomplished in several different ways.The simplest method that I use all the time is the slipknot.

  1. Make a slip knot by twisting a piece of thread and pulling the working side throught the loop, then place the loop on the needle.
  2. Place the needle in your right hand. With your left hand take up a piece of the working side of the yarn and make a loop.
  3. Slide the needle through the loop and pull the yarn snug on the needle.
  4. Repeat until you have cast on as many as you need.

When you plan on knitting an item the directions will have the number of loops to cast on.

For now practice squares will do, so try casting on 15 to 20 loops. Practice squares can be used as hot pads, decorative table protectors for hot items, or you can stitch all your squares together and make a blanket!

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  • Msmillar profile image
    Author

    Joanna 4 years ago from Valley Springs

    That's so cool Sushma. My mother taught me to knit when I was a little girl. I find it very relaxing to sit down and knit.

  • Sushma Webber profile image

    Sushma Webber 4 years ago from New Zealand

    Glad I found this article. Just started getting into knitting. Will link this article to one of mine which is a guide for knitting projects for charity.

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