Here is a wonderful tutorial for any beginner to the basic knitting stitches. Are you keen to start a whole new, rewarding hobby? Do you want to knit gifts for friends and family or garments for yourself? Is there a new baby on the way, and you would like to create adorable toys and garments for this new arrival? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you have come to the right place!
Knitting is a wonderful pastime that allows you to make garments, blankets, home décor, and other items with two long needles and a single, very long piece of yarn. It's remarkable how just knowing how to form two basic knitting stitches can allow you to make anything from a delicate lace shawl to a hefty sweater to a beautiful toasty pair of socks!
Tools for Basic Knitting Stitches
Here are the basic knitting tools you will need:
- Knitting needles (Check the ball band of your yarn to determine what needle size is suggested.) Beginners should use straight needles rather than circular needles.
- Tape Measure
- Yarn needle for sewing the knit fabric parts together. (A tapestry needle with a large eye will do just as well.)
- The following items are not absolutely necessary, but they are useful to have: Stitch markers, stitch holders, and a row counter.
Basic Knitting Stitches for Beginners
All of these basic knitting stitches are based on just knit stitch and purl stitch. So once you have mastered those two stitches, you can create any of the other types of knitting stitches mentioned.
Beginning Knitters: Start with the knit stitch and purl stitch.
#1. Knit Stitch
The knit stitch is the most basic types of knitting stitch and is used in many knitting patterns.
Here are the step-step instructions for the knit stitch:
Step 1 - Tie a Slip Knot
Make a loop with your yarn and draw another loop through it to do this. This can be done with your fingers or a knitting needle. Gently tighten the knot and slide it onto the needle.
Step 2 - Cast On
- Cast on the required number of stitches.
- Now, hold the needle with the cast-on stitches in your left hand and the empty needle in your right hand.
Step 3 - First Row
- Insert the right-hand needle from front to back into the back of the first cast-on stitch. Make a cross with your needles. The right needle must be behind the left needle.
- With your right hand, carry the working yarn over your needle and wrap it counter-clockwise around the right-hand needle. Bring the yarn to the front.
- Firmly pull that wrap down between the needles.
- Move the right needle back slightly so that the loop you've made is near the tip. Take care not to let it slip off!
- Bring the tip of the right needle through the loop on the left needle while the yarn is still wrapped around it. The right needle will move to the front of the left needle, pulling the loop along with it.
- Allow the original loop on the left needle to slide off, leaving the new loop on the right needle. Under the needle, a little knot will form. Your first knit stitch has been completed.
- Firmly pull it to tighten the stitch on the needle. If it's too tight, you won't be able to insert your needle in the following row.
- Now, on the left-hand needle, make the next stitch. Repeat each of the preceding steps.
Step 4 - Next Rows
- Turn your work so that the needle full of stitches is in your left hand and the empty needle is in your right hand, and work through all the stitches until your left needle is empty and your right needle is full.
- Return to the beginning of the instructions and work your way, step by step, across this row.
- Repeat along each row until your knit fabric is the right length.
#2. Purl Stitch
The purl stitch is often used in combination with the knit stitch in order to create new knitting patterns.
Step 1 - Cast On
- Cast on the number of stitches you need.
- Hold the yarn in your right hand and the cast-on stitches on the needle in your left.
Step 2 - First Row
- The left needle should have its tip pointing to the right. The yarn you are working with must be in front.
- Put the tip of the right needle into the first stitch on the left needle from right to left and from back to front. Your needles will make a cross. The right needle must go in front of the left needle.
- With your right hand, loop the yarn over the front of the needle in a counter-clockwise direction. Bring it to the front of your work from the back.
- Make sure the loop is securely caught between the needles, as this will make your new stitch. Firmly pull it down.
- Slide the right needle back a little so that the loop is close to the tip of the needle. Don't let it slip!
- Your first stitch is still on the left needle, while the loop you just made is on the right needle.
- Slide the loop off the left needle while keeping the new loop on the right needle. This is your first purl stitch. The old stitch will be placed beneath the new one. Give your yarn a little pull to tighten this stitch, and keep it firmly on that right needle.
- Repeat these steps until all the stitches on the left needle have been worked. This left needle will now be empty, and the right needle will be full of lovely new purl stitches.
Step 3 - Second Row
- Turn your work so that the needle with stitches is in your left hand and the empty needle is in your right hand.
- Start over at the beginning of the instructions and purl your way across this row.
- Continue in this way until you have a rectangle of purl stitch that is the required length.
#3. Stockinette Stitch Patterns
Once you have those two stitches down pat, it is easy to work the stockinette stitch (also known as stocking stitch). This is one of the most used knitting stitch patterns. The front of the knitted fabric is smooth, while the wrong side looks like a series of bumps.
All you have to do is work 1 row of knit stitches, then 1 row of purl stitches.
- Row 1: Knit across all stitches.
- Row 2: Purl across all stitches.
The knit side will be the right side of your work.
#4. Garter Stitch
If you work a knit stitch on every row, you will be making a garter stitch. You could also purl every row, and that will also create a garter stitch.
See the beautiful bumps created by rows of knit stitches. Every beginner knitter will use this knit stitch pattern.
#5. Rib Stitch Patterns
To create a rib knit stitch, you must work knit 1, and purl 1 all across the row.
If you want a 1x1 rib stitch pattern, it will look like this:
- Row 1: Knit 1, purl 1 across the row.
- Row 2: Knit into the purl stitches and purl into the knit stitches across the row.
A 2x2 rib would be :
- Row 1: knit 2, purl 2 across the row.
- Row 2: Knit the purl stitches and purl the knit stitches across the row.
#6. Seed Stitch
Seed stitch knitting creates a lovely textured fabric and is a popular type of knitting stitch.
If you have an even number of stitches:
- Row 1: knit 1, purl 1, repeat to end.
- Row 2: purl 1, knit1, repeat to end.
If you have an odd number of stitches:
- Row 1: knit 1, purl 1, repeat to the last stitch, knit 1.
- Row 2: Repeat this pattern for all remaining rows.
You can see from these instructions that in each row, a purl must sit on top of a knit stitch, and a knit must sit on top of a purl stitch. This is what gives the stitch its lovely textured stitch patterns.
#7. Moss Stitch
Seed stitch and moss stitch knitting are often confused, and indeed, they are very similar. In both, you knit 1 and then purl 1.
The difference is that when you do moss stitch, you work two rows of "knit 1, purl 1," followed by two rows of "purl 1, knit 1," and so on. So each row repeats itself twice.
For moss stitch to work, there must be an even number of stitches. With the Moss Stitch, you don't knit on top of a purl or purl on top of a knit.
Instead, you knit two rows on top of two rows of purl, and then you knit the "opposite" stitches. I like to think of moss stitch as a kind of "elongated" seed stitch.
Beginner Skills for Basic Knitting Stitches
This method of casting on knitting is called the cable method.
- Start with a slip knot.
- Insert the right needle from left to right into the slip knot. Keep the tension on the yarn. The right needle is behind the left.
- Wind yarn counter-clockwise around the right needle
- Pull yarn tightly between needles.
- Pull the wrap of yarn through the loop.
- Twist the loop on your needle and slide it onto the left needle. You now have two stitches.
- Instead of placing the needle into the front of the next stitch, insert it between the stitches. Go through both sides of the stitch.
- Wrap yarn around the right needle and pull through to form a new stitch.
- Twist and place onto the left needle.
- Continue until you have enough stitches.
This gives your work a twisted cable effect. It may be tight, so keep your tension loose or use larger needles while casting on.
Increasing Basic Knitting Stitches
This is the easiest way to increase knitting; however, it leaves a small hole in the fabric. If you want a smooth, unnoticeable increase, use one of the other techniques. This method doesn't slant, so it can be used on both edges.
- Wrap yarn over the right needle between two stitches front to back.
- Continue knitting with the loop on the needle.
- Next row (purl), treat the wrapped loop as a stitch.
Another method creates an extra stitch by working into the same stitch twice. You'll knit into the front and back of the same stitch.
For symmetrical increases, make the first one after 2 border stitches and the last one 3 stitches from the end.
- Row 1: Knit 2, knit into the front of the next stitch, leave it on the needle, then into the back leg of the same stitch. Knit to last 4 stitches, knit 1 into front and rear, and knit 3. This increases 2 stitches in the row.
- Row 2: Knit2, purl to last 2 stitches, knit 2.
Repeat these 2 rows.
Decreasing Basic Knitting Stitches
The easiest and most common way to decrease knitting is to knit together two stitches. This makes a decrease that goes to the right.
If you're decreasing on both sides of a piece, you'll need to make the decreases mirror each other for a balanced look. So you'll also need to learn how to do the left-leaning decrease, which is called "slip, slip knit" or "slip one, knit one, pass slip stitch over." Both of these methods make one stitch out of two stitches.
Knit two together (K2tog)
Knit two together (k2tog) is the easiest way to decrease, but as already mentioned, it will make your decrease lean to the right, so it's best to use it at the end of a row.
- Put the right needle through the front of the second stitch on your needle, then from left to right through the first stitch.
- Knit together these two stitches as if you were only knitting one stitch. At the same time, pull the yarn through both stitches
- Drop both loops on the needle.
- At the end, there will only be one stitch on the right needle, and one decrease will have been made.
Slip one stitch, knit one stitch, and pass the slip stitch over. (Abbreviated as PSSO, SKP, or SSK)
- This decrease is angled to the left, so it can also be used to start a row. Slip one stitch from the left needle to the right needle as if you were knitting.
- Knit the next stitch the way you normally would.
- Insert the point of the left-hand needle from left to right into the front of the slipped stitch.
- Lift this slipped stitch over the top of the knit stitch and off both needles.
- One stitch is left, and one less stitch is made.
- Most of the time, you will decrease on both sides of a knit row. This means that you will decrease two stitches per row and then not decrease at all on the next purl row.
Casting Off Basics Knitting Stitches
To finish off your knitting and keep it from unraveling, you need to cast off the knitting.
- When you are on the last row, knit 2 stitches. Draw the first stitch over the second, thus leaving only 1 stitch on the needle.
- Knit the next stitch. Draw the stitch already on the needle over it.
- Keep doing this until you have only 1 stitch left.
- Cut the yarn and pull it through the final loop.
Basic Knitting Stitches - Easy Knitting Projects
Here are 3 of the most popular and easiest projects to knit with your basic knitting stitches. These are all free knitting patterns for beginner knitters.
How to Knit a Coaster
How to Knit a Hat
How to Knit a Scarf for Beginners
FAQs about Basic Knitting Stitches
Here are some of your questions about the basic stitches answered:
What basic knitting stitch takes the least yarn?
Stockinette stitch uses less yarn than garter stitch because garter stitch is not as tall.
What is the most popular type of knitting stitch?
Stockinette stitch is most often used in basic knitting patterns. It is well-liked because of its smooth appearance. Most sweaters are knitted in stockinette stitch.
What is the most basic knitting stitch?
The garter stitch is one of the most basic knit stitches. It is the easiest stitch for beginner knitters and relaxing to knit as there is little variation.
Is Knitting or crochet easier?
Crochet is considered a little easier because it involves only a single hook and has fewer tools and techniques. But many people still prefer knitting! Read more about knitting vs crochet.
What should a beginner knit first?
A dishcloth or a washcloth knitted in a soft, absorbent cotton yarn will be quick and easy to complete. Learning how to knit coasters is also quick and easy. People often suggest a scarf as a beginner project, which is also a good idea, but it just takes a lot longer to knit. Knitting is a slow hobby, but very rewarding all the same!
Basic Knitting Stitches - In Conclusion
There you have it in a nutshell - a quick and easy guide to help you get started with knitting stitches. I hope this article answered any questions you had about basic knitting stitches and made you want to try out this great hobby. It is very satisfying to be able to make your own clothes and gifts that people will really appreciate. Now that you know the basics of this craft, you can learn more about each part and start a healthy, lifelong habit!
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