Learn how to knit stitch! Did you know that the word ‘knit’ is derived from ‘knot’? This is because what you are doing when knitting is essentially creating a little row of knots all along your knitting needle, then turning and creating another row of interlocking knots until you have ‘knotted’ together a whole piece of fabric, all from a single strand of yarn! Continue reading to find out more about knit stitching and learn a few easy knitting stitches along the way.
Knit Stitch Tutorial
The knit stitch is one of the most basic knitting stitches and can be used alone or in combination with other stitches. From the front, a knit stitch looks like a little v shape. If you do a knit stitch on every row, it will create garter stitch.
But, first things first. You will need to learn knit stitching to start this wonderful creative journey!
Knit Stitch Abbreviations
In most knitting patterns, the knit stitch is referred to as k1 stitch. This means to knit stitch one.
Knit Stitch - Materials Needed
- Knitting needles suitable for that yarn.
- Yarn needle- to weave in ends and if required to stitch knitted pieces together.
If you are just learning knit stitching, it is a good idea to use medium to thick yarn and large needles, US size 6-8. (4.5- 5 mm)
How to Knit Stitch Step by Step
Step 1 - Knit Stitch Cast On
Start by casting on as many stitches as needed. For a trial sample, 20 stitches should be enough. The simplest method of casting on is the thumb or wrap stitch cast on.
- Create a slip knot. To do this, make a loop with your yarn and pull another loop through it. You can do this with your fingers, or using your knitting needle. Tighten gently and slide the knot onto the needle.
- Now wrap the tail end of the yarn around your left thumb
- Using your right hand, insert the needle into this loop from below.
- Wrap the working yarn around the needle to make a new loop.
- Slip that loop onto your needle, remove your thumb, and tighten up firmly, by pulling on the tail end of the yarn. Wrap the yarn around your thumb again, and repeat the movement. Once the next stitch is in place, your cast on stitches are secure.
- Repeat this movement until you have the required number of stitches on your needle. So, create 20 stitches on your needle.
Step 2 - Insert Needle into First Stitch
- Now hold the needle with the cast on stitches in your left hand, and the empty needle in you right hand. Your working yarn (the yarn attached to the ball) must be at the back of the needle.
- Place the right hand needle into the back of the first cast on stitch, from front to back.
- Your needles should form a cross. The right hand needle must be behind the left hand needle.
Step 3 - Wrap Yarn Around Needle
- With your right hand, carry the working yarn over your needle, and wrap it around the right hand needle, counterclockwise. The yarn must come to the front.
My wrap is far looser than it should be, I have done it like this so you can see each step clearly.
- Now pull that wrap down between the needles, firmly.
Step 4 - Slide Back Needle
- Slide the right needle back slightly, so that the loop you have created is close to the tip. Be careful not to allow it to slide off yet!
- Keep a slight tension on this wrap of yarn, and bring the tip of the right needle through the loop on the left needle, with the yarn still wrapped around it. The right needle will move in front of the left needle, pulling the loop with it. Again, it should be a lot tighter than my picture shows!
Step 5 - Slip Off Old Stitch
- Now allow the original loop on the left needle to slide off that needle, keeping the new loop on the right needle. A little knot will form under the needle. Your first knit stitch is made!
- Pull it firmly to tighten the stitch up on the needle. Not too tight, or you won’t be able to insert your needle into it in the next row. Getting this tension right comes with practice.
Step 6 - Continue with Knit Stitch for Rest of Row
While you are getting the hang of these hand movements, you can just keep repeating: In, over, through, and out. That will remind you which step comes next until you are just doing it automatically.
- Now move on to the next stitch on the left hand needle. Repeat each step listed above. Work through all the cast on stitches until your left needle is empty, and your right needle is full.
Step 7 - Second Row of Knit Stitch
- You must now turn your work so that the needle full of stitches is in your left hand, and the empty needle is in your right hand.
- Start again from the beginning of the instructions, step by step, and knit your way across this row.
- Keep repeating until you have created a square or a rectangle.
- You will see a pattern forming, rows of ridges with narrow spaces between them. It should look like a little row of horizontal hills. You have now knitted a square of garter stitch.
You can use your experimental square as a little hot pad, a coaster or a washcloth/make-up remover. Or you can continue to make more squares and sew them all together to make a cute baby blanket.
How to Count Knit Stitch Rows
When counting rows in knit stitch, each ‘ridge’ is worth 2 rows. So count your ridges and multiply by 2, or just count in twos.
How To Increase Knit Stitch
An increase in knitting is the method of making an extra stitch in the course of the work. It is needed when shaping garments. Usually, increases are made on alternate rows, so if you increase on a knit row in stockinette stitch, the purl row following will just be worked ordinarily, with no changes made.
Method 1 - Barred Increase
Knit a stitch in the usual way, then without dropping the last loop from the left-hand needle, knit into the same stitch again through the back of the loop.
You can see that this method leaves a tiny horizontal ‘bar’ (after the 5th stitch from the right), thus it is called a ‘barred’ increase.
Method 2 - Raised Increase
With the right needle, lift the loop from the previous row behind the next stitch to be knitted.
Place this lifted loop on the right needle without knitting it. Continue knitting the next stitch normally. When working the following row (purl) just knit that lifted stitch as a normal stitch.
This is known as a ‘raised’ increase.
Method 3 - Purl Increase
Knit a stitch in the usual way, then without dropping the last loop from the left-hand needle, bring your yarn forward and purl into the same stitch.
This is the easiest method, but it does leave a tiny hole and a purl stitch visible on the right side of your work.
How To Decrease Knit Stitch
To decrease, you need to know how to make a slip stitch. This simply means to transfer a stitch from the left needle to the right without working it in any way.
A decrease is made to reduce one stitch in your work. Decreases are usually made on alternate rows, with a plain row in between. They are also used for shaping knitted garments.
Method 1 - Slanting to the Left
Slip a stitch, knitwise, knit the next stitch then pass the slip stitch over the knitted stitch from right to left.
Method 2 - Knitting 2 Together (Slanting to the Right)
Another method is to knit 2 stitches together through the back of the loops. Simply knit 2 stitches together as if you were just knitting one stitch.
Knit Stitch Patterns - Easy Knitting Stitches
If you know how to work both knit and purl stitches, you can start making easy knitting stitches other than garter stitch!
Amongst the easy knitting stitches, this one is also known as stocking stitch or jersey knit. This stitch is made by working one row of knit stitch, turning, then working one row of purl stitch. It gives a lovely smooth v-shaped pattern on the knit side and a bumpy pattern on the purl side.
Out of the easy knitting stitches, this one gives a lovely elastic quality to your knitting. It is often used at the bottom of garments, for sleeve cuffs and round necklines. The simplest rib stitch is to work knit one, purl one all along the row,
When you turn to work the next row, knit the purl stitches and purl the knit stitches of the previous row. So if you end your row on a purl, start your next row on a knit. In knitting patterns, this is written as 1x1 rib.
You may be instructed to work 2x2 rib in a pattern. This is equally simple, you simply knit 2, then purl 2 all along the row. Again, when you turn your work, knit the purl stitches and purl the knit stitches.
Learning Knit Stitch with Easy Knitting Stitches
While learning to knit stitch, even with these easy knitting stitches, you will probably make mistakes, because the movements are unfamiliar. You may find that you drop stitches, create extra stitches, or knit too tightly or too loosely. Don’t worry about these, they happen to everyone! Don’t even try to correct them yet. Just continue with your sample square, until you feel like the hand movements are becoming automatic. Once you feel comfortable with the hand movements pull out that mistake-ridden square and start again, making another square. Remember that absolutely every skill you learn gets better with practice!
Here is a quote from well-known knitting blogger, Stephanie Pearl Mc Phee (The Yarn Harlot.): “Knitting is still trying to teach me that making big mistakes when you’re learning is how it goes. It is why knitting can unravel (as many times as you need it to.)”
Learning to Knit Stitch with Easy Knitting Stitches - In Conclusion
Once you have mastered these easy knitting stitches and got some experience in the craft of the knit stitch, you will never go back. If you are the type of person who is relaxed about your skills and enjoys the accomplishment of working with lovely yarns and needles without pressure, you will enjoy knitting. If you are the type who loves a challenge and enjoys creating amazing items with precision and perfectionism, you will love knitting just as much! It is a craft for everyone! Enjoy everything about the wonderful craft of knitting and these easy knitting stitches, it is one well worth learning!
- Knitting Needle
- Cast on as many stitches as you need. For a sample try 20 stitches.
- Hold the cast stitches in your left hand. Insert the right needle into the first stitch from front to back.
- With your right hand, wrap the yarn over the needle counterclockwise.
- Pull tight and slide back the needle bringing the tip through the loop.
- Slide the original loop on the left off the end of the needle.
- Repeat for the rest of the row.
- Turn the work so the stitches are in your left hand again and repeat for the next rows.