Hey knitters! This basic guide for beginners is hopefully going to help you conquer your next steps if you have just started knitting. Moving on from my last post - showing you how to cast on, knit in garter stitch and cast off - we are now moving forward and learning how to purl, knit in stockinette stitch and how pick up stitches.
Once you have mastered the garter stitch (knit stitch) you can move onto the purl stitch. The purl stitch is where your yarn is in front of the stitch and not the back. Check out this video tutorial here to get started:
The purl stitch is used in many patterns and can be knit in the English way or the Continental method. Take a look at this gallery of purl stitch examples to give you some inspiration:
Once you can recognise a knit stitch from purl stitch, you can keep track of where you are in your work. Whether you are working a pattern that includes, stockinette, ribbing or seed stitch - if you know what came last, then you will know what comes next.
Moving on to stockinette stitch - The knit stitch looks like a 'V'. This is the right side of the work. The purl stitch looks like a bun and is on the wrong side of the work. To learn how to start stockinette stitch check out this video tutorial here ->
Stockinette stitch is used in a whole load of patterns and is a common stitch to learn. Here are a few examples in this gallery of what stockinette stitch looks like:
Another technique you will need to know about is picking up stitches. This may be needed for a number of reasons, including adding a neckline, embellishing edges or changing the direction of your knitting. If you are picking up stitches along a cast off edge, insert your needle into the space under both loops of the existing stitch. Lie the yarn over the needle and pull it up through the hole. Check out this video tutorial on how to pick up stitches here:
You may also need to know how to pick up a dropped stitch. This has happened to me a few times, mainly when I'm talking or watching tv and knitting. It is easy to pick up stitches though and remember to keep calm! See how to pick up a dropped stitch here:
So I have covered a few things here and I hope that you are enjoying your new found skills as a knitter. My top tips for knitters are as follows:
- Join a knitting club - in your area, to meet other knitters. This is a great way of sharing skills and making new friends at the same time. I used to go to a great knitting club and loved to see what everyone was making.
- Experiment with your materials - yarns and needles until you find something you love. You can really tell the difference between cheap and expensive yarn. So try out various colours and textures in your projects as much as your budget will allow. The same is for knitting needles, sometimes I like bamboo but most of the time I use my trusty 4mm acrylic needles and yes they are shiny and purple!
- Knit something you will enjoy making - this goes without saying really, making something your heart isn't in will probably lie unfinished and forgotten. Find a pattern that you can get excited about.
- Don't be shy! - When people ask you about what you are making tell them and show them. Most of the time they will be fellow knitters too and will tell you about their own work. Proudly show off any of your creations, because it is amazing that you can make something with your hands!
- Take it with you - if you are travelling, waiting around or even getting the bus to work, take your knitting with you (smaller projects are better for on the go for obvious reasons) and enjoy your KIP (knitting in public).
I hope you are all enjoying your knitting and let me know how it is going in the comments. I'm making a hat at the moment (finishing something I started a few months ago - mainly because I need the needles for something else!). Happy making knitters!