Knitting For Beginners -The Complete Guide Step-By-Step

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This guide – Knitting for Beginners includes everything you need to start knitting.

Have you always wanted to learn how to knit but have never known where to start?

Whether you are an amateur knitter or starting again after a break from your needles, the information here covers all of the steps to teach yourself to knit, including how to start knitting, knitting basics, and essential skills, plus some easy-to-follow knitting patterns.

Knitting for beginners

What Is Knitting?

  • Knitting is a textile craft in which yarn or thread is manipulated to create a fabric or garment by interlocking loops of yarn with knitting needles or a knitting machine.
  • It is a versatile and popular craft that has been practiced for centuries.
  • In knitting, the two main stitches are the knit stitch and the purl stitch.
  • By combining these stitches and varying their order and placement, a wide range of patterns and textures can be achieved.
  • Knitting can be done with various materials such as wool, cotton, acrylic, or blends, and the choice of yarn and needle size can affect the drape, texture, and overall look of the finished piece.
  • Knitting can be used to create a variety of items, including garments (such as sweaters, scarves, hats, socks, and shawls), blankets, home decor items, accessories, and more.
  • It offers endless possibilities for creativity and personal expression.
  • Knitting can be a relaxing and enjoyable hobby, allowing individuals to express their creativity, relieve stress, and produce unique, handmade items.
  • It is also a social activity, with many knitters joining knitting groups or attending knitting classes and workshops to learn and share their skills with others.
  • With the advent of online resources and tutorials, knitting has become more accessible to people of all skill levels, including beginners.
  • Whether knitting for practical purposes or as a form of artistic expression, knitting provides a rewarding and fulfilling craft experience.

Is Knitting Easier Than Crocheting?

The ease of knitting versus crocheting is subjective and can vary from person to person.

Some individuals find knitting easier to learn and execute, while others find crocheting to be more intuitive.

It ultimately depends on your personal preferences and learning style.

Here are a few factors to consider when comparing knitting and crocheting:

  1. Stitch Variety: Crocheting typically offers a wider variety of stitch patterns and techniques. This can make it more versatile for creating intricate designs and textures. Knitting, on the other hand, generally involves simpler stitch patterns.
  2. Learning Curve: Some beginners find knitting easier to grasp because it involves working with two pointed needles, making it easier to control the stitches. Crocheting involves a single hook, which can take a bit more coordination initially.
  3. Speed: Crocheting often progresses more quickly than knitting due to the larger size of the crochet hook and the nature of the stitches. This can make it a preferred choice for projects that require faster completion.
  4. Mistake Correction: Knitting allows for easier stitch correction as individual stitches are independent of each other. If a mistake is made in crocheting, it can sometimes be more challenging to identify and fix.

Ultimately, both knitting and crocheting have their own unique qualities and advantages.

Many people enjoy both crafts and often switch between them based on the desired outcome of their project or their personal preferences.

If you’re a beginner, it might be helpful to try out both knitting and crocheting to see which one feels more comfortable and enjoyable for you.

You can experiment with basic projects in each craft and see which one resonates with you more.

There are abundant resources available, such as books, online tutorials, and local classes, to help you get started in either knitting or crocheting.

Related PostHow To Crochet For Beginners: Easy Complete Guide

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How To Knit – The Knitting Basics

Starting by brushing up on some knitting basics is the best way to learn to knit.

I recommend familiarising yourself with different knitting tools and the various types of yarns available.

Plus some basic knitting abbreviations and terms (US and UK) so that you can start learning how to read knitting patterns (how to read knitting patterns for beginners).

Related Post: Knitting Tools For Beginners {The Essentials}

Artiphany social knitworking canvas knitting bag

What Are The Basic Steps In Knitting In Order?

The basic steps in knitting, performed in order, are as follows:

  1. Cast On: This is the process of creating the first row of cast-on stitches on the needle. There are various cast-on methods, but the simplest one for beginners is the long-tail cast-on. It creates a neat and flexible edge. Learn how to cast on here – How To Cast On Knitting
  2. Knit Stitch: The knit stitch (abbreviated as “k”) is the most basic stitch in knitting. It forms the foundation of many knitting patterns. In this stitch, you insert the right-hand needle into the front of the stitch on the left-hand needle, bring the yarn through, and slide the stitch off the left-hand needle. Learn how to knit the garter stitch here – How To Knit Garter Stitch
  3. Purl Stitch: The purl stitch (abbreviated as “p”) is another fundamental stitch. It creates a different texture from the knit stitch, forming the reverse side of the fabric. To purl, you insert the right-hand needle into the front of the stitch on the left-hand needle from right to left, bring the yarn through, and slide the stitch off the left-hand needle. Learn how to knit the purl stitch here – How to knit the purl stitch (for beginners + a video tutorial)
  4. Knit and Purl Rows: By alternating knit and purl stitches, you create different patterns and textures in your knitting. A row of all knit stitches creates the garter stitch, while a row of all purl stitches creates the stockinette stitch. Learn how to knit the stocking stitch here – How to knit the stockinette stitch (for beginners)
  5. Bind Off: Once you’ve completed your desired number of rows or reached the end of your project, you’ll need to bind off (also known as casting off) to finish the edge. This process creates a secure edge by slipping stitches over each other and off the needle. Learn how to cast off here – How to cast off knitting for total beginners (step by step)
  6. Weave in Ends: After binding off, you’ll have loose yarn ends that need to be woven into your work to secure them and give a neater finish. Use a tapestry needle to thread the yarn through the stitches on the wrong side of your knitting, following a discreet path.

These steps form the foundation of knitting and will enable you to create a wide range of projects.

As you become more comfortable with the basics, you can explore more advanced techniques and stitch patterns.

Practice and patience are key to mastering knitting!

Shades of water yarn and knitting

What Should A Beginner Start Knitting?

As a beginner knitter, it’s best to start with simple projects that allow you to practice the basic knitting stitches and techniques.

Here are a few project ideas that are suitable for beginners:

  1. Scarf: A scarf is a classic and popular project for beginners. It allows you to practice the basic knit stitch and create a practical and wearable item. You can start with a simple garter stitch scarf (knitting every row) or explore different stitch patterns as you gain more confidence. Related Post: Garter Stitch Scarf Pattern (Beginner-Friendly)
  2. Dishcloth or Washcloth: Dishcloths or washcloths are small projects that are quick to knit and perfect for practicing different stitch patterns. They make great gifts too. Choose cotton yarn, as it’s absorbent and durable for these types of projects.
  3. Hat: Knitting a hat is a great way to expand your skills while creating a functional accessory. Look for patterns specifically designed for beginners, as they often incorporate basic stitches and simple construction techniques. Related post: How To Knit A Hat For Complete Beginners (+ Video Tutorial)
  4. Headband or Ear Warmer: Headbands or ear warmers are smaller projects that knit up quickly and allow you to practice knitting in the round. They are great for keeping your ears warm during colder months.
  5. Baby Blanket: If you’re up for a slightly larger project, knitting a baby blanket can be a rewarding experience. Look for patterns that use basic stitches and techniques, and choose a soft and washable yarn suitable for babies. Related post: Easy Baby Blanket Knitting Pattern (Broken Rib Stitch)

Remember to choose patterns that are labeled as beginner-friendly and read through them carefully before starting.

It’s also helpful to watch video tutorials or attend beginner knitting classes if you prefer hands-on guidance.

Starting with these simpler projects will allow you to practice the fundamentals of knitting while creating beautiful and useful items.

As you gain confidence and experience, you can gradually take on more complex projects.

ribbed beanie

What Do I Need To Start Knitting?

To start knitting, you’ll need a few basic supplies in your kit.

Here’s a list of essentials to get you started:

  1. Knitting Needles: Choose a pair of knitting needles appropriate for your project and yarn. The most common types are straight needles (single-pointed) or circular needles. They come in different materials, such as bamboo, aluminum, or plastic.
  2. Yarn: Select a yarn that suits your project and personal preference. There are many types of yarn available, such as acrylic, wool, cotton, or blends. Choose a yarn appropriate for your skill level and the desired finished product.
  3. Scissors: A pair of small, sharp scissors will come in handy for cutting yarn.
  4. Tapestry Needle: Also known as a yarn needle or darning needle, this large-eyed needle is used for weaving loose ends and sewing pieces together.
  5. Stitch Markers: Stitch markers are useful for marking specific stitches or sections in your knitting. They can be as simple as small plastic rings or safety pins.
  6. Measuring Tools: A measuring tape or ruler is essential for checking your gauge (stitches per inch) and measuring your project as it progresses.
  7. Stitch Holder or Spare Yarn: When working on larger projects or garments, you may need to temporarily hold stitches aside. Stitch holders or spare yarn can be used for this purpose.
  8. Knitting Gauge: A knitting gauge tool or a set of gauge measurements will help you check the size of your stitches and ensure they match the pattern requirements.
  9. Knitting Patterns: Find beginner-friendly knitting patterns to guide you through your projects. There are numerous free patterns available online, in books, or through knitting communities.
  10. Optional Accessories: Additional tools that can be helpful include a row counter (to keep track of rows or pattern repeats), knitting needle protectors (to keep stitches from slipping off the needles), a crochet hook for picking up dropped stitches, and a knitting bag or storage container to keep your supplies organized.

Remember, the specific supplies you need may vary depending on your project and personal preferences.

As you gain experience, you may choose to expand your collection of tools and accessories.

What Are The Best Knitting Needles For Beginners? 

For beginners, it’s generally recommended to start with knitting needles that are comfortable, versatile, and easy to handle.

Here are a few types of knitting needles that are often recommended for beginners:

  1. Straight Needles: Straight knitting needles are a classic choice for beginners. They are simple, and straightforward, and come in various materials such as bamboo, aluminum, or plastic. Bamboo needles are often preferred by beginners because they have a bit of grip, which helps prevent stitches from slipping off accidentally.
  2. Circular Needles: Circular knitting needles consist of two needle tips connected by a flexible cable. They are very versatile and can be used for both flat knitting (back-and-forth) and knitting in the round. Circular needles are particularly useful for larger projects like blankets or sweaters, as they can hold a larger number of stitches. They also distribute the weight of the project more evenly, reducing strain on your hands and wrists.
  3. Interchangeable Needle Sets: Interchangeable needle sets are a great investment for beginners who want to have a variety of needle sizes and lengths without buying multiple sets. These sets typically include a range of needle tips and interchangeable cables, allowing you to customize the length of your needles based on your project. They offer versatility and can accommodate different types of knitting projects.
  4. Needle Material: Knitting needles come in various materials, such as wood, metal, or plastic. Each material has its own characteristics. Wooden needles, particularly bamboo, are often preferred by beginners because they provide a good grip and have a warm feel. Metal needles, such as aluminum or stainless steel, are smooth and allow stitches to slide easily. Plastic needles are lightweight and inexpensive, making them a budget-friendly option.

Ultimately, the best knitting needles for beginners depend on personal preference.

It can be helpful to try out different types and materials to find what feels most comfortable and enjoyable for you to work with.

Check out this post to learn all about the types of knitting needles and the best knitting needles for beginners. Best Knitting Needles For Beginners

Knitting needles for beginners

What Is The Best Yarn For Beginners?

For beginners, it’s recommended to start with a yarn that is easy to work with and forgiving.

Here are a few types of yarn that are great for beginners:

  1. Worsted Weight Acrylic Yarn: Worsted weight yarn is a medium-weight yarn that is very versatile and commonly used for a wide range of projects. Acrylic yarn is affordable, widely available, and easy to care for. It comes in a variety of colors and doesn’t split easily, making it a great choice for beginners.
  2. Cotton Yarn: Cotton yarn is another good option for beginners. It has a smooth texture and is easy to handle. It’s a great choice for projects like dishcloths, washcloths, or baby items. Cotton yarn is breathable and machine washable.
  3. Chunky Yarn: Chunky yarn is thicker and works up quickly, making it a great choice for beginners who want to see results faster. It’s often used for cozy blankets, scarves, or hats. The larger size of the yarn makes it easier to see your stitches, which can be helpful when learning.
  4. Wool Blend Yarn: A blend of wool and acrylic or wool and nylon can be a good choice for beginners. It combines the warmth and durability of wool with the added benefits of synthetic fibers. Wool blend yarns are soft, come in various weights, and are suitable for a wide range of projects.

When starting out, it’s also a good idea to choose yarn in a light or medium color, as it can be easier to see your stitches and correct any mistakes.

Ultimately, the best yarn for beginners depends on the project you have in mind and your personal preferences.

Experimenting with different yarn types will help you discover what works best for you.

Related posts:

knitting for beginners starts with choosing yarn from yarn filled shelves

Knitting Patterns And Knitting Abbreviations 

Knitting patterns can be intimidating for all makers, especially for newbies who are just starting out. 

Your knitting pattern is your guide on how you will create your knitting project. 

All the details are there, the materials (yarn, knitting needles, extra materials like scissors, a yarn needle, tape measure, cable needle, and everything else you might need), photos, the gauge, the abbreviations, and of course the pattern.  

Learn how to read knitting patterns here.How to read knitting patterns for beginners

Patterns use abbreviations that are shortened ways of telling you what techniques to do. 

All the abbreviations used in the pattern will be included so you will always have your guide. 

For example;

  • k or K – knit
  • p or P – purl

Learn everything about knitting abbreviations here – Knitting abbreviations and terms (US and UK)

learn how to knit garter stitch

How To Hold Your Knitting Needles 

At first, it might be challenging to even hold your knitting needles, where to place your yarn, and how to separate your long tail from your working yarn.

There is no right or wrong way to do it, you have to find the way it feels more natural to you. 

Watching video tutorials from other makers can help you.

knitting for beginners picking up stitches

Learn How To Knit

Before you try to tackle different types of knitting stitches and various techniques, you will need to know how to start building your basic skills.

You will need to learn how to start your knitting by understanding how to create a slip knot, how to cast on stitches, and how to cast off so you can knit your first row of stitches. 

Once you’ve set yourself up and you feel like you’re ready to start knitting, you can try some basic knitting stitches to create your first project. – 12 Simple Knitting Stitches For Beginners

Understanding how to knit the garter stitch, how to knit the purl stitch, and how to knit the stockinette stitch will give you the essential knowledge to complete simple knitting patterns.

After you’ve mastered knit and purl, you can move on to some other simple knitting stitches for beginners, such as the rib stitch (how to knit rib stitch patterns (1×1 and 2×2 ribbing)) or seed stitch (how to knit seed stitch for beginners).

Start with something basic

A good place to start knitting is by making swatches and dishcloths.

A simple project like a dishcloth is ideal for new knitters practicing their first stitches and for seasoned makers who want to experiment with a new stitch. 

Give yourself time to try the different stitches and sample them before you move on to making a full design.

Then move on to more advanced beginner techniques

You can also learn how to pick up stitches in knitting and how to increase (KFB knitting – How to make an increase) or decrease stitches (How to knit two stitches together (K2tog)), for when you move onto slightly more advanced patterns that will require finishing or a small amount of shaping.

After you’ve learned some essential stitches, you can move on to working in the round and using circular knitting needles. – How to join knitting in the round with circular knitting needles

It’s not as scary as you might think!

This means knitting in a loop and will allow you to make circular-knit items, such as hats, beanies, and infinity scarves.

You can try this simple hat beginner knitting pattern, which is an excellent design for a first project using circular needles. – How To Knit A Hat With Circular Needles

When you become more advanced you can learn how to read a knitting chart, which will introduce you to using more than one color or knitting cable designs.

knitting for beginners with yarn and knitting needles

Choosing a Knitting Pattern

Knitting patterns are separated into four levels of difficulty.

  • Basic/beginner patterns are made with the basic knitting stitches, usually on straight needles, with step-by-step instructions so you can make your finished product easy peasy.
  • Advanced Beginner/easy patterns – These projects are for people who already know how to cast on, cast off, knit garter stitch, and other basic knitting stitches.
  • Intermediate – The intermediate level is for those of you who have the basics down and want to move on to something that is a little more challenging.
  • Advanced/complex – This is the level that gives you intricate and complex stitch patterns, colorwork, and shaping using a variety of skilled techniques.

Learn all about knitting skill levels here. – Knitting Skill Levels Explained

Tips for beginners

  • The best place to start when learning how to knit is to try beginner-friendly knitting patterns, which include more basic stitches and no requirements for grading.
  • You can start with patterns for beginners and learn about the different types of knitting skill levels.
  • You will find you are going to work your way up the ladder quickly.

More techniques 

  • You can also learn how to substitute yarn in a knitting pattern, as the pattern you choose may not have yarn that you can easily buy.
  • Knowing how to substitute this will make your knitting life easier!
  • Once you got the basics down you can experiment with more complicated knitting stitches and new techniques. 
  • Play around with yarn, fibers, textures 
  • Check out these knitting lessons to find instructional blog posts, video tutorials, and more! 

37 Easy Knitting Patterns For Beginners

Choose a beginner friendly knitting pattern from this list for one of your first projects.

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8 Comments

  1. HEllo

    I’m looking for the pattern on how to knit the shawl that Claire is always wearing and attaching in her back. Grey color with a black line in it. I don’t know if you have it free. If so, would it be possible to send it to me ?

    thanking you in advance

    Nathalie

    1. Hello, I have a pattern for that coming very soon for free! As well as other shawls similar to those that Claire wears in the show. They will get published this month 🙂 You can find Handy Little Me on Facebook or Instagram for updates. Thanks for visiting!

        1. Hello Genelyn, you would need some knitting needles and yarn to start off with so that you can learn the knitting basics like casting on, the knit stitch, garter stitch and casting off.
          Large needles – size 5mm (US 8) or larger would be a good start and some yarn suitable for whichever needle size you choose.
          You will see that information on the yarn label – it will say which size needles it is suitable for.
          I hope that helps 🙂
          Louise

  2. Thank you so much for all the amazing information and explanations! Your site is amazing! I’m new to knitting and it has helped me so much.

    1. Hello Katie,
      Thank you so much for your kind words, I’m so happy that you found the tutorials helpful.
      Happy knitting!
      Louise