There are just a few knitting basics you need to know. Once you’ve mastered those you’ll be able to knit many different things.
FOUR KNITTING TECHNIQUES EVERY KNITTER SHOULD KNOW
With just a few basics, you can knit a ton of things and once you’re mastered these basics you’ll soon be able to tackle more advanced techniques.
KNITTING BASICS #1 – CAST ON
If you have someone close by who knows how to knit, it’s okay to have them cast on for you. When I learned how to knit, my mum would cast on for me for a couple of years.
However, if you’re on your own, casting on is an essential technique to learn. You won’t really get anywhere with knitting until you have stitches on a needle.
There are so many different ways to cast on for knitting, depending on what you want to knit. Some are stretchy, some are ornamental and some are just plain workhorses.
A good basic cast on is the knitted cast on. This cast on is called the knitted cast on because you’re basically knitting each stitch unto the needle.
If you’ve already mastered the knit stitch this cast on will be easy for you to get a handle on. If not, it’s great practise that will make the actual knit stitch much easier to learn. So it’s a win-win situation.
KNITTING BASICS #2 – THE KNIT STITCH
The knit stitch (K) forms the basis of every other stitch there is in knitting. It’s the most important stitch to master and you can knit many things just using this stitch.
If you knit every row and are knitting back and forth you will make garter stitches. If you’re knitting in the round you’ll create the stockinette stitch.
There are two main ways of forming the knit stitch and every other stitch. One is continental and the other is English. Americans typically knit the English way also called throwing. I knit the continental way, or by picking, which is generally considered faster.
Throwing or picking refers to how you handle the yarn. Picking requires fewer motions which is why it’s considered faster
If you’re completely new to knitting you get to choose which way you want to knit. It doesn’t really matter which way you knit. Take into consideration how the people who will help you knit and learn the way they do. If you plan to learn from someone online, then find one or two people you like and stick to them.
The most important thing is that you choose one style and stick to it.
It’ll get really confusing fast if you learn to knit one way and purl another. There may be a time and place for doing a stitch “the other way”, but when you’re just learning to knit certainly isn’t one.
How to Make the English Knit Stitch
How to Make the Continental Knit Stitch
KNITTING BASICS #3 – THE PURL STITCH
The purl stitch is essentially the knit stitch reversed.
You’ll need to know this stitch if you want to knit anything other than garter stitch when knitting back and forth. The purl stitch allows you to knit stockinette stitch flat or garter stitch in the round as well as many other textures stitches, such as moss stitch.
Purl stitches are also essential if you want to work with any type of ribbing. It can take some time to get the right tension when purling so don’t beat yourself up if you can see a marked difference between your knits and purls at the beginning.
With more practice, you’ll soon be able to keep the same tension when you’re knitting and purling, which is really important when you begin to knit projects requiring you to hit a certain gauge.
How to Make the Purl Stitch – English Style
How to Make the Purl Stitch – Continental Style
KNITTING BASICS #4 – CAST OFF / BIND OFF
Casting off or Binding off (depending on where in the English speaking world you are) is the reversed of casting on. It’s the way you end your knitting project and get all those stitches securely off your needles.
Just as with cast ons, there are many different ways to bind off your knitting depending on what features you are looking for.
A simple and versatile cast off is the knitted cast off. You are basically knitting each stitch using the knit stitch and then lifting it off the needle over the next stitch.
How to Cast Off / Bind Off Your Knitting
Four Basic Knitting Techniques
That’s the four most basic techniques every knitter should know:
- How to cast on
- How to knit
- How to purl
- How to bind off / cast off
Once you’ve mastered all of these, you can begin to experiment with more advanced techniques, such as increases and decreases.