Step-by-Step Knitting Instructions for Beginners on How to Knit

With our simple knitting instructions giving you step-by-step images on how to cast on, cast off, knit, increase and decrease you will soon learn how to knit, even if you are a total knitting beginner.

And if you are having trouble trying to figure out the knitting abbreviations in your knitting pattern, help is at hand.

Knitting Basics

Knitting needles are plain, rounded bars of steel, bode, wood or celluloid, of varying degrees of thickness, from 1/2 inch and ooooo, to 24. Knitting can be done on two, four or even one pin. That worked on two needles is sometimes called " flat web " and is used for knitted garments which are sewn together, whilst that done on four needles forms a round.

Step-by-Step Knitting Instructions on How to Cast On

casting on in knitting

All knitting is begun from a single loop on the needle, made by holding wool between thumb and first finger of left hand, the " tag ' hanging down in the palm. With right hand twist wool round into a ring (fig. 1) held in position with  the left thumb.

Figure 1 Casting on with the Loop
casting on in knitting to form a start loopLet the wool from the ball pass over the tag-end keeping the ball on the right. Pull the wool from the ball up through the ring (fig. 2) then let the ring gradually slide up this wool and so form a loop. Pass this loop on to a needle.

Hold the needle with the loop in the left hand, take the second needle in the right hand, holding it between the thumb and first finger, exactly as when holding a pen, the wool being over the  first finger, under the second and third fingers and over the fourth finger.

Figure 2 Drawing the Loop Through
casting on using 2 needles

Pass the point of the needle from front to back through the upper thread of the loop on the left-hand needle, when the left needle will be on top. (fig. 3)

NB - The German method of casting on in knitting is done by holding the needles and wool slightly differently, and is considered by many to be quicker.

Figure 3 Passing the Needle Through the Loop

Step-by-Step Knitting Instructions - How to Cast On Using the German Method

Hold the hands over the needles, which are held between the first finger and thumb of each hand, with the thread over the first, second and third fingers of the left hand, and held tightly between the little and third finger. Put the right needle through the stitch, but at the back, instead of the front, open the stitch out, twist the needle round the thread stretched on the left fingers, draw it through the stitch, with a movement of the left wrist bring the right needle to the front, push the left needle down, and drop the stitch on it.

Method 1 - Knitting Instructions - How to Cast On with One Needle

The left hand and this wool must now be passed over the thumb from left to right, then under the thumb from right to left and again over, thus completely encircling the thumb. Place the point of the needle fronn front to back, under the two top rows of this ring, pass the wool from the ball, over the point of the needle, guide the needle with this wool on it through the ring and draw the stitch thus made, up-against the needle. At the same time release the ring drawing up the wool to complete the stitch.

Each following stitch is made in the same way. With this method of casting on it is not necessary to knit into the backs of the stitches for the first row.

Method 2 - Knitting Instructions - How to Cast On with Two Needles

casting on with 2 needles - knitting instructions for beginners
Casting on with two needles (fig.4) is not quite so firm but is generally used for fine work. With the single loop on the needle, start by bringing the wool up at the back of both needles, then over the point of the right-hand one, drawing it upwards through the loop on the left-hand needle.

Figure 4-Casting on with 2 Needles

Adding stitches when casting on in knitting

Pull the stitch on the right-hand needle out until it is an inch or more long (fig. 5) then put the point of the left-hand needle into this loop. Slip out the right-hand needle into this loop.

Figure 5 Adding Stitches

casting on in knitting
Slip out the right-hand needle, and so add a new stitich to the left-hand needle, gently pulling it up close to the needle. (fig. 6)

Figure 6 Adding Stitches with 2 Needles

A row of cast on stitches

Continue like this until the specified number of stitches are all on the left-hand needle. (fig. 7)

Figure 7 A row of cast on stitches

Step-by-Step Knitting Instructions for Garter Stitch or Plain Knitting

Begin by casting on the required number of stitches, then take the needle with the cast-on stitches and hold it in the left hand, with its point between the thumb and first finger.

how to knit with knitting instructions for beginners Take the other needle between thumb and first finger of the right hand as shown left. Then insert the point of the needle from left to right through the first stitch on the left-hand needle.

With the first finger of the right hand, pass the wool round the point of the right-hand needle (first under, then over) keeping the wool always at the back of the work, draw the wool on the needle through the stitch to the front of the knitting, slip the old stitch off the left-hand needle, and keep the new stitch on the right-hand needle.

Continue in this way until all stitches are worked. Now reverse the needles, hold them as at first and continue to work each row in exactly the same way for the length required,

An example of Plain Knitting the most basic of Knitting Patterns

Plain knitting, as above, also called garter stitch is the easiest of all stitches to make, and is looks the same on the right and wrong sides. It is one of the principal basic stitches in knitting patterns.

Step-by-Step Knitting Instructions on Stocking Stitch

Cast on the number of stitches required and, holding the needles as previously described knit one plain row. The second row is purl. Hold the needles - as before, the full needle in the left hand and the spare needle in the right (for this row always keep the wool in front of the work, pass the point of the right-handed needle under the wool and insert it from right to left, through the first stitch bringing the needle in front of the left needle. With the first finger of the right hands pass the wool over the point, then under the needle to the front again.

Then draw the wool on the needle- through stitch to the back of the work, slip the old stitch off the left-hand needle and keep the new stitch on the right-hand needle.Continue in this way until all stitches are worked off. Repeat these two rows; 1plain, I purl) for the length required.

An example of Stocking Stitch as a Basic Knitting Pattern

Stocking stitch, or stocking web as it is sometimes called, consists of one row of purl and one of plain. The wrong side of the knitting looks the same as plain knitting. This is another example of a basic knitting pattern.

Step-by-Step Knitting Instructions for Ribbed Knitting

This is done on any number of stitches, divisible by the number of stitches in the rib, and is worked by knitting first plain and then purl, in twos or fours, as desired. This type of knitting is chiefly used for cuffs, neckbands, and welting for stockings and jumpers. It is particularly elastic so that while fitting closely, it will stretch to almost any size.

With ribbed knitting the width of the rib can be varied according to the article being knitted. The usual combination for welts is either two plain, two purl, or one plain, one purl.

Step-by-Step Knitting Instructions on how to Increase Stitches in Knitting

an example of increasing knitting stitches This is simply done by knitting two stitches into one. That is by knitting into the back as well as the front of the stitch, before slipping off the needle.  The effect of increasing this way is show in the photo on the left.

Another very neat way of increasing a knitting stitch is to knit a stitch into the loop just below the next stitch to be knitted on the left-hand needle.

An example of increasing stitches in knitting

Step-by-Step Knitting Instructions on how to Decrease Stitches in Knitting

Stitches in knitting can be decreased either by knitting two stitches together, or purling two stitches together, as the case may be.

Another way is to slip one stitch, knit the next, then pass the slipped stitch over. To slip a stitch, simply take the stitch from the left-hand needle to the right-hand needle without knitting it.

Step-by-Step Knitting Instructions on how to Make Stitches when Knitting

To make a stitch in open knitting patterns, that is in plain knitting, pass the thread to the front of the work through the pins and back again over the pins. In purl knitting when the thread is already at the front of the work, pass it over the needle and right around it, so that it comes to the front again. This makes a new stitch when knitted off in the next row.

Step-by-Step Knitting Instructions on how to do Double Knitting

Double knitting is when you begin by casting on an even number of stitches. Bring the wool to the front and slip purlwise, pass the wool to the back and knit the next stitch, plain. Bring the wool to the front and slip the next stitch purlwise. Pass the wool to the back and knit the folowing stitch plain.  Repeat in this way, alternately slipping one stitch and knitting one stitch to the end of the row. Repeat for the length required. The stitch which was slipped in one row, must aways be knitted in the next.

Step-by-Step Knitting Instructions on Grafting Knitting Pieces

This as the method of neatly joining together two pieces of knitting and is much used for the shoulder of jumpers, etc. When leaving stitches for grafting, do not break the wool off close to the last stitch, but leave a long end. Thread this into a wool needle and place the two needles containing stitches together, right side outside, holding the work so that the end of the wool is at the right-hand end of the back needle. (Diagram A)

Pass the wool needle through the first loop of the front needle, purlwise (Diagram B), but do not slip the loop off the knitting needle. Pass the needle through first loop of the back needle as if about to knit but do not slip loop off (Diagram C). Slip off the first loop as if for plain knitting in the front rows but keep the loop on the wool needle until the next loop is worked.

 Pass the needle through the second loop as if for purling, but do not slip the loop off the knitting needle (Diagram D). In the back row, slip off the first loops, as for purling, keeping on the wool needle, pass through the second loop, as for knitting, but do not slip the loop off the knitting needle. Repeat until all the loops are worked off. Fasten off.

Step-by-Step Knitting Instructions on Casting Off

Knit the first two stitches then pass the left-hand needle from left to right through the first stitch and pull the stitch over the second one and off the right-hand needle. Now knit the next stitch and take the second one over this and off the needle in the same way as the first stitch. Continue thus until only one stitch remains, break off the wool and slip the end through the last stitch, which is now slipped off the needle and the end drawn tight.

Another method is to knit the first stitches together, slip the stitch on the right-hand needle on to the left one, then knit this stitch together with the third one on the right-hand needle. Continue like this until only one stitch remains. Break off the wool and finish.

Step-by-Step Knitting Instructions for Dropped Stitches

Stitches accidentally drop from time to time. So how do you pick up dropped stitches in knitting?

They should be picked up at once or the whole piece of work could be spoilt. Dropped stitches can be seen at once byt the loop forming the stitch running down the whole length of the work. If it is impossible to pick this up neatly, unravel the work, place the loop in its right position on the needle and once more proceed to re-knit.

Knitting Tips

One of the features of good knitting is its evenness, which may be obtained by working steadily, whether quickly or slowly. Usually a quick worker knits more evenly than a slow one.

Always finish a row before putting the knitting down,  because if you leave the work in the middle, the stitches will stretch.

We hope you have found our knitting instructions helpful and are inspired to start using some of our free knitting patterns soon!