How to Knit

Five Methods:Making a SlipknotCasting OnKnitting StitchesMaking a Yarn BallCasting Off

In today's high speed world, knitting is surprisingly enjoying a revival of sorts as a calming yet productive hobby. Whether it's a middle-aged man knitting in his cubicle to help keep his blood pressure in check or a child being taught to knit in school because it teaches hand-and-eye coordination, the new generation of knitters do not fall neatly into any one category.

If you want to jump on the knitting bandwagon, this step by step pictorial, geared for beginners, should start you on your way to a lifetime of knitting. Many stitches exist, but you are using the knit stitch to begin. The entire purpose of this very elementary knitting lesson is to teach the basics of casting on, knitting a row, and then casting off. Learn this and you can start knitting any basic article.

Method 1
Making a Slipknot

This will be your first stitch.

  1. Image titled Knit Step 1
    Make a loop with the end of yarn. The long end of the yarn (the one attached to the ball) should be on top of the short end, as shown.
  2. Image titled Knit Step 2
    Place the loop on top of the yarn to the side of the loop.
  3. Image titled Knit Step 3
    Pick up the yarn through the loop. Pull it gently through the loop. Don't pull so much of it, though, that the loose end comes through.
  4. Image titled Knit Step 4
    Pull the knot tight, keeping the loop at the top open.
  5. Image titled Knit Step 5
    Slip this new loop onto one knitting needle.
  6. Image titled Knit Step 6
    Pull on the ends to tighten the knot around the needle.

Method 2
Casting On

When you are casting on, you add more beginning stitches to your needle. There are many cast-on methods, but the backwards loop method shown here is perfect for beginners because it's easy, and gets you started knitting faster.

  1. Image titled Knit Step 7
    Hold the needle with the slipknot in your right hand.
  2. Image titled Knit Step 8
    Drape the working yarn, the yarn attached to your yarn ball, behind your left hand and over your palm. Keep your tail yarn, the short end of yarn attached to nothing, out of the way for now.
  3. Image titled Knit Step 9
    Place the needle underneath the yarn across your palm.
  4. Image titled Knit Step 10
    Pull out your palm from the yarn, and there should be a loop formed around your knitting needle.
  5. Image titled Knit Step 11
    Pull that loop tight by pulling on the working yarn. You have successfully cast on your first stitch!
  6. Image titled Knit Step 12
    Repeat this process with your hand and the yarn until you have cast on as many stitches as you would like. Each time you do this, you create a stitch. The Slipknot from the previous step counts as your first stitch and every loop you add is another stitch. Keep your loops facing upwards and uniform; don't allow them to become twisted or it will be difficult to knit from. You also want to make loose loops with this method; tight loops are very frustrating to knit from.

Method 3
Knitting Stitches

There are various kinds of stitches you can make in knitting, but the actual "knit" stitch is only one of them. You can also do the purl stitch, for example. Since you have to start somewhere, let's begin with the knit stitch.

  1. Image titled Knit Step 13
    Hold the needle with the stitches in your left hand, and hold the needle without stitches in your right hand. Consider wrapping some of the working yarn around your right middle finger. This will keep the yarn in the back of your work.
  2. Image titled Knit Step 14
    Insert the needle without stitches under the front of the first loop (the one closest to the needle point), and push it through so the right needle sits behind the left needle.
  3. Image titled Knit Step 15
    Make sure the working yarn, the yarn attached to your yarn ball, lies in the back of your needles.
  4. Image titled Knit Step 16
    Grab the working yarn attached to the yarn ball (not your tail yarn), and wrap it around the right needle counterclockwise, so that it sits in between the two needles. Wrap the yarn from back to front.
  5. Image titled Knit Step 17
    Look in between your two needles. You should see two holes created by the middle yarn.
    • Maneuver the right needle up and down to position it over the left hole.
  6. Image titled Knit Step 18
    Poke the right needle through the left hole to the front of the left needle. Do this slowly, making sure your loop does not slip off the needle.
    • If you are not looking down at the needles but straight at them, the process will look a bit different. Start pulling the inserted needle out of the loop slowly, making sure that the yarn you just wrapped around it doesn't fall off. It may help to hold that yarn tight so the loop remains snug around the needle.
    • As the point of the needle is about to pull completely out of the loop, turn the point so that it faces you and takes the yarn that was wrapped around it along.
    • What you're doing here is pulling a loop through a stitch. The loop you just pulled onto the second needle is a new stitch that will replace the old stitch.
  7. Image titled Knit Step 19
    Now that you've got a new stitch, pull off the old stitch. Hold onto the un-knit stitches on the left needle with your left hand, and bring the right needle and your knit stitch up and off the the tip off the left needle. If you've created a knot on your right needle, you've knit correctly. (If not pull off whatever you've done, cast on another stitch, and try again.)
  8. Image titled Knit Step 20
    Repeat the knit stitch until you've knitted every stitch that was on the first needle, and they'll all been transferred to the second needle.
  9. Image titled Knit Step 21
    Switch the needles. Move the needle in your right hand with all the finished stitches to your left hand, and move the needle in your left hand that is now empty to your right hand. Make sure your loops are all facing the same way, and your knitted work is to the right of your left needle.
  10. Image titled Knit Step 22
    Knit every row and keep switching needles. Keep doing this and you'll start creating a "garter stitch" pattern.

Method 4
Making a Yarn Ball

  1. Image titled Knit Step 23
    Make your yarn ball. Most yarn comes in a skein that is not convenient to knit from, so your first step before starting to knit should be to make a yarn ball.

Method 5
Casting Off

Cast off to end your piece. This is also known as binding off, and will transform your live loops into the flat finished edge of a knitted piece.

  1. Image titled Knit Step 24
    Knit two stitches.
  2. Image titled Knit Step 25
    Insert your left needle into the first stitch on the right needle or rightmost stitch.
  3. Image titled Knit Step 26
    Lift the first stitch over the second stitch.
  4. Image titled Knit Step 27
    Pull out the left needle, leaving the combined stitch on the right needle.
  5. Image titled Knit Step 28
    Knit another stitch and then repeat this process until only one stitch remains on the right needle.
  6. Image titled Knit Step 29
    Slip the needle out of the last loop. Keep the loop intact.
  7. Image titled Knit Step 30
    Cut the yarn, leaving a 6 inch (15 cm) end.
  8. Image titled Knit Step 31
    Put the cut end through the loop and pull it tight. You can cut off the end so it's very short, or for a more professional look, weave in your ends with a yarn needle.
  9. Image titled Knit Step 32
    Congratulations! You have just knitted for the first time.


  • If it's your first time knitting, it's better to use a thick yarn and bigger needles, as it takes less time to knit a project.
  • Knitting is a relaxation to help calm down your nerves. To knit you need to be focused in order to have a steady hand.
  • Smaller projects can be very portable; carry it with you when you know you'll be sitting down, whether on a park bench, in the library, or while waiting for a dental appointment.
  • Don't rush.
  • Purchase or make a knitting bag to keep everything handy and safe including the pattern page.
  • Knitting isn't just for women; men knit too. There are as many knitting groups for men as there are for women. History tells us that knitting guilds in the 1400s were for men only [1]. No matter what gender you are, knitting is one of the most relaxing, enjoyable, and creative activities that can be enjoyed by all.
  • Choose something simple for your first project, such as a potholder or scarf. Beginning with hard projects can be very tiresome and can lower your self-esteem on how to knit when you first start.
  • These steps show you how to knit flatly. You need two single pointed needles, but you can also use circular needles. Read the wikihow articles Choose Knitting Needles and Choose Knitting Yarn for further information.
  • Avoid purchasing expensive wool if you're a beginner.
  • Tie the bottom of your loops when you take them of your needle.
  • Stay relaxed while you knit. This will help you with tension. If your shoulders are tense, you might have trouble with knitting too tightly.
  • Avoid making your stitching too tight so you can fit the needle through easily.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help.
  • Practice knitting daily to insure you don't forget how. Knitting takes a lot of focus and memory and not knitting for quite awhile can make it hard to knit again.
  • Use dull knitting needles if you are a beginner.


  • Keep track of how many stitches you have on your needles. If the number goes up or down between rows, well Houston, we have a problem.
  • Knitting can be habit forming. Make sure you have the time to finish when you start a large knitting project
  • Some needles can be very sharp or pointy. Find needles you are comfortable working with while you knit.

Things You'll Need

  • Ball of yarn
  • Knitting needles
  • Darning or tapestry needle
  • Scissors to cut off knots

Sources and Citations

Show more... (1)

Article Info

Categories: Knitting