Learn how to knit and purl with step-by-step instructions

Learn how to knit and purl with step-by-step instructions

If you’ve ever admired a cozy sweater or a soft scarf and wondered how it was made, you’re in the right place. Knitting is a versatile craft that allows you to create beautiful and functional items with just a few basic stitches. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll walk you through the process of learning two fundamental stitches: knit and purl.

Knitting has a rich history that spans centuries and cultures. It was originally developed as a way to create warm and durable clothing, and has since evolved into a popular form of artistic expression. Knitting allows for endless creativity, from simple scarves to intricate lace patterns.

The two basic stitches you’ll learn in this guide are knit and purl. The knit stitch creates a smooth and flat fabric, while the purl stitch adds texture and creates a bumpy surface. Together, these two stitches form the foundation of many knitting patterns and techniques.

Whether you’re a complete beginner or have some knitting experience, this guide will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to get started. So grab some yarn, needles, and let’s dive into the world of knitting!

Getting Started with Knitting

Knitting is a fun and creative craft that allows you to create all sorts of warm and cozy items, such as scarves, blankets, and hats. Whether you’re a complete beginner or have some basic knowledge, here’s a guide to help you get started with knitting.

Supplies You’ll Need

  • Yarn: Choose a yarn that is suitable for beginners, such as medium-weight yarn. Avoid yarn that is too slippery or too fuzzy, as these can be difficult to work with.

  • Knitting Needles: Select needles that match the recommended size on the yarn label. For beginners, it’s best to start with a medium-sized pair of straight needles.

  • Scissors: A pair of small, sharp scissors will come in handy for cutting yarn as needed.

  • Yarn Needle: This needle will be used for weaving in loose yarn ends and sewing pieces together.

  • Stitch Markers: These small plastic or metal rings can help you keep track of certain stitches and patterns.

Basic Knitting Techniques

Before starting your first knitting project, it’s important to learn the basic stitches and techniques. Here are the two fundamental stitches you’ll use most often:

  1. Knit Stitch: This stitch creates a smooth, v-shaped fabric. Insert the right needle into the front of the first stitch on the left needle, wrap the yarn around the right needle counterclockwise, and pull the right needle through the loop, slipping the old stitch off the left needle.

  2. Purl Stitch: This stitch creates a bumpy, textured fabric. Insert the right needle into the front of the first stitch on the left needle, wrap the yarn around the right needle clockwise, and pull the right needle through the loop, slipping the old stitch off the left needle.

Starting Your First Project

Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the necessary supplies and basic techniques, it’s time to start your first knitting project. Here are a few beginner-friendly ideas to get you started:

  • Scarves: Scarves are great for practicing basic stitches and can be made in various colors and patterns.

  • Headbands: Headbands are quick and easy to make, and they’re perfect for keeping your ears warm during colder months.

  • Dishcloths: Dishcloths are small, practical projects that allow you to experiment with different stitch patterns.

Remember to take your time and practice regularly. With patience and persistence, you’ll soon become more confident in your knitting skills and be ready to tackle more advanced projects. Happy knitting!

Understanding Knitting Needles and Yarn

When it comes to knitting, two essential components are knitting needles and yarn. Understanding the different types and materials of knitting needles and yarn can help you choose the right tools for your knitting projects.

Knitting Needles

There are several types of knitting needles available, each with its own advantages and characteristics. The two most common types are straight knitting needles and circular knitting needles.

Straight Knitting Needles: Straight knitting needles are the most traditional type of knitting needles. They consist of two straight, pointed needles of the same length. Straight needles are used for flat knitting projects, such as scarves or dishcloths.

Circular Knitting Needles: Circular knitting needles are made up of two pointed needle tips connected by a flexible cable. They are used for both flat knitting and knitting in the round. Circular needles are versatile and can be used for a wide range of projects, from hats and sweaters to blankets and shawls.

Knitting needles are also made from different materials, such as wood, metal, and plastic. Each material has its own feel and characteristics. Wooden needles are warm, lightweight, and provide good grip. Metal needles are smooth, durable, and great for fast knitting. Plastic needles are lightweight, affordable, and gentle on the hands.


Yarn is the main material used in knitting. It is composed of fibers twisted together to form a long, continuous strand. Yarn comes in various weights, which determine the thickness and heaviness of the yarn.

Yarn Weight: Yarn weight is categorized using a numbering system, ranging from lace weight (the thinnest) to super bulky weight (the thickest). Each weight of yarn is suitable for different types of projects. For example, lace weight yarn is perfect for delicate shawls, while super bulky weight yarn is great for cozy blankets.

Fiber: Yarn is also available in different fiber contents, such as wool, cotton, acrylic, and blends. Each fiber has its own unique properties. Wool yarn is warm and elastic, cotton yarn is breathable and lightweight, acrylic yarn is affordable and low maintenance, and blends combine the properties of different fibers.

When choosing yarn for a project, consider the desired characteristics of the finished item and the recipient’s preferences. It’s important to choose a yarn that is appropriate for the pattern and that you enjoy working with.

By understanding the different types of knitting needles and yarn, you can select the right tools for your knitting projects and create beautiful, handmade items. Experiment with different materials and yarn weights to discover your favorite knitting combinations.

Learning the Knit Stitch

The knit stitch is one of the two basic stitches in knitting, with the other being the purl stitch. It is important to learn this stitch as it forms the foundation of many knitting patterns.

Materials Needed

  • Knitting needles
  • Yarn
  • Tapestry needle
  • Scissors

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Start by holding the knitting needle with the cast-on stitches in your right hand. The working yarn should be coming from the back of the needle.
  2. Insert the right knitting needle into the first stitch from left to right, going under the left needle.
  3. Using the right hand, wrap the working yarn around the right needle counterclockwise.
  4. Bring the right needle through the stitch, bringing the working yarn with it.
  5. Slide the stitch off the left needle and onto the right needle.
  6. You have now completed one knit stitch. Repeat steps 2-5 for the remaining stitches.

Remember to keep a relaxed tension on the yarn and practice maintaining an even stitch tension. It may take some time to get used to the motions, but with practice, you will be able to knit smoothly and create beautiful projects.

Tips and Tricks

  • Count your stitches regularly to ensure accuracy.
  • Use stitch markers to mark important sections in your knitting.
  • Practice knitting a small swatch before starting a larger project.
  • Take breaks and stretch your hands and fingers to prevent fatigue.

Common Mistakes

Mistake Solution
Twisted stitches Make sure the working yarn is in the back when knitting.
Dropped stitches If you drop a stitch, use a tapestry needle to insert it back into the correct place.
Inconsistent tension Practice maintaining an even tension and check your gauge regularly.

Learning the knit stitch is an important foundation for any beginner knitter. Once you master this stitch, you can move on to more advanced techniques and create a wide range of knitted items.

Mastering the Purl Stitch

The purl stitch is one of the basic stitches in knitting. It is the opposite of the knit stitch and creates a different texture in your fabric. Once you have mastered the knit stitch, learning the purl stitch will expand your knitting skills and allow you to create a wider variety of patterns and designs.

To purl, you will need a pair of knitting needles and yarn. Follow these steps to master the purl stitch:

  1. Hold the knitting needle with the cast-on stitches in your left hand.
  2. Insert the right needle from right to left into the first stitch on your left needle.
  3. Bring the yarn to the front of your work, crossing it over the right needle.
  4. With your right needle, wrap the yarn counterclockwise around the left needle.
  5. Using the right needle, pull the working yarn through the stitch, creating a loop on the right needle.
  6. Slip the stitch off the left needle, and voila! You have completed your first purl stitch.

Repeat these steps for each stitch on your left needle, moving from right to left. Remember to keep your tension consistent and avoid pulling the yarn too tightly when purling.

Once you have practiced the purl stitch, you can start combining it with the knit stitch to create various patterns, such as ribbing or seed stitch. You can also experiment with different yarn types and needle sizes to achieve different textures and drape in your knitting projects.

Mastering the purl stitch opens up a whole new world of knitting possibilities. Whether you’re knitting scarves, sweaters, or blankets, knowing how to purl will give you the freedom to create intricate patterns and designs. Keep practicing, and soon you’ll be a pro at purling!

Practicing Basic Knitting Patterns

Once you have mastered the basic knit and purl stitches, you can start practicing different knitting patterns to create a variety of textures and designs in your projects. Here are a few basic knitting patterns that you can try:

Garter Stitch

The garter stitch is the simplest and most basic knitting pattern. It is created by knitting every stitch in every row. This pattern creates a bumpy texture and is reversible.

Stockinette Stitch

The stockinette stitch is another fundamental knitting pattern. It is created by knitting one row and purling the next row. This pattern creates a smooth and flat surface on the right side, and a bumpy texture on the wrong side.


Ribbing is a popular pattern used for cuffs, collars, and borders. It is created by alternating between knitting and purling stitches in the same row. The most common ribbing pattern is the 1×1 rib, where you knit one stitch and purl one stitch in a repeated pattern.

Seed Stitch

The seed stitch is a textured pattern that creates a bumpy surface. It is created by alternating between knitting and purling stitches in the same row, but with a different sequence than ribbing. In the seed stitch, you knit the purl stitches and purl the knit stitches in a repeated pattern.

Basketweave Stitch

The basketweave stitch is a pattern that creates a woven effect, similar to a basket. It is created by repeating a combination of knit and purl stitches over multiple rows. Typically, this pattern involves knitting or purling a block of stitches and then alternating the sequence in the next row.

Cable Stitch

The cable stitch is a more advanced knitting pattern that creates twist-like cables in your fabric. It is created by crossing a certain number of stitches over each other to form a cable. There are different variations of cable stitches, ranging from simple twists to more intricate designs.

Practice these basic knitting patterns to improve your skills and expand your repertoire. By mastering these patterns, you can create a wide variety of beautiful projects.

Exploring Advanced Knitting Techniques

Once you have mastered the basic knitting stitches of knit and purl, there are a variety of advanced techniques you can explore to take your knitting skills to the next level. These techniques can be used to create more complex and intricate designs in your knitting projects.

1. Cables

Cabling is a technique that involves twisting stitches to create a raised and twisted pattern on your knitting. This technique is often used to create intricate cables and braids. To create cables, you will need a cable needle or a double-pointed needle to hold the stitches while you knit the other stitches in the cable.

2. Lace Knitting

Lace knitting involves creating patterns with holes and eyelets in your knitting. This technique can be used to create delicate and airy designs such as lace shawls and doilies. Lace knitting requires working with yarn overs, decreases, and increases to create the desired lace pattern.

3. Fair Isle Knitting

Fair Isle knitting, also known as stranded knitting, is a technique that involves using multiple colors of yarn in a single row or round. This technique is often used to create colorful and intricate designs, such as traditional Fair Isle sweaters. Fair Isle knitting requires carrying the unused yarn across the back of your work while knitting with the active color.

4. Intarsia Knitting

Intarsia knitting is a technique that allows you to create large blocks of color in your knitting without carrying the yarn across the back. This technique is often used to create pictures or motifs in knitting projects. Intarsia knitting involves using separate balls of yarn for each color block and twisting the yarns at the color change to prevent holes in your work.

5. Entrelac Knitting

Entrelac knitting is a technique that creates a textured fabric that resembles a basketweave pattern. This technique involves knitting small squares or rectangles in a modular fashion and then picking up stitches along the edges of these squares to knit the next section. Entrelac knitting can be used to create scarves, blankets, and other items with a unique and eye-catching texture.

6. Double-Knitting

Double-knitting is a technique that creates a reversible fabric with two distinct sides. This technique is often used to create items such as scarves or blankets with a different design on each side. Double-knitting involves knitting two layers of fabric simultaneously, with each stitch worked in a way that creates a stitch on both sides of the fabric.

7. Brioche Knitting

Brioche knitting is a technique that creates a thick and squishy fabric with a ribbed texture. This technique involves working with multiple strands of yarn and using a combination of knits, purls, and yarn overs to create the unique brioche stitch. Brioche knitting can be used to create cozy hats, scarves, and sweaters.

These advanced knitting techniques can open up a world of possibilities in your knitting projects. Experiment with different techniques to create unique and beautiful designs in your knitting.

Troubleshooting Common Knitting Problems

As a beginner knitter, you may run into various challenges and issues. Here are some common knitting problems you may encounter and how to troubleshoot them:

Tangled Yarn

If your yarn gets tangled while knitting, take a moment to carefully untangle it. Avoid pulling too hard, as it can lead to knots and potentially ruin your work. It may be helpful to wind your yarn into a ball or use a yarn holder to prevent tangling.

Dropped Stitch

A dropped stitch can be frustrating, but it’s fixable. Use a crochet hook or a knitting needle to pick up the dropped stitch by inserting it through the loop below the dropped stitch and pulling the yarn through. Once the stitch is back on the needle, continue knitting as usual.

Inconsistent Tension

If your tension varies throughout your knitting, it can affect the appearance and fit of your project. Practice knitting with consistent tension by focusing on keeping an even grip on the yarn. You can also try using a knitting tension aid or knitting gauge to help maintain a more consistent tension.

Holes or Gaps

Holes or gaps in your knitting may be caused by accidentally skipping stitches or unintentionally adding extra stitches. Carefully count your stitches at regular intervals and check your pattern to ensure you’re following the instructions correctly.

Twisted Stitches

Twisted stitches can occur when you accidentally knit through the back loop instead of the front loop. To fix twisted stitches, carefully remove them from the needle, untwist them, and place them back on the needle in the correct orientation.

Fabric Puckering

Fabric Puckering

If your knitting fabric appears puckered or uneven, it may be due to knitting too tightly. Relax your hand and adjust your tension to create a looser and more even fabric. Experiment with different needle sizes to find the right fit for your knitting style.

Mistakes in the Pattern

If you notice mistakes in your knitting pattern, double-check the pattern instructions and compare them to your work. It’s common to make mistakes while following a pattern, so be patient and take the time to correct any errors to ensure the final result is as intended.

Remember, knitting is a skill that improves with practice. Don’t get discouraged by these common problems; instead, use them as learning opportunities to become a better knitter. With time and practice, you’ll be able to overcome any knitting challenges you encounter.

Taking Your Knitting Skills to the Next Level

Once you have mastered the basics of knitting and purling, there are several ways you can take your skills to the next level. With a little practice and some new techniques, you can create more intricate patterns and expand your knitting repertoire.

1. Try new stitch patterns

Explore different stitch patterns to add texture and variety to your knitting projects. Some popular stitch patterns include cables, lace, and bobbles. Each stitch pattern has its own unique set of instructions, so be sure to follow a pattern or tutorial to learn how to knit these stitches.

2. Learn shaping techniques

Shaping techniques, such as increasing and decreasing stitches, allow you to create different shapes in your knitting projects. By learning how to add or subtract stitches, you can create curves, angles, and three-dimensional effects in your work. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities for knitting garments and accessories.

3. Experiment with colorwork

Colorwork involves knitting with multiple colors to create beautiful patterns and designs. Fair Isle and intarsia are two popular colorwork techniques. Fair Isle involves carrying multiple strands of different colored yarns across the back of your work, while intarsia involves knitting with separate bobbins of yarn to create blocks of color. Both techniques require concentration and practice, but the results can be stunning.

4. Take on more complex projects

If you feel confident in your knitting skills, challenge yourself with more complex projects. Try knitting a sweater, a pair of socks, or a lace shawl. These projects often involve multiple techniques and require careful attention to detail. Don’t be afraid to tackle something that seems intimidating – you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish with practice and perseverance.

5. Join a knitting community

Connect with other knitters by joining a knitting community or taking a knitting class. This will give you the opportunity to learn from experienced knitters, ask questions, and share your own projects. Knitting communities can be found online or in person, and they provide a supportive and inspiring environment for expanding your knitting skills.

Remember, knitting is a skill that improves with practice. Don’t be discouraged if your first attempts at more advanced techniques don’t turn out perfectly – keep trying and you will continue to grow as a knitter. Enjoy the process and have fun exploring the limitless possibilities of knitting!


What is knitting?

Knitting is a method of creating fabric by interlocking loops of yarn using knitting needles.

How do I start knitting?

To start knitting, you will first need to choose your yarn and knitting needles. Then, you can begin by casting on, which is the process of creating the first row of stitches on your needle.

What are the basic knitting stitches?

The basic knitting stitches are knit and purl. The knit stitch creates a smooth, v-shaped stitch, while the purl stitch creates a bumpy texture.

How do I knit?

To knit, insert the right knitting needle into the first stitch on the left needle from left to right. Hold the yarn in your right hand and wrap it around the right needle, then pull the right needle through the stitch, slipping the stitch off the left needle. This creates a new stitch on the right needle.

How do I purl?

To purl, insert the right knitting needle into the first stitch on the left needle from right to left. Hold the yarn in your right hand and wrap it around the right needle, then pull the right needle through the stitch, slipping the stitch off the left needle. This creates a new stitch on the right needle.

What are some common knitting mistakes?

Some common knitting mistakes include dropping stitches, creating unintentional yarn overs, and knitting too tightly or too loosely. These mistakes can be fixed by carefully unraveling the stitches and reknitting them correctly.

What are some tips for beginner knitters?

Some tips for beginner knitters include starting with a simple project, using light-colored yarn to make it easier to see your stitches, and practicing regularly to improve your skills. It can also be helpful to join a knitting group or take a class to learn from more experienced knitters.


How to Knit – Absolute Beginner Knitting, Lesson 1 – Even if You’re Clueless!

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