Learn to Knit English Style: A Beginner’s Guide

Learn to Knit English Style: A Beginner’s Guide

If you’ve always wanted to learn how to knit, there’s no better time than now. Knitting is a versatile and rewarding hobby that allows you to create beautiful garments, accessories, and home decor items. One popular knitting style is the English style, also known as throwing or right-handed knitting. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through the basics of knitting English style, from casting on to binding off.

Before we dive into the techniques, let’s talk about the supplies you’ll need. To get started with English style knitting, you’ll need a pair of knitting needles, a ball of yarn, and a pair of scissors. The size of the needles will depend on the yarn weight you choose. Thicker yarns require larger needles, while thinner yarns require smaller needles. You’ll also need a tapestry needle for finishing your projects and a stitch marker to keep track of your stitches.

Once you have your supplies ready, it’s time to learn how to cast on. Casting on is the first step in any knitting project. To cast on in English style knitting, hold the knitting needle with the slip knot in your right hand. With your left hand, hold the working yarn and create a loop around your thumb and index finger. Insert the needle into the loop from front to back, and then under the yarn. Pull the yarn through the loop, creating a new stitch on the needle.

Choosing the Right Yarn and Needles

When starting to knit English style, it is important to choose the right yarn and needles for your project. The yarn and needles you select will play a significant role in the final outcome of your knitting project, so it’s essential to choose wisely.


  • Consider the weight of the yarn you want to use. Yarn weight is categorized into different categories, such as lace, fingering, sport, worsted, bulky, and super bulky. The pattern you are following will typically specify the recommended yarn weight.
  • Pay attention to the fiber content of the yarn. Common fiber choices include wool, acrylic, cotton, and blends. Each fiber has its unique characteristics, so it’s important to choose one that suits your needs and preferences.
  • Think about the color and texture of the yarn. The color will affect the overall appearance of your project, while the texture can add depth and interest to your knitting.
  • Consider the care instructions of the yarn. Some yarns are machine washable, while others require handwashing and special care. Choose a yarn that fits your lifestyle and maintenance preferences.


  • Determine the needle size based on the yarn weight and the gauge specified in your pattern. The gauge refers to the number of stitches and rows per inch, which helps ensure your finished project matches the size and dimensions specified.
  • Choose the material of the needles. Common options include bamboo, aluminum, and plastic. The material can affect the feel and durability of the needles.
  • Consider the length of the needles. Different projects may require different needle lengths. Longer needles are useful for larger projects, while shorter needles are suitable for smaller projects or knitting in the round.
  • Decide whether you prefer straight needles or circular needles. Straight needles are used for flat knitting, while circular needles can be used for both flat and circular knitting.

Ultimately, the right choice of yarn and needles will depend on your personal preferences and the specifics of your knitting project. Experiment with different options to find what works best for you and enhances your knitting experience.

Casting On

Casting on is the first step in knitting. It involves creating a row of stitches on your knitting needle so that you can begin your project. There are multiple methods for casting on, but we will focus on the long-tail cast-on method, which is widely used and versatile.

To start, you will need a pair of knitting needles and some yarn. Make sure your yarn is in a ball or skein form, rather than a loose end.

Step 1: Create a Slipknot

To begin, make a slipknot by forming a loop with the yarn, ensuring that the working end is on top of the loop. Insert one knitting needle into the loop, and pull the working end to tighten the knot around the needle.

Step 2: Position the Needles

Hold the knitting needle with the slipknot in your right hand, while the empty needle is in your left hand. Ensure that the slipknot is on the knitting needle held in your right hand.

Step 3: Sizing Your Cast-On

Step 3: Sizing Your Cast-On

Determine how many stitches you need for your project. You can refer to the knitting pattern or decide based on your own preference. To estimate the length of the yarn needed for the long-tail cast-on, measure a length equal to approximately three times the width of your desired cast-on row, and then add extra for the tail end.

Step 4: Take the Yarn Positions

Hold the tail (the loose end) of the yarn between your thumb and palm of your left hand, forming a “V”. The working end of the yarn should go over your index finger and rest between your index and middle finger.

Step 5: Forming the Stitches

Hold the slipknot needle in your right hand, insert it under the yarn from left to right, and then bring it up through the “V” of the yarn. This will create a loop on the needle.

Now, insert the left needle into the loop from front to back, and slip the loop onto the left needle. Tighten the stitch snugly, but not overly tight.

Step 6: Repeat and Continue

Repeat steps 5 for the desired number of stitches. Remember to keep the tension even throughout the cast-on. If you run out of yarn, you can leave a long enough tail to use for weaving in later.

Once you have finished casting on, you are ready to start knitting your project. Happy knitting!

The Basic Knit Stitch

The basic knit stitch is the foundation of knitting. Once you master this stitch, you’ll be able to create a wide variety of knitting projects. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you learn the basic knit stitch:

  1. Start by holding the knitting needles correctly. Hold one needle in your right hand and the other in your left hand. The needle with the stitches on it is called the working needle, and the empty needle is called the holding needle.
  2. Insert the point of the right-hand needle into the first stitch on the left-hand needle, going from left to right.
  3. Wrap the yarn around the right-hand needle counterclockwise, crossing it in front of the left-hand needle.
  4. Bring the right-hand needle back through the stitch on the left-hand needle, sliding it under the left-hand needle as you do so.
  5. Gently pull the right-hand needle and the wrapped yarn through the stitch, creating a new stitch on the right-hand needle.

Repeat these steps for each stitch on the left-hand needle until you reach the end of the row. Then, turn your work and continue knitting on the other side of the project.

To practice the basic knit stitch, start with a small swatch of knitting yarn and a pair of knitting needles. Take your time, and remember to keep the tension of your yarn consistent. With practice, you’ll be able to knit smoothly and create beautiful knitted pieces!

Purling and Stitch Patterns

Once you have mastered the basic knit stitch, it’s time to learn the purl stitch. Purling is the second fundamental stitch in knitting and is essential for creating a variety of stitch patterns and textures in your projects.

The purl stitch is essentially the reverse of the knit stitch. Instead of inserting the needle from front to back, you insert it from back to front. Follow these steps to purl:

  1. Hold the knitting needles with the stitches in your left hand.
  2. With your working yarn in front of the work, insert the right needle from back to front into the first stitch on the left needle.
  3. Wrap the working yarn around the right needle counterclockwise.
  4. Using the right needle, pull the yarn through the loop on the left needle.
  5. Slide the stitch off the left needle, transferring it to the right needle.

Practice purling until you feel comfortable with the technique. Once you have mastered the purl stitch, you can begin experimenting with different stitch patterns to create unique designs in your knitting projects.

There are countless stitch patterns available, ranging from simple textures to intricate lacework. Here are a few popular stitch patterns to get you started:

  • Stockinette Stitch: This is the most basic stitch pattern and is created by alternating rows of knit and purl stitches. The right side of the work will show the smooth knit stitches, while the wrong side will show the purl stitches.
  • Garter Stitch: Another beginner-friendly stitch pattern, garter stitch is created by knitting every row. This results in a fabric with ridges on both sides.
  • Ribbing: Ribbing is commonly used for cuffs, collars, and hems. It consists of alternating knit and purl stitches in a regular pattern, such as knit 2, purl 2.
  • Seed Stitch: This textured stitch pattern is created by alternating knit and purl stitches within the same row. It produces a bumpy, seed-like texture.
  • Cable Stitch: Cable stitches create a twisted, rope-like pattern. They involve crossing a certain number of stitches over or under each other to create intricate designs.

These are just a few examples of the many stitch patterns you can explore. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new patterns to add visual interest and texture to your knitting projects.

Remember, practice is key when learning new stitch patterns. Take your time, be patient, and soon you’ll be able to create beautiful and complex designs with your knitting needles!

Increasing and Decreasing Stitches

Increasing and decreasing stitches are essential techniques in knitting that allow you to shape your work and create intricate patterns. Here are the basic methods for increasing and decreasing stitches:

Increasing Stitches

Increasing Stitches

There are several ways to increase stitches in knitting:

  • Knit Front and Back (KFB): Insert the right needle into the front of the stitch, knit it, but do not slide it off the left needle. Then, insert the right needle into the back of the same stitch and knit it again. Now, you can slide the stitch off the left needle, and you have increased one stitch.
  • Make One (M1): Insert the left needle from front to back under the horizontal strand that connects the stitches on the right and left needles. Then, knit into the back loop of this strand. This creates a new stitch.
  • Yarn Over (YO): This method creates a deliberate hole in your work, which is often used in lace knitting. Simply bring the yarn to the front of your work as if you were going to purl, but instead of purling, bring the yarn over the right needle to the back. This creates a new stitch.

Decreasing Stitches

To decrease stitches, you can use the following techniques:

  • Knit Two Together (K2tog): Insert the right needle into the next two stitches on the left needle as if to knit them together, and then knit them as one stitch. This decreases one stitch.
  • Purl Two Together (P2tog): Insert the right needle into the next two stitches on the left needle as if to purl them together, and then purl them as one stitch. This also decreases one stitch.
  • Slip Slip Knit (SSK): Slip the next two stitches knitwise onto the right needle. Insert the left needle into the fronts of these two slipped stitches and knit them together. This creates a left-leaning decrease.
  • Knit Two Together Through Back Loops (K2togtbl): Insert the right needle into the next two stitches on the left needle as if to knit them together through the back loops, and then knit them as one stitch. This creates a right-leaning decrease.

These are the fundamental techniques for increasing and decreasing stitches in knitting. By mastering these methods, you will have more flexibility in creating various knitting patterns and designs.

Binding Off

Binding off is the final step in knitting a project. It is the process of finishing the last row of stitches and securing them so that they don’t unravel. Follow these steps to bind off your knitted piece:

  1. Start by knitting the first two stitches on your left-hand needle.
  2. Insert the left-hand needle into the first stitch on the right-hand needle.
  3. Using the left-hand needle, lift the first stitch over the second stitch and off the right-hand needle.
  4. Knit the next stitch on the left-hand needle.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 until you have one stitch remaining on your right-hand needle.
  6. Cut the yarn, leaving a tail that is long enough to weave in later.
  7. Pull the tail through the last stitch to secure it.

After binding off, you can remove the project from your needles and trim any excess yarn. Remember to weave in the ends of your yarn to prevent them from unraveling.

Finishing and Blocking

Completing your knitted project involves several important steps to ensure it looks polished and professional. The finishing touches and blocking processes help shape and soften the knitted fabric, resulting in a more refined final result.

1. Weave in ends: Start by securing all the loose yarn ends in your knitting. Use a yarn needle to weave the ends back through the fabric, following the path of the stitches for a neat finish.

2. Block your project: Blocking is the process of gently stretching and shaping the knitted fabric to enhance its appearance and drape. To block your project, follow these steps:

  1. Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water and add a small amount of mild detergent.
  2. Immerse your knitted piece in the water, making sure it is fully submerged.
  3. Gently squeeze the fabric to allow the soapy water to penetrate the fibers.
  4. Let the piece soak for about 15-20 minutes.
  5. Remove the fabric from the water and gently squeeze out the excess water. Avoid wringing or twisting the fabric, as this can stretch the stitches.
  6. Lay the piece flat on a clean towel or blocking mat.
  7. Shape the fabric to the desired measurements, pinning it in place if needed. Use blocking wires for larger projects or delicate lace patterns.
  8. Allow the piece to air dry completely. This may take a day or two, depending on the fiber content and thickness of the fabric.

3. Seam or sew: If your project requires multiple pieces to be joined together, use a yarn needle and the same yarn you used for knitting to sew the seams. Follow the pattern instructions for specific joining techniques, such as mattress stitch or whip stitch.

4. Add any additional finishing touches: This can include attaching buttons, sewing on pockets, or adding any other desired embellishments to complete the project.

By following these finishing and blocking steps, you can ensure that your knitted project looks its best and has a professional finish. Take the time to complete these steps, and you’ll be rewarded with a beautifully crafted item.


What is English style knitting?

English style knitting is a style of knitting where the yarn is held in the right hand. Stitches are created by wrapping the yarn around the needle in a clockwise direction.

Is English style knitting different from continental knitting?

Yes, English style knitting is different from continental knitting. In continental knitting, the yarn is held in the left hand and stitches are created by picking up the yarn with the right needle.

Why would someone choose to knit English style?

There are several reasons why someone would choose to knit English style. Some find it more comfortable because they are right-handed and it feels more natural to hold the yarn in the right hand. Additionally, English style knitting can be easier for beginners to learn because the movements are more straightforward.

What are the basic steps of knitting English style?

The basic steps of knitting English style include casting on, knitting stitches, purling stitches, and binding off. It is important to hold the yarn in the right hand and wrap it around the needle in a clockwise direction to create the stitches.

Are there any tips for knitting English style more efficiently?

Yes, there are a few tips that can help make your English style knitting more efficient. One tip is to make sure you’re not gripping the yarn too tightly, as this can slow you down. It’s also helpful to practice keeping your tension consistent, as this can make your stitches more even.

Can English style knitting be used for different types of projects?

Yes, English style knitting can be used for a variety of projects, including scarves, sweaters, hats, and socks. It can be applied to any knitting pattern that uses the basic knit and purl stitches.


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