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Great DIY Project: How To Knit

Do you remember your mother or grandmother spending hours every day knitting scarves, sweaters, and other great projects? Do you wish you that could do the same? Well, knitting is an easy hobby to pick up and it is now making a big comeback, especially amongst the younger generation. There are lots of fabulous and funky looks that you can create using knitting skills and the craft is both relaxing and fun. All you need to get started are a few simple stitches, some perseverance, and a little creativity!


What You Will Need

Before you can begin knitting that afghan or tea cozy, you will need to familiarize yourself with the essential materials of knitting.

Yarn is the material that knitters use to create their finished projects. Historically, yarn was made from spun wool that was then dyed into different colors using vegetable coloring. Today, yarn is made out of wool, acrylic, and acrylic blends, in order to suit every taste and budget. It also comes in thousands of different colors to make any project perfect.

When you are knitting, you should choose your wool based on the thickness and durability of the yarn. Yarn comes in five major thicknesses:


  • bulky
  • chunky
  • worsted weight
  • fingering
  • baby


Most beginners find it easiest to begin knitting with worsted weight yarns made from acrylic fabric.

Knitting Needles
Your needles are perhaps the most important tool that you will use while knitting. The standard knitting needle is straight, made from aluminum, plastic, or wood, and has a point on one end and a knob at the other. The knitting is done using the pointed end of the needles. Knitting needles come in a variety of sizes, rated from 0 (two millimeters) to 15 (ten millimeters). The larger your knitting needles, the bigger your stitches will be as you knit. It is recommended that most beginners start with needles that are size seven or bigger, as these are easier to manipulate and help you to finish projects more quickly.

There are different styles of knitting needles available for more advanced projects. For projects that don’t require seams, you can purchase circular knitting needles. These flexible needles have points on both ends so that you can continue knitting in a circular fashion (excellent for sleeves, hats and other such projects). There are also flexible straight needles, which are perfect for advanced knitters.


Casting On

In order to begin knitting, you will need to complete a step known in the knitting world as "casting on." The casting on step provides you with the first row of stitches on one needle, which you can then use to begin your project.


  • Refer to your knitting pattern. Find out how many stitches you need to cast on.
  • Find your ball of yarn and pull out enough yarn to cast on all of your stitches. Budget approximately 1 inch per cast on stitch.
  • Beginning at the tail end of your needle (knob end) form a slip knot. Do this by holding the end of the yarn in your left palm. Wrap the skein end of the yarn around your left pointer and middle fingers two times. Push the tail end through the loop you have formed, and pull on both the tail and skein ends of the yarn to tighten it. Slip the knot on to your needle and hold it in your right hand.
  • Hold down the loop with your pointer finger.
  • Place the tail end of the yarn over your thumb and down through your left palm.
  • Place the skein end of the yarn over your left pointer finger.
  • Push your needle through the loop that is formed on your left thumb. Pull the yarn on your left pointer finger through the loop and tighten. This will form your first cast on stitch.
  • Continue making these stitches until you have enough cast on.



The Basic Stitches

All knitting projects are based upon two central stitches: the knit stitch and the purl stitch.

The Knit Stitch
The knit stitch is what forms the backbone of most knitting projects. This is the stitch that creates those flat loops on the surface of every knitted piece. It is the easiest stitch to learn and will get you off to a great start with any knitting project.


  • Cast on the appropriate amount of stitches for your project.
  • Hold the needle with the cast on stitches in your left hand. Hold the empty needle in your right hand.
  • Place the dangling yarn from the left knitting needle over your right pointer finger, under your middle and ring fingers, and over your pinky finger. This will ensure that you hold the yarn with the proper tension to create the right sized stitches.
  • Push the point of the right needle through the first cast on stitch on the left needle, from front to back. The right needle will now be behind the left needle.
  • Using your right pointer finger, bring the yarn over the right needle using a left to right motion. Lay the yarn between the two needles.
  • Bring the right needle through the loop, catching the strand of yarn. Slip off the cast on stitch from the left needle.
  • You are now left with a stitch on your right knitting needle. Continue to add more stitches until your left needle is empty. Then switch needles from one hand to the other and continue knitting.


The Purl Stitch

The purl stitch is the reverse of the knit stitch. It produces a horizontal half-circle of yarn in your finished project. In order to complete this stitch, you simply reverse the movements involved in the knit stitch.


  • Cast on the necessary stitches for your prjoect.
  • Hold the cast on needle with your left hand. Using your right hand, hold the empty needle.
  • Push your right needle through the first stitch cast on to the left needle. Instead of pushing the needle through from front to back though, push it through from back to front. Your right needle should be in front of your left needle when completing the purl stitch.
  • With the pointer finger on your right hand, wrap the yarn up and around the right needle, in a left to right motion..
  • Move your right needle through this loop, drawing the piece of yarn through. This will create your first purl stitch.
  • Slip your cast on stitch off of the left needle and continue making purl stitches.
  • When you have run out of cast on stitches, switch needles.



The Beginner Knitter: Projects To Consider

If you are just starting to knit, remember that practice makes perfect! The more you practice your knit and purl stitches, the better you will get at them. Here are some simply projects that you should try out:


  • potholders
  • hot plates
  • scarves
  • afghan
  • shawl


You can purchase knitting patterns from local craft stores or you can get free knitting patterns on line. These patterns tell you exactly how many stitches to make, and of what kind. You may also be interested in purchasing some knitting magazines in order to help you with your projects.