Friday, January 20, 2012

Knitting 101!

Since I've started posting pictures of my knitting successes on Facebook and here on my blog, I've had so many friends comment and say they've been inspired to start knitting themselves, or wanted to learn. How great is that? It's lovely to hear.

In my opinion, knitting is best learned from someone else, hands on and visually. Sure, you can pick up a book with lots of pictures, but pictures can't show you the direction you move the yarn or smaller intricacies of the different stitches. Coming from Newfoundland, a culture where knitting and other forms of needlework was such a large part of rural society (from necessity to a form of social gathering amongst women), learning to knit is the best passed down from generation to generation, like many other traditional artforms (music and storytelling being the most common here in Newfoundland).

That being said, times are different. In a culture where convenience often trumps creativity, finding someone to teach you how to knit isn't easy. While I had my mother to show me the basics, with modern technology, it's possible to learn to knit without your grandmother sitting next to you telling you when to wrap the yarn around the needle.

Youtube is the best source of 'how-to' videos for beginner knitters. When I start a new project and find myself stumped on a new type of stitch ("what the hell does 'psso' mean?), the first thing I do is type it into youtube. And I'm often greeted by thousands of videos explaining the stitch and showing me how it's done! But if you've never picked up a set of knitting needles before, you need to know what to look out for before you start knitting. So let me share with you what I think are the best videos on youtube that will help you learn to knit.

Step One: Look for a pattern on If you don't own any supplies, you'll need to find a pattern that's super easy like this one by Elisa McLaughlin and find out what you'll need to buy/borrow to complete the project. The ravelry page will tell you what SIZE needles you need (US 9 - 5.5 mm in this case) and the type of yarn to buy (for this pattern it's WORSTED, the most common type/size of yarn). If you have a Walmart near by, you can get all these things there for quite cheap.

NOTE: This pattern is great because it comes with its own video tutorials.

Step Two: Once you have your needles and yarn, you are ready to get started. This pattern tells you that you have to CAST ON 20 stitches on your needle. So you need to know how to cast on. You can visit the video linked in the pattern, or my favourite is done by the Knitwitch.

Step Three: 

After you've CAST ON 20 stitches, the pattern then requires you to knit for 86 rows (to knit every 20 stitches on your needle, 86 times). So you need to know the KNIT STITCH. Here's the video.

Step Four: 

The other most common stitch is the PURL STITCH. You'll need to learn this one. 

Step Five:

When you're finished all the required stitches/rows, the pattern will then tell you to CAST OFF or BIND OFF the last row to finish your project. The easiest beginner way of doing this is the KNITTED CAST OFF. Here's how you do it.

That should be it. Cast on, knit, purl and cast off. Those are the four basic techniques you need to know in order to start knitting. In the future, I'll post tutorials or videos from others explaining some more advanced stitches (Seed, Cable, lace etc), but this should keep you busy for the next while.

Happy Knitting!

1 comment:

  1. Love this! I totally want to start knitting, and wintertime is the perfect time, since the weather is so chilly and knitted creations will definitely come in handy! Thanks for the mini-tutorial! :)