THE Second STEP IN LEARNING HOW TO KNIT IS LEARNING HOW TO make the Knit STITCH. THIS POST SHARES TEXT AND VIDEO TO EXPLAIN how to do it.
In our last post, we saw how to Cast On stitches, which is the first step to any knitting project. If you can’t CO, you can’t make anything. Please refer to that post if you haven’t already to learn the CO step first.
Ultimately, we are going to make what I call My Magic Scarf, which is a garter stitch scarf. The Garter Stitch Scarf project is the project I personally have all my real life students knit first. I think it’s important to start with something that can be successful and fun while learning valuable foundational skills in knitting. Today’s post is about learning how to knit by seeing How to Make the Knit Stitch. This post features the second technique in a list of four that we need to make the scarf.
Not to be a downer but…..
IF YOU CAN’T DO THESE FOUR THINGS, HANG UP YOUR NEEDLES. YOU SIMPLY CANNOT KNIT UNTIL YOU LEARN HOW TO DO THESE FOUR STEPS.
But don’t worry, because we are going to go step-by-step through each technique. By the end of this series, you’ll be ready to conquer the Scarf Knitting World!
What are the four foundational knitting techniques?
You can learn these four techniques and happily knit Garter Stitch scarves for the rest of your life. Some people do! Every time you change yarn and/or needles, your scarf will be completely different. Don’t believe me? Stick around, because in a couple of weeks we are going to explore that idea further.
What’s Garter Stitch? It’s a stitch pattern, and all it means is that we knit every stitch. It yields a very distinct and recognizable knitted fabric.
Today’s lesson is about how to make the knit stitch.
What is the Knit stitch and why do we do it?
Well, this simple stitch is what we use to refer to a very long list of stitches and projects. We lump everything from lace shawls to beanie hats to leg warmers into the collective term “knitting.” But there’s only one stitch that is the actual knit stitch. It’s just that it’s so versatile, we use it in EVERYTHING we ever make that falls into that broad category of “knitting.”
So if you can’t make this stitch, and be comfortable with it, you are seriously going to limit your progress in the craft. But don’t worry! I have a video tutorial for you that will get you going. Make sure you are comfortable casting on your stitches first. You have to have stitches CO your needle before you can knit them. If this is not familiar, please go back to the Casting On lesson and start there.
And if you haven’t grabbed your free knitting pattern for this scarf that I lovingly named “My Magic Scarf” then please revisit my post on How to Style your Garter Stitch Scarf to download your copy. It also has a shopping list so you can pick up all the pieces I recommend for this particular project.
Here is the video on how to make the knit stitch. I slowly knitted 3 full rows so you can see it over and over.
Ok. Don’t panic. I know it looks weird the first couple of times you see it. And I know it feels super awkward the first few times you try doing this. Don’t worry about any of that. It’s perfectly normal! Give yourself permission to make a mess, but just keep going. Pull it out and start over. It’s not a big deal, because you are learning a new skill, and it takes some time and practice.
Here are a couple of tips about knitting:
- In knitting, we are simply making loops with yarn. Just looping yarn. That’s all it is. The magic happens in the way we execute the loops.
- When we knit, we are constantly transferring loops, AKA stitches from the left needle to the right needle. Yup. Every time you make a knit stitch you have one more on your right and one less on your left.
- The working needle is your right needle. The left needle is just holding the stitches in place for you to work on them. All the technical stuff you’re actually going to do happens with the right needle. That’s why we call it the “working needle.”
- Keep your working yarn, AKA the yarn attached to the ball of yarn, to the right.
- When you come to the end of the row, you turn your work and start again. You know you’re at the end of the row when all the stitches are on the right hand needle and the working yarn is on the left side of that needle. Turn the needle around and start again.
So here’s your homework: Practice the knit stitch over and over. Pull the knitting off the needle and CO again and knit several inches of fabric. Do it over and over. You want to learn what we call the Muscle Memory of making the stitches so it comes to you easily. It’s so much easier to pick up a new technique when you already have the first ones down pat.
Alright, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. This assumes you’re right handed. I know there are people who can teach left handed knitting, but I’m not one of them. You should seek out a knowledgeable yarn store employee if you need to learn that way. I suggest you try this mini course out first. Just see if you can get the hang of it even if your right hand is not your dominant hand. 99.9% of stitch tutorials assume you are knitting with your right hand as the dominant hand, and knitting patterns are written to assume this as well. So while you can learn to knit with your left hand as the dominant hand, you will forever be translating every thing around so you can use it. I think that’s making it super hard on yourself. Take it slow and see if you can pick it up this way, and if it’s just absolutely impossible for you, then by all means seek out a knitting teacher in a yarn store. There are many people who learn to knit successfully using their left hand as the working needle, but I don’t know how they do it. Just keeping it real, and begin honest with you.
Don’t forget to grab your free pattern from the Style Your Scarf Update so you have the free pattern AND shopping list for the first scarf!
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