How to knit
Use our step-by-step instructions to help you learn new techniques (we even have a little bit of crochet). There’s a handy reference section too!
Expert tips and essential advice.
CAST ON: CABLE METHOD Use it for a firm edge, and when adding stitches in your work.
1 Make a slip knot. Insert right-hand needle into the stitch as if to knit. Wrap the yarn around the point and pull through, slipping the stitch on to the left-hand needle.
2 Push the point of the right-hand needle between the first and second stitches. Wrap the yarn anti-clockwise round the point of the right-hand needle.
3 Pull the loop out with the right-hand needle, then slip it over the tip of the left-hand needle.
4 Repeat steps 2 & 3 until you have the number of stitches you require.
CAST ON: THUMB METHOD A great all-rounder, use it to cast on stitches quickly and easily.
1 Make a slipknot and place it on a needle, leaving a long tail. The length depends on the number of stitches you wish to cast on. Try a length about 3 times the width of the project.
2 Hold the tail in your left hand with your thumb sticking up. Make a circle anti-clockwise with your thumb. You should end up with a cross on the front of your thumb.
3 Push the needle tip along the outside of your thumb so it passes through the loop. Wrap the working yarn as if to knit.
4 Draw the yarn through the thumb loop and then between the arms of the cross. Slip your thumb out and pull to tighten the stitch. Repeat from step 2.
KNIT Follow our simple steps to make the most important stitch you’ll learn.
1 Hold the needle with the stitches on it in your left hand. Keeping the yarn in your right hand and at the back of your work, insert the point of the right-hand needle up into the front loop of the first stitch, as shown.
2 Now wind the yarn anticlockwise around the point of the right-hand needle using your index finger. It’s important to keep the yarn in your right hand relatively taut to maintain an even tension as you go.
3 Bring the right-hand needle down through the loop, making sure that you catch the yarn you wound around the needle. This creates the stitch. Don’t pull the free yarn too tightly, let out some slack.
4 Push the point of the right needle further through the stitch you created, then gently pull the right needle up and to your left, taking the original loop with it. You’ve now created one knit stitch. Repeat points 1– 4 across the row.
PURL To make purl stitches, just reverse the action of plain knit stitches.
1 Holding the needle with all the stitches on in your left hand, and ensuring that the yarn is at the front of your work, insert the right-hand needle down through the front loop of your first stitch as shown.
2 Wind the yarn around the tip of the right-hand needle from right to left, in an anti-clockwise motion, constantly keeping a slight tension on the yarn.
3 Now slip the right-hand needle back through the stitch, ensuring that you catch the yarn that you’ve already wound around the needle. This creates a stitch on your right-hand needle.
4 Pushing the point of the right-hand needle further through the stitch you’ve just created, pull the original loop up and off the left-hand needle. That’s one purl stitch! Repeat points 1– 4 across the row.
K2TOG Knit two stitches together to give a right-leaning decrease.
1 Insert the point of the right-hand needle through the loops of the next 2 stitches as if to knit.
2 Wind the yarn round the tip of the right-hand needle and pull the yarn through the 2 stitches, knitting them both together.
3 Drop the 2 stitches from the left-hand needle and keep the new stitch on the right-hand needle.
4 Knitting two stitches together decreases your stitch count by one, and the decrease stitch leans to the right. This is how a series looks.
KFB Increase 1 stitch by knitting into the front and back of an existing stitch.
1 Insert the tip of the right-hand needle into the front of the stitch and knit as normal, but don’t drop it from the left-hand needle.
2 Then take the right-hand needle behind the left and insert the tip of the needle down through the back of the stitch on the left-hand needle.
3 Wrap the yarn round the tip of the right-hand needle to knit the stitch. Bring the needle through to make the stitch, keeping it on the right-hand needle.
4 Take the stitch off the left-hand needle. You will have increased one stitch by knitting twice into the original stitch, first at the front, then at the back.
CAST OFF Finish off your knitting with this straightforward cast-off technique.
1 Start by knitting the first two stitches of the row as normal, but don’t go any further along as you usually would.
2 Insert the left-hand needle through the first stitch, as shown. Lift this stitch over the other stitch on the right-hand needle and over the needle point.
3 Knit another stitch so you have two on the right needle. Lift the first stitch over the second, then repeat steps 1–3.
4 When you get to the last stitch, cut the yarn about 15cm (6in) away, feed it through the loop and pull through firmly to fasten off.