Knitting Basics


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Ready to get started? Let's go through some knitting basics before you get started!

Obviously, you are going to need some wool and a set of knitting needles if you want to learn how to knit.  Most knitting projects start with an idea, then you fnd a pattern that matches your idea.

The pattern determines what type and ply of wool you need and the needles sizes you need will depend on the tension specified in the pattern and your knitting tension. 

Choosing a Knitting Pattern

The first thing you need is a pattern. Without one you just have a ball of wool and a couple of knitting needles (hopefully) and no idea of what you can do with them!

And not just any old pattern! 

As a beginner you need to choose your pattern very carefully. Although it is relatively easy to learn to knit, your first few projects need to be something simple or you will find yourself getting frustrated (and probably annoyed) to the point that you just give up.

Knitting Pattern and a ball of woolGetting Started | © Deborah Mason & Knitting Naturally

Most patterns published these days have a rating system which allows you to select a pattern suitable for your level of experience.

Then of course you will need wool or yarn and needles and at least some accessories. Your pattern will tell you what ply you need and make a suggestion as to the appropriate needle size.

When you have bought, borrowed or begged for all of the things you need, you can start knitting (almost - if you know how!)

Basic Knitting Instructions

There are only a couple of basic stitches that are used in knitting. Once you learn how to do those you can do virtually any knitting pattern.

Basic Knitting Stitches - Stocking Stitch on Bamboo Needles

To help you learn, I have put together some basic tutorials that you can view online with links to pdfs if you prefer to print them off and keep them.  In particular, you will need to learn how to cast on your knitting, how to form knit stitches and how to cast off.

Once you are comfortable with plain or straight knitting you can start working on mastering more advanced techniques and will need to know how to increase and decrease stitches not only so that you can use more complex knitting stitch patterns in your work but also so that you can add shaping (i.e. shaping for armholes) to your projects.

Reading a Knitting Pattern

Reading and understanding a pattern is a unique skill and needs to be learned if you career as a knitter is to be successful!

On this page you will find an outline of each of the major sections in a pattern so that you know what to look for in a pattern and to help you understand how to interpret what the pattern is telling you.


Getting Your Head Around Knitting Tension

As a beginner you will come across the phrase knitting tension but you might not know what that phrase means or why it is so important.  Getting your tension correct is vital if you want your project to end up being the right size and shape.

Basically the phrase is all about how big (or small) your stitches are for a given yarn weight and needle size.  Some of us are tight knitters (like me) and some will naturally form stitches that are looser.  There is no right or wrong, but you need to know what your tension is so that you can match the tension for any pattern you want to knit.

Understanding Knitting Jargon


Every pattern that you pick up will be filled with terms that you are unfamiliar with and a lot of abbreviations.

Would you like to know what they all mean?

Some of those abbreviations will be standard across patterns (I canhelp you with those) and others will be specific to that particular pattern.  It pays to check the abbreviation section your pattern before you get started to work out if there are any abbreviations being used that you are unfamilar with.  It might mean that you have a bit of learning to do.

Knitting Basics - Accessories

If you are new to knitting, you will come across a bewildering array of knitting accessories for you to choose from. Would you like to know from an experienced knitter, which ones are worth buying?

You are also going to have to decide which type of knitting needles you want to use and you are going to need some knitting yarn and a pattern.


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