Both knitting and crochet have a storied history. A crafter would learn to knit from previous generations. A lot of early patterns, especially when it came to crochet, were simply studied and copied from already completed garments. Written patterns came later and it all went through several language evolutions–this is one reason why older patterns are harder to translate than modern patterns.

In this day and age, though, we have a lot of options available to us: Books with hip patterns, local stitch ‘n bitches, and the internet. Any technique you want to learn is at your fingertips. That’s how I learned how to knit, actually. I taught myself through a combination of books and the internet. (And Elly at HookingHavoc taught me how to crochet.)

I recently gifted a couple of my friends with a pair of Super Bulky Knitting Needles and both of them requested that I put together a list of resources for knitting newbies. By the end of this list, you will have enough knitting know-how to knit a scarf!

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How to Cast On

I thought slipknots would be included in most how to cast on videos, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. VeryPink Knits has a very short video with bulky yarn that shows you a great way to make the very first stitch in your long-tail cast on.

Studio Knit’s videos are short, sweet, and to the point. The contrast between the yarn and the background makes it very easy to see what the hands are doing. She goes slowly through the first couple of stitches, then speeds up to show you what it looks like when it finally feels like a natural movement.

If you’re looking for a more in-depth analysis of casting on, this video is for you. Sheep & Stitch describes how to estimate how long you should make your tail, how to create a slipknot, and how to actually cast on. Even after knitting for many years, I still struggle with the appropriate amount of yarn for my tail.

The three above videos describe the long-tail cast on. It is a good all-purpose start to many projects. As you advance in your knitting, you’ll learn other types of cast ons that are more appropriate for the project you’re making.

How to Knit a Knit Stitch

New Stitch a Day has a how-to video that describes the appropriate terminology for newbie knitters and shows them how to create a knit stitch. It’s also a great channel to watch because they have so many videos that demonstrate different types of stitches.

Even something as simple as the knit stitch can have different ways of doing it. This video from Scribble shows a slightly different method to knitting your stitches. It walks you through a couple rows of knitting.

How to Knit a Purl Stitch

This video from Howcast shows how to work a purl stitch. As the video describes: The purl stitch is essentially the mirror image of a knit stitch.

PleasantSeas combines all three techniques into a single video, so you can see how the knitted piece progresses. Once you’ve mastered these two stitches, you can knit most things.

How to Knit the Rib Stitch

Ribbing is when you switch between knit and purl stitches to create columns. (If you ever heard anyone chanting “knit one, purl two” in any sort of media, they were knitting ribbing.) Ribbing is extra squishy and good for making stretchy fabric.

“Knit one, purl two” isn’t the only ribbing pattern though. RJ Knits shows you two different patterns: 1×1 and 2×2.

When I was first learning how to purl, I had issues with accidentally adding stitches every time I purled. My issue was (and it seems to be pretty common for new knitters) is that, when I was bringing the yarn to the front of the knitting, I brought the yarn over the top of the needle instead of beneath it. The above video shows you this much better than I could ever describe it.

How to Cast Off/Bind Off

The For Dummies series really will teach you everything. This video shows, step by step, how to finish your knitted piece.

If you want less talking and larger yarn, this video from WOOLANDTHEGANG demonstrates the same cast off method.

Like casting on, there are about as many ways to bind off as there are knitters in the world. Each type of bind off is appropriate for a different kind of project. This bind off is not particularly stretchy and is good for most beginner projects.

The Whole Package

I learned from a single book and supplemented the rest of my learning on the internet. The one book (well, series) I learned from was Stitch ‘n Bitch: The Knitters Handbook. I spent a lot of time in high school and college leafing through the book and returning again and again to the written instructions with simple photos. The projects themselves are very simple and great starter projects.

The only downside is… I can’t say I’ve returned to the projects since advancing in my knitting skill, though.

What’s Next When You Want to Learn to Knit

It’s impossible to describe how widespread, friendly, and helpful the online knitting community is. There are so many knitters out there who provide free patterns and tutorials. Everyone learns differently and each resource I linked here has more available on their website; so if one of those resources in particular spoke to you, keep using them!

My personal favorite way of continuing to improve my knitting is to choose a pattern that has something new each time. It’s just difficult enough to be interesting, but not so difficult that you’ll get frustrated and give up. Usually. (We all have bad days or projects that just don’t speak to us.)

The most important part of learning, though, is to keep knitting. Knit whatever you want.

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