How to knit

Gaye Bocock

Home Design Advisor, Cambridge

Casting on:

There are many ways to cast on but I’m going to show you the Cable cast on method.

  1. Make a slip knot.
  2. Place the slip knot onto the needle and hold in your left hand.
  3. Hold the yarn and the other needle in your right hand. Insert right needle through the loop and pass the yarn around the point.
  4. With the point of the right needle, pull the yarn through the loop on the left needle to create a new loop which is now on your right needle.
  5. Transfer this loop onto the left needle and withdraw the right needle. You now have 2 stitches on left needle.
  6. Now insert the point of the right needle between the 2 stitches on the left needle and pass the yarn around the point.
  7. Pull the yarn through the gap and transfer this new loop onto the left needle. You now have 3 stitches on left needle.

Knit stitch:

This is the first stitch you will learn and is abbreviated in knitting patterns as k.

  1. Insert the point of the right hand needle through the first loop on the left hand needle, from front to back.
  2. Pass the yarn, held at the back of the work, around the right needle point in an anti-clockwise direction, pull the needlepoint and yarn through the loop on the left needle.
  3. Slip the loop off the left needle to complete the first stitch. Continue in this way until all the stitches on the left hand needle have been knitted onto the right hand needle. Now you have completed 1 row.

Purl stitch:

This is the second stitch to learn and is abbreviated in knitting patterns as p.

  1. Bring your yarn to the front of the work, insert the right needle through the front of the first stitch on the left needle from right to left.
  2. Pass the yarn, held at the front of the work around the point of the right needle in an anti-clockwise direction.
  3. Push the needle and yarn through the loop to the back and slip the loop off the left hand needle, leaving a new stitch on the right needle. This is the first purl stitch. Complete all the stitches on the needle in this way to make the first purl row.

Cast off:

Once you have made you knitted fabric, you will need to finish off the work. This is known as casting off.
  1. Knit the first 2 stitches. Then with the point of the right hand needle pick up the first stitch knitted and slip it over the second stitch and off the right hand needle, to leave one stitch on the right hand needle.
  2. Now knit the next stitch to give 2 stitches again on the right needle. Cast off another stitch by repeating step 1.
  3. Continue to cast off stitch by stitch across the row until only one stitch remains. Break the yarn, slip the last stitch off the needle and draw the end through. Pull the yarn tight to fasten off.
  4. To finish off the cast on and cast off yarn ends, thread the yarn onto a knitters needle and weave in and out over a couple of stitches to secure. Show this.
  • Garter Stitch - is when you work every row with a knit stitch.
  • Stocking Stitch – is when you work the first row as a knit row and the second row as a purl row. Repeat these 2 rows over and over again to form the fabric.
  • 1 x 1 Rib Stitch – is when you work the first stitch as a knit stitch followed by a purl stitch. Repeat these 2 stitches across the row. You will end up with the last stitch being a knit stitch. It’s important you have an odd number of stitches on the needle. For the row back (2nd row) start with a purl stitch followed by a knit stitch and repeat across the row as before. The pattern instruction for rib stitch will look like this:

Row 1: (k1, p1) to last st, k1
Row 2: (p1,k1) to last st, p1
Rep these 2 rows 


Our Knitting buying guide offers some useful tips and advice. We also have plenty of knititng needles, wool, and patterns to get you ready for your new project. 

Knitting a scarf
in rib stitch

What you'll need:

How to make it:

  • Cast on 33sts using 6.5mm needles.
  • Row 1: K1,(P1,K1) to last stitch, K1
  • Row 2: P1, (K1, P1) to last stitch, P1
  • These 2 rows form the rib pattern.
  • Continue repeating these 2 rows until the scarf measures the desired length or until the 3 balls have been used.