About Knitting Stitches

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Learn how to do knit and purl stitches as well as various knitting stitch patterns.

Things You'll Need

  • Knitting needles -- Single pointed or circular needles
  • Yarn -- Color of your choice 

Tip

  • If you're a beginner, when you choose yarn, consider a light color and a medium or worsted weight yarn.

You've learned how to cast on, and now you want to start practicing your stitches.

Knit Stitch

The knit is your most basic stitch -- hence the name -- and in a pattern, it's marked with the letter K.

Tip

  • Hold the working yarn -- the yarn attached to your skein or ball -- behind your work when doing a knit stitch.

Step 1: Get Your Needles

You have already cast on the specific amount of stitches on one needle. Follow the pattern instructions as to how much to cast on, or, if you're just practicing, use 10 or 20 stitches to start your swatch. Hold the needle with the stitches in your left hand. The second needle is your working needle, and you hold it in your right hand.

Step 2: Insert Needle

Insert the tip or point of the right needle into the first stitch.

Tip

  • The right needle, once inserted into the stitch, should be behind the left needle, creating an X shape.

Step 3: Wrap Yarn

Bring the yarn from the ball around and wrap it around the right needle in a clockwise motion.

Step 4: Transfer the Stitch

Using your right needle, lead the yarn that you wrapped around the point, through the stitch that is on your left needle. The knitted stitch should now be on your right needle. Repeat as necessary.

Tip

  • When you are leading the yarn through the stitch, it's a good idea to place your index finger on the yarn that you wrapped the right needle with to help you focus.

Purl Stitch

You may scared to purl because you think it's hard, but it's not. Purl stitch is usually denoted as a P in a pattern.

Start with your stitches on your needle and hold the needle in your left hand.

Tip

  • When working purl stitches, place the working yarn in front of your left needle.

Step 1: Insert Needle

Instead of putting your right needle behind the left, the right needle should be on top or in front of the left needle.

Step 2: Wrap Yarn

With the working yarn in front of your needle, wrap the yarn around the right needle in a counter-clockwise motion.

Step 3: Transfer the Stitch

Using your right needle, lead the yarn that you wrapped around the point through the stitch that is on your left needle. The purled stitch should now be on your right needle. Repeat as necessary.

Common Stitch Patterns

When reading patterns, you will often see a number of stitch patterns, which are combinations of knit and purl stitches, including the Garter Stitch and the Stockinette Stitch.

Garter Stitch

Achieve a garter gtitch stitch pattern in one of two ways. If you are working a flat project -- a piece that does not involve connecting your stitches in the round -- you achieve the garter by knitting (K) every stitch until the end of the row on every row.

If you are working in the round, where you have connected the stitches, achieve a garter by alternating each row with knit and purl:

Round 1: Knit each stitch to the end of the row.

Round 2: Purl each stitch to the end of the row.

Stockinette Stitch

Sometimes referred to as a stocking stitch, when worked flat, it is produced by knitting and purling alternate rows (the same as garter in the round).

When worked in the round, stockinette is achieved by knitting every round (like a flat garter stitch).

Tip

  • You can make a garter stitch by purling every row as well.

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