Basic Types of Knitting Stitches

Even though you might think knitting is a complicated craft to learn, you need to master only a few basic types of knitting stitches. With a pair of knitting needles, an inexpensive ball of yarn and a little patience you'll be on your way to knitting scarves and sweaters.

First things first, you need to learn how to cast on. Tie a slipknot with your yarn onto a needle, pulling both ends to tighten it. Hold that needle in your left hand and wind the end of the yarn near the skein over and around your left forefinger and middle finger, letting the end of the yarn rest on your palm. You should be making an L shape with your left hand. Now pick up the other needle with your right hand and insert it through the slipknot and then under the left needle. Next, pick up a strand of yarn using your right index finger (steady both needles with your left hand) and bring the strand under and over the right needle. Bring the yarn through the stitch with the point of the right needle. Slide the left needle through the new stitch and remove the right needle. Pull the yarn gently to make the stitch snug. That's your first stitch, casting on. Continue making cast-on stitches until you have the number of loops you want to work with. If you are just beginning, practice your stitches on just a few loops.

Now you can move on to the knit stitch. You should have your cast-on stitches on the needle in your left hand and an empty needle in your right. Put the tip of the right needle through the first stitch on the left going under from front to back. The needles should form an X. Then use your right forefinger to bring a strand of yarn under and over the right needle, leaving the yarn in between the two needles. Pull that yarn strand down with your right needle and pull it through the same stitch you've been working on. Next slip the stitch off the left needle and bring it on to the right.

The other basic stitch is the purl. It's the opposite of the knit stitch. Start again holding the needle with the cast-on stitches in your left hand and the empty needle in your right. Put the right needle through the first stitch from front to back. The needles should form an X. Now here's where it gets different. Wrap the yarn up and around the right needle from right to left using your right forefinger. Next bring your right-hand needle through that first stitch on the left needle and slip the stitch off the left needle. Continue on like that until all the left hand stitches are on the right.

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