Knitting Help Desk

Welcome to the knitting genius bar!  This is where you can have all your beginner knitting questions answered.  Gather offers beginner knitting classes and also sells knitting kits (coming soon).  This page is a great resource for those who are knitting at home and want to see how something is done in real life!

There are a billion knitting patterns out there in the universe; some are hard and some are super easy!  Here you will learn the basic stitches which will set you up to be able to succeed with just about any pattern.  Once you learn these basics, the more complicated stitches and patterns will make a lot more sense! 


Casting On - How to tie a slip knot

To get started with your project, begin with your knitting needles and your yarn.  The first step is to tie a slip knot that you will eventually place on the needle. 

Start with the yarn in your hand and leave a long tail off to the side.  Depending on how many stitches you are casting on, you might want it to be longer or shorter. 

You'll tie a slip knot by bringing the yarn in the right hand under the yarn in the left hand so that the yarn crosses.  Secure the loop with your left hand and hold it where the yarn crosses. Reach your fingers through the loop and grab the tail of the yarn on top. Pull the tail back through the loop and pull tight!  Now put the loop on your needle and move on to the next video!

CAsting on - The long tail method

The most common method of casting on is called the long tail method and - you guessed it! It's because you start with a long tail!  Whatever pattern you are using should give you an indication of how long your tail should be, but just remember if you are casting on more stitches, you will want a longer tail and if you're casting on less stitches, it can be shorter.

After you've tied the slip knot (in the video), place it on your needle and make sure that the yarn tail is draped off toward the left with the ball of yarn on your right.

What you need to do now may seem a little bit complicated but stick with it.  This is kind of hard to explain with written words, so go ahead and watch the video.  Becca repeats it a few times in the video, so if you get the hang of it after the first try, huzzah!

how to Knit after Casting on

After you cast on, you get to start knitting!  This video explains how to get started with that stitch.   There are two basic stitches with knitting: the knit stitch and the purl stitch.  They are kid of opposites of each other.  Once you learn these, you are set up to do just about anything!

I am a pretty tight knitter, so this part can be kind of tough for me.  So just keep that in mind, if it's really tight, you might want to loosen up a bit. :)  You can do this by casting on again and just keeping things a bit more relaxed.  It is ok if it takes you a while to get the right tension down.  I've been knitting for years and I still knit with a super tight tension.



The knit stitch

The knit stitch is the first stitch I learned when my mom taught me how to knit.  I mean, it makes sense since it's literally in the name of the craft - knit/knitting?  You get it :)

I will let Becca explain how to get started in the video to the right.  Just remember, if you knit super tight like I do, it will be hard to get the needle in between the yarn, so don't be afraid to keep things relaxed! 

The purl stitch

The purl stitch is kind of the opposite of the knit stitch, and it's the second stitch I learned when my mom taught me how to knit!  Don't ask me why it's called purl, I don't know.  But I do think the spelling is pretty.

Becca, take it away! (aka, watch the video)


Knitting in the round

Knitting in the round is how you can knit something like socks, a cowl, or a hat where it forms a tube, and you don't have to sew the sides together.  Knitting in the round is really no different from regular knitting, except you are not flipping and turning your work at the end of each row.  You can do it on a circular needle (that's where two needles are connected by a cord) or with a set of double pointed needles.   Don't forget you need a stitch marker so you can find the beginning of the row.  Some patterns have different stitches depending on what row you are on, so you use a stitch marker to mark the beginning of the row. 

One other tricky part of knitting in the round is what Becca mentions in the video - you have to make sure you don't twist your stitches while you start the first row.  Watch the video and you will see what I'm talking about.

Knit + Purl together

Knitting and purling together is super simple, but we thought you might want to see how it is done because it is what creates a fun pattern!  You won't find many knitting patterns that don't have you doing both.

The only tricky part of knitting and purling together is to remember to move your yarn to the front or back depending on the stitch. If you are purling, you will move your yarn from the back to the front in between the two needles.  After you complete your purl stitches and you are ready to do some knit stitches, simply move your yarn to the back before you do a knit stitch.

You can watch the video where Becca explains it much better than me.

K2tog / Knit two together

Most knitting patterns use codes for the various stitches, K2/P2 means knit two/purl two.  There are a TON of codes, so if you see one and don't know what it is, just google it!

K2Tog, means knit two stitches together and it is a way of decreasing your stitches.  This is good if you are making a hat or other item that needs to have a tapered look.  It's literally as easy as it sounds, you just knit two stitches together, but since everything is a bit intimidating when you're learning how to knit, we created a video for K2Tog :)

Have fun! This is one of my favorite stitches because you can really see it happening quickly!

SSK / slip slip knit

SSK or slip slip knit is also pretty simple.  It's similar to K2Tog but a bit different. 

With SSK, you act like you're going to do a knit stitch and once you slip your needle into the stitch, you simply slip it over to your right needle.  Once you slip the two stitches onto your right hand needle, slide your left hand needle into the front of those two stitches and knit the stitches together.  Voila!  you've done a SSK!