As great as our love for cross stitch kits is, we believe no one should be allowed to move on from school until they've completed at least 10cm of consecutively knitted stitches! We feel this simple requirement would let those who genuinely don't like knitting admit they gave it an honest go, and it would also certainly attract a whole new, wider audience to this fun, practical hobby. That may never happen, but you can still atone for your reluctance to pick up those sticks and fashion a scarf with Past Impressions' own guide on How To Knit:
#1 Making A Yarn Ball
Most knitting tutorials often like to skip this part and assume you've got one handy, but in case you're not so well equipped, or if you just prefer to be more hands on here's the breakdown on how to build up:
#2 Your First Stitch
- With your messy, tangled mess of yarn in front of you, try and untangle as much as you possibly can. You don't need it to be in one solitary line, just spread it out as much as possible.
- Loosen any knotted areas you come across, but don't be pulling too hard or you'll end up with two or more pieces...
- Locate one of the ends of the yarn. With the end held in place with your thumb, gently start to wrap it around your fingers until you've done about ten loops.
- Remove the roll of yarn from your fingers and pinch them together in your hand. Now, similarly wrap the yarn around the width of the roll until you can do no more.
- Pinch and compress the little shape you have going between your thumb and index finger, and begin to wrap the yarn lengthwise around it - flattening it into a round shape with each full loop.
- Continue this process, changing up your rolling from length to width every 15 to 20 or so rounds. Keep going until all the yarn is nicely combined into one easy to handle ball!
OK so you've got your needle, your yarn and bountiful determination; what's first? Well, you need a foundation to work on. This comes in the form of a row of stitches, the process of making is called 'casting on'. To do even this, you need to know how to make something called 'a slipknot'.
Bear in mind this guide is for right handed knitters. For lefties, the needles are reversed.
Find the end of the yarn, and from roughly 12cm (5") from that end create a loop by winding the shorter end over the long end that's closer to the yarn ball.
Keeping this circle together with your index finger and thumb, slide the long end of the yarn underneath the loop.
Catch this newly formed loop with your knitting needle, and gently pull both the end of the yarn and tail (the bit leading to the ball) to tighten so that it fits snugly around the needle. Ideally you don't want it too tight, so make sure you can move it up and down the needle.
So that's the easy part, now it's time to 'cast on' some stitches. These secure the initial stitches of your fabric. With your slipknot attached, 'drape' the working yarn (the piece that leads to the ball) over your left hand, hooking it around your thump and dropping it over your palm.
Slide the needle between your palm and the yarn resting on top of it, and remove the palm from the equation. There should now be a loop formed around your needle, which you need only pull tight to cast on your first stitch!
#3 The Actual Knitting
Once you've repeated the cast-on process (ideally 10 or so times), it's time to knit some honest-to-crafts stitches. For this blog, we'll focus on the most simplest of these.
- Your other needle until now has been neglected; time to pick it up and put it to use! Hold the casted-on needle in your left hand, and the untouched needle in your right. We recommend wrapping some of that working yarn around the middle finger on your right hand, to keep it out the way.
- Next, insert the plain needle underneath the the first loop on the other needle (the one nearest the pointy end) and push it through. The working yarn should be sticking out from behind both needles.
- With your fingers, wrap the working yarn around the non-counted-on needle, clockwise, so that it now lies in the middle of the two.
- Once you've wrapped the tail yarn from back to front, you should now have two holes separated by one middle piece of yarn. Manoeuvre the right needle through the hole on the left, and then, whilst holding the yarn you just wrapped, slowly take out the right needle from the loop.
- Turn the right needle so the point is facing you, and take the yarn wrapped around it away. If you've done it right, the loop you just pulled should essentially have moved from the left needle to the right. If you found you don't now have a knot on the other needle, pull off whatever you've just done, cast on another stitch to the left needle and have another go.
- Repeat this process until you've successfully moved i.e. knitted every stitch that was on your left needle, until they've all been transferred to your right. Once done, switch the two needles round in your hands, ensuring the loops are all facingthe same way, and that you're knitted work so far lies to the right of the left needle.
- Continuously repeat this process, swapping the stitches between the two needles. Keep doing this, and you'll create a 'garter stitch' pattern.
That's all the space we have here. In a later blog we may cover 'Casting Off' so you can finish your pieces, but for now you can check out a guide to do so here
We intend to visit other ways of knitting in later blogs. If you have any suggestions, you can post them here in the comments, or pass them our way via Facebook, on Twitter or through Google+.