Knitting goes a long way into the past. Women in the old days used to knit to make clothes for their families, and although you can buy just about anything you need today, knitting remains to be a hobby for those who want to use their spare time to make something beautiful for those they love. Whatever you create will be unique and something no one else has. You have endless possibilities as to what to make: gloves, hats, scarves, sweaters, bags and purses, and a lot more. The fact that not many women knit nowadays makes it even more worth the effort.
Knitting for Beginners
You can start by learning the knitting basics such as long tail cast-on, which creates loops on the needle. There are long tail cast-on, cable cast-on and similar knitting on, which are all good to master, especially for buttonholes. After you learn cast-on, you can work the knit stitch and the purl stitch, which are the foundation stitches of knitting.
Long-tail cast-on, also known as double cast-on or continental cast-on is the fastest kind of cast-on and it creates an even, stretchy edge that works well for stockinette stitch or for ribbing. It’s easy to knit from, and also easy to pick up stitches from. If you need to cast on loosely, for example for sock cuffs and turtle necks, just take two needles and hold them together as one. You will need about 12″ of tail for every 20 stitches, more if it’s bulky yarn. Dangle the tail from your thumb, this way the tail length won’t fluctuate with the needle size, so it’s easier to estimate yarn. Also, the yarn on the thumb side will tend to untwist as you go, but since it’s not attached to the ball end it’s easy to reintroduce the twist when you want to.
The fastest knitting method for beginners is probably knit and purl stitch, since it requires the fewest hand movements. You create the knit stitch by pulling a loop of yarn through an existing loop on the needle with the yarn in the back, and then by pulling it through with the yarn in front you create the purl stitch.
The continental style is the easiest; just hold the yarn in left hand, which will allow you to simply scoop, or pick, the yarn with the right needle. Use the middle finger or index finger to push the yarn down and to the right, to where the right needle can easily push it back through the stitch.
Now, you can go on to learn increases and decreases. Increases are basically adding stitches to the knitting, while decreases remove stitches thus narrowing the knitting. When it comes to increases, 3 methods are worth mentioning. M1L and M1R are the most discreet and invisible, and match each other symmetrically. Yarn Over (YO) is, by contrast, deliberately visible: it creates a decorative hole in the knitting, and this is why it is used as a little buttonhole and also in lace. The most frequent decreases K2tog (knit two together) and SSK (slip, slip, knit), which are both pretty easy. There are also double decreases which remove two stitches at once.
And finally, this knitting fairy tale might make it easier for you to start. It goes something like this: The prince (your right hand needle) rides against the castle (first stitch on the left hand needle). He sneaks around and inside the backdoor, gets the princess (the thread) and rides out.
If you are a beginner in knitting, don’t get discouraged if your first piece is uneven, and full of errors, just remember it is only the beginning and as you keep practicing, your work will get better and you will get faster.