How to Knit, Actually

I wish I was the kind of person who was good at creating visual step-by-step instructions, diagrams, or videos in order to provide good knitting instructions. Unfortunately, I am not. But as an information professional, at least I am good at aggregating resources. And after all, there are already so many good instructions out there; why add more to the mix? Here are easy to follow tutorials that will give you all the skills you need to make the projects listed in my last post.

How to Knit via Martha Stewart. I secretly (actually, publicly) love Martha Stewart. Her instructions are a little bit bare-bones, but I really like the charming diagrams, and the fact that she talks about details like making gauge swatches and picking up dropped stitches. Those are very useful things to think about. Also, there are separate instructions for knitting in the round, which will be useful for making hats, cowls, or mitts.

Videos seem like the way to go now in terms of breaking down individual techniques. Youtube did not exist when I was learning how to knit. Young people everywhere are blown away by this, but there you have it. Here are a few videos that should cover all the basics:

How to cast on (long-tail cast on)

How to make a knit stitch

How to make a purl stitch

How to increase (make 1)

How to decrease (k2tog)

How to decrease (ssk)

How to bind off

I recommend waiting to watch these until it is actually close to time to use them – otherwise this all seems like meaningless jibber jabber. Or at least that is how instructions feel to me.

Also helpful is Interweave’s knitting glossary. Any unfamiliar term you’ll see in a pattern is probably listed here, often with a helpful diagram or illustration.

I personally like to have a nice library of knitting books on hand. I love old stitch dictionaries and Elizabeth Zimmerman books in particular, but for a knitter just starting out, I am especially partial to recommending Debbie Stoller’s Stitch N Bitch. My mom got me this book back when it first came out, and I found it more helpful than any other book I had seen, especially in terms of mastering basic skills. It’s also extremely charming and funny, which never hurts.

As a bonus, here is an old image of what I still continue to be essential knitting supplies:



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