essential knitting stitches for beginners

Essential knitting stitches for Beginners-Easy Step by Step (Video Tutorial)

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Essential Knitting Stitches for Beginners

Master the Essentials of Knitting

So, you’ve decided you want to knit but you don’t know where to start. Well I’m glad you are here. What you will learn here is what the essential knitting stitches for beginners are and how to knit them. I have included photos and step by step video tutorials to make sure you are comfortable with your new found knowledge of these basic knit stitches for beginners.


Every basic knitting stitch for beginners is the same stitch an experienced knitter uses, and all the essential knitting stitches for beginners discussed here will be explained.  And we will put into practice your new skills because I have included Free easy knitting patterns for you to practice the new stitch you’ve leaned.


There is nothing to fear with learning to knit, these knitting stitch tutorials will help you build your confidence and will show you how to knit basic stitches even if you are one of the many beginning knitters that need to start somewhere, You won’t regret it So, lets get started…and remember, have fun!



Basic Knit Stitch The First Stitch all Knitters Know and Use Most

pink and white stripe basic knitting stitches for beginners

It’s true, the simple little knit stitch is the biggest and baddest knit stitch out there. It is the basic foundation of everything you will ever knit. When you learn the basic knit stitch you will be able to make simple knitting projects like a scarf or a baby blanket there are even baby hats and booties that can be knit flat and sewn together with the knit stitch. You would be able to truthfully call yourself a knitter. So lets get you knitting this essential knit stitch.


What you’ll need to Make the Basic Knit Stitch: Some yarn, two straight knitting needles

The first step in forming the knit stitch is making a slip stitch on your knitting needle. (video below)

  • Hold the needle with the slip stitch on it in your left hand and the empty needle in your right hand.
  • The working yarn (or the yarn connected to the ball of yarn) should be held to the back of the work.(away from you)
  • The stitch is  facing you, (we’ll discuss the cast on below, just make a single knit stitch now)
  • Slip the tip of the right-hand needle into the first loop, from front to back.
  • Once the needle is in place, pick up the yarn in your right hand  and ‘throw’ it over the right-hand needle, going counter-clockwise around the needle.
  • Make sure the working yarn slides between the two needles.
  • Slide the right-hand needle down so that the loop gets close to the tip of the needle but doesn’t slide off.
  • When the tip of the needle gets close to the edge of the left-hand needle, give the right-hand needle a little push so it can move in front of the left-hand needle.
  • Slide the right-hand needle up so that the first loop on the left-hand needle slides off that needle onto the right hand needle. Congratulations you have just made your first knit stitch. 


Now reading how to make a stitch and seeing the stitch made is two different things. One works for some, the others works for some. With the video you can slow it down and watch it over and over. You’ve got this!



A Step by Step Visual of the Basic Knit Stitch

Step by step demonstration, hands performing knit stitch
Insert the Right needle into the stitch on the left needle, the needle will be to the back of the left needle.


demonstrating knit stitch hands with needles
Now bring yarn in your right hand around the tip of the right needle moving counter clockwise, it will be between the left and right needle.


learning how to knit the knit stitch
Now pull the yarn down the where the needles meet
tutorial for making the knit stitch
Now carefully slide the right needle down, holding the needles and yarn taught, then pull the yarn from back to front through the loop on left needle, ending with a loop on right needle


how to knit the knit stitch
Now carefully pull the newly created knit stitch off the left needle to the right needle and tighten it up.


step by step kitting tutorial
Showing you a swatch of knitting on the left and the swatch turned over to show you what the back looks like. Those are purl bumps!



How to Make the Basic Knit Stitch for Beginning Knitters

This video will show you step by step how to make the knit stitch. She does it very slowly and repeats it several times. Watch it more than once. Get the feel for the needle movement. This is the base for the entire craft of knitting.


And don’t worry, I teach you how to make a slip knot and cast on stitches just a bit lower. Just watch the knit stitch first. 




A Free Simple Basic Knit Stitch Pattern (Garter Stitch) to Practice What You’ve Learned

Now the knit stitch, knitted over and over, front and back is called the garter stitch. This is the first stitch pattern that most knitters will use. It is often a favorite even of the experienced knitter. It is great with bulky yarn for a quick knit that you can complete in a matter of hours, or use any gauge yarn you like and make a gorgeous scarf. Here is a pattern that will make use of your basic knit stitch skills.


King Me Scarf - Basic Knit Stitch PatternKing Me Scarf – Basic Knit Stitch Pattern

But First!  Watch The Quick Video on the Garter Stitch Below After You Learn to Cast on Next


Simple Knit Cast On-Necessary to Get You Started Knitting

Now that you have learned the knit stitch and you have a simple garter stitch to practice with, you have to be able to get some stitches onto your needle to work with. This is very simple and just part of the knit stitch. There are many different kinds of cast on styles. Some extremely complicated others very simple.The knitted cast on is another of the essential knitting stitches for beginners.


This is my favorite straight forward basic knit stitch cast on. Remember you are now used to handling your knitting needles and holding your yarn. So just practice and you will be successful in this venture too. This video also shows you very slowly how to do things, including the slip knot at the beginning of the cast on. She does a nice job. Also don’t forget to pause and rewind as much as you need to, but just don’t stop trying.


Knitting on Cast On Method and How to Make a Slip Knot



Knitting 101:The Garter Stitch For Absolute Beginners

So, you can make a knit stitch, you can make a slip stitch and cast on using the knit on method. And you can knit a row of stitches. Now you need to put it all together and make something out of the knit stitch. When you cast on a number of stitches and knit every row, back and forth, it is called the garter stitch.

essential beginner stitch, garter stitch
Knit stitch, front and back, row after row of knit stitch. It makes a beautiful, textured yarn pattern


This video will help you visualize what it is you are going to accomplish. After you watch the video. Go back and look at your free garter stitch scarf pattern. And go to town on it!

Just a helpful FYI: When reading a knitting pattern, Cast on is CO 30 stitches, the knit stitch is (k) and the pattern will tell you to k 30 stitches. or *k to the end of the row*, repeat *, continue for 65 inches. (I made this up, just to give you the idea. But it would make a nice scarf in garter stitch  🙂 )

Basic Purl Stitch – Basic Knitting Stitches Explained

Okay now lets take a look at the Purl (not pearl) stitch. this is usually the second stitch a beginner knitter will learn, right after the knit stitch. And the purl stitch and the knit stitch are used in harmony in most instances. When you knit a row, you will notice it makes bumps on the back side of your work. Well those bumps are called purl bumps.


The executing a purl stitch is similar to a knit stitch except the knit is made by putting your right needle in the back of the stitch on the left needle. And a purl is made by putting your right handed needle tip in the front of the stitch on the left needle. The one other difference is the working yarn ( coming from the ball of yarn) is held in the back of the stitch when making a knit stitch and the yarn is held in the front of the needles when making a purl.


Okay, clear as mud? Watch this video and remember to slow it down, back it up. It will all make since.


Side by Side Comparison of Needle Placement for Knit Stitch First Followed by Purl Stitch

Knit                                                     Purl

comparison of the purl stitch and knit stitch needle placement
                                                                            Side by side comparison of the needle placement for basic knit and purl stitch. Knit on the left, the right needle is inserted in the loop to the back of the left needle. The Purl stitch on the right , the needle is inserted in the loop to the front of the left needle.



Keep going you are also about to learn the stockinette stitch, You are going to love it, just a bit below. 


FYI: When reading a knitting pattern, the purl stitch is represented by (p). So it will give you the stitch count after the P, such as p 10. And when combined with the knit stitch. It could look something like this, k 10, p 10, repeat to end. Also st st  is stockinette stitch in your pattern. It may say, knit st st for 4 inches, for example.


Types of Knitting Stitches Explained – The Purl Stitch



Let’s Put it all Together

Okay you asked “What are the two basic stitches in knitting?” Well you have learned the answer. The Knit stitch and the Purl stitch. YUP! the two stitches you have been practicing and can now say you can knit!  And then you learned to make a beautiful scarf using the knit stitch only, which is called the garter stitch. You are a Rock Star!


Lets take it another step. One of the most popular stitch patterns all knitters do and is in some way is in 90% of all patterns is the Stockinette Stitch. And guess what? It is something you already know how to do.


Yes the Stockinette is another basic knitting stitch that all knitters including beginners need to know. It is the foundation of so many patterns, It is made with the Knit and the purl stitch. After you cast on, you knit across, when you turn you purl back, then knit across, and purl back, over and over.


So when you knit across, you make the purl bumps on the back side of the piece. When you turn the purl bumps are now facing you. So now purl the purl bumps. and turn and knit the knits. That is actually the mantra of the stockinette stitch. “knit the knits, and purl the purls”


Okay watch the  video below and do your thing, slow it down, back it up, repeat it. Practice as you watch.




basic knitting stitches for beginners


And once you have learned how to knit another basic stitch, I have another free knitting pattern to let you practice the stockinette stitch, just a little further ahead. 


How to knit the Stockinette Stitch for the Beginner Knitter


A Free Knitting Pattern With the Stockinette Stitch

Stockinette Stitch Scarf - Basic Knit Stitch PatternStockinette Stitch Scarf – Basic Knit Stitch Pattern

So Let’s Recap All the Essential Knitting Stitches for Beginners That You Have Now Mastered

  • The Knit Stitch
  • The Garter Stitch
  • The Knitted Cast On (including the slip knot)
  • The Purl Stitch
  • The Stockinette Stitch

Congratulations, you are now equipped to make a variety of wonderful things. Make them for your own baby, make them for a baby shower gift, make them for practice and the pure joy of knitting. There are so many reasons to knit. But mostly just to enjoy color, texture and the love of your new craft. Well done!!


A Few More Free Patterns for Using Basic Knitting Stitches For Beginners

These patterns are great for your new knitting skills. The first Scarf is garter stitch but it is unique in that it has you hold three different color yarns as you stitch, giving you the interesting color. The second blanket pattern is a puffy looking stitch that is achieved by using two sizes knitting needles. size 13 and size 3, so naturally it is going to give that puff, in and out roller coaster look. Love it! And third little purse is the practical one. You can use this little purse for years to come.  So even though these are knitting stitches for beginners, they are also essential for experienced knitters too. Enjoy your new knitting career because now that you have started you won’t be able to start. Enjoy!


Knit Two Hours or Less Scarf - Garter StitchKnit Two Hours or Less Scarf – Garter StitchGarter Stitch Ruffles Baby Blanket Knitting PatternGarter Stitch Ruffles Baby Blanket Knitting PatternKnit Change Purse - Stockinette StitchKnit Change Purse – Stockinette Stitch




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