Picture of How To Knit
How to knit is one of the more common requests for Instructables, and there are so far only a few addressing knitting. This is an attempt to show the basics, and is in no way comprehensive but should get you started.

All you need to learn is some yarn and a pair of needles. In this Instructable I've used medium weight yarn and somewhat large needles, so the interlocking loops would be clearer. Most knitting is done somewhat tighter than this.
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Step 1: A little bit of theory

Picture of A little bit of theory
All that knitting really is, is a series of interlocking loops. Let's take a look at the front pic again. I used yellow thread in one row to make it easier to see how the loops interact. The second pic shows the same piece from the other side.

The first pic shows the knit side, and the second pic shows the purl side. A purl stitch (it's spelled with a u but pronounced just like pearl) is exactly the same as a knit stitch except it's worked from the opposite side. The smoother side that looks like interlocking V's is facing you when you are knitting, and the bumpy side that looks like interlocking U's is facing you when you purl.

To start knitting, you'll need to "cast on", or fill up a knitting needle with starter loops. Then you'll knit some number of rows until the piece is the size you want. Then you'll "cast off", or close out all the loops so the knitting doesn't come unraveled again.

There are also varieties of ways to hold the needles and yarn. In this Instructable I'm using and discussing the Continental method, which basically just means the free yarn end is held in the left hand (pic 3). This end can also be held in the right hand, which is more common in the USA but to my mind a bit less efficient.
calskin1 year ago
I've been holding the yarn with my right hand this whole time and it requires that I take my hand off the right needle to wrap the needle. I've been trying to think of a way to speed up and I just had an epiphany while watching your knit stitch video which is: hold the yarn with your left hand dummy!

Thanks for that!
786Ayesha1 year ago
Loads of thanks.I learnt a lot from here,and going to publish my first knitting ..
Yes! thank you for this instructable! I do 4-H and some of the requirements are to have things like ribbing and stockinette stitches. So thank you!
Just finished my first scarf due to this instructable. Thank you so much for the help. This is the best guide I've found so far.
sharon02324 years ago
Guess what!!!!! i know how to knit now!!!!!! ;)
omnibot4 years ago
Yay! Learned how to knit! Thanks.
PKTraceur5 years ago
 Could I make needles out of a plastic coat hanger? Sharpen the ends into a dull point...

Great 'ible!
 Ah, nevermind, I just found my  grandmothers needles...

Canadian in mm's measurment...

that would bake  a cool ible if you did decide to do it.
d1sh5 years ago
Dear god!  I don't think there is any chance of my brain learning this. 
jonnis5 years ago
Finally a comprehensive guide/'ible to knitting... 

dwcarr5 years ago
Thank you so much!   I use to knit years ago but forgot how to cast on.  I was only doing the first part of the looping and it did not work. 

Now I can knit again!!

evank5 years ago
Thanks so much for this! I spent the last two days searching via google for any coherent and clear directions for a beginner with no luck until I remembered instructables.  Your pictures in combination with your text really made it clear, and the video  helped me understand any transitional steps the pictures didn't cover.
bazookaromz5 years ago
 this was SUCH a great instructable! I'm so proud of myself for having learned a little! 

thanks for this :) :) i'll be adding you to my favorites!
 i just knitted my first item. a green pot holder. thank you!! :]
shredbetty6 years ago
How do you switch from knitting the first row to purling the next row. I wish your purl instr./pics started from the end of the first row instead of in the middle. I'm learning to knit from you! Thank you!
 yeah i was a pretty confused when i got to this point. i improvised and went all the way to the end then just switched needles/hands and started to purl.. i have no idea if this is correct but it is working.. i also am learning here.. thanks!!
i've made a green pot holder so far :]
rachel (author)  shredbetty6 years ago
shredbetty, sorry it took me so long to reply, and hopefully you have figured this out already. But all you do at the end of one row, is turn the needles around and switch hands. So the needle with all the new stitches on it from your last row, moves from your right hand to your left, and the newly empty needle moves from your left hand to your right, ready for more stitches.
PKTraceur5 years ago
Okay, I'm thoroughly confused. I can cast on 16... casts (?) in 20 seconds. But once I stick the needle under/through the first cast, and then wrap, Im lost. Help? (Also, I dont know if you crochet, but what size hook do I need for RedHeart Classic yarn?) -PKT
What is the use of such a large tail, (Tail as in, what im assuming to be, the leftover of the slipknot.)
thepelton6 years ago
Thank you for putting this in. I have downloaded it for further study.
gizmology6 years ago
Wow! I have looked at all kinds of "how to knit" videos that I found by googling, and there are all sorts of approaches in the how-to, but not one of them was close to as good as this one looks! Not only do you have it three ways -- written directions, pictures, AND video, but your video moves are slow, clear, and easy to follow with the large needle and loose stitches. I had pretty much given up on knitting and decided I would just crochet for the rest of my life, but your Instructable has given me the inspiration to try again! Thanks so much! :)
rachel (author)  gizmology6 years ago
Why thank you, that is a lovely thing to say! Post a picture of what you end up making!
chi6 years ago
please help !
what am I supposed to do with the remaining yarn ar the end and beginning ?? i did a scarf but it has yarn hanging out of it ... =( i hope i made myself clear with my problem... greetings from mexico =)
rachel (author)  chi6 years ago
Get a tapestry or crewel needle, with a blunt tip and a big hole, and just weave the ends back into the knitting. You can cut them off to about 4 or 5 inches, it won't come out. For a scarf, another option is to make fringe. Cut a bunch of pieces of yarn twice the length you want the fringe to be, and knot them through the ends of the scarf.
gweedoh!6 years ago
oh man, this was awesome! I'm totally jacked up today, and your instructions were really direct. the video and pic an written method was perfect. I have a good 4 inches of knitted stuff and it was a lot easier that I thought!
Sunny1246136 years ago
I really needed to learn how to purl stitch thanks!!!! 5 STARS!
Doctor What6 years ago
Yay! I finally picked up some needles and some yarn today. I can't wait to get started.
rocotillo7 years ago
i started to knit for my first time ever today.four inches of scarf in three will be summer time when i finish head is still spinning.but i loved it.
Shifrin7 years ago
My grandma nits this way, she does it a bit different, but its a small difference, great instructable!
I have to ask because I'm having a hard time. I'm great at casting on, I okay at the knit stitch but I feel like it never looks right. The back gets all puffy and rides up onto the needle... and when I get to the last cast on stitch, the slipknot, I never really know what to do with it. Am I supposed to treat it like the other stitches? It never looks right when I do.
rachel (author)  jessyratfink7 years ago
Yep, the slipknot stitch is just like the rest, in theory anyway. It never looks exactly like the rest but it's usually not noticable by the time you're done with the project. I'm not sure about the puffiness you mention and the riding up on the needle, could it be a tension difference? Your first row of knit stitches is maybe tighter than the caston row? If you have a picture, post it and I'll see if I can help you figure it out.
Lunarius7 years ago
I told my mom about Instructables, and in turn she pointed me toward your knitting guide. I'm really blown away by how simple you've made the Continental style -- I was having a devil of a time learning it, and now I'm knitting and purling away with almost the same speed and skill as I had with the English style of it. Thanks a ton! :D
rachel (author)  Lunarius7 years ago
Thanks, that's so nice of you to say! I'm glad it helped you.
pcneifert7 years ago
hey i had a question, when you get done with you first stitch what do you do? do you start to do the other side or what please help me!
rachel (author)  pcneifert7 years ago
Not sure I understand your question :( When you're done with the first stitch, you do the second stitch... when you're done with the first row, you turn the needles around, switch hands, and start the second row... if this isn't helpful, comment again with more detail about the trouble you're having.
Helenism7 years ago
Thank you! I was always on the lookout for easy instructions on how to knit, and yours seems very thorough and detailed. I appreciate the hard work! I was trying to learn how to knit from my mom, but she said she forgot a lot due to lack of practice... we ended up with a couple mistakes on my test run... :oP Oh well... I love my mommy~<3 Haha!
TraumaComet7 years ago
This is very easy to understand. Thanks! I have been trying to teach myself from a knitting book written in the 60's and it was melting my brain! Then I read this, and it all fell into place!
rachel (author)  TraumaComet7 years ago
Thanks, that's kind of you to say! I'm glad it's helping you.