This is what I would suggest for a beginner at knitting. Just start making small squares until you're comfortable with starting, ending, and everything between. ( If you've seen/tried my crochet squares then you know what I'm talking about. This way size doesn't matter and if you mess up, you won't get frustrated because it's just a practice square. I would suggest using knitting needles size 7-9 and light-colored worsted-weight or sport-weight yarn to start. Please leave any comments or questions below!
Step 1: Materials
Here are the materials you'll need for this project:
-Knitting needles size 7, 8, or 9. (Might say US 7, etc.)
-A small amount of light-colored worsted weight yarn.
-Pair of scissors
-Yarn Needle (Darning Needle)
-Tape measure or Ruler
Step 2: The Slip Knot
I like to call this step, just as a memory-cue, the breast-cancer-ribbon-pretzel knot. Confused? Let me explain.
You twist the yarn, a couple inches from the end of the string, to make it look like... a breast cancer ribbon!
Now, you bring the side of the yarn leading to the ball behind the back of your ribbon so that it shows through the center of the hole. Now it looks like... a pretzel!
Just be careful to not confuse the tail (the short side of the yarn) and the yarn leading to the ball of yarn. We will ALWAYS be using the yarn that leads to the ball of yarn from this point onward.
Step 3: Turn the Slip Knot Into Your First Cast-On Stitch
Remember the part where we passed part of the yarn behind the ribbon hole? Well you should be able to see it and you want to grab it with your finger and pull it vertically. If your slip knot falls apart, start over and try again with a longer tail.
Place the loop from your finger onto the pointy end of the knitting needle and pull on both strings to make this tight against the knitting needle. This is your first stitch!
Step 4: The Second Cast-On Stitch
Yep, now we're making another breast cancer ribbon, crossing the part going to the ball over the part going to the needle. REMEMBER!!! Ignore the tail!!!
Now put the point of the needle into that loop (no pretzel this time).
Now pull fairly tight on the strand of yarn going to the ball to tighten the ribbon, turning it into your next stitch (also known as the loop you just put on your needle) and it should sit right next to the first.
Step 5: Cast-On All Stitches
I cast on 12 stitches for this square, but it doesn't have to be exact because size doesn't matter. Increasing the number of stitches increases the width of your square!
Step 6: First Knit Stitch
As you inspect your row of cast-on stitches, you'll see that there's kind of a front and back of each stitch. (Remember one stitch is one loop on the needle.)
We want to pick up the second needle and insert it into ONLY the front of the closest loop to the tip as shown above. The needles will make an X.
Now pick up the string and wrap it from behind through the X as shown in the picture. It will be wrapped around the right needle.
This next part is the trickiest bit and will take some practice:
-keep holding the string you wrapped tight to the needle with your right hand
-slowly pull the right needle back out of the loop on the left needle, carrying the string with it
-eventually, with practice, the new loop will have passed through the original loop
Now the rest is much easier. Keeping the new loop on the right needle, slip the old loop off the left needle and it will fall onto the bottom of the new loop on the right.
It will feel a little loose, but that's just because it's the beginning of the project. As you continue to knit, it will feel tighter and more stable and easier to work with.
Step 7: The First Row
Repeat, repeat, repeat. You will find that knitting is very repetitive, so you have plenty of stitches to get the hang of it.
Work with every loop on the left needle just as we worked with the first one.
For every loop you get rid of on the left, there will be one added to right needle, this way the same number of stitches (loops) will be on the needles. Once you get to the end, count how many loops you have.
If you have the same that you started with, Congratulations! Give yourself a pat on the back because you've finished your first row.
If you have a couple more or less, feel free to continue since this is just a sample square. If you want it to be PERFECT. Just slip it off the needle and start over until you feel comfortable.
Step 8: The Second Row
Your tail end and your ball end of the yarn will be next to each other again. But remember: GRAB THE BALL END NEVER THE TAIL!
Now turn your needle with the loops on it so that it looks like the first picture above. It should like it did before your first row, with the loops ready to knit.
Repeat the knit stitch (or garter stitch) that I taught you all the way across each loop again. Now it will look like the second picture with the ball-end being opposite the tail-end.
Step 9: Repeat, Repeat, Repeat!
Continue turning your needle and knitting each stitch across each row. Above are some picture of how it will look in progress.
Looking at the close-up picture, I will teach you how to find out how many rows you have completed. There are little bumps that form in the fabric that kinda look like little rainbows. They line up horizontally and each of these lines represent two rows. You also count the row of bumps touching the knitting needle if you have one there. So if we add them up in the close-up picture, we have 8 rows completed.
Step 10: HOW DO I STOP !?!?
We're almost to the binding off now. If you would still like it to be square, measure it's width and keep making it longer until it is the same measurement. Mine was about 2.75 inches square.
But of course, there's nothing wrong with rectangles so stop whenever you would like :)
Step 11: Binding Off One Stitch
It seems a little strange, but to cast off one stitch, we must first knit two. So knit only two stitches (two will be on the right and the remainder will be on the left).
Now insert the tip of the left needle into the FIRST stitch on the right (or the one farthest from the tip)
Pull that loop over the end of the needle, being careful to leave the other loop still on the right needle.
One loop has now... disappeared! Actually, it now sits horizontally below the remaining loop on the right needle.
Step 12: Repeat Bind-Off
Now, since we already have one stitch on the right needle, we only need to knit one before we do another cast-off.
Repeat this across the square until you are left with one stitch on the right needle and none on your left needle.
Step 13: Bind Off That Last Stitch
Still got those scissors? Cut the yarn a couple of inches from the needle, turning the ball-end of the yarn into a tail.
Using your fingers, pull the loop off the tip of the needle and make it bigger as shown in picture two.
Now, pull the new tail through the loop you just stretched.
Pull it tight once it's on the other side of the loop.
Step 14: Good Job!
You just cast on, knitted, and bound off your first knitted square! That's a huge achievement. Now you can show it off to your non-knitting friends! But what about those pesky tails? Just a little bit more.
Step 15: A Little Bit of Sewing.
Take out your darning needle and thread one of the tails into it as shown.
Turn the needle so it's perpendicular to your cast-on/bind-off row and poke it under those bumps we talked about earlier. It shouldn't go through the entire fabric, just the first layer of bumps. Poke it through about 4 or 5 bumps.
Pull the needle through, bring the tail with you. The tail is now being woven, nearly invisibly, into your knitted fabric.
Step 16: Almost Done!
Turn your needle and go back up a different column of bumps next to the first.
Using your scissors, cut the remainder of the tail right next to the fabric.
Step 17: And... Your Done!
Congratulations on your first knitted square. I will be posting other squares to learn other knitting techniques and I also posted crocheted squares if you would like to learn how to crochet. Ask any questions about my squares or knitting in general, I am a very advanced knitter and a fairly advanced crocheter. Thank you!