Learn to Knit in 10 Easy Steps


Table of Contents

  1. Get Your Yarn Ready
  2. How to Cast On
  3. How to Tension Your Yarn
  4. The Knit Stitch
  5. Tips and Tricks
  6. Fixing Common Mistakes: Avoiding an Extra Loop on the First Stitch
  7. Switching to a Second Ball of Yarn
  8. How to Bind Off
  9. Weave in Your Ends
  10. Optional: Add Fringe to Your Scarf

Learn to Knit in 10 Easy Steps

So you want to learn how to knit? I think that’s a fabulous idea.

I’m Liat Gat, your video knitting instructor and guide through the land of knitting. I’m so glad you signed up for this guide.

You already have, perhaps without knowing it, started down the path of awesomeness.

This guide will let you hit the ground running and learn about knitting as you create your very first project – a beginner scarf, with fringe, for less than $20.

Shop For Materials Without Breaking the Bank

There are many beautiful yarns out there, but this is not the time to buy them.

Try knitting with an inexpensive yarn first – that way, your first project will whet your appetite without putting a huge dent in your wallet.

Also, if you mess up, drop it in a puddle, or your dog finds it and decides he likes it – no big deal.

As you know, it is very fun to drive a Lamborghini, but there is nothing wrong with learning on an older car. Same goes for knitting.

As your skill increases, so can your knitting budget.

Oh – by the way, learning to knit is a lot easier than learning to drive a car, but it is a new skill, so be patient with yourself as you ask your hands to learn this new task.

You can find inexpensive, machine washable yarn at Michael’s, Joann Fabrics, and Wal-Mart, or even some grocery stores.

Beginner Garter-Stitch Scarf With Fringe

For this project, buy two balls of Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick yarn in your favorite color (buy three balls if you want a long scarf and/or fringe). While you’re at the store, buy a pair of Clover bamboo knitting needles in US Size 13 (9 mm). If the store doesn’t have any bamboo needles, you can buy a pair of Boye aluminum knitting needles, which are a little less fun to knit with, but just fine for starting out. Extras

You’ll also need a blunt, large-eyed sewing needle called a tapestry needle – these are usually right next to the knitting needles.

Also, if you are going to add fringe, buying a crochet hook (size I or J) will make this job go quickly. A short shopping list is below.


  • 300 yards super-bulky-weight yarn
  • US Size 13 (9 mm) needles
  • Tapestry needle
  • Optional: crochet hook, size J, for fringe

A Note About Your Local Yarn Store

The absolute best place to buy yarn and knitting needles – these specialty shops filled with the latest and greatest yarns and are staffed by experts who love knitting. Find your local yarn stores here using Ravelry.com’s yarn shop database.

It’s the difference between Nordstrom and, well, Wal-Mart. Expect to be delighted. You’ll definitely want to check out your local store for future projects, if not this one. That’s it! Let’s start knitting.


Learn to Knit in 10 Easy Steps

1. Get Your Yarn Ready

When you come home, fish around in the inside of the ball of yarn, to find the end. Pulling the yarn from the middle of the ball will prevent the ball of yarn from rolling all around the foor as you knit (to the great disappointment of your cat).

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If you pull out a ton of yarn, wrap the extra around the ball of yarn for now. If you remove the yarn label, keep it. You can put it in a special folder or zip-top bag for yarn labels, or even store the information digitally on Ravelry (the site that you really should know about anyway).

This just ensures that you’ll know what you bought in case you want more, and is a habit that will save you from grief for years.

Optional: Prepare Your Fringe

If you’d like to add fringe to your scarf, make sure to cut it ahead of time. To do so:

Cut 30 strands of yarn, each two feet long, and set them aside for later.

2. Learn To Cast On

Knitted items are built out of stitches, in the same way that a brick wall is made out of bricks: by stacking them up in rows. However, a knitted “wall” is incredibly simple: each brick, or stitch, is stacked directly on top of the previous one.

You must start your scarf by laying a foundation of stitches, which is called “casting on.” Here’s the easiest way to cast on – it’s called a backwards-loop cast-on. Grab your yarn and one needle, and practice casting on along with the video.

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When you’ve got the hang of it, begin your scarf by casting on 12 stitches (this includes the slipknot that you started with). In order to get you used to the language of knitting instructions, here’s how you would abbreviate that: CO 12 sts (the word “stitch” is abbreviated “st”). Pretty simple, no

3. Learn How To Tension Your Yarn

You’ll be holding both needles as well as manipulating a strand of yarn (called tensioning) – here’s how to do this comfortably and correctly.

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4. Learn The Knit Stitch

The knit stitch is the only stitch you will be using during this project. It’s the simplest way to “stack” one stitch on top of another. Ready? Here’s how to do it:

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The knit stitch has four parts that must be repeated over and over. Here’s a rhyme you can say to yourself as you practice the parts so you don’t forget any of them: 1) In the front door, 2) Around the back, 3) Out the window, 4) And off jumps Jack.

Knit Until You Run Out Of Yarn

Each time you knit across all the stitches on your needle, that counts as one row.

Once you finish your first row, turn your work, or switch the needles in your hands, so that the needle with the stitches on it is in your left and, and you hold an empty needle in your right.

Making sure the yarn is behind your knitting, and the knots are facing down, begin again. Knit all the way across the second row. Then, do it again.

In pattern-speak, this is abbreviated “K,” as in “K every row” or “K every st” or even “K all sts.”

As you practice, watch out for the common mistakes that I demonstrate below

5. Tips and Tricks

Here are some more tips for getting comfortable and knitting correctly. As you work across your second row, watch this video.

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6. Troubleshooting Beginner Mistakes

The most common thing that happens on your first scarf is that you mess up on the first stitch – there are two things that could cause you to make an extra loop, which will make your scarf grow gradually wider as you go.

Not good. Here’s how to catch both kinds of mistakes.

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7. Switch To Your Second Ball Of Yarn

Continue knitting every row until you have almost run out of yarn from the first ball.

You’ll want to leave six inches of the yarn hanging so you can secure the end later, and you’ll want to switch to the new ball of yarn while you are at one side of the scarf.

So, at the end of a row, and with at least six inches of yarn left (this is called the tail), grab your second ball of yarn. Fish out the end from inside the ball, as before, and, leaving a six-inch tail, join the new yarn by simply using it to knit instead of the old ball.

Here’s a video showing how to do that.

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If the ends seems a bit loose, you can tie them in a square knot to keep them snug for now.

Once you’re done knitting, you’ll come back and weave the ends in so that they don’t go anywhere. Keep on knitting until you run out of yarn, again. You should be getting very comfortable with knitting by now.

There are so many cool things you can learn to make, now that you can do this very basic stitch. So let’s finish this scarf. This time, stop knitting at the end of a row and leave a foot and a half of tail.

It’s time to do the last row, called a bind-of, which will secure the stitches and get them of your needle so you can wear the scarf

8. Bind Off

Here’s how to bind off your scarf.

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To practice a bit more pattern-reading, here’s what I have demonstrated in the video, written in knitting abbreviations:

K2, pass 2nd st over 1st stitch, *(k1, pass 2nd st over 1st st), rep from * to end of row.
Cut yarn, leaving a six-inch tail, pull tail through last st. Pull yarn tight.

Or simply,


9. Weave In Your Ends

You will have 4 tails of yarn hanging of your scarf – one from your cast-on, two where you switched balls of yarn, and one, where you bound off.

Using your tapestry needle, follow along the video to disguise your tails invisibly and securely.

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Question: Can’t I just tie a knot and cut the ends? Answer: No.

Oh, you want more than that? Okay, yarn can be slippery. Knots come undone – weaving doesn’t. If you don’t want your scarf to unravel in the wash or after years of wearing, just weave in your ends. 

10. Optional – Add Fringe

If you are going to add fringe, it’s time.

1. Fold your strands of fringe in half

2. Using your crochet hook or just your fingers, pull the yarn where it is folded in half through a stitch at the edge of your scarf.

3. Insert your fingers through the loop of yarn and pull the ends of the strand through the loop and tighten.

Repeat to attach 15 strands evenly along each of the short edges of your scarf. Here’s a video, of course.

When you are done, trim the fringe so the edges are even. You’re all done!

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Extra Credit: Practice Your Pattern-Reading

You’ve done a great job, and I’m so proud that you’ve knitted your first scarf.

While it’s fresh in your mind, please read over the pattern below: it describes what you’ve just done, in knitting abbreviations. Since all knitting instructions are written using abbreviations, it behooves you to learn to master them, right from the beginning.

Beginner Garter-Stitch Scarf With Fringe

Finished Measurements

5 inches wide x 5-6 feet long


Yarn: 300 yds super-bulky-weight yarn

Needles: One pair straight needles US size #13

Notions: tapestry needle, crochet hook (optional)


Optional: Cut 30 2-foot strands of yarn for fringe. Set aside.
CO 12 sts. K every row until scarf is desired length.


Weave in ends.
Add fringe, if desired.

It’s that simple! You can see that a lot of information is communicated in that very simple pattern, which is why, if you know how to read knitting patterns, you really have a leg up on your knitting journey.