Learn Knitting in a Year: A Guide for Beginners
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 10 min read


  1. Choose your knitting tools
  2. Learn basic knitting terms and abbreviations
  3. Practice the knit stitch
  4. Practice the purl stitch
  5. Learn to cast on
  6. Learn to bind off
  7. Start your first project
  8. Learn to read a knitting pattern
  9. Try more complex projects
  10. Join a knitting community

Imagine being able to create your own cozy scarves, stylish mittens, and unique home decor—by just using some yarn and a pair of needles! If this idea sparks your interest, then you're in the right spot. We're here to guide you on how to learn knitting in a year. No prior knowledge necessary, and certainly no need to be daunted. We're going to take it step by step, stitch by stitch, unraveling the secrets of knitting together.

Choose your knitting tools

First things first: let's talk about the tools of the trade. Here's a simple list of the items you'll need to start your knitting journey. Remember, don't rush to the nearest craft shop and buy everything in sight. Choosing the right tools can make a big difference in how quickly you learn knitting in a year.

  • Knitting Needles: Start with a pair of size 8 or 9 needles. They're the most comfortable for beginners. You'll find needles made from various materials—wood, metal, bamboo, plastic. Try a few and see what feels best in your hands.
  • Yarn: Look for medium-weight yarn (often labelled as "worsted"). It's easier to work with than thin or chunky yarn. Bonus tip: Light colors can make it easier for you to see and understand your stitches.
  • Scissors: You don't need fancy crafting scissors—any sharp pair will do.
  • Tapestry Needle: This is a large-eyed needle you'll use to weave in loose ends of your yarn when you finish a project.
  • Stitch Markers: These are like bookmarks for your knitting. They help you keep track of where you are in a pattern.

Once you have your knitting toolkit assembled, you're ready to dive into the wonderful world of knitting. Remember, the key to learning how to knit in a year is patience and practice—before you know it, you'll be turning balls of yarn into beautiful creations!

Learn basic knitting terms and abbreviations

When you're starting out with knitting, it can seem like everyone else is speaking a different language. But don't worry—you'll pick up the lingo as you go along. To help you in your "how to learn knitting in a year" journey, here are some basic terms and abbreviations you should know:

  • Knit (k): This refers to the basic knit stitch, one of the two fundamental stitches in knitting.
  • Purl (p): This is the other basic stitch, which is essentially a backwards knit stitch.
  • Gauge (g): This term describes the number of stitches and rows per inch you get with a specific yarn and needle combo. It's a crucial concept to grasp if you want your finished pieces to fit correctly.
  • Cast on (CO): This is how you add stitches to your needle at the beginning of a project.
  • Bind off (BO): The opposite of casting on, binding off is how you remove stitches from your needle at the end of a project.
  • Yarn over (YO): This term refers to the action of wrapping the yarn over your needle to create a new stitch.
  • Slip, slip, knit (ssk): This is a method of decreasing stitches, by slipping two stitches and then knitting them together.

There are many more knitting terms and abbreviations, but these are the most common ones you'll encounter in your first year of knitting. By familiarizing yourself with these, you're setting a solid foundation for understanding knitting patterns and instructions. And remember, every knitter was once a beginner, fumbling with their first ball of yarn and pair of needles. So, take it one stitch at a time, and keep going!

Practice the knit stitch

Now that you're familiar with some of the basic knitting terms, it's time to get hands-on with actual knitting. The first step in learning how to knit in a year is mastering the knit stitch, which forms the backbone of most knitting projects. Here's a simple step-by-step guide to help you practice the knit stitch:

  1. Step 1: Start by holding the needle with the cast-on stitches in your left hand and the empty needle in your right hand.
  2. Step 2: Insert the right needle into the first stitch on the left needle, from left to right.
  3. Step 3: With your right hand, wrap the yarn around the right needle, going from back to front.
  4. Step 4: Using the right needle, pull the loop of yarn through the stitch.
  5. Step 5: Slide the old stitch off the left needle. You should now have a new stitch on your right needle. Congratulations, you've just made your first knit stitch!

Keep practicing this stitch until you feel comfortable with it. Remember, it's not about speed but rather about consistency and tension. So take your time, and don't be too hard on yourself if your stitches aren't perfect at first. With patience and practice, you'll soon be whipping up knit stitches like a pro!

Practice the purl stitch

Once you've got the hang of the knit stitch, it's time to learn its close cousin—the purl stitch. The purl stitch is just as important to know if you're planning on learning how to knit in a year. It might seem a bit tricky at first, but don't worry. Here's a beginner-friendly guide to help you master the purl stitch:

  1. Step 1: Hold the needle with the cast-on stitches in your left hand and the empty needle in your right hand.
  2. Step 2: Bring your yarn to the front of the work.
  3. Step 3: Insert the right needle into the first stitch from right to left.
  4. Step 4: Wrap the yarn over the right needle, moving from front to back.
  5. Step 5: Pull the loop of yarn through the stitch with the right needle and let the old stitch slide off the left needle.

There you have it—you've made a purl stitch! As with the knit stitch, the key to mastering the purl stitch lies in practice and patience. Keep at it, and before you know it, you'll be alternating between knit and purl stitches with ease. This will open up a whole new world of patterns and textures for your knitting projects.

Learn to cast on

Before you can start knitting, you need to cast on. This is the process of creating the initial row of loops on your needle, and it's the first step in any knitting project. If you're wondering how to learn knitting in a year, mastering the cast-on is a vital first step. Don't fret, though—it's easier than you might think! Here's a simple technique you can follow:

  1. Step 1: Make a slip knot on your needle. This will be your first loop.
  2. Step 2: Hold this needle in your left hand. Take the other needle in your right hand and insert it into the slip knot, going from left to right and from front to back.
  3. Step 3: With your right hand, bring the yarn under and over the right-hand needle.
  4. Step 4: Use the right-hand needle to draw the loop of yarn through the slip knot, creating a new loop.
  5. Step 5: Slip this new loop onto the left-hand needle. You've just cast on another stitch!

Repeat these steps until you have as many loops as you need for your project. Remember, every knitting project begins with a cast-on row, so it's well worth taking the time to get comfortable with this process. With a bit of practice, you'll soon be casting on like a pro!

Learn to bind off

Binding off, also known as casting off, is how you finish your knitting project. It's the method you use to take the loops off your needle and secure them so your work doesn't unravel. This step might seem daunting, but don't worry! It's actually quite simple. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you learn:

  1. Step 1: Knit the first two stitches from the left needle onto the right needle.
  2. Step 2: Now, use the left needle to lift the first stitch you knitted over the second stitch and off the right needle.
  3. Step 3: You've now bound off one stitch! Knit another stitch from the left needle onto the right and repeat the process.
  4. Step 4: Continue this process, always lifting the second-to-last stitch over the last stitch and off the needle, until only one stitch remains.
  5. Step 5: When one stitch is left, cut your yarn, leaving a tail. Pull the end of the tail through the last stitch, and pull tight to secure.

The beauty of binding off is that it gives your project a neat, finished edge. It's the final touch that takes your work from a series of loops to a completed piece. And remember: the more you knit, the better you'll get at it. So, keep practicing, and soon enough you'll be binding off with ease!

Start your first project

So, you've gotten a grip on the basics, and now you're ready to start your very first knitting project? That's fantastic! Now, the question is: what should you make?

As a beginner, it's important to start with something simple: a project that allows you to practice what you've learned without being too complicated or overwhelming. Here's a tip: A scarf is a perfect first project. It's simple, practical, and it gives you lots of opportunities to practice your stitches.

  1. Step 1: Choose your yarn. As a beginner, you might want to start with something smooth and easy to work with. Avoid novelty yarns with lots of textures; they can be tricky to handle.
  2. Step 2: Pick your needles. If you've been practicing with a particular set of needles and you're comfortable with them, stick to those for your first project.
  3. Step 3: Cast on. Remember, this is just like what we practiced before. For a scarf, you might want to cast on anywhere from 20 to 30 stitches, depending on how wide you want your scarf to be.
  4. Step 4: Knit, knit, knit! Now, all you need to do is knit each row until your scarf is as long as you want it to be. Make sure to practice the knit and purl stitches. Remember to stay patient, and don't worry if you make a mistake. It's all part of the learning process.
  5. Step 5: Bind off. You already know how to do this! Once your scarf is long enough, it's time to bind off, just like we practiced. After that, cut your yarn and weave in your ends.

And there you have it: your first completed knitting project! It might not be perfect, but it's yours, and that's what makes it special. So, keep practicing and keep learning; because remember, the journey to learn knitting in a year is all about progress, not perfection.

Learn to Read a Knitting Pattern

Learning to read a knitting pattern is a bit like learning a new language, but don't worry, it's not as daunting as it sounds. With a bit of practice, you'll soon be fluent in 'knit-speak' and ready to take on any knitting project.

Knitting patterns often come with abbreviations. Don't let these confuse you. They are just a way to simplify complex instructions. For example, 'K' stands for knit, and 'P' stands for purl. You'll also come across 'CO' for cast on, and 'BO' for bind off. But what if you encounter a term you’re unfamiliar with? No need for panic — a quick internet search should provide you with the explanation you need.

Here's a simple breakdown of how to read a knitting pattern:

  1. Materials: The pattern will list the materials you need. This includes the type of yarn, the size of the knitting needles, and any other tools you might need like stitch markers or a yarn needle.
  2. Instructions: This is where the actual knitting happens. The pattern will tell you in detail what to do. It might say something like "K2, P2," which means knit two stitches, then purl two stitches.
  3. Finishing: Once you've knitted all the parts, the pattern will guide you on how to finish your project. This might include instructions for binding off, sewing parts together, or adding final touches like buttons or tassels.

Remember, learning to read a knitting pattern takes practice. But once you've got the hang of it, it will open up a whole new world of knitting projects for you. So, don't be afraid to dive in. After all, how will you learn knitting in a year if you don't challenge yourself?

Try More Complex Projects

After you've mastered the basics and completed a few simple projects, it's time to stretch your knitting skills. Trying more complex projects is the next step on your journey to learn knitting in a year.

But how do you decide which projects to tackle? Well, the answer might be simpler than you think. Ask yourself: What do you want to knit? From cozy scarves and stylish hats, to cute baby booties and intricate sweaters, the possibilities are endless. The key is to pick a project you're excited about; your passion will keep you motivated when things get a little tricky.

Here are a few tips to help you navigate more complex projects:

  1. Start Small: Jumping from a basic scarf to a full-sized sweater might be too big a leap. Try intermediate projects like a hat or a pair of mittens first. These projects will introduce you to new techniques without being overwhelming.
  2. Read the Pattern Thoroughly: Yes, again! With more complex patterns, it's crucial to read through the entire pattern before you start. This way, you'll have a clear idea of what you're getting into and can plan your approach accordingly.
  3. Take Your Time: Knitting isn't a race. When working on a complex project, don't rush. Take your time to understand each instruction and execute it carefully. Remember, practice makes perfect!

Ready to take on more complex projects? With patience, practice, and a little courage, you'll soon be knitting like a pro. And remember, each new project brings you one step closer to your goal of learning how to knit in a year. So, grab your needles and yarn, and let's get knitting!

Join a Knitting Community

Learning how to knit in a year might seem like a solitary endeavor — but it doesn't have to be! Joining a knitting community can make your learning journey more enjoyable and enriching. Imagine having a group of like-minded friends who share your passion for knitting, offer advice when you're stuck, and celebrate your successes. Sounds wonderful, right?

Here's why joining a knitting community can be a total game-changer:

  1. Learning from Others: In a knitting community, you can learn from others who have more experience. They can offer tips, tricks, and solutions to problems you might face. Plus, seeing their work can be a great source of inspiration!
  2. Sharing Your Progress: Sharing your knitting projects with others can be incredibly rewarding. You'll get to show off your hard work, receive feedback, and improve your skills.
  3. Emotional Support: Every knitter knows that sometimes, projects don't go as planned. When you're part of a community, you'll have people who understand your frustrations and can offer words of encouragement.

Whether it's a local knitting club, an online forum, or a social media group, find a community that fits your needs and join in. Remember, learning how to knit in a year is not just about mastering a new skill—it's also about making connections, having fun, and enjoying the journey. So why not make some new friends while you're at it?

If you're excited about learning to knit and want to explore more creative techniques in the world of textile arts, check out the workshop 'Creative Ways to Use Traditional Hand Embroidery Techniques' by Irem Yazici. While focused on embroidery, this workshop can provide you with additional inspiration and ideas for incorporating various textile techniques into your knitting projects, helping you become a well-rounded and skilled textile artist.