There is one basic stitch at the heart of knitting: the knit stitch. In today’s Knitting 101, you will learn about it and how to produce it. Not only is it quick and easy to do, but it also creates a lovely result.
This photo tutorial will teach you several things:
- What is a knit stitch.
- What is garter stitch.
- How to knit garter stitch.
- How to start knitting. Yes!
Before we begin, let's clear up a little confusion about this stitch.
What is Knit Stitch vs. What is Garter Stitch
When learning to knit there is often some confusion over what is a knit stitch and what is garter stitch. Simply, the first is a technique while the latter is a pattern of repeats.
Take a look at the swatch in the image below.
Each hill is a knit stitch but, collectively, they create the garter stitch pattern. In other words, one knit stitch isn’t garter stitch. If you repeat the knit stitch for each and every row, then this creates garter stitch.
Here are a few other things you should know about knitting in garter stitch:
- It produces a row of horizontal hills or bumps.
- The end result is a stretchy piece that lays flat and doesn’t curl.
- Garter stitch is reversible. Both sides are identical.
- If you purl all rows, this will also create the garter stitch pattern.
American Style Knitting (or English Knitting)
The style of knitting used in this photo tutorial is American knitting, also known as English knitting. Knitters who use this style often call themselves “throwers”. This is because the knitter throws the yarn counter-clockwise to knit the stitches.
But don’t get hung up on knitting style. If you're still figuring out what goes where and just want to start, do what works for you. With time, you will find a method that works best for you.
How to Knit the Knit Stitch
Hold the needle with your cast on row in your left hand. With your right hand, hold the other needle.
Notice, the tail of the yarn should be closest to you and the working yarn in back. This is how it will always be when starting a knit stitch. If they are not this way, you will need to start over or you will run out of yarn to work with.
Insert the right needle from front to back into the first stitch of your cast on row.
Wrap (or throw) the yarn counter-clockwise and around to the front of the right hand needle. This will create a loop. This loop will be resting on top of the stitch your right needle is inserted into.
With the stitches close to the tip of the needle, slide the right hand needle down and through the original stitch.
Your right hand needle should now be in front of the left hand needle. Slip the new stitch up and off the left hand needle and onto your right hand needle.
You've just knit the knit stitch. Way to go!
Continue this process until you've worked all stitches from the left hand needle onto the right hand needle.
How to Knit Garter Stitch
To continue knitting garter stitch just move the needle with your worked stitches back to your left hand and repeat the process. You will do this every time you come to the end of the row. Easy, right?
Now that you've learned to knit, it’s time to practice. Our collection of Easy Knitting Patterns for Beginners will get you started.
Or maybe you're ready to move on to the next step in knitting. Check out our next Knitting 101 on How to Knit the Purl Stitch.
*Editor's Note: This post was originally published in May 2017. It has been completely updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness (December 11, 2018).