In this Knitting 101 tutorial, we will show you how to make a slip knot for knitting.
This technique is the foundation to any good knitting project. It is used in a variety of cast on methods and is quite useful.
Before we get to the tutorial, allow me to explain the slip knot’s use and importance.
What is a Slip Knot in Knitting?
A slip knot in knitting is a knot that locks your yarn to your needle.
In some cast on methods, the slip knot is your first stitch. It is what sets up your cast on row and anchors the following stitches.
Do I Need a Slip Knot?
This is a question I get asked a lot. My answer?
Yes and no.
First of all, it depends on your cast on method. The long tail cast on, for example, calls for a slip knot.
For these types of cast on methods, its purpose is to lock the yarn to the needle. It is also your first stitch of your project.
More importantly, though, it is what controls the tension of your first stitch. Remember, this stitch will also be an edge stitch and is highly visible.
If you skip this step, your first row may look fine but when you work back to that first stitch, the loop will be loose. So I don’t recommend skipping this step.
Also, working with a slip knot helps create a squared cast on edge. This will keep your knitting edge look neat and uniform.
Do You Knit into the Slip Knot?
Unless your cast on method or your pattern says otherwise, yes, you knit into this stitch.
TIP: Your slip knot is your first stitch and your cast on row is your first row of knitting.
HOW TO DO A SLIP KNOT IN KNITTING
This photo tutorial will teach you how to tie a slip knot for knitting in 10 easy steps. Choose your project yarn and knitting needles, and let’s get started.
Unravel some yarn from your skein. Now, pinch the strand with your left thumb and index finger. Let it drape over your finger.
Gather the strands together with your right thumb and index finger. Hold these together lightly.
With your left index finger, reach into the top of the loop and twist the yarn over once.
Insert your left thumb, index, and middle finger into the loop. Keep the yarn tight to prevent the yarn from slipping off your fingers.
Use your right hand to insert your index finger into the bottom loop.
Start to move your left hand closer to your right while keeping the loop open and taught.
With your left hand fingers still inside the top loop, pinch the yarn on top of your right index finger.
Begin to pull the yarn up and away from your right hand. This will create the beginning of the knot.
Keep a light hold on the remainder of the right hand yarn.
Slowly begin to pull your hands away. This will allow the knot to close, but do not pull tight.
Continue pulling the loop away from your right hand. Keep the knot loose.
Transfer the slip knot onto your needle.
Gently pull one end of the yarn to make it snug. You want the knot to be just right on your needle – not too loose and not too tight.
That’s it! You’ve just learned how to tie a slip knot. Pretty easy, right?
Did you find this photo tutorial on how to make a slip knot helpful? Have questions? Leave us a comment below. We'd love to hear from you.
*Editor's Note: First published in December 2017, this post has been completely updated. - October 29, 2018