If you’ve been wanting to learn how to make a slip knot for crochet or knitting, you can learn today. In this knitting 101 tutorial, we’ll show you how in just a few easy steps.
Before we get to the specifics of the tutorial, let’s talk about the slip knot, what it is, and what it does.
What's a Slip Knot?
When you hear the word ‘knot,’ a slip knot probably isn’t the first thing you think of.
In the family of common knots, it’s considered a stopper knot or a running knot. Knitters, crocheters, and sailors all use it, to name a few.
It's purpose is to anchor something in place. Unlike other knots, though, if you pull one end, it will easily come undone. So, in this regard, it is not your traditional knot.
But as we go along and discuss the slip knot, keep the phrase "anchor in place" in mind.
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Using a Slip Knot in Knitting
On your journey to learn to knit, the slip knot is the first step, and here's why.
For some cast on methods, like the long tail cast on, the slip knot is the first stitch you place on your knitting needle. It sets up your cast on row and anchors the following stitches. It’s also what regulates the size of your stitches on your knitting needle.
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As you learn how to knit, you will find that this knitting technique is one you will use often. It's also used when doing a knitted cast on and when using the two strand cast on method.
Now, let's talk a little about the need for a slip knot.
Do I Need a Slip Knot?
The question of whether you actually need a slip knot in your knitting is one I hear often. The simple, yet complicated response, is both yes and no. Allow me to explain.
First of all, it depends on which cast on method you’re using. The long tail cast on, for example, calls for one. The knitted cast on does as well.
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Nevertheless, you can still long tail cast on without a slip knot. Yes, you heard that correctly. You don't have to, no.
Still, you have to remember that its purpose is to lock the yarn to the needle. More importantly, though, is that it helps control the tension of your first stitch.
This first 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.
Also, working with a slip knot helps create a squared cast on edge. This will keep your knitting edge look neat and uniform. For this reason, and others, I don’t recommend skipping the slip knot.
This image below gives you an idea of this neat, square edge that a slip knot can provide. This is shown on a security blanket pattern, one type of baby blanket, knit in 100% cotton yarn.
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Do You Knit into the Slip Knot?
Unless your cast on method says otherwise, yes, you knit into this stitch.
Two things to remember when using a slip knot in a long tail cast on:
- It's your first stitch and;
- your cast on row is your first row of knitting.
Alright, we’ve established what it is and how it effects your knitting. Now, let’s get to the photo tutorial.
How Do You Make a Slip Knot for Knitting?
This beginning knitter tutorial will teach you how to tie a slip knot. Grab your knitting yarn and needles, and let’s begin.
First, unravel some yarn. Hold both the tail and the working yarn in your left hand. Let it drape over your left index finger. Your other hand should be holding the tail and the other strand together.
Second, while holding the loop on your left index finger, twist the two strands. Your yarn should be crossed as below shown in the image.
Third, with your left hand, reach into the loop. Keep the yarn tight to prevent it from slipping off.
Fourth, pinch the yarn on top of your right index finger and pull away from your right hand. This will create the beginning of the knot.
Finally, begin to pull the knot but do not cinch it closed yet. Now, transfer the knot onto your knitting needle and cinch down a little. It should be able to slide easily.
That’s it! Pretty easy, right?
Now, you’re ready to cast on stitches. This next knitting tutorial will teach you how to long tail cast on.
Did you find this tutorial on how to make a slip knot helpful? Tell us about it. We'd love to hear from you.
There really is no need to make a slip knot when knitting. I never do!
But as a self-taught knitter, you already know that! Well, maybe you haven't reached that chapter yet.
Christina Garza-Brown says
Hi Dee! Thanks for taking the time to leave a response.
Yes, you can get away with not using a slip knot in your knitting but I find that without it, it can leave that first stitch a little loose and sloppy looking. For that reason, I think it’s an important step in your knitting. Plus, using a slip knot leaves a nice, squared edge compared to a more rounded one.
It really all depends on what look you’re going for and your personal knitting preference.