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Learn to knit

If you've never knit before, practice these techniques from cast on to bind off to learn the basic knitting skills you need for projects you'll find on this site.

Also check out our knitting learn how book "Knitting Made Easy" and our knitting made easy kit "Learn Knitting".

Choose a technique:

  • About Knitting Needles

    There are 3 types of needles: straight, circular, and double point.

  • How to Hold the Yarn and Knitting Needles

    There are several ways to hold the yarn and needles. Use whichever method feels comfortable for you.

  • How to Make a Slip Knot for Knitting

    A slip knot is the starting point for just about everything you'll do in knitting. It is also the basis for all casting on methods.

  • How to Cast On

    Casting on is the process of putting loops on the needles so you can start knitting.

  • How to Do a Backwards Loop Cast On

    The backwards loop method is the easiest method of casting on, but the edge might not be suitable for all projects.

  • How to Do a Long-Tail Cast On

    The long-tail cast on produces a very elastic edge. It is particularly useful when followed by garter stitch or Stockinette stitch.

  • How to Knit

    The knit stitch is the first stitch you learn when you learn knitting, and it is the most common stitch.

  • How to Purl

    The purl stitch is the second stitch you learn when you learn knitting, and it is the most second common stitch.

  • How to Knit Stockinette Stitch

    Stockinette stitch is the most familiar type of knitting and is comprised of alternating knit and purl rows.

  • How to Bind Off

    When your knitted piece is finished, binding off closes the stitches so that they do not unravel when taken off the needles.

  • How to Measure Knit Gauge

    Gauge is the number of stitches and rows per inch (or centimeter) in a pattern. If the gauge does not match the gauge given in a pattern, the item you're making will not end up the correct size.

  • How to Read a Knitting Pattern

    Before picking up needles and yarn, sit down and read through the pattern you will be using. Patterns are written in a language of their own, and this will help you become familiar with special stitches and abbreviations. Although not all publications use the same abbreviations, the terminology will become familiar with a read-through.

  • Understanding Knitting Abbreviations

    Listed below are standard abbreviations that you may find in knitting patterns on redheart.com. All standard abbreviations used in a particular pattern are also listed at the end of the pattern.

  • Understanding Knitting Symbols

    Stitch charts in knit and crochet patterns are being used more and more as an addition to or in place of words to describe a pattern stitch. Following are the standardized knit symbols that have been adopted by members of the Craft Yarn Council and are considered to be the clearest and easiest to render and to read.

  • Guide to Reading Knitting Stitch Charts

    Stitch charts can seem intimidating to new knitters, but once you get the hang of them, the projects are a breeze! Stitch charts are a visual representation of the words written in a pattern. If you can read a pattern that has been written out, you can learn to work from a stitch chart.

  • Knit Pattern Repeats and Multiples

    Within a row and within a pattern you may repeat stitches several times. These are written in repeats to make the pattern easier to read. If you find it difficult to follow along a pattern written this way, you can always take another piece of paper and write out every repeat yourself.

  • How to Weave in Ends in Knitting

    Weave in ends securely before blocking pieces or sewing seams. Securely woven ends will not come loose with wear or washing. It's best to work in ends as invisibly as possible.

  • How to Finish a Knitting Project

    The importance of proper finishing should never be overlooked. The time and care it takes to knit a garment or blanket will be wasted if necklines are sloppy or if blocking isn't done when the piece needs it; and good finishing is the difference between "homemade" and "hand-made."

  • How to Assemble a Knitting Project

    When assembling finished project pieces, use a large-eye, blunt-tip yarn needle and the same yarn you have used for knitting the project to sew the seams. If the yarn is very bulky or textured, use a finer, smooth yarn in a matching color for sewing. The Mattress Stitch is perfect for joining seams. The Kitchener Stitch (grafting) is used to join the toe of a sock to avoid a seam.

  • How to Sew a Mattress Stitch Seam

    Mattress stitch is worked with the right side side up and becomes invisible from the right side when finished.

  • How to Join New Yarn in Knitting

    To prevent unsightly knots, join new yarn at the beginning of a row wherever possible. To make a perfect join at the end of a row, simply drop the old yarn, tie the new yarn around it and start the next row with the new yarn (see illustration). Untie the knot and securely weave in the yarn ends at finishing. If it is impossible to avoid joining new yarn in the middle of a row, try one of these methods.

  • How to Do or Fix Dropped Stitches

    An unintentional dropped stitch is when a stitch is slid off the needle and not worked when you were meaning to work it, resulting in a irregular section of fabric. Intentional dropped stitches are a technique used to create loose sections of fabric.

  • How to Do Knit Decreases

    Decreasing stitches makes your knitted piece narrower. Decreases are used for sleeve caps, neckline shaping, shaping the crown of a hat, etc., and are paired with yarn over increases in lace knitting.

  • How to Knit 2 Together

    The simplest method of decreasing is to simmply knit or purl two stitches together as one.

  • How to Slip, Slip, Knit

    Slip, slip, knit (ssk) is a common form of decreasing in knitting.

  • How to Do Knit Increases

    There are several ways to increase, and each method adds extra stitches to the row unless they are paired with compensating decreases. Increasing is used whenever a knitted piece needs to be wider, such as sleeve shaping.

  • How to Make 1

    One form of increasing in knitting is to work into the strand between two stitches. This increase is called a make 1, because you make a stitch by itself, instead of using a previous stitch. It is less noticiable than knitting into the front and back of a stitch.

  • How to Knit into Front and Back

    Knitting into the front and back of a stitch is one of the easiest and most common knit increases.

  • How to Knit with 4 Needles

    Knitting with four double-point needles forms a seamless piece in areas that are too small for circular needles, such as socks and mittens. Double-point needles have points on both ends, allowing the stitches to slide off either end so that you can knit in the round.

  • Beginners Guide to Picking Up Stitches

    Picking up stitches is a technique used to add on new pieces of knit fabric to a project without a seam (and fantastic technique for those of us who prefer seamless knits). There are lots of applications for picking up stitches, from sweater cuffs to mitered blankets!

  • How to Knit Seed Stitch

    Seed stitch is a common, easy stitch pattern in knitting. It is made by alternating knit stitches and purl stitches within a row and between rows. It is called seed stitch because the stitches create little bumps that may look like seeds.

  • How to Knit Ribbing

    Ribbing forms a stretchy band and is usually found at the bottoms of sweaters, sleeves, neckbands, hat brims and mitten cuffs, and at the tops of socks. When worked as an edging, ribbing is generally worked with smaller needles than the main body of the garment to keep the edges firm and elastic.

  • How to Knit Slip Stitch

    It is often necessary to slip a stitch from one needle to the other without actually knitting or purling it. This method is often used in shaping or within a stitch pattern. The pattern will specify whether to slip the stitch knitwise (as if to knit) or purlwise (as if to purl). The working yarn should be held behind the work in both cases unless the pattern specifies otherwise.

  • How to Use Stitch Markers in Knitting

    Stitch markers are necessary to denote special stitch panels, to mark armholes when making drop-shoulder garments or to mark the beginning or end of a round in circular knitting. Plastic markers can be purchased or you can make your own using contrasting yarn.Make a slip knot in a short piece of contrasting yarn to form a loop. Place marker on needle. On the following rows or rounds, slip the marker from needle to needle on every row until the pattern is established and you no longer need the marker.

  • Guide to Duplicate Stitch

    Duplicate stitch is the easiest way to add color to any knitting project made in Stockinette stitch. Duplicate stitch is embroidering an additional stitch, in a new color, over the knitted object you have completed. You can use almost any color work chart to add Duplicate stitch designs to hats, sweaters and more.

  • Knit iCord: The Essentials

    Making an iCord is a quick and easy way to create a beautiful knit cord which can be incorporated into many projects. A few of my favorite uses for iCord are as the ties for ear flap hats or as a cord to gather the waistband of a skirt, pants or a sweater.

  • How to Knit Cables

    Whether simple or complex, cable patterns add depth and texture to your knitting, and they are not hard to learn. Use a cable needle to cross one group of stitches over the front another, or move them across the background fabric. The pattern will provide details on where to place and and how to cross the cables.

  • Knitting Cables: An Introduction

    Cables are the fun fancy twists and braids that you see in all kinds of knitted objects. They're used to add embellishment and visual appeal to your work.

  • Changing Colors and Fair Isle Knitting

    Some knitters seem to be intimidated about changing colors in the middle of a row or round, but the development of this simple skill will allow you to really experiment with different designs for your work, everything from knitting a blanket with an integrated border to a really fantastic Fair Isle sweater.

  • Introduction to Intarsia

    Intarsia knitting is not all that different than Fair Isle, except that multiple colors can be used on one row (Fair Isle only uses 2 at a time). Also, separate balls of yarn are added into the row for each color block, rather than carrying all colors across the row.

  • How to Use a Lifeline

    A lifeline is a string threaded through the stitches on your knitting needle, so you can later undo your knitting to fix a mistake without causing more problems.

  • How to Graft (Kitchener Stitch)

    Kitchener stitch invisibly grafts two pieces of knitting together through the live working stitches. This technique is frequently used to close the toe of socks or the tips of mittens.

  • Introduction to Loom Knitting

    Loom knitting creates a knit fabric just like needle knit, but the process is super simple, extremely easy to learn and to do! Great for anyone from experienced knitters to ‘want to be knitters’.

  • How to Create an Ombre

    Ombre is a French word that refers to a single color in graduated tones. For example, a green ombre is several different tones of green layered next to each other from dark to light or light to dark.

  • What is the Difference Between Balls and Skeins of Yarn?

    Have you ever tried to pull yarn from the center of a skein and had trouble? You may have been trying to pull from a ball -- and balls are not wound to be able to pull from the middle. Follow this handy guide to figure out if you have a ball or a skein, what the difference is, and how to find the end.

  • What do we mean by Yarn Weight?

    Everyone talks about yarn weight -- what does it mean? When we refer to yarn weight, we're not talking about the weight of the ball or skein. Instead, we're talking about how thick or thin yarn is.

  • Understanding Pattern Skill Levels

    Red Heart patterns follow the the Craft Yarn Council (CYC) guidelines for skill levels for both knit and crochet. Our patterns use these skill levels to help knitters and crocheters determine if a pattern is appropriate for their level of expertise.

  • How to Make a Tassel

    Tassels are a fun way to decorate the end of a scarf or the edge of a blanket, and they are easier to make than you think! Follow our step-by-step instructions and you'll have your own set in no time at all.

  • How to Make Pompoms

    It's easier than you think to make pompoms! Find out how in this article, complete with step-by-step pictures.

  • Glossary of Knit and Crochet Terms

    Crochet and knitting can have some unfamiliar terms, as well as some words that are used differently from everyday speech. Take a look at our list to find definitions for words you're unsure of.