How To Knit – Free!

The more knitters there are, the better the world will be!  Enjoy this free class, I hope you learn a lot, and if you like my method of teaching consider taking an online class with me or perhaps even taking one of my in-person classes!

If you find this class helpful, please consider a small donation to help with the bandwidth / server & video production costs.  Add to Cart

The class will be presented in 4 parts

  • Part I – Knitting Overview
  • Part II – The Cast On
  • Part III – Purling
  • Part IV – The Knit Stitch

There are 2 parts to each section:

  • Materials The pdf handouts and videos are the materials for the class. You’ll need adobe acrobat reader or another pdf viewer to see the handouts.I recommend moving through the materials in the order that I’ve mapped out, but you can jump around if there’s something that strikes your fancy.
  • Homework You’ll be learning some new techniques, the basics of knitting, so the homework is simply to practice what you’re learning and to NOT beat yourself up if it takes you a few times to get something.
Part 1 – Knitting Overview

What IS knitting? What are those people doing with those sticks and strings? In this section of the class you’ll learn a bit of terminology and gain a knowledge of what constitutes knitted fabric.


Knitting Overview (pdf)


In this portion of the class you don’t have to DO anything, just watch the video and read the handout.

You’ll want to get some yarn and needles, though, so why not pick it up now?And why not visit your LYS (local yarn shop) because THEY will become your best friend as you improve your knitting skills!

Get a smooth worsted (aran) weight yarn and needles that work well with it (usually size 7-9 US / 4.5mm-5.5mm) It doesn’t matter if they’re metal, wood, plastic, straights or circulars. Just grab some needles.

Part II – The Cast

OnYou’ve heard the stories, you’ve dreamed this day would come, and now it’s here…Usually when I teach knitting in person, I cast on and knit 10 rows before I hand over the work to my students.

I don’t even COVER casting on until class 3 or 4 because I think it’s like asking a toddler to tap dance before they walk.

But I don’t have that luxury here so we’ll just have to jump in with the casting on. (I am NOT knitting 10 rows for each of you – the postage alone would break me – so don’t even ask…)


Casting On (pdf)


Watch the video and practice your cast on. Practice it again.  And again. Rip it out and do it again. Do it 10 times more.

Wait for it…

Then do it 20 times more. Do it in your sleep. Cast on like there’s no tomorrow.

Then cast on tomorrow.

You can try the long tail cast on if you want, but you MUST practice and get the cast on before we can move on to the next step!

Binding Off is also included in the handout for this section, but you don’t have to worry about the bind off until you get a few rows worked.

Part III – Purling

Yes, I start with purling. What can I say – I’m the Knitting Heretic!

Most knitting classes begin with the Knit Stitch – not me!

I think ‘Fear of Purling’is rampant in our society and I want to stamp it out!

A purl is simply a knit stitch which is inverted, and you can take that to the bank (the money bank!*)

I’m going to show you two ways to purl – also heretical – because I trust in your intelligence, and I honestly feel that offering you a chance to see these two ways to purl will enhance your knitting knowledge & intuition.

I’ll show you Western (the most common) and Combination/Eastern (until recently thought of as “wrong”)

If a child’s family is bilingual, they don’t concentrate on one language at a time, they speak freely in the home and the kids pick up both languages. I want you to be bi-knitterly, and be able to move easily between Western and Combination knitting.

*gratuitous Simpson’s reference


Purling (pdf)


You should have your cast on stitches from the previous part, so go ahead and purl a row. If you purl Western, you can purl another row, and another, and another, and just keep on going. You will be creating Garter Stitch Fabric.

If you purl Combination, you’ll have to sit tight until you can knit the next row. Fortunately, you can watch that video right away and dive right in!

Part IV – The Knit Stitch

I’ll show you two different ways to knit, matching the two purls that I’ve shown you.

I’ll be up front and tell you that Western Knitting is the most common form of knitting.

Both the knit and purl are seated the same way, you don’t have to think about how the stitch is sitting on the needle, and patterns are written for the Western method of creating knit fabric.

I’d recommend that you teach yourself the Western purl and knit, followed by the Combination purl and knit. Most of all I trust your intelligence, and I want you to have faith in yourself!


Knitting (pdf)
Binding Off (pdf)

Western Knitting

Combination Knitting

Binding Off


Use the purling you’ve completed – whether it’s just one row or 15 or 50 – and knit the next row!

The needle should slide easily into the knit stitch, if it’s really hard to get it in, it may be that the stitch is twisting (see if the stitch’s little legs are crossed – that’s an unhappy, twisted stitch)

I highly recommend trying Stockinette Stitch (Purl a row, Knit a row, repeat the last 2 rows)

Knitting each row will create Garter fabric, and should ONLY be done using WESTERN KNITTING!

For you high achievers, if you want to try knitting in the round you’ll work every stitch as a Western knit, too!

Once you finish a few rows of knitting / purling, watch the Binding Off video and try your hand at the technique.

It’s very common for folks to bind off tightly, that’s to be expected. As you get better at binding off, you’ll be able to loosen up!

One Response to How To Knit – Free!

  1. Pingback: Git Me Some Learnin' - The Bookish Girl

Comments are closed.