Free Knitting Tutorial For Beginners

Welcome to Laws of Knitting!

You will be learning how to knit through the written word, pictures and everyone’s favorite… knitting videos. If you have any questions along the way please feel free to contact me through my blog, posting on my Facebook page, tweeting through Twitter, on Google+, and even in my Etsy and Ravelry shops.

This affiliate link helps support my site:

There is really only three things you will need to start knitting.

1. A pair of knitting needles.
2. A ball of yarn.
3. patience.

If you look around your house you will find lots of things to use as knitting needles and/or yarn. I was at a friends house in the UP of Michigan. I taught her how to knit with two sharpened pencils and a ball of string. So, don’t wait to go to your local yarn shop to pick up needles and yarn before proceeding, just look around you. I’m all for patronizing your local yarn shop, but you don’t need to put off learning to knit just because you don’t have any knitting needles and yarn at this very moment.

A lot of new knitters get all caught up in worrying about what size needles they should use, what gauge (more on gauge later) or color of yarn they should learn with. I am sure there are lots of scientific theories and schools of thought to answer that question. But I say, IT IS YARN! You are going to learn to knit, not learn how to perform CPR (although you should, but that is another website)!

*On second thought, don’t use any fuzzy or other type of novelty yarn to learn. It is just not that easy to see the stitches when you are first learning if you use that type of yarn.

So find a well lit room, comfy chair, knitting needles and a color of yarn that makes you happy. Green does it for me, but that’s just me.

Let’s both take a deep breath and… begin.


There are many ways to cast on before beginning to knit. I am going to teach my most frequently used CO method. It’s both strong and flexible. However, you can view a few other CO methods by clicking on the video tab in the menu bar.  Learn the Long Tail CO.


Once you cast stitches onto your needle, you can start to knit. The English Method of knitting is when the knitter holds the yarn in the right hand and wraps or “throws’ the yarn around the right needle to make the stitch. The Continental Method of knitting is when the knitter holds the yarn in the left hand. Practice with both methods and you will soon find out which one you prefer. Becoming comfortable using both will come in handy later on. Learn to Knit.


The purl stitch is the reverse of the knit stitch. Learning these three basic knitting skills will open your unlimited knitting possibilities.  Learn to Purl.

I have found knitting to be one of my primary ways to relax. My love for knitting is shared with my passion for books. Along with learning how to knit you will be able to check out my favorite knitting books along with my personal book reviews.
I frequently go to Amazon for knitting books and knitting supplies (affiliate link).

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  1. gwendoline king says:

    Just joined Facebook a few hours ago,regards Gwendoline.

  2. Jane says:

    Just finished….. a pair of Katie’s Cabled Fingerless Gloves. Loved knitting cables, it keeps your hands even more busy!!! Thanks Joan for a fun pattern.

    • Joanie says:

      You are awesome Jane. Glad you enjoyed knitting the gloves. Don’t forget to send me a picture to put up on Facebook.

  3. Gwendoline King says:

    Like the kitties vs Yarn video very funny!

  4. Twyla says:

    Saw someone wearing Brooklyn mitts. Do you have a pattern for knitting not crochet?

    • Joanie says:

      Hi, I do not know what Brooklyn mitts look like. I think I saw a pair on Etsy or Pinterest (but not totally sure). Do you have a photo of a pair? I know I have never written a pattern for them.

  5. Jackie says:

    Joanie So confused. Doing the Bee stitch and confused what multiples I have to cast on with. Hope You can help At my wits end. New to all of this . Jackie

    • Joanie says:

      Hi Jackie, What are you referring to? The “Bee Stitch”??? I don’t know what you are trying to tell me. Sorry.

      • Jackie says:

        WS Knit
        K1, (K1B,K1)
        K1B (K1,K1B) Knit 2 stitches
        This Is the only way to show you sorry. Learned the stitch on ehow. Say a baby blanket with this stitch and liked it. Thank You Again

        • Jackie says:

          Maybe multiples of 5 ?

          • Jackie says:

            Thank You !!!

          • Joanie says:

            Hi Jackie, I am thinking it is a multiple of 2 because of the inst. in the brackets. Go to my “Contact Me” page and send me a link to the pattern. I can give you my personal email address there as well and we can get you thru this.

  6. Jackie says:

    Joanie Going to try and do that tomorrow. Have to get help to figure out how to take it from my downloads and send. Also the blanket says cast on 95 stitches with 4 stitches for border ? Cant be correct ? Crazy Thank You Again Jackie Will try and send soon !!

    • Jackie says:

      Hello Again Joanie Well I think I have figured it out . Have been knittng a small swatch and it could possibly be 7. As long as I have you here. When doing a edge on something do you prefer to drop the first stitch ? purl the last ? knit from the bach last stitch? What is your preference. Also looking for a nice smooth edge. Knew at this and looking for improvement. Thank You Again Joanie. Jackie

      • Joanie says:

        Hi Jackie, I tried to email you with the email I have for you on my Laws Of Knitting database, but I got it back undeliverable. So I will post my email to you here: Hi Jackie,
        Regarding your question: “When doing a edge on something do you prefer to drop the first stitch ? purl the last ? knit from the bach last stitch? What is your preference” Also looking for a nice smooth edge.~
        That is a really hard question to answer… It totally depends on what I am designing. Just stick with the edge that your pattern gives you.

        You mentioned this: “Also the blanket says cast on 95 stitches with 4 stitches for border ? Cant be correct” ~
        What they mean is the first and last 4 sts will remain the same. Like I did on my “Box Stitch Preemie Baby Blanket” – the first and last 3 sts are knit and they are always knit through out the pattern – that gives the blanket a clean smooth edge.

        I don’t think I would be able to talk you thru how to send me the pattern via email.
        Can you tell me the name of the pattern and the web site you found it on and I will try and find it and download it to my computer. I think I could help you a lot more if I had the pattern in front of me.

        Chat soon,

        • Jackie says:

          Hi Joanie Thank you for your help. I went with 7. Cast on 179 stitches 18 for the border. Well I knitted 22 rows and took it all out. After all that I didnt like the pattern after all. Oh Well , I will try a different pattern . Thank You Again. Jackie

          • Joanie says:

            Hi Jackie,
            Been there, done that! lol
            Keep me posted on what you start knitting now. :)

  7. Jackie says:

    Hi Joan not sure if I had asked you this before but what do you recommend doing for a smooth edge on a baby blanket ? Thank you jackie

    • Joanie says:

      Hi Jackie,
      Yep, you asked me that a little while ago. Here is the link to my response. Just scroll down to nearly the end of the page and you can read it. It is found towards the bottom of my home page. ♥

  8. Leeza says:

    Hey Joanie.
    I know how to knit basic things, but what does K mean?
    For example, in your Nanas favorite dishcloths page, it says;
    1. Knit.
    2.K2, purl to last…

    • Joanie says:

      Hi Leeza,
      Great question ~ K means “Knit”.
      So in row 2 you would: Knit 2 stitches and then purl to last…

      • Leeza says:

        Thank you very much! I am starting a knitting club and they will definitely learn how to knit this!

  9. Jackie says:

    Oh heavens Here I am again. Hello Joanie Not sure I asked you before but trying to do a nice edge on an other blanket. What do you suggest,and what do you usually do. I have heard so many different things. Thank You Again Jackie

  10. Sharon Pruett says:

    Thank you SO MUCH for your website. I learned how to colorfast here. And I have knitted 5 of your dish cloths so far. The seed stitch, Noni’s fave, basketweave, lattice and diagonal check. Gonna try the double seed stitch next. I have a drawerful of LOVELY dishcloths now!! These are going to make awesome gifts. But I’m keeping these first ones. I want to try the fingerless gloves next…never could bring myself to do the thumb piece, but now with your very clear tutorial I think I can do it. Thank you again and all the best!!

    • Joanie says:

      Hi Sharon, Thank you so much for your kind words. You really touched my heart. I would love to see your finished dishcloths and of course the gloves when you have them finished. ♥ Click on my Facebook tab ~ After you click the like button there you can upload your photos and show us all.

  11. Thank you Joanie for your reply. .
    I’m knitting a wash cloth.. I have knitted
    and taken apart about 30 times already. .
    I’m ready to pull my hair out.. I get to the
    10th row and it doesn’t look anything like what
    It’s supposed to. .. but one good thing. .
    I’m getting really good at casting on.. LOL
    but I know .. come hell or high water I’ll get it. :)
    if not you will here from me again. I’m glad though
    that you are here to help new knitters like me.. :)

    • Joanie says:

      Hi Dolores,
      You sound like me when I was first learning to knit dishcloths. When my sister first started knitting dishcloths they always looked like kites and she could never figure out what see was doing wrong. LOL
      Just keep at it and know I am here if you need me. :)

  12. Solange says:

    Hello Joan,
    I was so happy to discover your tutorial for M1 left and M1 right. I am actually “trying” to go through E. Z. baby surprise jacket, and in the middle of the work there are a lot of increases left and right. And the first ones I did were a mess… Now thank to you it’s OK!
    My mother tongue is French, but I can manage in English. I used to follow patterns in French and a big job for me has been to learn all knitting and crochet abbreviations in US language. And the first thing I did using usa abbreviations was a dishcloth…


    • Joanie says:

      Hi Solange, Thank you so much for your kind words. I would love to see your completed E.Z. Baby Surprise Jacket when it is finished.

  13. Angela says:

    Hi Joan,
    I taught myself to knit about 6 months ago after crocheting for many years. I have watched several of your youtube videos related to The Great American Aran Afghan. I am having a lot of trouble with the Georgia Vincent square. Once I reach round 10 it just doesn’t seem to want to line up correctly. Are there any tips you can give me to make this a bit easier?
    Thank you in advance,

    • Joanie says:

      Hi Angela,
      I am afraid I can not help you with that particular block. One of the other instructors taught that block in class and I did not add it to my afghan so I never worked it up. Your email came along with your question here… I will forward your question to the instructor that taught Georgia Vincent’s block during class. She will email you directly and hopefully get you through. ♥

      • Angela says:

        Thanks Joan for forwarding my question. I appreciate it.

        • Joanie says:

          Hi Angela,
          No problem. I am sure Flo will get you on the right track. If you are on Facebook join us; we would love to have you post photos of your work. ♥

  14. margaret says:

    Hi Joan,
    I love reading your website which I got while looking for easy knitting patterns. I do know how to knit & purl. But to go further I’m lost. I”m really keen to go further with my knitting. At the present a lady is helping me with a small cardigan for a baby. Lets see how I succeed. Best wishes.

    • Joanie says:

      Hi Margaret,
      Hey, if you know how to knit and purl you have mastered the hard part.:) Those two stitches are the foundation to knitting. You are off to a great start. I would love to see your baby cardigan. Are you on Facebook? If so go to my site there and you can upload any photos of your work. We would all love to see them. ♥

  15. sarah says: are very good at knitting so thats why i watch your videos to knit.

    • Joanie says:

      Hi Sarah,
      Thank you so very much for your kind words. I really do appreciate them! I am so happy you find my teaching methods helpful. Don’t forget to join us on Facebook. We all post photos of our knitting ~ both in progress and finished project. Have a great day!

  16. maggie says:

    With your Knitted Skull Cap pattern, I don’t know how you would carry the second colour on the back as I’ve never done this type of work. Do you have a Video of this?

  17. Elizabeth says:

    Great videos Joan! I’m going to do the fingerless gloves after I finish my socks.

  18. Jocille says:

    Hi Joan,

    I’ve watched your youtube of the Kitchener Stitch. Very easy to follow.

    My question … when using this stitch, does it make the necessary adjustments for all patterns? Or will the grafted row be visible and non-pattern?

    • Joanie says:

      Hi Jocille, Thanks for the compliment ~ I am super glad you found it easy to follow.
      I am not sure what you mean by necessary adjustments, but I have used this cast off on many patterns; garter stitch, stockinette stitch, cabled edged and so on. I would suggest that you use the cast off that the designer instructed you to use. Chances are the designer found that particular cast off to compliment the pattern. I hope this helps. Have a fabulous day!

      • JocilleDaniel says:

        Thanks for the reply.
        The sweater pattern I’m using calls for the back shoulders & front shoulders to be bound off, then sewn together.
        The actual design is referred to as a “mistake rib stitch”. It’s a k2, p2 across the row. Then on the next row the first k of the k2 begins on the 2nd k of the k2 from the previous row. I don’t seem to know how to sew the two pieces (at shoulder top) together so that pattern continues. (I’m fairly new to knitting) That’s why I was wondering if the Kitchener Stitch would be a better way to go. I could always take out the bound off stitches if it were better/easier.

        • Joanie says:

          Hi Jocille,
          To tell you the truth I think it would look fine, however I would advise that you use the instructions as the designer wrote them. There is usually a reason for them. It could be the ease of it or the look of the finished item.
          With that said, I have in the past used both the Kitchener and 3 needle bind off when seaming shoulders together on sweaters when the instructions called for seaming the 2 bind off pieces together.
          This is what I suggest you do if you want to do the Kitchener st bind off to seam up the shoulders…..
          Knit up 2 small swatches (for example, the last 3″ or 4″ of the shoulders) in the established pattern and seam them together with the Kitchener st. That way you will know just what the sweater shoulder seams will look like and you can decide if you want to seam them together with the Kitchener st or not.
          When I want to try something new I always make up a swatch and try the technique. I am always glad when I do. That way if I make a mistake it is on a sample and not the real item.
          I don’t meant to go on and on here. I hope you understand what I am trying to tell you. ♥

          • Jocille says:

            Thanks, Joanie.

            I’ll follow your suggestion and make a couple of swatches. That’s such a logical suggestion. I may get this sweater finished before Christmas – at least that’s my goal.
            … Jocille

  19. active on FaceBook and Pinterest AKA MikasMom Mika is our beloved kitty who is currently spread across my lap purring in her sleep. She is my image on FaceBook and Pinterest,since she is far prettier than I. Now 1. I would like to look through your boards, maybe get some inspirations, etc. I learned to knit on night shift in nursing. I am left handed and it was a battle royal to learn to switch from left handed knitting to right handed knitting. But one coworker was stubborn enough to force me to do it so I could follow patterns,but not charts. I’m rusty and now I’m disabled, I’m picking up the sticks again. I know the long cast on, knit, purl, in the front, in the back. Done a pillow in Aran, made a couple of sweaters but not satisfied with them. I am a plus size and can’t find patterns nor convert them successfully. I knit tightly, generally have to use a size larger needle. Want to learn more but need to refresh. Planning to start with Pot Holders since we need them desperately. One more question, what does abbreviation M mean, keep running into it and never saw it before? Thank you, nursing and knitting go together, MaryAnn Coy.

    • Joanie says:

      Hi Mary Ann, It is awesome that you learned to knit being a lefty and all. I tried to teach a fellow nurse years ago and gave up. I just couldn’t do it. She crochets a lot now. :)
      I have a lot of dishcloth patterns here on my blog and at least 1 potholder I can think of (A LOK fan sent it my way to post on my blog) ~ Here is the link:
      I am a huge Barnes and Noble fan and spend tons of hours looking through all the knitting books while enjoying a cup of coffee. I have come across a few knitting books devoted to the plus size woman. Have you seen any of them? Let me know if you would like and I will find them and send links to the books on Amazon or something.
      Regarding the M in your patterns… I can only guess that it means make one or increase 1 stitch. Does it say something like “You should now have such and such number of stitches”? I guess I would have to see the patterns you are referring to so I could truly help you out with this one.
      Oh and yes…. Nursing and knitting do go hand in hand. ♥♥♥

  20. Jocille says:

    Hi Joanie,
    Am still working on that sweater for my husband & have encountered a new problem. After I got the shoulder seams completed I had my hubby try it on. At that point I learned the sleeves were at least 2-3″ too short.
    Here’s my question:
    The upper part of the sleeve has a pattern and the lower part is is stockinette stitch (90 rows). If I were to rip out the pattern section, could I add another 2-3″ in stockinette stitch to gain the length I need? There are no decreases/increases in that area of the sleeve. It’s just even stitches thru that entire area.
    Thanks in advance.

  21. Kathryn says:

    I can knit. I can purl. Only took me 20+ years to learn those and keep the edges straight and not going in a perfect diagonal direction. I recently (well about 3 years ago) decided that since I’m unable to use my sewing machine any more that I would knit a blanket for Project Linus. On my third attempt, after about 9-inches in length things started going wrong (at least to my eyes.) I took it to a local yarn shop, explained the history of my attempts. She very kindly pointed out errors all the way back towards the beginning (that I hadn’t noticed). She then very kindly told me that her suggestion for fixing the current blanket was to rip it all out and crochet it. I had already explained that I can crochet anything. She then hooked me up with a group of ladies that meet twice a month at her shop to have them teach me knitting. I’m just fine until I mix the two stitches together. Then my tension gets all screwed up and I get lost when I have to put it down on if I’m on a knit or purl and which needle belongs in which hand. {sigh} I will get this yet. It will not best be! lol
    So happy to have discovered this blog. Planning on being a regular here.

    • Joanie says:

      Hi Kathryn,
      Thanks for writing. Your story sounds familiar. Trust me, you are not alone. Your story sounds like a lot of other knitting stories. :)
      Just keep knitting and your tension will come soon enough. I know we have all heard this a million times, but practice practice and practice some more. :) Keep attending the bimonthly meeting and you will improve with each session I am sure. Before you go to the meeting write down a few things you would like to get help with that day ~ That will help speed up your learning process too.
      ♥ Joan

  22. Fran says:

    I am on Facebook ,but don’t understand how I conn eft to you on face your video

  23. Donna says:

    need to knit three blankets for upcoming triplets. Need a pattern, or a stitch that will be reversible. Don’t have time for double knitting with three to knit for. would like a pattern that accommodates two colors but not stranded. I can do mosaic and slip stitch patterns but the stitches I’ve tried so far are a little firm, more like a wonderful jacket fabric or bag but not so much baby blanket. I am also not a fan of bulky yarns and I need a fast knit. any ideas?

    • Joanie says:

      Hi Donna,
      Wow triplets ~ We have a couple sets of twins in the family, but no triplets. How fun!
      My pattern “Box Stitch Preemie Baby Blanket” is a good choice. The pattern is featured on All Free Knitting and is very popular. The blanket is very quick to knit up and below the pattern are instructions on how to make the blanket larger.
      Here is the link:

  24. My website is currently being constructed. I am anxious to get it up and running.

    But, my question is: I saw a lovely white summer hat on, I think, It was a standard picture hat, large brim and everything. Then I noticed it was crochet and not knit, and there was no knit pattern that came close to it. Do you know of another knit pattern for a summer picture hat, or is there a formula for translating crochet to knit?
    This the info from “Calla” Summer Cloche $5.65
    Downloadable PDF available
    Brand: Independent Designer Designer: Kalurah Hudson Craft: Crochet Format:
    Skill Level: Beginner

    • Joanie says:

      Hi Patricia,
      I checked out the hat you are referring to; very pretty. I went to Ravelry and found a lot of hats that are pretty close to what you are looking for.
      What I did was go to Ravelry and in the search bar I typed in “Summer Hats”.
      Here is the link to my search results:
      Good luck. I hope you find an awesome hat you want to knit.

  25. Joan, a good friend from another craft site sent me your Basket Weave dishcloth pattern, knitted dishcloth for which I am trying. Had printed the pattern out some years ago from another site, but in our moved from northern Californina to Clarksville, Ind first of Aug 2014 I have still got things in storage, because can’t find it, so ask Sally about it. I use # 11 needles for hats/scarfs, using the #7’s for dishcloths are quire a diffence. I knit tight, trying to keep lose so easier to put needles in. Am 84 years old, only know how to knit, daughter has showed me how to crochet, but would rather knit. Since on chemo IVs for colon cancer, every 2 weeks, take a project with me for the 4-5 hours am in the chair. Have made several other patterned dishcloths, but the basket weave is what I want to do.
    Thank you for this site.

    • Joanie says:

      Hello Rachael,
      When I finished reading your email I said (out loud) “How sweet”!
      I really like the basket weave too. I have used that stitch pattern to work up a few
      baby blankets and they are gorgeous.
      I am so sorry to hear about your health. I will keep you in my prayers each day. Please let me
      know how you are doing. ♥
      Thank you so much for your kind words and I am so happy you enjoying my site.

  26. Nancy says:

    I know this is off the wall, but I couldn’t find another place to ask a question.

    How do you colorfast a knit dishcloth?

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