Knitting 101: Everything You Need to Knit With Confidence | Vincent Williams | Skillshare

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Knitting 101: Everything You Need to Knit With Confidence

teacher avatar Vincent Williams, Crochet & Knitwear Designer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

12 Lessons (1h 26m)
    • 1. Introduction

      1:43
    • 2. What is Knitting?

      2:01
    • 3. Understand Your Tools

      7:56
    • 4. Understand Your Yarn

      10:37
    • 5. Read Knitting Patterns

      6:34
    • 6. Learn to Cast On

      10:16
    • 7. Learn the Knit Stitch

      6:13
    • 8. Learn the Purl Stitch

      8:18
    • 9. Learn to Bind Off

      6:48
    • 10. Begin Your Cowl

      12:20
    • 11. Work Through Your Cowl

      12:17
    • 12. Final Thoughts

      0:43
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About This Class

Express your creativity through yarn and create cozy clothes you’ll love for years!

Vincent Williams of Visuvio's Crafts started to knit after he struggled to find warm accessories that worked for him—and in this class, he’ll show you just how easy it is to create your own style through stitching. By the end of this 90-minute class, you’ll have a knit cowl of your very own, plus a comprehensive workflow you can use to create any knit project you can imagine. 

To start, you’ll learn all the foundational basics to get you from zero to knitting, including:

  • Choosing the right notions (knitting tools) and yarn
  • Reading knitting patterns
  • Practicing the two basic stitches: knit and purl
  • Learning to cast on and off to start and finish perfect projects!

Then, you’ll work with Vincent to complete a cowl using the pattern he created for class. You can also apply the tips and tools Vincent shares to a different knitting pattern that’s inspiring you.  

Whether you’re a beginner who’s struggled to pick up knitting or a longtime dabbler who wants to improve your skills, this is the perfect class, giving you the chance to get up close to a maker in action and see how a final piece of clothing comes together stitch by stitch.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Vincent Williams

Crochet & Knitwear Designer

Teacher

I'm Vincent Williams, the knitting and crochet artist behind Visuvio's Crafts.

Visuvio's Crafts was born from my long and fruitless search for outstanding quality fall/winter accessories. The first thing I found on my journey was that the options for men's scarves were very limited if there was a section even available. Most of the pieces I looked into purchasing were either too short for a tall guy, featured overly feminine patterns and colors, or were simply way overpriced for a product that would still leave me unfit for the cold.

When I was much younger my grandmother started to teach me the basics of crocheting. Although we never really worked on crochet for very long, I picked it back up years later and took it much farther than I could ever imagine. I began to learn... See full profile

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Transcripts

1. Introduction: I got started in knitting because I went to the store to purchase a scarf. I got one, wrapped it the way that I wanted it to around my neck and it looked like I shopped at the baby Gap. I said, you know what, let me figure out a way to make my own. My name is Vincent. I'm the heart and hands behind all things Visuvio's Crafts where I serve as not only a crochet and knit wear designer, but as your instructor in this knitting class with Skillshare. I really wanted to provide a comprehensive workflow so you can get to the point of expressing your creativity. When you fall into the rhythm of understanding what you're doing and why, you can allow your brain to relax and just soak in the therapeutic repetitive steps and motions of knitting. In this class, we're going to learn how to make this wonderful cowl. A cowl is sort a bandana or an infinity scarf, but you just slip it over your head and it rests around your neck once. It's a throw on and go project. It's actually super approachable. You can get that sense of accomplishment really quickly. But it's packed full of the two stitches that are the foundation of knitting, the knit stitch and the pearl stitch. For this project, you're going to need yarn, a circular needle, this scissor, but I'm sure you have those at home. I'm so excited to guide you on your journey to becoming a knitting superstar. Go ahead, gather your items, and let's get started. 2. What is Knitting?: I love knitting for a ton of reasons, but primarily I got started in knitting because I wanted something really warm when I was outside with the horses in the morning. First, I searched through a ton of books and then I went ahead and tried my best to figure out what was going on. I really solidified my skills when watching a lot of videos, but it wasn't really as helpful as having a human next to you, so I'm super excited to share all the things that I've learned and put together with you. I like to describe knitting as the process of creating fabric, using one continuous strand of yarn to create neighboring interlinked loops. All of those loops are going to rest on top your knitting needle, and each of those loops are called stitches. When you have a series of stitches that rests on your knitting needle, we call that a row, and as you progress through your project and the fabric prints away from your knitting needles, I like to describe that as your project in progress with more rows or rounds of work. When you hear me say rows or rounds, we're talking about if we're working on our project flat or in the round, but we'll get to that later. As first-time knitters, I'm sure you all are looking at this project and saying, ''That looks like a lot of work, a lot of thought,'' but I want to promise you that it's actually super approachable, there're only two stitches involved in this project and when you fall into the rhythm of understanding where you're inserting and you do an inch, the rest of it will really feel like you're flying. I'm super excited for you all to catch on to the first couple of foundational things that make up this project and allow you to really get into the rhythm of the motions. 3. Understand Your Tools: When we talk about our tools, the first thing that you should think about are your knitting needles. When people traditionally think of knitting, they'll envision two sticks like this, and these are referred to as straight knitting needles. You'll notice that it has one end that feels a little bit more blunt than the other with a pointy end. You can see the pointy ends sticking up and the blunt ends towards the bottom. These are your straight needles. When you hear me talk about circular knitting needles, you'll notice that I have two knitting needle tips in my hands, but these are both conjoined by a cord. You have a knitting needle in your left hand, and then you have a cord that runs all the way to the other knitting needle in my right hand. When I work with circular needles, I can create the same fabric that I create with straight needles. But circular needles actually have a little bit more versatility than a straight knitting needle. Those are your two styles of knitting needles. The size of your knitting needles can be small, medium, or large, and those correspond to the yarn that you'll be working with. You can be working with a very slim yarn or a very chunky yarn. Of course, you would use a super chunky knitting needle for a chunky yarn. Your knitting needles can come in a different range of materials. You can have wooden needles. Here I have examples of bamboo knitting needles. These are where the straight needles I was holding, and these are the circular needles that have wooden knitting needle tips. When it comes to other materials, than wood you have things like metal. That could be aluminum, that could be your stainless steel. These have a nice red cord connecting one knitting needle in one hand to the other. The advantage of working with your metal needles is that these have a nice glide and slip so that your stitches can move very comfortably, but a lot of beginners prefer, wood. I taught myself on metal because I didn't have a human being to tell me if there was a right or wrong. I'm going to always reiterate to you all that there is no right or wrong when it comes to knitting or selecting your tools, it's what works best for you. Jumping back to the sizes of your knitting needles, we have two systems that we describe the diameter of your knitting needle tips. One way is through the US number system, which ranges from, I think a double zero all the way up to maybe a 50, that's huge, that's these big guys here. We won't be working with these. I don't want you to feel like you're working with tree trunks for weapons. We'll be working with a nice middle of the road size, which is a US eight, and you will recognize that I also say a five millimeter knitting needle when I refer to a US eight. That's our other system, that's the metric system, and that runs in millimeters with ascending sizes. The larger the number, the larger the knitting needle tip. Not only do we have straight needles and circulars, but with your circular knitting needles, we have two forms that circulars come in. We have fixed circulars, which mean that each of these knitting needle tips are permanently attached to the chord that joins them, but we also have interchangeable circular knitting needle tips. With these knitting needles, you'll notice that I have the ability to screw the tips on and off. This gives me even more flexibility. Let's say I want to work this cowl, I'm using a chord that creates a 24 inch circumference from knitting needle tip to knitting needle tip. We have 24 inches of circumference for our cowl. But, let's say we wanted to make something wider, like a baby blanket or an adult human size like bed blanket. We definitely can't make that comfortably all on this 24 inch code. I've recommend that in the beginning you work with the appropriate circumference so that you can simply work all of your stitches on the provided cord. For this project specifically, I want you all to get yourselves a circular set of knitting needles that are a US eight. You'll notice that those are also referred to as a five millimeter knitting needle. One thing that's super helpful for you knitters is to use stitch markers. All of these things are going to be referred to as notions. You'll hear me say that word and I'm referring to all of these items in that umbrella term. But when I say stitch markers, I'm referring to things like this. We have split ring stitch markers. These are perfect for slipping in to your fabric or slipping on to your knitting needles. You can use these as progress keepers. Let's say you've worked about five inches of work and you want to make sure to mark where you've left off for the weekend until you get back to it, and you work some more progress throughout the week. I'm going to go ahead and sit this in my fabric, and then I can see as I move away from the stitch marker, that I've worked about two more inches throughout the entire week. That's one way to use these as progress keepers. But when we mark stitches, these will rest atop your knitting needle like so. The other tools and notions that you'll use are a measuring tape. This helps you really measure your stitch gauge or your progress if you need to reach a certain length in your project. Let's say your instructions tell you, we're going to create a strip of fabric that's 10 inches long. Get your measuring tapes. Lastly, I think everyone would have a pair of scissors at home. These are the ones that I use, they're little gold scissors. Having a pair of scissors to store in a small package or a small bag on the go is great as a knitter. The last thing that you can use, but you don't have to, is a crochet hook. Crochet hooks will allow you to be able to and fix your work. If you want to become a knitting surgeon, you can go ahead and grab a crochet hook and fix your stitches if you've dropped a stitch or switch how your stitch is resting if you've created the incorrect stitch. My major recommendation, my pro tip for you is to use a crochet hook that is about the same millimeter size as your knitting needles. For this project, we're using five millimeter knitting needles. Grab your five millimeter crochet hook, and that'll produce stitches that are not too big, but also not so small. This is really everything that you need to have to get you going until you're a knitting superstar. 4. Understand Your Yarn: When you approach yarn and the fiber world in general, there's a ton of different ways that yarn can be made a ton different colors that it can come in a ton of different sizes. To be able to cohesively speak to each other about yarn, there are a couple of different systems that we use to understand what you're saying and what you're looking for. When we talk about yarn primarily, you'll think about one, what fiber you want to use, whether that's a plant, animal, or synthetic fiber. Those are the three main categories of yarn. They have each different characteristics and what they're good for when you want a little bit of breathability that you can have structure with the plant fibers, but you can also have a lot of drape. When I say drape, think my sweater is really flowy and I want it to be able to hang nicely and not feel I'm wearing a cardboard suit. Plant fibers give you a lot of drape and breathability for warm weather, those can be anything from cottons to linens. One of my favorite plant fibers is bamboo. It feels so watery on the skin. Then we move over to animal fibers and those are really warm. They have a lot of elasticity and something you'll hear that I referred to with animal fibers is memory. If your atom stretches, you can have the ability for it to snap back into its original shape. The last category is called synthetics, and those are man-made fibers. The most popular tends to be acrylic, you have other things like polyester. Those items are great for when you want something to launder in both the washing machine and the dryer. Those have easy care, some people struggle with the environmental aspects of making those because essentially those are plastic, but they're great for baby items. You can give that to a new parent and they can just toss it in the washer and toss it in the dryer. All fibers have their purpose, and I'm super excited for you to start to delve into which ones you like the feel of or if you're looking for a luxury, if you want to feel super fancy with cashmere or if you're like, I'm giving this a gift to a new mom and I want rough and tough. I want them to be able to toss them in the dryer and not have to hand wash, then I'll go with my acrylics. Those are your fibers. When you're selecting yarn for this specific project, I will recommend working with an animal fiber for your first project which I will be using, it'll be a superwash merino wool for this specific project from the brand Malabrigo and the base is called Rios. Moving on to our weights of yarn. When we talk about weights, I'm not talking about how heavy your yarn feels, but the thinness or thickness of your strand of yarn, you have your number one fingering weight yarn. You'll hear this sometimes be referred to as sock weight yarn. That means that this would be a nice weight of yarn for socks to be made in. This will be a really warm sock, even though the yarn is very slim. Moving up, we have sport weight yarn that is referred to as your number 2 weight yarns. These are great for baby items like sweaters and blankets. Next up, we have our DK weight yarns, so it's not so thick that it's super warm, but it's not so slim that it takes forever to make. This is your DK weight yarn, that's a number 3. From here, we have worsted weight yarn or your number 4 medium weight. This is the weight that I will normally recommend for us as beginners. This is your wheelhouse, worsted weight, your number 4 medium-weight yarn. Moving on up, we have our bulky number 5. These are a little bit bigger than your worsted weight. These, after working with the worsted weight, you'll feel like you're flying. Finally, we have our number 6, super bulky. The last category is a seven jumbo, and that's the really huge stuff that people use to arm it. But you don't need to work with that today. Something that you might have been noticing was the ply of your yarn. Here, you'll notice that these two yarns are made up of what looks like a really fluffy cloud. In these yarns, you'll hear me refer to this as being composed of a single ply of lightly twisted wall. I'm going to try to untwist this and you'll notice that it's just one fluffy flu of yarn. That really provides a nice soft texture and soft field to your stitches and your fabric. But, we can have plies of multiple numbers to create a different texture and our fabric as well. You'll notice in this yarn, we have multiple, I'm going to unfold this strand. We have multiple, smaller strands of yarn that compose this one final diameter of worsted weight. This worsted weight yarn is made up of four smaller plies of yarn and that's P-L-Y. The more plies you have, the more round and clean your strand tends to be. As a beginner, I'd recommend that you stray away from single-ply yarns and work with a four or more plied yarn. The main things that I want you to notice when we speak about colorways is that we have things that feel more solid, like this orange. This is a semi-solid hand-dyed yarn. It looks for the most part very orange. You have some depth where it looks like, okay this section might be deeper, you might have a little bit more of a golden orange here at the top, but for the most part, it's one color. Same thing here. This heathered, brown color is for the most part one color. These are what you'll refer to as your semi-solid colorways. Next up, we have our tunnels. Here, these look pretty similar to our semi-solid colorways, but you'll note that we have very very intentional differences in our purples. We have a super deep purple and a super light area of purple. This tonal yarn will produce some really nice depth in your fabric, similar to my sweater. How you can see there's a little bit of a deeper golden yellow and some places and a brighter golden yellow. Same with this green. You'll have areas of very very light or muted green. Then you'll have more rich, deep green. These are your tonal color rays. From here, you have a little bit more of the fun stuff for some people. The two things that I want you to note here are speckles. We have four speckled yarns. This super bulky yarn fuels much more heavily speckled. The speckles are spreading a little bit and they're really, really big covering the yarn. On our creamy yarn, you can notice that we have a more minimal speckle where the blues and the reds are really crisp and they're very small and they'll produce a really fun texture to your fabric. Here, on these colorful yarns, you'll note we have areas of extra speckling, which produces a really fun texture for you to follow as you're working through your project and knitting. It adds that little bit of wonder to see that really lime green are super punchy pink pop up randomly. It's really fun to use speckle, but to start off, I want to recommend working with semi-solid or tunnel just so that we can read our fabrics very well. The last two specialty things that I want to talk about are your salinas which provides this shimmer. You'll notice that we have a shimmery yarn here, and you can see those little bits of metallic. The last thing here is a yarn that is super bulky, and this is called a twee. You'll see little nips of cream and dark charcoal just applied into our fabric. That gives that really nice earthy oatmealy feel to your yarn. The last thing you need to know when working with yarn of any kind is that some yarns need to be wound into a ball or a cake of yarn before you start working with them. Some yarns you can just go ahead and start knitting directly from. When you purchase yarn from a big box store, those yarns generally come in this skane shape. You can just pull a yarn strand from the center of your ball and you can start to work from the center on this strand of yarn. However, when you purchase hand-dyed yarn or yarn that's from a local yarn shop which we love supporting small business. Those come in these shapes. The project that I'm glad to be working with uses a yarn like this. When you go to the yarn shop ask them if they can wound your yarn into a cake, which looks like this. Now that you've gotten all of this foundational fiber knowledge in terms of your colorways, your plies, and your weights of yarn, and your fiber contents, let's move on to learn how to read knitting instructions, the language of knitting in its written form. 5. Read Knitting Patterns: When we work on any knitting project, a lot of the times you'll find a pattern and those patterns will give you instructions on how to recreate what the designer has created from their brains and into the material world. Within those patterns, you have abbreviations for words and terminology that you'll hear us use as knitters. I want to give you two distinctions between a couple of things. You'll hear the word stitch or stitches, and then you'll hear stitch textures. When I say stitch, I'm talking about the individual stitch. Let's say arbitrarily stitch number 32, that one will be a knit stitch. Then I could also say, oh, I really love the texture of this stitch. When I say that, I'm not specifically pinpointing that one stitch. I'm talking about the entire fabric when it presents in the end. Here you can see a couple of different textures and fabrics that I have from patterns of mine. Here in this cowl that we're going to be working on today, you have the stockinette stage and that is abbreviated STST. When you see this stitch, this presents as a really smooth uniform fabric that are really allow your yarn to pop and speak for itself. Looking at this same stitch texture, the stockinette stitch, you can see here in the hat that I have on my left, the speckled yarn really, really has a moment to speak for each of these colors. This pink, this neon green, these blues, all of these colors are getting a moment in the spotlight on this stockinette. A lot of the times when you have a border, something that you will also use is ribbing. That will be presented to you as either one by one, which is 1x1 ribbing or two by two, which is 2x2 ribbing. I use that in the pattern that we're going to be working today at the top and bottom borders of our pattern. Ribbing has the ability to act as an accordion and stretch and recoil to allow your project to stretch over a surface and then snap back. That's why I used ribbing at the top and bottom of our cowl, you will have heard me say the word knit and purl a couple of times now, that is abbreviated K for knit and P for purl. Those two are like the building blocks, the foundation of everything that is knitting. All of these stitch textures that I've presented thus far utilize either the knit stitch, the purl stitch, or both of those stitches in tandem. The first thing I want you to envision is your knits and purls as being the same as the lowercase letter b and the lowercase letter d. Let's take a look at this swatch that I have here. This green swatch has a border of seed stitch, which I want you to ignore. Focus on the center. What you'll see here is a knit stitch, which looks like a little v. You can see the left side of the v and the right side of the v here. That's your knit stitch. It's really smooth. It's really flat. But when we turn this over, what you'll note is that same central area, looks like it now has a bunch of bumps and smiley faces or frowny faces throughout this center of your fabric. Your knits and purls are actually the same stitch just from a different perspective. From there, the other abbreviations that you might see when we're working flat, are row. You'll work one entire row from right to left and then you'll turn your work to face the opposite side and work from right to left. That is a row. When we're working on our cowl in this project, you'll notice that we're continuously going in a circle. We're only facing the outside of our fabric, not the inside when we're working. You'll see that the instructions when they're presented to you are referred to as a round R&D. The last two abbreviations that you'll see are cast on and your bind off. Those will be referred to as CO or BO. That takes you from the beginning of your cowl all the way through to the very end. Those should get you set for reading the abbreviations and when you see them presented in a sentence form, it might say knit 12, purl 12. When you're reading those instructions when written, it will be K, the letter K 12, P 12 period. That's your instructions for that row of work. At the end of the row, it should say 24 STS. That indicates how many stitches you should have worked and should be present atop your needles. Row 1;Knit 12 Purl 12 24 stitches. Now, you should be able to read all of the knitting language required for this cowl pattern. Now that we've covered all the knitting vocabulary and how to read a knitting pattern when it's written out, let's go ahead and learn the basic stitches as well as how to begin your pattern by anchoring all of your stitches to your knitting needles via cast on. 6. Learn to Cast On: To begin any project, you want to cast your stitches on, which means, anchor your stitches to your knitting needles. Today, again, we're going to be using the US 8-5 millimeter, the 24-inch circulars, and we're going to use only one needle and our right hand to cast our stitches on. This right-hand knitting needle is going to rest in our right hand, and we're going to slowly load our yarn onto these knitting needles. To cast on, we're going to take our ball of yarn that we wound into this lovely cake shape. I'm going to teach in the continental method. I'm going to sit this into my project bag and pull up some length. From here, I'm going to take my right-hand knitting needle and I'm going to estimate the amount of yarn that I need for the long-tail cast-on. I'm going to measure or estimate by draping the yarn over my knitting needles once, and this will be the amount of yarn that I'll use for about one stitch. From here, I have one stitch's worth of yarn with about four inches of tail hanging down. Then I'm going to continue to wrap my knitting needle about ten times. We have stitch number 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. Now that we have 10 wraps, I can estimate how much length I need based on the number of stitches we're going to cast on. For this swatch, we're going to do about 30 stitches. We're really going to do 27, but estimate 30 just to be safe. From 10, we have 20, and 30. Now, this is how much yarn you need to cast on about 30 stitches. Feel free to just simplify that by pulling out a forearm length of yarn. Keep in mind, I'm tall, my forearm might be a little longer than yours. Now that we have this length of tail, I'm going to begin my first stitch with a slipknot. I'm going to rest the tail over my thumb and the working yarn over my index. Remember, the working yarn travels back to the ball, and the tail ends in a cut strand of yarn. Rest the tail over your thumb and the working yarn over your index. We're going to use the remaining three fingers to just secure the two strands of yarn. From here, I'm going to simply twist my yarn clockwise so that the tail of the thumb rests atop the working yarn on the index. Again, we're going to twist and use whatever fingers are resting in this twist to grab the index working yarn, pinch and pull that through the loop. Now, you can see that I've tightened up, and we have what looks like a nice little loop with a bump at the bottom. I'm going to open this up for an exaggerated balloon shape, and you can see the knot here and then the loop at the top. From there, we have the working yarn and our tail. I'm going to insert my knitting needle through the center of this loop and I'm going to tug on the working end to make this slipknot taut. We don't want a strong-arm and pull it super tight, because the goal of anchoring our stitches is to make sure that we have enough slack to reinsert our knitting needle into those same loops once we begin the new row of work. Now, we have one stitch anchored to our knitting needle. That was easy, here comes the part that might feel a little tricky at first, but you'll get into the flow of it as we progress forward. Insert your thumb and index finger in between just like how we rested our yarn atop the tail over the thumb, the working yarn over the index, and use the remaining fingers to grab the lower excess of yarn. From here, I'm going to rotate my palm to face myself, and this will create a sort setup. Hopefully, you all are still with me. Take your time. Don't get frustrated. Always feel free to reinsert your thumb and index and grab the slack to rotate your palm and feel like you are nice and neat. From here, this is how you're going to continuously cast on additional stitches. Use your right-hand knitting needle and come to the far-most left side of your thumb, scooping under the outside strand. From here, we're going to scoop above the inside strand of our index finger and come down. Now you see that this left-hand index yarn is tucked nice and neat over the top of my knitting needle. We're going to guide this loop back towards the thumb and dip down through the center. Now that we've brought the knitting needle from the bottom towards ourself and up, you can see that second loop atop the knitting needle. We're going to release our thumb and pull our thumb yarn taut. I'm going to do a few so that you can see that motion in one fell swoop, and then go ahead and join me in the slower step-by-step process. Just so you can see at a relatively comfortable speed, thumb yarn, scoop up, index finger, scoop down, come to the thumb, dip through the center, come toward yourself, release your thumb yarn, and pull taut. Now, I'm going to do a few and not say verbal instructions just so you can visually see what's going on. Last one. Now, what you'll notice when I cast on those stitches and I finish up, I'm at a place where I don't necessarily reset my hands completely every time I cast on a stitch. The yarn will slowly begin to feed itself up over your fingers as you progress but feel free to reset your index finger and your thumb into your yarn if you feel like that gives you more control. The last thing I want you to know is that when I cast on an additional stitch and release my thumb yarn and pull taut, the goal here is to make sure that it is taut, not super tight. When we've casted on this set of stitches, the way that you count this is to look atop your knitting needle and then count how many loops you see. Each of those loops are one stitch, so we have one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven stitches atop our knitting needle. At the base of our knitting needle, you'll see this fun little twisted braid at the bottom, and that's correct. We want to make sure that that's not too tight because that'll give us a really snug and super cinched in fabric, and that's not what we want. We want to make sure that we give every stitch the ability to breathe when we cast on an additional stitch. Let's continue to cast on together until we reach 27, and I'll meet you back there. As you've [inaudible] on, what you'll notice is that your stitches will shift to your right, and because we are using circular needles, you'll hear me refer to this as your cord and your needle tip, your stitches will shift onto your chord, and that's correct. For this swatch, you cast on 27. But let's say you cast on a couple of too many. For example, here, I casted on 30 instead of 27, I need to drop off three stitches. The way that you do this is to pull your stitches up into action. That means, pull them closer to the needle tip, and then I'm going to just press one, two, and three stitches off of my knitting needle, and then I'm going to pull the yarn so that those stitches come undone, leaving us with 27 stitches casted onto our knitting needle. 7. Learn the Knit Stitch: Moving forward from here, I'm going to tell you to turn your work. At the end of every row, we're going to turn our work. We've cast it on our stitches, and this row will be a little bit different than our knitted and purled rows in our fabric. For the knit stitch, we're going to turn our work, which means rotate your knitting needles so that what was your right hand knitting needle pointing to the left in your right hand is now pointing to the right, and we're going to rest that in our left hand. No matter what you're tensioning style is, turning your work is always identical. Now that I've turned my work, I'm going to go ahead and prepare to knit the first stitch by leaving my tail to hang down, and grabbing my working yarn, placing that in my left hand, and making sure that the way it's resting from ball, through my fingers, to knitting needle tip is down and to the back. You really want to focus on letting you're working arm rest down into the back because, take a peek here at your one loop atop of your knitting needle, if you got this up and over, can you see how it looks a little bit funky? It's not just one loop, it's almost looks like a big zero on the front of your knitting needles with two legs instead of one. You don't want to twist your work by accident. We want to make sure that working on comes down and to the back of the knitting needle. Now that our working yarn is down and to the back, I'm going to go ahead and tension up through my pinky and ring and over my index, and grab the bear knitting needle, and place that in my right hand. I want you all to get pretty acclimated with this looking like your normal setup, one knitting needle in each hand at the beginning of your row, you're ready to be worked, stitches are going to rest in your left hand with your knitting needle, and your bare working needle is going to be in your right hand. From here, for the knit stitch, I'm going to insert my right-hand knitting needle through this first stitch from front to back, making sure that I am diving both knitting needles into the center of that loop. I'm going to rotate from a bird's eye view. Hopefully you can see that both of my knitting needles are pointing in through this center space. We don't want to dip in-between two stitches like so, we want to make sure to go through the raindrop shape of the knit stitch. Again, insert, we're going to wrap our right hand knitting needle in-between, both knitting needle tips, then we're going to guide this wrap with our right hand knitting needle from the back to the front, and then we're going to slip the old loop off of the left hand knitting needle. You've officially knit your very first stitch. Great job. Let's do that one more time in a little bit more of a fluid motion. In the next stitch, we're going to insert from front-to-back with our right hand knitting needle. From here, we're going to wrap this working yarn around our right hand knitting needle tip in-between these two knitting needles. From here, what you want to do is guide that wrap through to the front of the current stitch, and now we're going to slip the old stitch off of the left hand knitting needle. I'm going to do a few so you can see what it looks like, and then we'll come back together and do it once more together. Already, so what you might note is that this continental style of knitting allows me to really lean on my right hand knitting needle as a tool that goes in, hooks, and picks the yarn through to the front. It doesn't rely on too heavy of a wrapping motion from my left hand, but I do work both hands in tandem. You'll notice that my left index leans up so that my right hand knitting needle can scoop the wrap and pull it forward. Now that I've completed my first row of work, it might not look like much, but I'm going to shift this over just a little bit to the cord, and hopefully you can see beneath my knitting needle and cord, we have our first set of little v's resting on our knitting needles. Here is one stitch in between my fingers. You see a left-hand leg, and you see a right-hand leg, and then we have a live loop resting atop the knitting needle. From here, we're going to turn our work and we'll get ready to learn how to pearl. 8. Learn the Purl Stitch: Turn your work, I want to place this in my left hand, bring my working yarn over and pick up the bare needle. Now that I've completely reset, I'm pulling my stitches up into action and what you'll note is the bare needle is now in my right hand, once more, ready to be worked stitches are in my left hand. From here, what you want to do for the purl is no longer set your working yarn down into the back but you want to set your yarn down and let it rest to the front. From here, a purl stitch anatomy-wise, you'll see a little bump resting beneath your knitting needles. For the knit, you saw the little V's and now I want you to see these little frowny faces. With my continental tensioning, I'm going to guide the working yarn up through my pinky and ring over my index and the working yarn will look like it's pulling that bump up. But don't worry, when we insert, we don't want to insert through that bottom weird-looking spot. We want to make sure that we're looking through the top of our stitch and we're not going to insert in through the front to back, but we're going to insert our right-hand knitting needle from back to front, wild. It's not too different from the knit stitch, it's just going at it from the opposite side. From here, we're going to go ahead and wrap the yarn the same way that we did in the knit stitch. We're going to guide this working yarn up in-between both of our needles and I'm going to scoop this wrap around the right-hand needle from the front to the back. That's my first stitch. Keep in mind that your first stitch in stock in that stitch might look a little strange, but that's okay. It doesn't have a neighbor to hold it nice and tall and nice and wide. Entering in through the next stitch, what I'm going to do is guide my knitting needle, the right-hand knitting needle from back behind everything. Behind my working yarn and behind the stitch, is I'm going to insert from back to front through this loop. You might see this big hole here, and that's where we want to go. From back to front and I'm going to wrap my knitting needle and then purl. For some continental knitters, you might see them do an additional step of wrapping and dipping their index finger down. I'm inserting and not dipping my finger down or using my middle finger to press this working yarn down, what you'll see me do is use my right-hand needle to scoop under everything, wrap and press from front to back. That gives me the opportunity to feel very efficient with a swinging motion. Scooping my yarn up through the back and then pulling it from front to back, so I've inserted from back to front, scoop from the top, and guide that down into the back. Go ahead and finish purling all of the stitches in this row. I will finish purling and meet you all there. Already. This is what our completed purl row looks like. We have all of our stitches resting on our right-hand knitting needle, and we have tucked up right right the knitting needle, these little bumps or frowny faces, and that's how you know that we've completed these purl stitches. Again, to show you, in this swatch, the border has knit stitches and purl stitches and a very specific arrangement, and this is called your seed stitch. But here you can see how this texture is a different texture than our swatch, which should look like this on the front and this on the back. Let's pop back to what's in our hands and turn our work so that now we're ready to work row 3, which is a right-side row. Moving forward you'll hear me refer to the knit stitch side as your right side row and the purl stitch side as your wrong side row. Here we've worked two rows of work and you can see this baby swatch starting to form. Here we have two rows of knit stitches beneath our knitting needle, so our fabric is really short, but it's very clear to see those two sets of little V's resting beneath our knitting needles. To complete this swatch, what we're going to do is continue to knit as the knit stitch side presents, and then we're going to purl as the purl stitch side presents until you're really happy with the length or you're confident in the steps of knitting and purling. Go ahead and begin row 3, the right side row with your knit stitches. We're going to make sure our working yarn is down into the back, and I'm going to go ahead and knit this row and then meet you. Once I've pulled a little bit more fabric and worked up a little bit more fabric beneath my knitting needles, I will take a peek at what I have then, so here we go. Already I am approaching our last three stitches and this is the progress that I have so far. What you'll notice is that the very base of our fabric has this nice little braid across the bottom, and this is our cast on. From there, you'll see that on this side, the right side of our fabric, we have all knit stitches facing us, and then we have the working yarn at the far left-hand side of the swatch because we've just completed working a right side row. But if I were to rotate to the wrong side, you'll notice that the entire swatch has her purls facing this side with the frowny face purl bumps resting here like so. Now that you have progressed to whatever length you would like to go, we're going to go ahead and learn the bind off. Whenever you're getting ready to work a bind off in your swatch, what I want you to do is complete a wrong side row of work. I'm going to go ahead and purl this last row of work and then we will be completely prepped to begin the bind off. 9. Learn to Bind Off: Now that you've worked through your stockinette swatch to however long that you'd like it to be, I generally try to do a four by four lengths. Four inches wide at least and four inches tall at least just so I can get a sense of how my yarn will play and how my tension looks and if I'm too tired or if I look like I have a lot of tension inconsistencies, I try to do that in this little swatch before the project. Once we complete the swatch length, what we need to do is bind off the top of the swatch. That'll secure all of your stitches from having the option to come undone vertically and they will no longer be attached to your knitting needle. To bind off, what we're going to do is knit two stitches. I'm going to knit the first stitch and I'm going to knit the second stitch. From here, we're going to guide loop number 2 or 1, however, you want to look at it, the far-most right loop, we're going to grab that one and bring this right loop up over and off of our knitting needles. Here I'm going to insert my left-hand knitting needle from the front to back of this loop. I'm going to drag everything to the left. Note, my right index finger is holding these two stitches from falling off immediately and I'm going to drop this over the top of the neighboring stitch. Hopefully, you saw how this came up over and off. The second loop is still present and live. We've just bound off our first stitch of the row. To continue, we need to work in pairs. We're going to go ahead and knit the next stitch, insert, wrap and knit. Now we're ready to bind off the next stitch. Insert with the left-hand knitting needle through the far-most right loop. We're going to guide this stitch up over the neighbor and off our knitting needle. Here you can see that as I'm moving along in pairs, knitting a second stitch, scooping the far-most right stitch up and over, I sort my right hand and left-hand knitting needles in tandem in a cutting motion to glide the left-hand stitch under without everything falling off our knitting needles. We don't want that to happen, so I'm going to insert just so that that secured on a knitting needle, knit my next stitch and I'm going to scoop the far most right loop up over and off. Continue to bind off every stitch of the row until you reach the last pair. Then we'll meet back there to show you what to do when there's only one stitch left. We're closing in on our last few pairs. My pro tip for you here is to make sure that when you're binding off and carrying your far most right stitch up over and off, I don't want you all to begin to overly tug on your working yarn because we want this set of stitches to rest very even when you have the top of your bind off in comparison to the rest of your fabric. If it's too loose, it'll skirt out but if it's too tight, it'll cinch in and begin to pleat your work and we don't want either of those. But I'd rather you be a little loose than too tight. Here's our last pair of two stitches and what I'm going to do is bind one off by scooping the far most right loop over and off and now we're left with just one. But for this, I need to secure this by cutting my yarn and pulling this working yarn through the loop. That's how we secure this. You can remove your knitting needles and set those to the side for the moment, and grab your pair of scissors. Now that we have a tail, we want to make sure to not pull this loop free and begin to undo our work by accident. If you're using wool, it holds onto itself pretty nicely, so that's just going to start to unzip. We're going to cut about four inches or more of a tail and from here, we're going to guide this tail through the loop that our knitting needle was on. I'm going to insert, pull through and then pull that nice and tight. That creates a little knot at the edge of your fabric. If you don't want a knot, what you can do before pulling the working on through the loop, what you can do there is simply pull the loop free and then that'll produce completed fabric with a secured stitch but no knot at the very edge. This is what my little baby swatch is looking like. You can see, I tried to leave some tension inconsistencies in there so we could feel together in that sense of we're starting out, my stitches might be a little uneven, some might be a little more snug, some might be a little loosey-goosey, but we're starting to understand what we're doing. Now that we have our stitches and they're cast on and bind off, we're going to go ahead and begin the project. We've been working flat, working and turning our work. Now, let's start the cow and work in the round. 10. Begin Your Cowl: Welcome to a lesson where we dive in and work on the actual project from top to bottom. We're going to start with the cast on and the two-by-two ribbon at the bottom of the project. Then we're going to work through the stocking that body together. Then we're going to close off the top of the project with a little bit more ribbing just so that it looks really even and polished, and then will bind off and weave in our ends. Let's get to it. For the beginning of our cast on, we need to cast on 108 stitches. I'm going to take my knitting needle in my right hand, and I'm going to measure out the length of 108 stitches just by visualizing for my forearm a couple of times to know, okay, this is about how much yarn or I can wrap, like I said before, around my knitting needles to estimate, okay, these are the number of wraps requiring 108 stitches. From here, create your slipknot. Tail is all my thumb, working yarn on my index, I twist and pull the working yarn through the loop. That's my first stitch. I'm going to insert my knitting needle through that and I'm going to pull it taut. With this knitting needle, the diameter of the knitting needle tip is actually what determines the size of your stitches. You really want to allow the knitting needle tip to do the work and not cinch things too tightly and not allow it to be way too loose. You want it to be close up to the knitting needle tip so that all of our stitches are nice and even and crisp. If they're way too tight, I'll do a few so you can see what that looks like. That's not what we want to go for because we need to get our knitting needle back through these. Hopefully, you can see how these are really tight, really snug. Then the stitches that I initially casted on are fairly relaxed and even. I want to go ahead and drop those really snug four off to go ahead and get back into the groove of casting on, letting my knitting needle do the work, so cast on your 108 and I will meet you back here. Now that I've casted on 108 stitches, you'll notice that I have a nice little tail here, my working yarn, and all of these stitches resting atop my knitting needle. My two pro tips for you here are, as you are casting on your stitches, your tail might tend to spin around and curl up on itself as you are casting on, feel free to reset and allow your yarn to become nice and loose and straight again. My pro tip number 2 is that when you've casted on your stitches, you want to make sure that they're oriented in the same direction. Further along the line, I'll shift my hands here, you might see that everything has the braid at the bottom and then the loops are holding on to the top of my cord and knitting needles. But here where I spread my stitches out a little further, it kind of looks like the braid travels around and loops as we move further to the next knitting needle. That's okay, that can tend to happen normally. What you want to do is orient these back in the correct way. Making sure that the braid, you twist that around and rest the cast on at the bottom, and the loops are facing the top of your work. Now you're ready to join in the round to continue our cowl. Before we were working flat, and normally the thought process here would be simply turn your work. But because we're working in the round, we're going to close this circle. Here you can see we have our 108th stitch on my right hand knitting needle. My first stitch, the very first stitch is on my left hand knitting needle. All of the braid is facing down or to the center of the circle. Then we have the loops all on the top of our needle. That's correct. To join in the round cast on an additional stitch, and then we're going to bind off the first stitch with the additional stitch. This might sound a little tricky, but it's actually really easy. I'm going to undo that first knit stitch and I'm going to go ahead and cast on an additional stitch to make this 109. Long tail cast on, this is stitch number 109. I'm going to grab my left-hand knitting needle, bring stitch number 1 up into action. I'm going to slip stitch number 1 onto my right hand knitting needle. You see how easy that was. Just insert and slip it over. From here, we're going to bind off between these two stitches, stitch 109 and stitch number 1. Bring these both up into action. Guide stitch 109. Don't split your stitch. There we go. We're going to scoop stitch 109 over to the left. I'm going to drop this off of my right hand knitting needle, and what is left is stitch number 1. You might see that stitch 109 is loosey-goosey, so I'm going to tug on both the tail and the working yarn to pull this a little bit snug. You see how that closed that gap between stitch 108 and stitch number 1. When you're ready, transfer stitch number 1 back to the beginning. Now we've officially joined the round. You can see that this sort of functions like a seat belt. Now we can pop a stitch marker onto our right hand knitting needle and continue to work in the round. Now grab your stitch marker and plop that onto your right hand knitting needle in-between what is stitch number 108 and your stitch number 1 is still on your left hand knitting needle. You'll notice I'm using the hexagonal stitch marker with the little jewel to mark my beginning of round. I'm going to go ahead and say, round 1 says, knit two purl two. So I'm going to insert my knitting needle as if to knit from front to back in the first stitch. I'm going to go ahead and knit stitch number 1, transfer that to my right hand knitting needle, and now you can see how the stitch markers truly work. They're rest between two stitches, not in the center of our stitches like the loop that we insert our knitting needles through. They rest in between two stitches. Here you can see, now I know once I have knit this last stitch or purl, this last stitch, according to the instructions, when I reach the stitch marker, I slip it over and I know I'm on to the next round. Follow the rest of round 1 instructions by knitting the second stitch here, insert, knit, and slip this off. We've knit two. Now the instructions tell us, purl two. My pro tip for you here is that when you're transitioning between a knit stitch and a purl stitch, is that you want to be very intentional about guiding your working yarn in between your knitting needles to the front. We don't want a guide it over and to the back. This eliminates the opportunity to create additional increases. Get ready to purl by guiding this to the front. I'm going to tension up and then insert my right hand knitting needle from back to front and the next stitch to purl two. I'm going to purl one and purl two. Now you're going to follow the rest of the instructions by repeating this set of four stitches knit two purl two all the way until you reach your marker. I'm going to go ahead and do that and meet you guys back at the beginning of the round. Knit two, come to the front. For this continental method, you'll notice that as soon as I finished purling and slipping off my working yarn transferred from the front to the back, I'm all set for knitting. Here we go. You'll notice the swing of the purl up and through, up back to the back and through. Now I'm all ready prepped to knit. My working yarn is in the back. Insert, wrap and knit. I'm pulling to the front in between. Then I'm going to purl and knit two. Go ahead and do your two-by-two ribbing and I'll meet you back at the beginning. I'm closing in on the last four stitches of this round 1. I'm going to knit the second of these knit twos, and then I'm going to purl the last two stitches. Now that I've purled stitches 107 and 108, you can see I've reached my stitch marker and it's not rocket science. Don't overthink it. We're going to simply slip the stitch marker from our left hand knitting needle to our right hand knitting needle. Here we have it. We're ready to do round 2. Go ahead and follow your instructions for your ribbing, which is to continue your knit two purl two ribbing in the round by knitting one and two, and then purling one and two for about 1.5 inches or nine rounds. If your tension is different, ours might be taller or shorter than that 1.5. But go ahead and work about nine rounds of ribbing and then we'll start the stock and end. I'll see you there. 11. Work Through Your Cowl: Now that you've been working for a little while following the pattern, you should have been able to get your nine or so rounds of work in to reach 1.5 inches in height for your ribbing. To approach the body, there's not too much that's different, but you have been working for a good little while and the only thing is that now in your stockinette section, you're working simply knit stitches to create this fabric. We're never turning our work, it's constantly going in the round and this is the part that'll feel like, "I'm starting to experience the really therapeutic nature of knitting." Whenever you're ready to transition from your ribbing at the beginning to the body of the cowl, you'll simply begin by slipping your first stitch marker. Well, slipping for me my only stitch marker marking the beginning of round, and then I'm going to knit every stitch of the round until your heart's desire and in actuality, your pattern tells you. It's going to be a little while, but you will work until your project measures 8.5 inches from your cast-on edge. You can go ahead and continue to knit until you reach 8.5 inches, get a measuring tape and just sit your project flat on your surface. From here I'm going to grab my measuring tape, pull out a little bit of length, and rest the beginning at the base of my cast-on. I've aligned it here at the bottom and I'm going to pull up. I can see here, I've worked about seven and a quarters inch of height from my cast-on edge, not the stockinette section, but everything from the cast-on edge. Continue to work until you're at 8.5 inches from the cast-on edge and then we're going to transition from the body back into ribbing, two-by-two ribbing for the top of our cowl. Let's go ahead and knit a couple more rounds to reach that height and then I will meet you when it's time to transition to the ribbing at the top of our cowl. Something to note for you all as beginners, what you'll notice is that me, I've been knitting for many years and I understand how to fall into the rhythm of working stockinette stitch and I think you'll find your way around that too. Yours might be a little slower than the pace that I'm at, but I think finding your rhythm in the stockinette is going to be a real joy. Now I've reached the beginning of round and I've got my 8.5 inches of fabric and I'm going to go ahead and prep for the two-by-two ribbing. Now to transition from the body of your cowl into the top ribbing, you are simply going to slip your stitch marker over as per usual and then you're going to insert as if to knit from front-to-back, go ahead, knit the first and the second stitch. You're going to prep for purl stitches and you're going to purl too. Now you can see that immediate textural difference between this very smooth flat area and how we have those purl bumps becoming present on the right side of our fabric again. I'm going to repeat this, knit two, purl two texture all the way around and I'll meet you back at the beginning of round and then we'll continue to work the 1.5 inches of ribbing at the top in preparation for the bind off. I'll meet you there. Again, just a reminder. When you're doing your knit two, purl two ribbing, your last two stitches should end up with a purl. Prep your yarn by bringing it to the front, insert your knitting needle behind everything, and come back to front, wrap your knitting needle up, scoop from the top down and purl and repeat that for this very last stitch. Slip your marker and keep flying with your ribbing. I'll meet you back at the very end in preparation for our bind off. Now that you've been working through your ribbing at the top of your cowl, and you've completed 1.5 inches or about nine rounds, you can go ahead and begin your bind off. Here, I have my stitch marker that I've just reached and we're binding off so we can drop this off because it's no longer needed to mark the beginning of our round. I'm going to slip my stitch marker off and just rest that off to the side. From here, you can go ahead and bind off as usual by knitting two, and then slipping the first of those two stitches up, over, and off of your right-hand knitting needle. Here you can see the first of my 108 stitches have been bound off. It's no longer secure to my knitting needles so you see that nice little gap in-between stitch 108 and stitch number 2. We're going to continue binding off. It's two ways that you can do it for this ribbing. You can either knit every stitch of the round so you need two, I'm going to knit into the next stitch and then bind off by carrying the far most right stitch up, over, and off to the left but when you knit every stitch and this is two-by-two ribbing, that'll place one round of stockinette at the top of your ribbing and that's not the stag that we're going for. We're going for a little bit of polish, even though this is our first project. To create an even more polished edge, what we're going to do is bind off in pattern and that's what this is called when you knit your knits and purl your purls as they present. I have one loop here, I need a second loop on my right-hand knitting needle and the next stitch is a purl. We're going to go ahead and purl the next stitch. I have two stitches ready to be working together to bind off. I'm going to carry the far most right stitch, slide these up into action so you have some good entryway fillings and then you're going to slip this up, over, and off. Now we have our first two stitches bound off. Continue by looking at your next stitch. It's presenting as a purl so you're going to go ahead and purl that stitch. You have two stitches. Slip that far most right to stitch up, over, and off. Now you have a knit, so you'll just continue working in these pairs of two and binding off one-by-one until you've knitted all your knits and purled by your purls and slipped those so that they're secure and then you'll continue until you reach the beginning of round. My pro tip for you is to make sure that you don't bind off too tightly. Don't yank and tug up and choke up the stitch on your knitting needle. You want to make sure that you still have that same even tension that you did within the middle of your project. The goal here is that you allow this edge to still have that elastic nature that you have with any knitted fabric. Go ahead and bind off, thinking loose thoughts. Purl your purl, bind off one, purl your next, bind off, knit the knit, bind off. Hopefully, you can see how these two knit stitches are not super tight, but they're not super loose. You want it nice and even and relaxed to give that elasticity. Continue binding off and ribbing and I will meet you until we have just the last two stitches remaining on our knitting needles. I'm approaching my final set of stitches that need to be bound off and I will show you how we get a nice tidy finish. In the round, our work functions like a spiral. We've been working on round 1 and then it moves like an escalator up to round 2, up to round 3, and it doesn't have that even level between every round. So you'll have a jog where your new round sits a little higher than the old round between the last and first stitch. On our very last stitch that needs to be bound off, I'm going to purl and then from here, I can go ahead and grab my working arm and bind off my very last stitch. Now, because we were working with 108 stitches, I do not have a neighbor to purl or knit and bind off this very last stitch. The last thing that you'll also notice is this 108th stitch is really tall in comparison to where this first stitch is resting. From here, we can pull up a little bit of slack, remove our knitting needles. I'm going to sit these to the side momentarily and I'm going to pick up my fabric so you can see this nice, long loop. From here, we can guide the working yarn through this loop and tie a knot and I'm just doing this theoretically to show you that knot and our project could be done. Pretend we cut this yarn and pulled this all the way through our knot, that knot is really secure, but we do see the jog. So we'll have this little lip on the side of our fabric and you can just rest this at the back of your head. This is what it'll look like. If you've run into a couple of struggles, bumps, or challenges while you're working through this cowl pattern, feel free to keep those design features or errors, but we'll call them design features. Feel free to keep those within your first project. 12. Final Thoughts: Already everyone, you've officially made it to the end of this Knitting 101 class. I'm so excited, and so proud of all of the work that you've been doing. Go ahead and share photos, your questions, and your concerns, and the project gallery so that I, and your fellow students can interact with you, get inspiration and ideas about colors if you want to. In your next project, go ahead and experiment with color blocking or stripes or at different colored rays. I'm so excited to see all of those things going on. Have fun in the project gallery, and connect with all of us. I can't wait to see. Happy stitching.