Wool Yarn from Knit Picks

Tips for Knitting Beginners – Extra Knitting Help


I want this tips for knitting beginners page to feel like I am sitting beside you as you learn to knit those first few stitches.

The first question I have for you is, have you got a knitting pattern?  The reason I’m asking is because the best way to learn how to knit is by starting small and then slowly building upon what you have learned. Knitting is like anything else that you learn which means you need to start at the beginning. So if you have a great knitting pattern please put it away for now.

You see reading knitting patterns takes a little getting used to.  There’s knitting abbreviations and terms that you may not understand yet.  In fact reading knitting patterns may feel like you’re reading another language at first.

Patterns usually have a skill level listed.  Did you check?  You see if it’s for advanced knitting skills, you just won’t be ready to tackle some of the knitting techniques in that pattern.

Reading knitting patterns is a learning curve that you just don’t need when you’re first starting out.  Learn the basics – those first knitting stitches and techniques.  Practice them and then move on.

I promise that you’ll be reading knitting patterns very quickly.

Tips for Knitting Looser Stitches and Avoiding Tight Stitches

One very common complaint that new knitters have is that their stitches are just getting too tight.

There can be a few reasons for this.

tips for knitting

Make sure that you are not knitting on the very tip of the knitting needle.  See how it is thinner at the tip?

When you try to push the stitch passed the tapered part the stitch will be very tight.


tips for knitting



Always push that right needle through the next stitch passed the tapered part of the needle and onto the wider part.  That way the stitch will fit nicely on the needle.


Stitches Still Tight?

Try adjusting your tension. If you are wrapping the yarn around your fingers unwrap it and just let the yarn hang freely.  When you need it gently wrap it around the needle and then drop it again.

Try to relax your hands when you are holding your knitting needles too.  You want to hold your needles almost similar to the tension you use when you hold a pencil, maybe a tiny bit looser.

If you are using wood or bamboo knitting needles you may want to try metal needles instead.  They are much more slippery and allow the yarn to move a lot easier along the needle.

You Put Your Knitting Down…

In the middle of a row and when you picked it up again….


Now you feel lost, which way is the right way to hold my knitting?  Where do I start knitting again?

Remember that the working yarn is always attached to the last stitch you worked.  The needle with the working yarn goes in your right hand when you start knitting again.

You Have Finished Knitting Your Very First Row….

When you begin the next row though that first stitch seems really loose and you want to tighten it up a bit.

tips for knitting

Avoid placing the yarn over the top of the knitting needle like in this photo.When you pull it that way it causes the stitch below to come up over the needle making it look like there are two stitches instead of one. This can cause you to knit the loops separately and you’ll end up adding an unwanted stitch to your knitting.

tips for knitting

Always make sure that if you do tug on the yarn to bring it down towards you like in this photo.

Don’t worry if it seems loose.

Tips for Knitting and Purling

Make sure that your working yarn…

Is behind both needles when you work a knit stitch.

If you knit a stitch with the yarn in front you will accidentally add another stitch to your knitting and it will create an obvious hole in your knitting.

Note:  When the yarn is in front and you knit the next stitch, it is called a yarn over.  It creates a hole and it’s a one stitch increase.

Make sure that your working yarn…

Is in the front of your knitting when you purl stitches.

If you try to purl and the yarn is in the back, honestly (I tried this to see) it will feel very awkward to try to purl the next stitch.  So if it feels funny stop and have a look at your knitting to see why.

I hope these tips for knitting beginners helped you get through your first few rows

Keep practicing, it does get easier.

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8 thoughts on “Tips for Knitting Beginners – Extra Knitting Help


    1. Hello Adele. Welcome to the knitting world! I hope you love it as much as I do. 🙂 I made a page on how to hold your knitting needles. That will give you some ideas although please don’t stress too much about that in the beginning because as you go along learning you will develop your own way that’s comfortable for you. And that’s the key. It has to be comfortable for you. Happy Knitting! 🙂

    1. Hi Maria. I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong at the beginning. However it’s very common to unknowingly add more stitches as you keep knitting. There are a couple of reasons why that might be.

      When you’re at the beginning of a row make sure to only pull the yarn downward to tighten that first stitch. It’s very common to pull up on it and then it will look like you have two stitches on your needle. When you knit both of them you’ll add an extra stitch.

      Secondly, make sure that you’re completing a full stitch. Sometimes after knitting a stitch, the loop that is still on the left needle isn’t dropped off and if you knit it again you’ll have an extra stitch

      Always remember to keep your yarn at the back of your work for knitting and in front when you’re purling. If you happen to knit with the yarn in front you’ll have an extra stitch and a hole in your knitting.

      Also, slow down. Keep a close eye on each and every stitch you knit, making sure you’re going into only the very next stitch and knitting it completely.

      I hope this helps Maria. Please also consider joining my free knitting forum if you have any further questions. That way I can spend some extra time with you to help you with your knitting plus there is lots more room for explanations. Hope to see you over there. Happy Knitting! 🙂

  1. I’m trying to teach myself to knit and at the end of the Stitch it’s just a loose Stitch that will not tighten up what am I doing wrong

    1. Hi Kelly. It’s very common when you begin knitting to have loose edge stitches and I’m assuming you have loose sts at the end of your rows? There are a few things you can try to tighten them up but please understand that it takes awhile for new knitters to get even tension on all the stitches and it honestly takes a lot of practice. After all you’re still getting used to holding all that knitting stuff in your hands right?

      OK here are a couple of things to try: 1. After you finish knitting the very first stitch, give it a good tug and hang on to the yarn while you knit the second stitch. That’s a sure fire way to keep the first stitch snug on the needle. Then when you reach the end of your row give the last stitch a good tug and after you turn you work make sure the last stitch didn’t loosen, and pull the yarn again tightly before you begin the next row.

      2. This one is a little difficult to describe but I’ll try. Take a look at your knitting needle. See how it tapers a bit at the end and see how the middle of the needle is thicker than the tapered tip? Good. When you knit the very first stitch knit it on the tapered part of the needle, stop knitting and just slide that first stitch further onto the thicker part of the needle. Now that first stitch is nice and snug on the needle without being too tight and not being too loose.

      I hope this helps Kelly! So glad to hear you’re learning how to knit. Happy Knitting! 🙂

  2. Very helpful.
    I have a query. I’m knitting a baby jacket. The instruction is:
    Next row: ‘Knit to end, dec 4 sts evenly across row’. How exactly do you knit evenly across row when you have knitted to the end?
    Hope you can help.

    1. Hello Janet. I’m so glad you find my knitting page helpful. Thank you so much. It does look like your pattern has a typo and it should probably read, Next row: Knit to end decreasing 4 sts evenly across row. Please also note Janet that I have a lovely forum to answer all knitting questions and I’d really like to encourage you to join as I don’t normally answer questions here. It’s totally free to join and this way your question can also help other knitters as well. Hope this helps and hope to see you in my forum too. Happy Knitting!

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