Skip to Content

How to Knit the Knit Stitch (k) for Beginners

Are you looking for a beginner-friendly tutorial on knitting the knit stitch? Look no further! In this blog post, we will show you how to knit the knit stitch with easy, step-by-step instructions.

The knit stitch is the first stitch you should learn as you start your knitting journey. And it’s an important thing to know, since you’ll use the knit stitch in almost every knitting project!

But, if you’re a beginner knitter, the knit stitch can seem a little daunting. Don’t worry, we’re here to help! In this step-by-step tutorial, we’ll show you how to knit the knit stitch like a pro.

So whether you are new to knitting, or just want to brush up on your skills, read on for our beginner’s guide to knitting the knit stitch!

All About the Knit Stitch

The knit stitch is one of the most basic stitches in knitting, and it is often the first stitch that beginners learn.

Check out this looping video of the knit stitch, and then scroll down for step-by-step pictures with detailed instructions.

After learning the knit stitch, you can combine it with other knitting basics, like the purl stitch, to create stitch patterns like ribbing, stockinette stitch, and moss stitch.

What is a knit stitch?

The knit stitch is created by inserting the needle into the front loop of the stitch from left to right, then wrapping the yarn around the needle (counterclockwise), and finally drawing the needle through the loop and off the knit stitch.

What does knit stitch look like on the needles?

The knit stitch looks like a V on the needles, with the right leg of the V pointing towards you.

Knit Stitch Abbreviations

In knit patterns, the knit stitch is often abbreviated as “k.” If you see a pattern that says “k1,” you should make one knit stitch. Or, if you see a pattern that says “k all,” you should knit every stitch until the end of the row.

Supplies You’ll Need

You don’t need anything special to learn how to knit the knit stitch- just your standard knitting materials.

  • Yarn. For beginners, I recommend a smooth yarn in a light color. I suggest choosing a worsted weight yarn or bulky weight yarn. You can use wool yarn or acrylic yarn – just avoid anything too slippery or lumpy.
  • A pair of knitting needles. Choose a needle size that corresponds to the yarn weight you’ve chosen. I recommend wood or bamboo needles for beginners since they have a bit more grip than metal needles. You can use a pair of straight needles or circular needles – either will work.

How to Knit the Knit Stitch

Now that we’ve gone over what the knit stitch is and what it looks like, it’s time to learn how to knit it! Follow these easy steps to knit the knit stitch:

Preparation: Cast On

Before we can start knitting, we’ll need to cast on 15-20 stitches for our practice swatch. (To learn how to cast on for knitting, here’s a tutorial on doing the long-tail cast on.)

How to Hold the Needles and Yarn

As you may know, there are several ways to hold your yarn and needles. If this is your first time knitting, you might also find it helpful to check out my How to Hold Your Needles and Yarn for Knitting tutorial.

In the following tutorial, I’ll demonstrate the knit stitch in the English (or American) Method. That means I’ll be holding the yarn with my right hand, and using my right hand to wrap the yarn around the needles.

The English method is sometimes called “throwing”, because the knitter throws the yarn counterclockwise around the needle.

Note: Another popular style of knitting is called the Continental Method (or German method), also known as “picking .” In this method, the yarn is held and tensioned in the left hand. I like and use both knitting methods – it really is a personal preference.

two knitting needles and blue yarn showing how to start the knit stitch

Step One: Insert the Needle into the Stitch

To begin, hold the needle with the cast-on stitches in your left hand, and the empty needle in your right hand. I hold the needles with an overhand grip, similar to how you might hold a knife.

Then, tension the yarn with the fingers of the right hand. When making knit stitches, you’ll need to hold the yarn to the back of the work.

To knit the knit stitch, insert your right-hand needle into the front loop of the first stitch, from left to right.

The right needle should go through the center of the first stitch, from front to back. And, at the end of this step, the right needle should be underneath the left needle.

Note: Take extra care that the tip of the needle goes under the leg of the stitch, and not through the strand of yarn itself. Some yarns are especially “splitty.” It can be easy to split the yarn with sharp needle points.

wooden knitting needles and blue yarn on a light gray background showing the knit stitch

Step Two: Wrap the Yarn around the Needle

Once you have inserted the needle into the front loop of the stitch, grab the working yarn (the yarn attached to the ball of yarn) with your right hand. Then, wrap the yarn around the right needle in a counterclockwise direction.

In other words, wrap the yarn around the right-hand needle from back to front, pass the yarn between the two needles, and again to the back of the work. Then, tension it again in the right hand.

This motion will create a loop of yarn on the right-hand needle.

wooden knitting needles and blue yarn on a light gray background showing how to make knit stitch

Step Three: Draw the Loop through the Stitch

Next, use the right needle to draw that loop of yarn down and through the stitch on the left needle. Think of it as a sliding/scooping motion to pull that new loop of yarn under the left-hand needle and through the center of the stitch.

At the end of this motion, your right needle will be in front of the left needle, and there will be a loop of yarn on your right needle. Congrats, this is your first knit stitch!

You might find that the new stitch is sitting too close to the tip of your right-hand needle. If this happens, push the right-hand needle up a little so that the stitch slides down to rest on the main shaft of the needle.

wooden knitting needles and blue yarn on a light gray background showing how to do the knit stitch

Step Four: Slide the New Knit Stitch Off the Left Needle

Finally, slide the right needle up and to the right until the new stitch slips off the left needle. You have now completed one knit stitch!

Be careful to slip only the one stitch off the needle. Don’t let any other stitches slip off!

Repeat these steps until you have reached the end of your row. At this point, it’s a good idea to count your stitches to make sure you haven’t dropped a stitch or made any extra stitches.

wooden knitting needles and blue yarn on a light gray background showing the knit stitch

How to Turn Your Work

Once you knit all of the stitches on the left-hand needle, you’ve finished your first row of knitting. At this point, the left-hand needle will be empty, and all the stitches will be on your right-hand needle. The working yarn will be attached to the last stitch on the right-hand needle.

To turn your work, simply switch the needles in your hands, so that you’re holding the needle with stitches in your left hand, and the empty needle in your right hand.

You’ll know you’ve done it correctly if the working yarn is attached on the right-hand side of the needle, next to the needle tip, ready to knit.

Each time you get to the end of the row of stitches, turn your work around. Start each row with the full needle in your right hand, with the working yarn on the right side of the needle.

Keep knitting until your swatch is as long as you want it to be. If you continue knitting each row, you’ll be making garter stitch!

And that’s it! You have now learned how to knit the knit stitch. Practice this stitch until you feel comfortable with it, and then move on to learning other stitches. (I suggest learning the purl stitch next!)

Knit Stitch: Step-by-Step Pictures

Here are some step-by-step pictures of how to knit the knit stitch.

Top Tips for Knitting the Knit Stitch

Here are a few things to keep in mind when knitting the knit stitch:

  • Make sure that you insert the needle into the front loop of the stitch, from front to back and from left to right.
  • Wrap the yarn around the needle in a counterclockwise direction, from back to front.
  • Use the right needle to draw the loop of yarn down and through the stitch on the left needle. Be careful not to drop the loop of yarn. But if you do, that’s okay. Back up to Step 1 and try again.
  • If your new knit stitch feels a little loose, you can tug on the working yarn to tighten it up.

Rhyme for Remembering the Knit Stitch

Here’s a little rhyme to help you remember how to knit the knit stitch:

In through the front door, (insert your needle)

Wrap around the back, (wrap the yarn counterclockwise)

Peek through the window, (draw the loop through the stitch)

And off comes Jack! (slide the stitch off the needle)

This silly rhyme is great for teaching children how to knit – but it’s helpful for a lot of adults, too!

a swatch of garter stitch fabric in blue yarn with brown wooden knitting needles

FAQ about the Knit Stitch

Here are some frequently asked questions and troubleshooting tips about knitting the knit stitch.

I can’t seem to get my knit stitch right, and it’s really frustrating!

Don’t worry; it takes practice to get the knit stitch down. Everyone starts at the beginning! Keep at it, and make low-pressure practice swatches until you feel more confident.

My stitches are really loose, and I can’t seem to tighten them.

First, check your tension. Are you holding the yarn too loosely? Practice wrapping the yarn around your needle while holding the yarn a little more tightly. It may take some practice to find the right balance between holding the yarn too loosely/too tightly.

If your tension is good, but your stitches are still loose, try tugging on the working yarn a little after making each stitch. This will help to tighten up the stitches.

My stitches look twisted.

Are you sure you inserted the needle into the front loop of the stitch? If you accidentally knit into the back loop of the stitch, it will twist the stitch.

To fix this, make sure you insert your needle under the front loop of the stitch, from left to right.

What do I do with my yarn when I’m not wrapping it?

After you’ve wrapped the yarn counterclockwise around the needle, hold it tensioned in your right hand. You don’t want the yarn to hang loose.

I dropped a stitch! Help!

Dropping a stitch is really easy to do, but don’t worry – it’s also easy to fix. If you catch it right away, you can carefully pick up the stitch and put it back on the needle. Make sure not to twist it – you want the left leg of the stitch to lay behind the needle, and the right leg of the stitch to lay in front of the needle.

I ended up with some extra stitches. How did that happen?

The most common reason for extra stitches is unintentional yarn-overs. Yarn-overs happen when you bring the working yarn to the front of the needle before knitting. To fix this, remember to hold the yarn to the back of the work when making knit stitches. And, it’s always a good idea to count your stitches at the end of the row to make sure that you still have the right number of stitches.

What is the difference between knit stitch and garter stitch?

The knit stitch is a stitch technique and refers to just one stitch. Garter stitch is a stitch pattern and refers to the repeated pattern of knit stitch rows.

  • Garter stitch is created by knitting every row, resulting in a reversible fabric with rows of horizontal bumps on both sides.
  • Stockinette stitch (also called stocking stitch) is created by alternating rows of knit stitches and purl stitches.

More Knitting Tutorials

Here are a few more step-by-step tutorials that new knitters can use to improve their knitting skills.

Beginner Knitting Patterns

Then, when you’re ready to practice your new skills, try out one of these easy knitting patterns for beginners. In that list, you’ll find a lot of simple projects that are built on a foundation of the basic knit stitch. Perhaps you’ll try a simple scarf for your first project?

What’s Next?

Pin this post: Save this tutorial to your Pinterest boards so that you can come back to it later.

Leave a comment: I love to hear your feedback. Tell me in the comments below!

Share on Instagram or Facebook: When you make this project, share it on social media and tag me @sarahmaker. I love to see what you make!

Have questions? Join the Facebook Group!

I hope this article was useful for you! If you have any additional questions, feel free to join my Facebook Group. I created this group for you to share pictures, ask questions, and help each other out.

two knitting needles and blue yarn showing how to start the knit stitch

How to Knit the Knit Stitch

Yield: 1
Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Are you looking for a beginner-friendly tutorial on knitting the knit stitch? Look no further! In this blog post, we will show you how to knit the knit stitch with easy, step-by-step instructions.

Materials

  • Yarn

Tools

  • Knitting Needles

Instructions

  1. Insert the Needle into the Stitch. Hold the needle with the cast-on stitches in your left hand, and the empty needle in your right hand. Then, insert your right-hand needle into the front loop of the first stitch, from left to right.two knitting needles and blue yarn showing how to start the knit stitch
  2. Wrap the Yarn around the Needle. Use your right hand to wrap the yarn around the right needle in a counterclockwise direction (in other words: wrap the yarn around the right-hand needle from back to front, pass the yarn between the two needles, and again to the back of the work.)wooden knitting needles and blue yarn on a light gray background showing the knit stitch
  3. Draw the Loop Through the Stitch. Use the right needle to draw that loop of yarn down and through the stitch on the left needle. Think of it as a sliding/scooping motion to pull that new loop of yarn under the left-hand needle and through the center of the stitch. wooden knitting needles and blue yarn on a light gray background showing how to make knit stitch
  4. Slide the Stitch Off the Needle. Finally, slide the right needle up and to the right until the new stitch slips off the left needle. wooden knitting needles and blue yarn on a light gray background showing how to do the knit stitch
  5. You have now completed one knit stitch! Repeat these steps until you have reached the end of your row.wooden knitting needles and blue yarn on a light gray background showing the knit stitch

Notes

Here are a few things to keep in mind when knitting the knit stitch:

  • Make sure that you insert the needle into the front loop of the stitch, from front to back and from left to right.
  • Wrap the yarn around the needle in a counterclockwise direction, from back to front.
  • Use the right needle to draw the loop of yarn down and through the stitch on the left needle. Be careful not to drop the loop of yarn. But if you do, that’s okay. Back up to Step 1 and try again.
  • If your new knit stitch feels a little loose, you can tug on the working yarn to tighten it up.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Skip to Instructions