Having a list of knitting keywords to keep with you when you work is very useful. If, then, it is electronic and accompanied by video tutorials everything becomes even easier. Thus is born the idea of preparing a short vademecum that contains basic steps to perform a knit garment. It will serve as a smart guide for beginners and for those who want to refresh the basics.
Knitting keywords: the main steps to create knit garments!
Looking through the knitting keywords, we have selected 8 that we feel are indispensable. Each entry has a brief explanation and, in most cases, a video tutorial. Let’s discover them together.
Casting on stitches
It is absolutely the first step: with yarn, the needed stitches are formed on the knitting needle.
The gauge, an essential in knitting keywords
Other important step is ascertaining both the gauge and the tension beforehand by knitting up a small square sample, using the needles and yarn which will be used for knitting the fabric. Knitting gauge – the number of stitches and rows per cm – determines the size of the garment you are making. Every knitting pattern states the gauge or tension, on which the sizing is based. For successful results, it is essential to verify your tension and to test your knitting against this measurement before you start a project.
How do you work a gauge? Make a test swatch approx 12cm square, then measure your swatch using a ruler. If the number of stitches and rows does not match the pattern’s gauge, you must change your needle size. An easy rule to follow is: to get fewer stitches to the cm, use a larger needle; to get more stitches to the cm, use a smaller needle. Try different needle sizes until you get the proper gauge.
It is the knitting term used when it is necessary to reduce fabric width or to shape armholes and neck. Therefore you have to remove some stitches. There are different ways to decrease.
- Pass slipped stitch over 1 stitch: on RS (right side) of work, slip 1 stitch knitways from left needle to right needle, with yarn on backside, knit next stitch, then insert the tip of left needle into slipped stitch, lift it up and over the knit stitch and off the right knitting needle. This decrease is a left-leaning single decrease stitch.
- Knit 2 stitches together: insert right needle into first two stitches on left needle and knit (or purl) these two stitches together. This decrease is a right-leaning decrease stitch. If you want to decrease 2 stitches, insert right needle into first three stitches on left needle and knit (or purl) these three stitches together.
- Pass slipped stitch over 2 stitches: on RS (right side) of work, slip 1 stitch knitways from left needle to right needle, with yarn on backside, knit next 2 stitches together, then insert the tip of left needle into slipped stitch, lift it up and over the K2tog stitch and off the right knitting needle. This decrease is a left-leaning double decrease stitch.
It is the term used when it is necessary to enlarge fabric width, adding some stitches. There are different ways to increase.
- Make 1 stitch: it is an almost invisible increase, therefore it is recommended when increases are repeated across same row or at beginning and at end of the row. With tip of needle, lift strand between last stitch knit on right-hand needle and next stitch on left-hand needle and knit through back of this loop to increase one stitch. Make the same with the purl stitches.
- 2 stitches into one stitch: knit first stitch, then, without sliding it off needle, knit second stitch through back loop. Pull stitches off left-hand needle.
- Yarn round needle: before working next stitch, wrap yarn around right needle anti-clockwise. On next row, work this loop as a normal stitch. This process creates a little hole in the fabric.
Cast off stitches
It is the knitting term to indicate the closure of all stitches at the end of work or only of some stitches to shape armholes and neck. Knit the first two stitches of the row. With the tip of the left-hand needle lift the stitch furthest to the right on the right-hand needle over the nearer stitch, leaving one stitch on the right-hand needle. Knit another stitch, making two stitches on the right-hand needle. Lift the stitch furthest to the right over the nearer stitch, as before. Continue in this way until only one stitch of the row remains. Cut the yarn and pass the end through this stitch to fasten off.
In this case, the stitches swap positions, as in cable pattern (we have explained it in another post). To make it, place some stitches onto a double-pointed needle, either frontside or backside, then work the remaining stitches to cross and, at last, work the stitches from the double-pointed needle.
Diagrams: what they are for and how to read them
To represent some stitches or colourwork (as Fair Isle), diagram are often used. They appear as a squared grid in which each square is equivalent to 1 stitch and each row of squares to 1 row. In each square there is a symbol.
Each diagram has a numbering, indicating the even and odd rows (in some cases only the odd ones) and, finally, the motif to be repeated which includes the number of stitches and rows to be repeated along the row. The diagrams are always accompanied by a key that indicates the meaning of each symbol. The odd rows, usually right side, should be read from right to left, while the odd ones, wrong side, from left to right.
Sometimes there are gray or black squares inside the diagrams, these are actually only used to better represent the pattern, but they are stitches that do not exist and therefore should not be worked.
Every knitting pattern states all necessary materials, needles, crochet hooks, yarn needle, scissors, pins and tape measure, but there are other required items.
- Stitch-markers: they are little items that mark where increases, decreases or block of different stitches should be placed. Stitch-markers are often used to mark the end of a row when knitting in the round with circular knitting needles.
- Row-counter: it can be slipped onto a knitting needle to keep easy count of how many rows have you knitter so far.
- Stitch-holders: they are large safety pins – available in different sizes – to hold your stitches open without dropping.