Top Beginning Knitter FAQs

All beginning knitters have questions about the best way to do things, why different things happen while they are knitting, how to fix knitting mistakes and more.

Here are some of the most common questions posed by new knitters, along with their answers and more resources you can check out for more information.

  • 01 of 12
    Esra Karakose / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Most new knitters learn to knit in the style of whomever they're learning from, but if you're learning on your own, is the English or continental method better? Or should you try to learn both? Every knitter has an opinion, but there are pros and cons to each method.

  • 02 of 12

    Before you can start knitting and purling you need to know how to cast on stitches. Two popular methods are the knitted cast on and the long-tail cast on, but there are other options as well.

  • 03 of 12

    Many knitters prefer the long-tail cast on method because it is a quick way to get a lot of stitches on the needle. But there's always a question of how long you should make your long tail to ensure you have enough yarn to make it through all the stitches you need to cast on. Here are some tips for estimating how long your tail needs to be.

  • 04 of 12

    Some lefties worry that they won't be able to knit in the standard way because they don't have a lot of dexterity in their right hands. But the truth is, knitting uses both hands, and there are different standard methods of knitting you can try before resorting to knitting backward, as some left-handed knitters are taught.

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12

    Different people like different kinds of needles for different reasons. Many beginning knitters prefer wooden or bamboo knitting needles for their warmth and flexibility. It's also important to make sure you're using the right sized needle for your project.

  • 06 of 12

    A common problem for beginning knitters is ending up with holes in your knitting. Holes can be caused by knitting with an uneven tension or to a larger gauge than the pattern specifies (see below), but they can also be caused by inadvertently making yarn overs in your work. A related problem with how you start the next row of knitting may make your work grow wider as you go.

  • 07 of 12

    Depending on where you live, tension can mean knitting gauge or it can have to do with the openness or tightness of your knitting. Gauge is important because how your stitches look will influence how the finished knitted item looks.

  • 08 of 12

    It happens to everyone: you set your knitting down for just a second and when you pick it back up, the stitches go flying. It's easy to make your stitches fall off your needle and it's almost as easy to fix, as long as you're a little patient. (Fixing a dropped stitch is a different matter, but still not an emergency.)

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12

    Understanding where you are in a pattern basically comes down to knowing the pattern stitch you are working with and knowing the difference between how knit stitches and purl stitches look, also known as reading your knitting.

  • 10 of 12

    Knitters have a language all their own that is used as shorthand in patterns. This is great for knitters who know the lingo because a pattern can be explained in a lot less time using abbreviations. This handy chart will help you with the translations.

  • 11 of 12

    Stockinette stitch is one of the most basic knitting stitches out there, but it can really frustrate new knitters because it curls in on itself. Here's why.

  • 12 of 12

    Every traveling knitter wonders whether knitting is allowed on airplanes. The answer is yes in most parts of the world, but there are some things you can do to make the experience easier for you and better for those around you.