Knitting for beginners #2

Most important lesson learnt this week? Dedication alone, does not a good knitter make!

Friends, I eagerly ploughed ahead with practising my garter stitch this week, but as you can see, my knitting is rather erratic. I tend to get a few rows spot on and then I maybe get complacent, drop stitches and split my yarn. The most annoying thing though, was randomly adding stitched to my rows. I cast on 20 stitches last week, yet my rows are now 25 stitches long!?! No idea has I managed this, but the teacher reckons I may have been accidentally wrapping the yarn around my needle twice, so that's something to be aware of.

Obligatory close up of my erratic knitting

One thing I'm super eager to pick up is knitting terminology...last week I called it the 'pearl stitch' for crying out loud! I seem to be perplexing the teacher with my geeky questions and I do seem to be the only one asking them. But I find it helps to know what things and techniques are called, don't you?

Anyway, tonight's questions led to a revelation! I now know that:

Knit is the action and it produced last week's garter stitch
Purl is also the action and it produced this week's stocking stitch

Experienced knitters of the world, is the above correct? Please let me know if I’m speaking gibberish!

Right, back to tonight's class – we learnt to purl, which is basically the exact opposite to what we did last week. It's straightforward enough, but it took my hands a while to get used to the different movement. I'm definitely becoming a neater knitter though I think!

Alternating between knit and purl rows gives each side of the knitted item a different look:

Purl gave me a stocking stitch on this side

And knit continued to give me the garter stitch on the reverse side

For the next week I’ll be practising alternating my knit and purl, whilst trying not to drop stitches, add stitches or split my yarn...eeep!

Oh and please help me to not sound like an idiot by chipping in with any terminology corrections / tips!

Since writing this post, I’ve been over the moon to receive comments that have shed some light on knitting terminology and technique. So, I’ve decided to add this little post script to elaborate and to help fellow beginners! This is what people have generously chipped in with:

Knitting every row will result in the Garter Stitch

Purling every row will also result in the Garter Stitch

Alternating between knitting and purling rows (so knit one row, purl the next) will result in the Stocking / Stockinette Stitch

I genuinely feel much better equipped now that I know this, so many thanks to all who chimed in. And I hope this is useful to fellow beginner knitters.

This is exactly why I love the blogsphere!!! 


  1. I love that you are getting into knitting! This is definitely a project for me on my holidays so I'm loving the 'beginner posts'. I want some lovely bed socks, dammit! x

  2. I think I remember a friend saying something about this when she was teaching someone else to knit - something about making sure that your yarn is in the right place when you start a new row of stitches. I can ask her about what it was she said if you like to see if it might be the same thing causing your problem?

  3. Yay, you're doing great! :D I somehow managed not to notice that you were 'pearling' last week.
    The more questions you ask, the more you learn. I'd be worried if you weren't asking questions, as to me it either shows a lack of interest or a general lack of understanding. So you're doing well! :)
    Your stocking stitch definitely looks neater too :)
    Ashley x

  4. I think that technically stocking stitch is the result when you knit one row, purl the next, rather than each side being a different stitch (which is probably what you meant anyways but I wasn't sure!). I wouldn't be too hard on yourself about the knitting either...a few weeks ago you couldn't knit at all, and improvement just requires practice...nobody does anything perfect the first time :)

  5. I had the same problem of increasing my stitches unintentionally too, I found that the last stitch you knit in a row often looks like two if you knit it from the wrong side, so check at the beginning and end of a row that you are only knitting one stitch, not two. Hope that helps!

  6. knitting all rows = garter stitch
    knitting one row and then purling the next = stocking stitch. The other side of stocking stitch is called reverse stocking stitch (it's not the same as garter stitch)

  7. Good show on your knitting! It looks like your tensions is pretty good and even and accidentally dropped and picked up stitches will come with time.

  8. sometimes stocking stitch is called stockinette stitch... I'm quite liking moss stitch at the moment which is where you knit one stitch, put the yarn to the front of the needle then purl one stitch... then knit, then purl etc.

  9. I think your doing a great job for a beginner. I've been knitting for some time now, but am a relatively new sewer. Garter stitch is if you knit or purl ever row. It would look the same if you did either of those.

    If you knit one row and purl the next you get stockinette and reverse stockinette. Stockinette is the smooth side that looks like little V's. Reverse stockinette is the opposite side that has a courser pebbly feel. They both refer to the same piece of knitting, it just depends on which side the designer wants to use for the "right" side of the fabric. If the smooth side is the right side they'll tell you to work in stockinette. If the pebbly side is the right side they'll tell you to work in reverse stockinette. Either way it's worked the same way.

  10. well done Marie, I'm sure you'll be making things in no time!! your purl stitch is coming along lovely which is more than I can say for mine!!

  11. Thank you all so much for all this input, I really find all your comments and help invaluable! In fact, I am going to update this blog post to reflect what you've taught me!