Perfectly choreographed, the movement of yarn between two needles yields hats, scarves, sweaters, and mittens as if by magic. But what looks at first glance like a complicated trick is in fact a surprisingly easy technique to learn. Knitting is nothing more than the simple act of transferring a row of stitches from one needle to another. Repeat this process, and a length of fabric takes shape.
You will find several basic knitting techniques in How to Knit. The first time you knit, the needles may seem to have a life of their own. Through repetition, though, your hands will memorize the motions. Before you begin, practice with a pair of medium-size needles (such as U.S. size 8) and an inexpensive, medium-weight yarn, such as a cotton sport yarn. Always master one stitch before moving to the next. For a head start, ask an experienced knitter to cast on for you. Then skip ahead to the knit and purl lessons, and return to the cast-on when you feel comfortable. If you have a friend who can knit, watching her work might help you. Once you have mastered the stitches, try our hat pattern for specific instructions. Before long, you'll be curled up knitting, accompanied by the soothing click-click-click of your needles.
Hat sizing: 20-inch circumference (adult medium); gauge: 8 stitches and 12 rows in stockinette = 4 inches.
Scarf: We used a U.S. size 20 needle, so we only cast on 14 stitches.