Kitting is a time-honoured tradition that has been around for generations. Far from an activity restricted to old grandmothers, learning how to knit gives idle hands something to do and also opens up a world of gifting possibilities. Learning the basic knit stitches and then using those skills to create a basic beanie is the first step on the road to fancy and personal homemade gifts and comfortable winter wardrobe.
The basic knit stitches
There are two main stitch types – knit and purl – from these, all other combinations follow. The following instructions are for right handed knitters and starts by casting the required number of stitches onto the needle.
How to knit
The first basic stitch to learn is the knit stitch. This is the most frequently used stitch in knitting and involves eight simple steps.
- Hold the needle in the left hand facing towards the right.
- Thread the yarn from the ball through the right hand in the following pattern: under the pinkie, over the ring finger, under the middle finger, over the index finger, under the thumb.
- Keep the yarn threaded whilst holding the free needle in the right hand.
- With the yarn from the ball positioned behind the needles, insert the free needle into the top loop on the left needle, front to back.
- Move the thumb and index finger of the left hand to hold the left needle in place.
- Take the yarn from the ball and loop it under, then over the point of the right needle.
- With the yarn looped draw the right needle back through the stitch on the left.
- With the new stitch on the right needle, and remove the old one off the left and pull to tighten.
There should now be one stitch on the right needle and one less on the left. Follow steps 4-9 until all stitches are off of the left needle and onto the right and then switch the needles held in the right and left hand for the next row.
How to purl
The purl stitch is nearly as popular as the knit stitch; however, it is very rarely used on its own. It is the opposite of the knit stitch, forming a finished product that parallels the reverse side of a knit row and therefore begins with the same first three steps before proceeding in a slightly altered manner:
- With the yarn from the ball positioned in front of the needles, insert the right needle into the first loop on the left needle from back to front.
- Hold the two needles with the left hand.
- Loop the yarn from the ball around the right needle, right to left.
- Pull the needle with the yarn through the left loop.
- With the new stitch on the right needle, remove the old one from the left.
Again, repeat these steps until all the stitches from the left needle are on the right needle and then switch which hand holds which needle. It is possible to switch back and forth between knit and purl stitches in one row by simply positioning the yarn and needles differently for each stitch.
Instructions for kitting a simple beanie
The basic beanie is a simple pattern that is a great for honing knitting skills. Like most knitting patterns, certain abbreviations make the process simpler:
- k: Knit
- k2tog: Knit two stitches together
- P: purl
- Stockinet stitch: knit one row, purl one row
For an adult size, begin by casting on 74 and then working a pattern of k1, p1 ribbing for six rows. Once complete, continue the stockinet stitch until the piece measures approximately 18 cm from the cast on edge.
The last bit is working the "crown" of the beanie by gradually decreasing size. To do this, k2tog for the entire next row. Then, purl the following row. Then, k2tog once more, ending in k1 for a total of 19 stitches.
Cut the yarn with a tail of approximately 30 cm. Attach a tapestry needle and thread it through every stitch. Pull tight and whip stitch the seam closed.
How to buy knitting supplies on eBay
Once you are confident in your own personal knitting skills, the possibilities for beanies, other garments and decorative items are seemingly endless. Take advantage of the vast inventory available on eBay as a supply source for everything from yarn to kitting patterns, to special knitting needles. The large numbers of reliable sellers supply kitting tools that are easy to search from any page on the site. Simply use the main search bar and type in the item you want for best results.