Vintage Knitting Tutorial Lesson 1
In Lesson 1, we are going to focus on fashion knitting.
Hand knitting is one of the most popular crafts today real vintage knits are expensive. Why not knit your own using this series of knitting tutorials. New colors, fibers, yarns, nubby textures, metallic and newer fiber like Bamboo, offer an array of options for quality hand knits.of
On this blog you will learn techniques from different countries, there is a wealth of new information that is easily accessible online.of
For beginners, these knitting tutorials present a clear guide ot he basic techniques. For more experienced, there are many clever, little-known techniques like the invisible casting on method, along with a range of wearable and home accents and options on how to do your own designing.
Tools of the Trade
- A metal or wooden ruler
- Darning needles
- Rustless steel pins
- Stitch holder ( like a large safety pin, to hold stitches not in use)
- Row counter
- Knitting needle gauge to check correct needle size and gauge
- Cloth or plastic bag in which to keep knitting clean.
- Iron and ironing board with pad
- Pressing cloth
Know your needles
Modern knitting needles are usually made of lightweight coated metal, bamboo or plastic, and should always be kept in good condition. Bent, scratched or uneven needles will spoil the evenness of your work and should be discarded.
For straight knitting–that is, knitting backwards and forwards on two needles, needles with knobs at one end are advisable, as they lessen the possibility of dropped stitches, which is frustrating to the most even-tempered knitter.
For socks, gloves, certain types of sweaters and any garment which is knitted in the round, that is, in a circle instead of straight–a set of four or more needles are used, pointed at both ends.
A flexible circular needle is used for some designs for seamless circular garments, like skirts. The effect is the same as dividing the work among three or more needles, but the work is much easier to handle and one avoids having loose stitches where the needles join.
Knitting needle sizes
With any knitted design, you will need specified number in a knitting needle. Here is a chart of the American and British sizes. As you will see, with American sizes the lower the number the smaller the diameter of the needle, whereas the British sizes the reverse is true.
Yarns and ply
Yarn is the word used to describe any spun thread, whether it is fine or thick. It may be a natural fiber like bamboo, wool, cotton, linen, silk, Angora, or mohair, or a man-made fiber like Orion, nylon, and rayon.
I absolutely love to stitch with bamboo, that is the best yarn I have ever used and it takes dyes well.
When choosing a yarn, you will come across the word ply. This indicates the number of spun single thread that have been twisted together. Each single thread can be spun to any thickness so that a simple reference to the ply does not necessarily determine the thickness of the finished yarn, although the term 2-ply, 3-ply, and 4-ply are often used to mean yarn of a recognized thickness. The following ply classification is broadly applicable to the majority of hand-knitting yarn whether made from wool, man-made fiber or blends of both.
Baby yarns are usually made from the higher quality yarns and are available in 3-ply and 4-ply.
2-ply, 3-ply and 4-ply yarns may consist of wool, wool and made-made fiber blends, or 100% made-made fiber.
Sport Weight yarns are usually 4-ply yarns in which the single strands are about 1/2 the thickness of knitting worsted.
Knitting Worsted yarns are the most widely used of all yarns and are usually made from four spun single threads (although there are exceptions to this), twisted together to produce hard-wearing yarns.
Bulky yarns can either be 2-ply, 3-ply or 4-ply. They are spun like any other basic yarn, but each strand is of a heavier weight.
Dress yarns are usually novelty yarns, spun in a completely different manner to he basic yarn in order to create more interesting and unusual textures. They are generally designated according to ply.
Since vintage yarns were not subject to any official standardization, yarns marketed by different companies often vary in thickness and in yardage/meters.
If you cannot obtain the yarn suggested in the directions, or have set your heart on something else, it is possible to use other yarn, provided you can obtain the same gauge as given in the pattern. Always buy enough yarn at one time, especially is you are using custom dyed yarns. Although dye-lot are no longer significant, it is still a good idea to buy a bit more than you need because unsightly lines across your work will mar your whole garment.
Your success depends on gauge
To make an design successfully, it is absolutely vital that you obtain the same gauge as given in the instructions.
This point cannot be over-emphasized.
This mean that you must obtain the same number of stitches to the inch and also the same number of rows to the inch as the design calls for.
To test you knit gauge, cast on 20 sts with the needles that are recommended. Work even for 3 inches in the given pattern. Bind off and press slightly. Pin down on paper. with a ruler, measure across one inch, then down one inch, counting the number of stitches and rows to the inch. If you have more stitches to the inch than given in the instructions, use a larger needle. If you have fewer stitches and rows to the inch than given, use a smaller needle. Continue to work up swatches until the gauge is correct. Testing the gauge not only applies to the beginner but also to the experienced knitter.
My intent is not to preach but a few minutes spent on this preparation lays the foundation for a successful project. If it is overlooked, a great deal of work may be all for naught before the error in size is realized. Even half a stitch too many or too few, although seemingly little, amounts to nine stitches too may or too few on the back of a 34-inch sweater. This can mean the completed sweater is 2 inches too large or too small. Once you have worked your gauge swatch, lay it out on a flat surface and pin it down. Place a tape measure on your knitting and mark out one inch with pins. Count the number of stitches between the two pins very carefully.
The gauge swatch is pinned into a perfect square, ready to measure.
Here is a list of knitting terms that are usually printed in a shortened form. In some design, it is necessary to use a special abbreviation applicable to that design only. In such a case, the abbreviation will be explained at the point where it is used, or placed in a clear note before the beginning of the directions.
Choose you casting on method
The next step in knitting is casting on, which provides the first row of loops, or stitches on the needle. There are various was of casing on, each with its own appropriate use, and here, the two most popular methods are outlined.
Also, the intriguing invisible European/Continental method, which may be new to many experienced knitters, is introduced.
The Thumb methods (using one needle) is an excellent way to begin most garments, since it gives an elastic and, therefore, hard-wearing edge. On the other hand, the two needle (or English cable) version is necessary when you want to cast on extra stitches during the knitting itself, for instance for a buttonhole or a pocket.
Thumb method using one needle
To cast on make slip loop in the yarn about a yard from the end. (This length varies with the number of stitches to be cast on–allow about 1/2″ for each stitch in medium and about 1 inch for each stitch in heavier yarn. A guide to the length required is the width of the piece of knitting to be cast on, multiplied by three.)
Take a look at a couple of videos that illustrate the most common method of casting on.
Grandmother’s Easy Thumb Knit Cast On Method
<iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/4Teo8JETmi4″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>
Casting On – Thumb Method – Deramores Knitting Tutorial
<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/iG7YiILaqRg” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>
The invisible European method of casting on gives the fashionably flat-hemmed effect of a machine-made garment, It is flexible, strong finish which can hold ribbon or elastic and is very useful for designs which need casings.
Two needle method or English cable
To cast on make a slip loop in the yarn as given for the Thumb method, at least three inches from the end. It is not necessary to try and estimate the length of yarn required to cast on the number of stitches with this method, as you will be working from the ball of yarn. Slip this loop onto the left-hand knitting needle.
4. Repeat steps described in paragraph 3 between last 2 stitches on the left-hand needle until the required number of stitches have been cast on.
Many folks like myself learned to knit long before videos were commonplace, so let’s take advantage of technology, take a look at these videos, they might help you pick-up the technique quicker.
How to Cast On – 2 Needles Method – Quick Knitting Tutorial
<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/5T43J_cYlSU” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>
Knitting Basics – Two-Needle Cast On
<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/zQy4fO56gQ4″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>
Invisible or Provisional casting on method
Even if you are an experienced knitter, you’ll be delighted to discover the many uses to which this marvelous new technique lends itself.
1. Using a contrast yarn, which is later removed, and the Thumb method cast on half the number of stitches required, plan one. Now using the correct yarn for the garment, begin the ribbing.
6th row. Ki, *P1, K2, rep from * to end.
7th row. P1, *K1, P1, rep from * to end.
The Invisible or Provisional cast on is by far the most complicated to learn, videos will really help you master this technique.
EASIEST Provisional Cast On
<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/_T7OwOpC6CY” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>iframe>
How to do an invisible or provisional cast in your knitting
<iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/UYvQzBpReH4″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>iframe>
How to Knit the Invisible Cast On
<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/XShBARLtVrg” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>
Before you begin your first project let’s practice the basic stitches and important techniques. You will also have an opportunity to create your test swatches so that you can see what your project pattern should look like.
In knitting, there are only two basic stitches, knit and purl. A wide variety of pattern is possible using just one or a combination of both of these stitches. And depending on the needles and yarn you choose, the texture of these patterns can range from smooth to heavy, or even be as light as lace.
How to join
Always join yarn at the beginning of a row, never in the center, or it will spoil the continuity of the stitches. The only exception is when you are using circular or double-pointed needles, which will be featured in a later section. Leave a short length of yarn at the end of the row, begin the next row with new yarn, again leaving a short end for darning in. Tie these ends together in a square knot. You can then darn these ends neatly into the edge when your knitting is finished.
How to measure
Never try to lay the work to be measured over your knee or along the arm of the chair, Be certain that you lay the knitting on a flat surface and that you measure with a non-stretch ruler rather than a tape measure. Do not include the cast-on edge in your measurement, but begin with the base of the first row. when measuring an armhole or sleeve, do not measure around the curve or up the sloping edge, but measure straight up the center of the fabric.
Suggestion: Every time you meet a new stitch, it’s wise to make a 4″ gauge swatch. when you’ve enough swatches, sew them up into a bright patchwork quilt.
1. Take the needle with the cast-on stitches in your left hand, and the other needle in your right hand. Insert the right-hand needle point through the first stitch on the left-hand needle from front to back. Keeping the yarn away from you behind the needles, pass the yarn around the point of the right-hand needle so that you form a loop.
2. Draw this loop through the stitch on the left-hand needle, this forming a new loop on the right-hand needle.
3. Allow the stitch on the left-hand needle to slip off. Repeat these steps until you have drawn loops through all the stitches on the left-hand needle to the right-hand one.
You have now knitted one row.
To work the next row change the needle holding the stitches to your left hand and the free needle in your right hand, and work this row in exactly the same manner as the first row.
4. Take the needle with the cast-on stitches in your left hand, and the other needle in your right hand. Insert the right-hand needle point through the first stitch of the left-hand needle from back to front. Keeping the yarn toward you in front of the needles, pass the yarn around the point of the right-hand needle for form loop.
5. Draw this loop through the stitch on the left-hand needle, thus forming a new loop on the right-hand needle.
6. Allow the stitch on the left-hand needle to slip off.
Repeat these steps with the next stitch, until you have drawn loops through all the stitches on the left-hand needle and passed them onto the right-hand needle.
You have now purled one row. change the needles and work other rows in the same way. If you practice knitting and purling, you will find that you become faster and that your work becomes much more even and regular.
This is the simplest of all the knitting patterns, formed by working every row in the same stitch, either purl or knit.
If you purl every row, however, you will not get a smooth or even a surfaced as when you knit every row. this is because all knitters knit more evenly than they purl. so, whenever you come across directions referring to the garter stitch, it is intended that you knit every row, unless otherwise specified.
Knitted garter stitch
Purled garter stitch
This is the smoothest of all the patterns in knitting and is made by alternating knitting one row and purling the next. The knit side of the work is stockinette stitch is usually called the right side. If the pattern uses the purl side as the right side, it is then called reversed stockinette stitch.
Here’s your first project to make for yourself or someone else and a video to help if you need it.
How to Knit – Absolute Beginner Knitting, Lesson 1 – Even if You’re Clueless!
<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/ONVQCK_-rKc” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>
Beginners-knit yourself a scarf
If you have never knitted before start with a scarf.
Sizes: Women’s is 12 1/2 inches x 72 inches
Sizes: Children’s is 7 1/2 inches x 50 inches.
Materials: 4-ply worsted weight yarn, or any other yarn that gives the same gauge, 4-oz skeins, 3 for women’s, 2 for Child’s. N0. 10 knitting needles or Canadian No. 3
Gauge: 4 stitches – 1 inch
The scarf on below uses the Thumb method, later articles will discuss both the invisible and English Cable casing on methods.
Directions are given for woman’s scarf. Changes for the child’s are in parentheses.
To begin: Using the thumb method of casting on, cast on 50 (30) stitches.
To make: Work in garter stitch (knit every row) until 70 inches (50 inches) from beg, or desired length.
You can, of course, make either scarf shorter or longer if you like. Remember, you will need to buy more yarn of you want to make the scarf longer.
Don’t be tempted to press your scarf at any stage. The garter stitch should always be treated like velvet–never pressed or flattened. If by any chance this warning is too late and the harm is already done, it can be quite easily repaired. Hold the scarf in the stream from a steadily boiling water kettle, and the damp heat will rapidly raise the flattened wool fibers back to their original springiness.
If you cast-on stitches are hard to work into, here’s a neat trick. When casting on, hold 2 needles parallel and close together. work over the 2 needles as if they were one. then draw out one needle and your cast-on stitches will be nice and loose.
Binding off and the slipped stitch
Gauge control is very important for this, as is must be done in exactly the same gauge as the knitting. If it is not, the edge will be too tight or too loose, and either will spoil the finished piece.
Slipped stitch is so called because it is slipped from the left-hand to the right-hand needle without being worked, the yarn being carried either behind or in front of the stitch.
Slipped stitches can be used in several different ways, informing part of a pattern in decreasing and shaping, in producing a neat edge for making up a garment, or in making a fold for a leat or facing.
If you are working a pattern and the strand is passed behind the work, the stitch itself forms the pattern. If the strand is carried across the front of the stitch, then it can be used to build up the design, in much the same was a woven design is made. You can also make fascinating herringbone textured effects using slipped stitches.
To bind off on a knit row, knit the first two stitches, then * with the left-hand needlepoint, lift the first stitch over the second stitch, leaving one stitch on the right-hand needle. Knit the next stitch, repeat from * until all stitches, but one have been worked off. Cut the yarn, draw through the last stitch and pull the stitch tight.
Lifting the first stitch over strand.
Knitting the next stitch
When working a purl row, each stitch is purled before it is bound off. To bind off in pattern or ribbing, lift each stitch over the next stitch following the pattern of the knitting.
Care should always be taken that the binding off is not too tight or too slack but is similar to the gauge of the work itself. if you always bind off too tightly, then use a needle size larger for binding off. If, on the other hand, you bind off too loosely, use a needle one size small to obtain the best results.
Slip stitch knitwise on a knit row.
Slip stitch knitwise on a knit row, hold the yarn behind the work as if to knit the stitch. Insert the right-hand needle point into the stitch from front to back, as you would to knit, and slip it onto the right-hand needle.
Slip stitch purlwise on a knit row, hold the yarn behind the work as if to knit the stitch. Insert the right-hand needle point into the stitch from back to front, as you would to purl, and slip it onto the right-hand needle.
Slip stitch purlwise on a purl row, hold the yarn at the front of the work as if to purl the stitch. Insert the right-hand needle point from back to front as you would to purl, and slip it onto the right-hand needle.
It is most important to remember that when a slip stitch forms part of a decrease on a knit row, the stitch must be slipped knitwise, otherwise it will become twisted. On a purl row, make sure you slip the stitch purlwise.
In working a pattern however when the slip stitch is not part of a decrease, it must be slipped purlwise on a knit row to prevent it from becoming twisted when purled in the following row. Do not forget to check which position you need for the best results.
Slip stitch purlwise on a purl row.
Scarves for Mother and Children
You’ve learned how to bind off, so now you can put it into practice. when you have finished binding off your scarf, you are ready to start working on the fringe. The garter stitch scarf in itself has no right or
The garter stitch scarf in itself has no right or wrong side, but the first tassel dictates the pattern the rest must follow. Continue to work on the same side along the first end, being careful that the fringe is worked from the same side.
Take six strands of yarn and fold then in half. Draw the loop through the edge of the knitting, then draw the loop through the edge of the knitting, then draw the ends of the yarn through the loop and pull tightly. Repeat evenly all the way along the cast-on and bound-off edges of the scarf.
Drawing the loop through the edge of the knitting.
Drawing the ends of the yarn through the loop.
The fringe seen from the other side usually called the right side.
Now you have everything that you need to start knitting. I’ve included a couple other pattern links to try when you are ready.
Thank for following along.