It doesn’t matter if you’re just learning how to knit or if you’re a beginner who wants her work to stop looking like Dr. Frankenstein had a hand in it. There are certain things that almost all instructions on how to hand knit will tell you. Most articles on how to knit for beginners cover the basics: casting on, making a stitch, and creating a project. And if that’s what you’re looking for, well and good — in fact, I have plenty of how to knit instructions right here on this site. But if you really want to know how to hand knit well, you need more than basic instructions: you need the extra tips and info that help turn out a project that actually looks like the thing it’s supposed to look like (imagine that!).
Tip #1: Control the tension
This is the single biggest tip I can offer anyone learning how to knit. If you try to knit without controlling the tension, the project weaves in and out — some stitches look bigger than others. Fortunately, controlling the tension is a very easy process. The simplest way to do it is to wrap the yarn around your dominant hand as you work and gently tug after each stitch to make sure it’s tight (not too tight, or you won’t be able to get the needle through the stitch). At first this might seem awkward, but as you learn how to knit it will become very natural.
Tip #2: Count your stitches
When I try to explain how to knit for beginners, I emphasize counting. It’s amazing how often you pick up a mysterious stitch or lose one along the way when just starting out. Count your stitches every few rows. If short, look carefully at your knitting: you’ll probably find a loose stitch in there somewhere. If you have too many, the simplest solution is to simply knit two of them together (poke your needle through two stitches and knit as normal). It won’t result in a perfect pattern but it’ll look a lot better than something that expands and condenses like an accordion. Believe it or not, these two simple tips make the difference between knowing how to knit and knitting something that looks fantastic on your first try.