Knitting 101: Part 3

You don't want to miss today's lesson with Elisa. She is sharing her "It's a cinch" headband/ cowl pattern. It's downloadable, too! You can download the pattern below today's lesson.

If you are not up to speed, then check out these lessons first.

Go and be pretty,


In Part 2 we covered making a slip knot, casting on, and the knit stitch. I hope you have all been successful. In this lesson I will explain how to cast off and complete a knit project. I also came up with a beginner pattern that needs only the basics but is still a fashionable accessory. In true craft snob fashion I figured we should try something prettier and more fun than a simple scarf. To start this pattern, cast on (or CO) 20 stitches onto US size 9 needles. Once you have 20 stitches on your needles, start knitting. Stick to the simple knit stitch we covered last week. Knit for 14 inches (around 86 rows).

Once your work is 14 inches long, cast off all 20 stitches. I learned this technique as casting off, but in most patterns, it will be referred to as binding off stitches (abbreviated BO). The following video demonstrates casting off.

After casting off all 20 stitches your work should like the picture below.

Next, fold the two ends together so they meet in the center. You can cut the yarn strands or weave them into the edge with an embroidery needle.

Using the embroidery needle, sew the two sides together.

I used a contrasting color of yarn so it is easier to see in the pictures. For the pattern, just use a piece of the yarn in the same color as your headband. Once the two edges are sewn together, pull on each end until your headband looks cinched like below.

After pulling the two yarn tails tight so the headband is gathered, tie them in a knot.

Once you have tied the knot, you can cut the yarn tails or wrap them around the cinched area to give it a more finished look. Whichever look you like better.

Here is how the headband looks with the extra yarn wrapped around the cinched area.

Here is how it looks if you decide to not wrap it with the extra yarn.

The headband can double as a vintage chic collar or cowl that will dress up any outfit.

Congrats! You have completed your first knitting project! I hope you will post pictures of your finished products and link to them in the comments section so Sara and I can see what you have accomplished.

Finally, let's cover a basic purl stitch. A purl stitch is the backwards version of a knit stitch. When you are purling, every stitch looks just like the knit stitch does. There is a difference in the two stitches. You won't see it until we learn how to switch back and forth between stitches next week. The following video demonstrates the purl stitch.

If you want, you can make a headband of all knit stitch and then make a headband of all purl stitch. The pattern is exactly the same. Instead of knitting 14 inches you will purl 14 inches.

Download my "It's a Cinch" pattern now.

See you next week!


  1. Brilliant! I just learned to knit this past weekend and so far I’ve made myself a little wrist cuff and a iphone cozy. This looks like the perfect project for me to try! Thanks for giving us beginners something cute and fashionable to make instead of just a scarf!

  2. This is the headband I made!
    I love how it turned out and I'm making a few more of these for my friends. Such a cute and simple pattern. 

    • Courtney, I am having trouble seeing the headband. I think the link may be broken. Try reposting!

    thanks so much for the "lesson"! I have started and never finished so many scarves, I was really glad to find and finish this easy pattern.

  4. Oops didn't realize it actually did post the first time. I thought there was an error.

  5. I'm so excited. I saw the pictured pined on Pintrest and I was thinking man I wish I new how to knit that. Then what do you know…lessons too! Love it! Thanks so much.

  6. OMG I LOVE THIS! I was taught before how to do the knit stitch and how to knit pearl, but I had kind of forgotten and became rusty so I have to say thank you so very much! I'm left handed so it wasn't easy for me to learn being taught by my right handed mom so thank goodness I'm ambidextrous! Anyway, I loved your tutorials and how you put pictures of everything too! I didn't know I could make something so fast. It only took me one day and I'm in love with it! I can't wait for winter!!

  7. ahh, I love this pattern!  Here's my post about it!
    Looking forward to more knitting 101!

  8. Hello! I am using a bulkier yarn so I was wondering how wide, in inches, the headband should be. I think 20 stitches across is too much for the yard I'm using.

  9. I knit one!  I LOVE IT!  thanks for the awesome pattern!  you can see mine here:
    thanks again!

  10. Your hair looks so pretty. How do you style it?

  11. I tried making this headband but it came out way too small. I made it 14inches long. Is it because my stiches are to tight or could it be because of the yarn I'm using?

  12. I love the look of the headband! I'm thinking about making this for a 2-3 month old little girl and I'm hoping you have some suggestions about how many rows and cast-on stitches I  should use. Thanks for posting such helpful knitting blogs!

    • I have not made a headband collar for a small child but I can offer my best guess. I  think 8-10 stitches wide should suffice. I would make it ten inches long. A lot of the sizing has to do with the stretch of your stitches. I usually find a baby to test it out on. Hope this helps!

      • I've been wondering the same thing because I made one for my best friend as a Christmas gift and then decided to make a matching one for her 6 month old. I found this to help me guess at sizing:
        Head Circumference 13" – 14 "  33-36cm; hat circ = 11.5" – 13" Hat height = 5.5 to 6" 13-15 cm
        Baby – 3 to 6 months   
        Head Circumference: 14" – 17 "  36-43 cm; Hat height= 6.5 – 7" 15-18 cm
        Baby – 6 to 12 months 
        Head Circumference: 16" – 19 "  41-48 cm ;  Hat height = 7.5"  18 cm
        Toddler – preschooler (12 months – 3 years) 
        Head Circumference: 18" to 20 " 46 -48 cm; Hat height = 8"  20 cm
        Child (3 – 10 years) 
        Head Circumference: 19" – 20 1/2"  48-51 cm; Hat height =8.5"  22cm
        Pre-teens and Teens  Hat 
        Head Circumference: 20 1/2" – 22"   53 -56 cm; height 9-10"  25 cm
        Adult Woman 
        Head Circumference:  21.5" – 22.5"  Hat height = 11" 
        Adult Man 
        Head Circumference:  23" – 24"  58.4 cm – 61 cm; Hat height = 11"-11.5" 

  13. I've been having trouble getting the two edges sewn together to gather the way that you can. Any suggestions?

    • Laura, if you look at the picture where the two sides are sewn together and match your edges up like that, start from the top and push the needle through the two edges from your left to your right (just as it shows in the picture) then bring the needle over the top and do the same thing again about a half an inch down…repeat the process until your work looks like the image. Hope this helps!

  14. Thanks so much for the wonderful project! I'm pretty new to the kniting game and this is the perfect quick project for when I don't have to patience or motivation to make anything that takes a while to finish! I used a chunkier yarn, but I loved how it turned out! And it's super soft and warm. I can't wait to make them in many colors! Thanks!

    You can sort of see my first finished one here:

  15. oh my goodness i just made one of these!! i love it soo much

  16. Thanks for sharing such an easy, cute pattern!
    Here's a link to the photo of the one I made.

  17. Wow…I actually did it. You're a great teacher.

    • Thank you!! I hope you continue to be able to knit more projects. I am so glad this tutorial helped you.

  18. This site looks awesome. Can't see most of the images though :( and i've tried three browsers! 

  19. This looks great and I'm really looking forward to making one but unfortuantely the supporting pictures aren't showing up, any suggestions?

  20. I just made my first headband from this pattern.  I love it!  Thank you for posting something so simple online.  It gives me confidence to try something more difficult!

  21. I needed something fast and easy with the onset of an early winter.. I had a pretty skein of died alpaca yarn laying around so, after finding your pattern last night, I just finished my headband this afternoon… Just in time for chores in a mix of snow and rain… 

    I generally make jewelry and take photos so knitting is "relatively" new to me! I'm looking forward to embellishing my "knot" in this pattern with some fancy beadwork pins! Thanks again for such a quick and easy refresher course! 


  22. I am so excited to have such easy, clear instructions!  Thanks for posting. I was looking on your site at the pattern for 9-18 month old baby hat…will you be posting any time soon how to knit in the round with DP needles??  just curious :)  Thanks!

  23. I made it 14 inches long but it is still too small.  Could it be my stitches are too tight?

  24. Love this pattern I just learned how to knit and this was a great beginner piece

  25. This was really helpful and it’s super cute! I made one for my girlfriend’s birthday =)

  26. Thanks so much for this awesome crafty project :) I already knitted 2 of them! And I’m getting requests left and right to make them for my friends.

    Here’s what my first one looks like:

  27. this was so helpful! it was my first time knitting. came out a little bulky but still cute.

  28. I am not quite finished but I loved this lesson! Elisa is a wonderful teacher, thanks for the lesson!

  29. Hey Elisa!

    I was really inspired by this tutorial to start knitting again. Needed a headband and couldn’t find one in the shops so I thought, why not make one myself. Fortunately, I came across your post and I’m proud of my work :)
    Thanks for sharing and here’s my result:
    The blog’s in German, though..

    Keep on doing what you’re doing! You’ve got a new follower! :)

  30. i would love know the measure of the ribbon so I could crochet it?!
    love youre work!!

  31. Thank you so much! Been looking for a 1st project, and finally found it! Couldn’t get it super cinched, but my 11yr old loves it. :)

  32. I want to make this headband for a 10 year old. I’m thinking go casting on 15 stitches and making it 3/4 as wide as the adult headband. Do you think this would work? If you gave made this for a child, please let me know how you made yours.

  33. Im making the headband have 44 rows a little more then 14 inches. Should I contine to knit till closer to 86 rows? Than you

  34. I just made this and it’s adorable! I did knit and purl stitches, so it’s a garter stitch on one side and the pretty arrow-like one on the other. I used grey yarn and wrapped it with turquoise yarn. It looks like a big bow! So quick and easy!

    • And I love bows, Katelyn! Glad you are having fun with the tutorial!

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