Knitting 101

Knitting 101: Part 4

Elisa is finishing up Knitting 101 today. She's also offering a coupon code below for her pattern shop. I had not heard of Ravelry before… but I'm a big fan now! Check out what Elisa has to say about it.


Knitting 101 Part 4 This is the final segment of the Knitting 101 tutorial I am doing here at craftsnob. I am a little sad that this will be my last post, but I am so thankful for the opportunity. The great thing is, this experience has motivated me to post video tutorials for my own blog and YouTube channel.

If any of you have questions please email me at mclaughlindesigns [at] elisajoy [dot] com for support. I offer email support with every pattern I sell. I want every single customer to be successful. I want to pass along an awesome resource for knitting and crochet to you. There is a website called Ravelry that is a great source for hundreds and thousands of free patterns. Ravelry also has a feature where you can keep track of your projects and even leave feedback for designers in your comments. You have to create a login but the website is free and they don't send lots of spam like other knitting pattern sites I have come across. If you sign up be sure to add me as a friend! Here are links to my profile and Ravelry Pattern Store. Also if you wish to receive an email when I release a new pattern you can sign up for my email list. Each email includes a coupon so sign up if you are interested.

In today's lesson we are going to cover switching stitches and switching yarn colors. After this lesson you should be able to easily complete the headband pattern pictured below.

Changing Stitches Now that you know how to both knit and purl, it is time to practice switching between stitches. To start, cast on 16 stitches. Knit the first stitch. Once you have knit the first stitch, bring your yarn tail through the center between your two needles to the front.

Bring the yarn tail between your two needles so that it is in the front. This will set you up for purling your next stitch.

With your yarn tail in the front of your work, purl the next stitch. You should now have two stitches on your right needle.

Once you have purled your second stitch, move your yarn tail through the center of your two needles through to the back. This will set you up for knitting the third stitch.

After you have knitted your third stitch, you will repeat the process by bringing the yarn tail to the front. If you go around your needles instead of between them you will add stitches, so be careful of that.

Here is what you should do for this swatch:

  • CO – cast on
  • K – knit one stitch
  • P – purl one stitch

CO 16 stitches, K, P, K, P, K, P, K, P, K, P, K, P, K, P, K, P. Repeat this for 15-20 rows and your swatch should look like the picture below.

If you have successfully switched between knit and purl stitches you should have what is called a 1 by 1 rib. Ribbing is what is commonly used to make the brim of a hat because ribbing has a lot of stretch to it. Next, I am going to show you how to switch yarn colors. I started with the rib swatch I had already knit up.

Starting at the beginning of a row, hold your second yarn color next to your yarn tail.

While still holding the two yarns together, use the new colored yarn to knit your next row. Leave your yarn tail in the first color hanging at the beginning of the row.

Continue to knit in the new color all the way through the first row.

Once you have finished knitting one row, knit the next and you should be able to see the color change.

There is so much to learn with knitting, but if you have mastered the rib stitch you should be able to easily complete the Endless Braid Pattern. I would recommend finding a few VERY simple and quick patterns to practice with and help you feel successful. If you ever have any questions please feel free to contact me through my blog and I would love to help.

Stockinette Stitch

Here is how you do a stockinette stitch when you are knitting flat. Knit the first row. When you flip your work over, purl the following row. Continue this pattern, knitting one row and purling the next. If you successfully knit and purl every other row, this is what your swatch should look like.



Many hats are done in stockinette stitch. Thanks for joining us for the Knitting 101 series. It has been such a pleasure to work with Sara on this tutorial. I hope you will all post your knitting successes and disasters. Be encouraged, it takes practice but it is SO worth it!


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!


Knitting 101: Part 2

Knitting 101: Part 2

Well today's post is a wee late, but I was taking time to spend with family on a holiday. Anyway, you are in for a treat! Elisa has put together a few short and sweet videos that are uber easy to follow. Even my husband said he would be able to knit after watching the videos. Ok… don't tell any of his friends I told you that! Be sure to catch up because next week you'll be completing a modish headband (which doubles as a cowl, too!). Here's a sneak peek…

Go and be pretty,


In todays lesson we are going to cover a lot of ground. Take your time. By the end of this tutorial I want you to be able to pick up your needles, purchase a beginner pattern (or find one for free) and be successful. In order for that to happen, I am going to have to cover a lot in the next three lessons. Today, you will learn how to make a slip knot, cast on, and a basic knit stitch. This tutorial will be a mix of photos and videos.

Slip Knot

A slip knot is the basic beginning stitch for both knitting and crochet. There are many ways to make a slip knot, but this is the most simple broken down way. Here is a video tutorial I made for the Slip Knot.

If you prefer photos, here are a few still shots of the slip knot process. Loop your yarn over your left hand with the tail on the left and hold both strands with your right as indicated in the photo above.

Twist loop to make an X shape.

Grab the left hand strand through the loop and pull it through the loop.

Once you have your slip knot on your left hand needle, you can begin casting on your stitches.

Cast On


Once you have 20 stitches on your needle and have followed the instructions in the video, you can begin knitting! We will start with the basic Knit stitch.

Knit Stitch



One of the more difficult things about learning to knit in front of a computer instead of with someone teaching you in person is troubleshooting. If you have a teacher sitting next to you it is easy for them to point out mistakes in your knitting. I am going to briefly cover common mistakes, how to spot them, and how to get back on track.

Dropping a Stitch: One common mistake is dropping a stitch. This is when, somehow while knitting a stitch is dropped off the needle. The way to spot this is if you count your stitches and you have one less. Also you may see a hole in your work as shown in this picture.

Extra Stitch: Sometimes when drawing your yarn between the two needles and pulling it through, it is easy to grab and extra strand of yarn. This will result in and extra stitch on your needles. As shown in this picture.

In both of these situations the easiest way to fix the problem is to rip out to the row where the problem stitch is. Slowly pull your needle out of the stitches and lay your work flat in front of you. Slowly pull the yarn strand across undoing each stitch as shown.

Be careful to not rip out more than one row. Count your stitches and make sure you have the same number you started with.

Once you have finished this, slowly thread one of your knitting needles through all the loops.

Make sure to do this on the side opposite of your work from the yarn tail as shown in the picture above. Once your needle is back through all the stitches, you can start knitting again. If you rip out too many stitches and decide to start all over, it only means more practice. Try and try again. Good luck!


Knitting 101: Part 1

Knitting 101: Part 1
Meet Elisa, the creative designer behind knitting patterns at McLaughlin Designs.  If you want to make a fashion statement with your knitting creations, then by all means drop what you are doing and run to her pattern shop. But, oh! Fiona's Frills is there for those without patience to knit (impatience can be a virtue, right?) to fill any accessory voids you may have. Let's get ready to knit!
Go and be pretty,
Welcome to Knitting 101: Part 1. I have always loved teaching and enabling others to create. I stumbled upon designing knitting patterns a little over a year ago, and it has been an incredibly rewarding experience. I am so excited to be able to do a knitting lesson on Craft Snob. Sara has been fabulous to work with and I am so excited about what she is doing here. So, let's get started.
Today I am going to talk about the materials you will need to begin knitting. You can find the basic knitting materials at any craft store, even most Walmart stores carry them.
  • Straight Knitting Needles (size 9-11)
  • Bulky Weight Yarn (bulky acrylic pictured)
  • Scissors
  • Stitch Markers
  • Yarn Needle (pictured is a dental needle which I like to use and also a small crochet hook). I didn't have yarn needle on hand but you can see what they look like here.
  • Knitting Needle Organizer
I will be giving a brief description of each item and will include a link at the end if you wish to purchase exactly what is pictured.
Knitting Needles -There are three options to consider when shopping for knitting needles:
  • Determine whether the pattern calls for straight, double point, or circular needles
  • What material the knitting needles are made of
  • Size of the needles required
Needle Type
  • Straight Knitting Needles – great for flat items such as scarves or even simple bags. They are usually the beginner's first introduction to knitting because practicing simple stitches and making swatches is easy when using straight needles. For this tutorial, we will use straight knitting needles.
  • Circular Needles – used for anything that has a circular cylindrical shape such as hats and cowls. They allow the knitting to be continuous as you just keep knitting in a spiral upward. There is a cable attaching the two needles together. This allows you to knit with ease without losing any stitches. The cable can vary in length the shortest option for circular needles being 16 inches from point to point. You can also use circular needles for straight pieces such as blankets but that is for a more advanced lesson.
  • Double Pointed Knitting Needles or DP Needles – great for small cylindrical items such as socks or gloves. These needles come in packs of four or five and are straight with points on either end. These we will also not be touching on in Knitting 101.

Needle Material – The next thing to think about is what type of material you want your needles to be made of.

This is a little more important with knitting than crochet because your needles are rubbing together so the material they are made from directly affects the speed and ease of your knitting. Wood is the most fun to work with because the needles are smooth, don't clack, and warm to the touch. Metal can provide speed in knitting and they are very affordable. Plastic is also not very expensive, however they are slower once you get to advanced knitting. I personally am not a huge fan of plastic knitting needles (that is why there are none pictured), however, that does not mean they will not work great for a beginner. Whatever you choose to purchase is fine in this area. Find what is available and in your price range.

Needle Size – The size of your needle will depend on what your pattern asks for. The size refers to the circumference of the needle. A larger number indicates a larger needle width. Each knitting needle has a US size and a Metric size. The size you will need for this tutorial should be between a US 9 (5mm) – US 11 (8mm). The reason I am having you start with larger needle sizes is when most people start knitting their stitches are tight and difficult to manage. With the larger needles it is easier to keep your work loose.

Yarn – This is a hard subject for me because, although I am a thrifty person, I LOVE expensive yarn. The difference is unbelievable and I don't know if I will ever go back to acrylic after using a peruvian wool or marino wool/cashmere blend. They are quite a bit more pricy but SO worth it once you know what you are doing. A few brands I like are Malabrigo, MadelineTosh, and my favorite yarn is from a woman who hand dyes her yarns and sells them on Etsy. You can check her out at SKEIN YARNS.

For starters, inexpensive acrylic will work great! Whatever you already have on hand from the Crochet 101 Lessons will work great. If you are purchasing yarn for this tutorial I will be using Vanna's Choice.

I guess I should take a moment to talk about the different materials you can purchase yarn in. You can get yarn made out of acrylic, wool, angora, silk, cashmere, cotton, bamboo, and even corn. Then you have blends of yarn where they will be made of 80% wool and 20% acrylic. This allows for a middle ground. For example, in the wool/acrylic blend you are getting the ease and warmth and smoothness of the wool and the affordability of acrylic both in one yarn. Use what you like and experiment from time to time with something new. Cotton is fun because it breathes and is soft and light weight. My pattern Double Take Cowl/Hat is knit in cotton yarn.

Most of my other patterns are knit up in a %100 wool yarn. You can always substitute an acrylic yarn, but sometimes this means you will have to make a few adjustments in the pattern. If once you have a bit of knitting experience you want to look into trying something a little more expensive here are a few online shops you can consider purchasing from.

Another great option is to support your local yarn shop. I don't have the benefit of living close to a local yarn shop but I wish I did. I always try to visit one when I am in town.

After deciding on a material you have to pick your yarn weight. Remember, this is usually determined by your pattern. For this lesson, you can look for the number 4 on the skein label. The 4 indicates worsted weight yarn. You can see more clearly the different weights of yarn here.
Yarn Label – I have circled what you need to look for in the photo to make it easy for you. Above the red circled area is the material your yarn is made of. To the right is a gauge indicator. This is how many stitches and rows of this particular yarn will go into a 4×4 inch square. Don't worry about this now it will not affect you knitting in this lesson.
Scissors – Embroidery scissors work great since all you are doing at this point is snipping your yarn. But to start any scissors will do. These beautiful vintage scissors I had imported from Japan.
Stitch Markers - These are necessary with knitting, but you won't need them with these lessons. They are small rings that are slid onto the knitting needles to help keep track of stitches. Usually they are placed every 5 or 10 stitches so you can count your stitches more easily and check if you have added or lost stitches. They come in plastic or metal or you can make them yourself out of extra yarn. I usually do that because I always forget to purchase them. Here is a link to some if you wish to purchase them online to have for later.
Yarn Needle – You will need one for this lesson. They usually cost about $2.00 at Walmart or Joann's. Or you can purchase them here.
Knitting Needle Organizer – I never organized my needles until Sara asked me to include how to organize and care for my needles. Until now, I have been keeping them in an apothecary jar. It was lovely, but not very helpful for finding the needles when I wanted them. I did a little research and I found this awesome shop Fanciful Belongings. I contacted the owner and asked for a specific fabric pattern I had in mind. She went out that night and got the fabric and I got the organizer in the mail today. I love it and highly recommend purchasing one if you decide to get serious about knitting and crochet. You don't have to go the Etsy route you can find organizers in the same section as the other knitting supplies.
That wraps up our lesson for today. Next week we will start knitting!