Knitting 101 Part 1

Needles

Knitting requires at least two knitting needles to make the knitted fabric. Knitting needles usually are pointed at one end and have a knob at the other. They're available in plastic, bamboo, wood, steel, and aluminum. The needle you choose affects the gauge, or stitches and rows per inch, of your finished knitting.

Gauge Notations

Most knitting projects include a gauge notation. The gauge, or the number of stitches or rows per inch, is determined by the size of the needles and the weight of the yarn. Always work a gauge swatch (below) to see whether your tension equals the gauge specified in the instructions. If you have too many stitches per inch, you are working too tightly: Change to larger needles. If you have too few stitches per inch, you are working too loosely: Change to smaller needles. For practice sessions, choose medium-size needles (size 8 or 9) and a smooth, light-color yarn so you can see your work easily.

To make a gauge swatch: Using the recommended needles and yarn, cast on a few more stitches than the number indicated by the gauge printed on the yard band for 4 inches (10 cm). Work the pattern for at least 4 inches. Loosely bind off or remove the swatch from the needles. Place a ruler over the swatch; count the number of stitches across 1 inch and the number of rows down 1 inch, including fractions of stitches rows. If you have too many stitches and rows, switch to larger needles; if you have too few stitches, use smaller needles.