Knitting Stitches for Beginners:  Complete Tutorials

Knitting Stitches for Beginners   by Janice Jones   |Updated 09-25-2023

Are you just getting started and think all of these knitting stitches for beginners look too difficult to tackle?  Think again.  I've put together a collection of stitches that use variations of the knit and purl stitches. 

A woman is knitting with yellow yarnKnitting Stitches for Beginners

Each variation creates a different texture and once you master a few of these, then you can create your own patterns for projects personal to you.

Ready to get started?  Here are the two stitches to learn first:  The Knit Stitch and the Purl Stitch.  Then I'll show you how to combine them to make amazing items.

Knitting Stitches for Beginners

The Knit Stitch or Garter Stitch Pattern

Let's start with the most basic stitch: the Garter Stitch. It's classified under the knit and purl category and it's reversible, which means it looks the same on both sides. To create this stitch, you simply knit every row. It produces a fabric with a textured, bumpy look that's flexible and sturdy.

Check out the tutorial for the garter stitch

Here's the tutorial for the garter stitch variations

Stockinette Stitch

stockinette-stitch-blue.jpgStockinette Stitch

Next is the Stockinette Stitch, another basic knitting stitch. It's also under the knit and purl category but it's not reversible. You alternate between knitting one row and purling the next.

Before you can make the stockinette stitch, you need to master the purl stitch.

The Purl Stitch

This is the other basic knit stitch for beginners and if you can do the knit stitch, you can make the purl stitch.

Find out how to make the purl stitch.  Once you've mastered these two stitches, the rest is easy.  The next set of knitting stitches for beginners use variations of these stitches to make a wide range of textured fabrics.

Types of Knitted Stitches

Knit and Purl Stitches

Rib Stitches

Slip Stitch Patterns

Reversible Stitch Patterns


Lace and Eyelets

Knit and Purl Stitches

These are often the easiest and first stitches that beginners learn.  The only requirements needed to learn these patterns include how to make a knit stitch and how to make the purl stitch. 

Rib Stitches and Rib Patterns

Rib Stitch done in red yarn.Rib Stitch

You'll find the rib stitch pattern on the lower edge of garments such as sweaters with it repeating on the cuffs and neckbands.  Ribs are stretchy so that a the sweater can be pulled over the head but then close again for a snug fit.

Check out the tutorial on the rib stitch

There are more than one rib stitch.  This article covers several of the more common types of rib stitches including the 

Knit broken rib stitch in blue yarn (350-234)Knit Broken Rib Stitch

For example, you can combine different numbers of knit and purl stitches to create various patterns.

Single Rib (K1, P1)

Double Rib (K2, P2)

4 x 2 Rib (K4, P2) then P4, K2

All tutorials for rib stitches can be found at knitting rib stitches.

Slip-Stitch Knit Patterns

Slip stitch knit patterns make use of one simple technique:  slipping a stitch from the left needle to the right needle. 

Not only can you make some very interesting textured designs, but slip stitch techniques can also add color work to your repetroire of skills. 

They are a bit more complicated than simple knit and purl stitch patterns, but still well within the ability of beginners.

Slip Stitch Knit Patterns

Cable Stitches

Knitted Cable Patterns

Entire books have been written about making cables and the number of different cable patterns boggles the mind.  Here an introduction to help you get started.  While not difficult it can be a little cumbersome getting used to hold needles along with cable needles as you knit along a row  or round.

A simple knit cable pattern worked in whiteSimple Cable Pattern

Cable Stitches

Knit Lace Stitches

Knitting lace can be very intiminating for beginner knitters and for many designs, rightly so.  Creating a lace pattern can be as easy as simple yarn overs and eyelet designs to quite complete patterns that may challenge even advanced knitters.

Here's an introcution to lace knit stitches for the absolute beginner.  Learn what it takes to create lace, the pros and cons, and how to create simple lace designs using just knit, purl and decreases stitches.

Learn how to make simple Knit Lace Stitches.

The knit garter lace stitch pattern worked in purple.Knit Garter Lace Stitch

Feather and Fan Knitting Pattern

Feather and Fan knit stitch pattern swatch in green yarn

This stitch is not as difficult as it looks because it is made up of knit and purl stitches with the addition of yarn overs and decreases.

Learn how to make the Feather and Fan Knitting Pattern

Reversible Stitches

When you get ready to create a blanket, scarf or cowl, or even an easy dishcloth/washcloth, you may want the front side (public) and the back or reverse side to look the same.  That is where reversible stitches come in.  

Both sides look identical or almost identical which makes your project reversible.  There are many different types of stitches that fall in this category.  Some are simple knit and purl stitches, others fall into the category of ribbing, and others are more complex.