Teaching Guide

You don’t need to be an expert knitter to teach someone to knit! If you know how to cast on, knit, purl and bind off, you can share these basics. Most knitters learn from someone else — a parent, a grandparent, or a friend. Even if there were no how-to books, the art of knitting would be shared from generation to generation.

Here are some suggestions from successful knitting teachers that will help you get started.


You can teach anyone — women, men, teens and young children from about age 6 on up.
You can even teach knitting without sharing a Language!


Get the student started by just teaching the basics. Once these are mastered, your student will be able to fly on her own. Here are knitting diagrams that will let you help your students.

  • The first lesson should be about 45 minutes to one hour
    long; any longer and the student may become tired and lose interest.
  • We’ve found that casting on is the hardest thing for a beginner to learn. So we suggest that before meeting with the student, you cast on about 25 stitches, and work 8 rows in garter stitch (knit every row). This gives the student something to hold on to while she masters the art of holding two needles and yarn. When she becomes more proficient, you can teach casting on.

Swatch for Beginners (made in advance by instructor)

  • Cast on 25 stitches.
  • Rows 1 through 8: Knit

Getting Started

Sit beside your student, not in front. With the sample piece in your hands, demonstrate the knit stitch two times, then put the work in the student’s hands and guide the student in knitting the rest of the stitches. At the end of the row, show her how the work is turned for the next row.

Let the student hold the work and the needles however is most comfortable. There really is no wrong or right way! And don’t worry about gauge or even stitches at this point. This will come in time. GIVE LOTS OF COMPLIMENTS! Explain that it is not her fault if the yarn splits, but that the stitch with the split yarn will have to be pulled out and remade. It may help to let the student look at the diagram of the knit stitch while working.

Have the student count the stitches at the end of each row, to be sure there is not a dropped stitch. Have the student work four more rows of knitting, and then take a break.

It’s time for a cup of coffee, tea or a soda, and this might
be a good time to show some of your own knitted projects as inspiration.

Now back to knitting!

Explain that the rows of knitting she has worked are called garter stitch, and that the next stitch learned will create another stitch pattern, stockinette stitch.

Demonstrate the purl stitch, then have her purl across the row. Have the student knit one more row, then purl one more row, knit one more row. This will show the difference in appearance between garter and stockinette

If the student isn’t too tired by now, you can demonstrate
increasing in both knit and purl stitches, and decreasing in both. If this
seems too much, just show binding off, and have the student bind off the practice

Now you have a new knitter! It’s time to start the first project, and this is the time to teach casting on. Since the student already knows how to make the knit stitch, the method called “knitting on” (shown in our diagrams) is the easiest, but you can teach whatever method you like best.

The first real project should be something easy, without a lot of shaping, such as a scarf.

We’ve given you a pattern that is a good one for a beginner.

Show how to read a pattern and give help in getting the project started with the chosen yarn — no dark colors please for this first project, and no fancy yarns with a lot of texture.

Download a certificate you can fill out for the student.