Skip to content

Beginner Guide
to Knitting & Crochet

FAKOORY &CO. FIELD GUIDE 

Hi there! Welcome to Fakoory’s Field Guide to Knitting & Crochet.

Learning a new art is always exciting, though it can prove tough at times. That’s why we created this compact guide for crochet and knitting beginners. 

After reading through our guide, you’ll know how to read a pattern, identify the appropriate tools, and get started with basic stitch types.

Quick Find

The Knitter’s Dictionary

Alternate– every other row or stitch.

Amigurumi- the Japanese technique of crocheting or knitting small stuffed yarn toys or animals.

Blocking- using moisture or sometimes heat and then pulling the item to shape on a flat surface, as indicated by pattern.

Cast on– the first row of stitches that gets the yarn on your needles and you ready to knit.

Cast off (or bind off)– a final row of stitches to finish off the edges. Casting off gets the loops off your needles and secures them so you can finish, or close, your work.

Continental knitting– a method of knitting where you hold the working yarn in your left hand, also called left-handed knitting.

Decrease– to reduce the number of stitches in the round or row.

Dye lot– a label on balls of natural fiber yarns. Coloration can vary between yarn batches, so dye lot is indicated on yarn label to help you find matching color.

English knitting– a method of knitting where you hold the working yarn in your right hand, also called right-handed knitting.

Flat– crochet worked flat is done in rows with
the work turned at the end of each row, ideal for traditional garment construction. One of two ways to crochet.

Foundation crochet stitches– a way to start crochet patterns without the usual first step of creating a long crochet chain. Sometimes referred to as chainless crochet, this step creates the chain row and the first row of single crochet at the same time.

Frog– slang for when you rip out, or “ribbit,” your stitches and start over again.

Increase– to add stitches to the round or row.

In the round– knitting or crochet worked in the round starts at a central point and is worked outwards. Work is done in a constant round without turning the work, ideal for making blankets or large items. One of two ways to crochet.

Motif crochet- small single crochet blocks that are stitched together.

Row– the completed stitches worked from one needle to the other.

Selvage– the first and last rows of stitches; the raw edges of a piece.

Slip knot– usually the first step to starting a crochet project: creating a loop and putting on the hook.

Symbol crochet– crocheting using symbols instead of words or abbreviations, particularly for motif and lace crochet work. Each stitch has a unique symbol.

Working yarn– the active part you are knitting or crocheting with, from the ball of yarn to your knitting needles or crochet hook.

Yarn back– (wyib) putting front-sitting yarn to back between the needles.

Yarn forward– (wyif) drawing back-sitting yarn to the front, under the right needle.

Yarn over– wrapping the yarn from back to front over the hook.

Tools & Supplies

Afghan crochet hook–  These are sometimes referred to as Tunisian crochet hooks, which are longer than traditional crochet hooks. They are designed to accommodate several active loops at once.

Blocking board – a lightweight board with a grid of squares. Used as a guide for squaring during the blocking process.

Crochet hooks– hooks with a notch at one end for catching loops of yarn and drawing them through stitches. Hooks vary in diameter sizes ranging from 2 to 19 millimeters. 

Very fine hooks create small stitches and are best worked with a thin yarn. Large hooks create larger stitches and are suitable for bulky yarns.

Knit counters– a tiny device to count stitches or rows, an important unit of length for some patterns.

Knitting needles– needles used in pairs. There are three types in a range of sizes based on diameter.

  • Straight needles- Used for most flat knitting projects, such as scarves. Straight needles come in many standard sizes and in two standard lengths, 10 or 14 inches. Generally, the larger your project, the longer the needle you’ll need.
  • Circular needles – Used for projects that are worked in the round like a hat and larger projects like blankets or sweaters. Circular needles can hold more stitches. Circular needles have two short needles with points at both ends connected to a cord. Needles vary by needle size and cord length, from 9 to 60 inches.
  • Double-pointed needles- Used for smaller projects that are joined in the round, such as socks and mittens. Double-pointed needles have a point on each end and are often used to bind off projects started on different needles.
 

Measuring tape– this is used to measure, as some patterns refer to inches instead of counting rows.

Point protectors/needle caps– caps that protect needle points from damage and ensure no stitches slip off when not in use.

Steel crochet hooks– Used with crochet threads and lace-weight yarns for fine work, such as crocheting lace and doilies. They use a different sizing range from largest 00 (3.5 millimeters) to smallest 14 (.75 millimeters).

Stitch holder– A clip that looks like a large safety pin. Allows you to secure work when setting stitches aside for later, as instructed in some patterns.

Stitch marker- small clips or rings that mark specific spots or stitches.

Tapestry needle– a large sewing needle with a big eye that can weave in the tails of yarn left after you bind off your project.

Yarn needles– large plastic needles with an eye big enough to thread yarn through or hold a strand of yarn. Their blunt tip can be used for seaming items and for weaving in ends.

 

KNITTING NEEDLE SIZES

 Millimeter Range                                                   U.S Size Range

2.25 mm………………………………………………………………………………………..1 2.75mm…………………………………………………………………………………………2

3.25 mm………………………………………………………………………………………..3

3.5 mm………………………………………………………………………………………….4

3.75 mm………………………………………………………………………………………..5

4 mm……………………………………………………………………………………………6

4.5 mm…………………………………………………………………………………………7

 5 mm…………………………………………………………………………………………..8

5.5 mm…………………………………………………………………………………………9

6 mm………………………………………………………………………………………….10

6.5 mm……………………………………………………………………………………… 10½

8 mm………………………………………………………………………………………….11

 9 mm…………………………………………………………………………………………13

10 mm………………………………………………………………………………………..15

12.75 mm…………………………………………………………………………………….17

19 mm………………………………………………………………………………………..35

25 mm………………………………………………………………………………………..50

CROCHET HOOK SIZES

 Millimeter Range                                         U.S Size Range

2.25 mm…………………………………………………………………………….B-1 

2.75 mm…………………………………………………………………………….C-2 

3.25 mm…………………………………………………………………………….D-3

3.5 mm………………………………………………………………………………. E-4 

3.75 mm……………………………………………………………………………..F-5

4 mm………………………………………………………………………………….G-6 

4.5 mm…………………………………………………………………………………..7

5 mm………………………………………………………………………………….H-8 

5.5 mm…………………………………………………………………………………I-9

6 mm…………………………………………………………………………………J-10

 6.5 mm…………………………………………………………………………..K-10½

8 mm…………………………………………………………………………………L-11

9 mm…………………………………………………………………………..M/N-13

10 mm…………………………………………………………………………..N/P-15

15 mm……………………………………………………………………………….P/Q

19 mm……………………………………………………………………………………S

*Letter or number may vary. Rely on the millimeter(mm) sizing

Types of Yarn

Yarns are made from a variety of materials, including synthetics, natural fibers and a growing number of combinations or material blends. Different types of yarn fibers have specific qualities. When choosing a yarn type for a knitting (or crocheting) project, consider how the finished piece will be used and how frequently it will need to be washed. Yarn fiber options include:

  • Wool- lamb’s, merino, pure new wool/virgin wool, Shetland wool, Icelandic wool and washable wool
  • Fleece- mohair and cashmere
  • Silk, cotton, linen and rayon
  • Synthetics including nylon, acrylic, rayon and polyester.
  • Crochet thread- specially designed for crocheting. Available in several weights, thicknesses, twists and finishes. Most crochet threads are made of 100% cotton fiber. 
  • Crochet thread is similar to yarn except the higher thread number, the thinner the fiber. Popular sizes are 3 and 10, which can be used for tablecloths, table runners, doilies and bedspreads. 
  • Specialty yarns produce a special effect in knitted items including tweed, heather, marled (rag) and variegated
  • Novelty- ribbon, boucle, chenille, thick-thin, railroad ribbon and faux fur, among others unconventional materials.

Yarn Weight

Yarns come in different weights, or thicknesses, that determine how many stitches it takes to knit or crochet 1 inch. Yarn weight affects the look of the knitted fabric and potentially how long it may take to complete the project. Many yarn manufacturers use a number range from 0 to 7 to indicate yarn thickness and recommended needle or hook size.

* The above guidelines reflect the most commonly used gauges and needle or hook sizes for specific yarn categories.

**Lace-weight yarns are usually knitted or crocheted on larger needles and hooks to create lacy, openwork patterns. As such, a general gauge range is difficult to determine so follow the gauge stated in the pattern.

‡ Steel crochet hooks are sized differently from regular hooks. The higher the number, the smaller the hook, which is the reverse of regular hook sizing.

 

How to Read a Yarn Label

Those compact yarn labels contain a lot of very important information, so it’s worth learning how to read one.

Fiber Content — Lists what the yarn is made of, which is very important if there is a concern for any allergies.

Ounces, grams, yardage & meters — the amount of yarn in the ball or hank, which is important to know if substituting a different yarn than the one called for in the pattern.

Color name & number — this is important if you want to find that perfect shade again.

Dye lot — Yarn is dyed in batches called dye lots. All yarn in one dye lot will be the exact same color and will be labeled with the same dye lot number. Make sure to get a sufficient quantity of one dye lot to ensure uniformity of color.

  • How to machine wash
  • Bleach or not
  • How to dry
  • How to iron
  • To dry clean or not

Basic Stitches

The way your project looks is determined by the type of stitch you use. While the technique and construction of each stitch is essentially the same, it’s the combination of them that gives different projects a unique look. Here are some basic knitting and crocheting stitches to get started.

BASIC KNITTING STITCHES

Bamboo stitch

A yarn over technique with a two-row, three-stitch repeat stitch.

Basketweave stitch

A combination of knits and purls to create a textured pattern.

Cartridge belt rib stitch

A reversible mock rib pattern created without a purl.

Chinese wave stitch

Based on the garter stitch with no purling and no curling to create a thick, textured fabric.

Garter stitch

Knitting every stitch and every row, the first pattern most beginning knitters learn.

Knit stitch

One of the two basic knitting stitches where you insert the right needle into the front part of a loop on the left needle from the left side. You catch the yarn with the point of the right needle and bring it through the first loop to form a new loop. Makes a “v” shape.

Linen stitch (also known as a fabric stitch)

A slipped stitch pattern to create a woven effect and firm fabric that does not curl.

Purl stitch

The other basic knitting stitch with the yarn at the back. Insert the right needle into the back of a loop on the left needle from the right. You catch the yarn with the right needle and bring it through to form a new loop. Forms a “bump.”

Purl ridge stitch

A member of the knit and purl stitch family and a variation of the stockinette stitch. Produces raised rows of purl bumps or ridges on the right side of the fabric to add more detail to a simple pattern. The wrong side looks like a standard garter or stockinette pattern.

Netted stitch

A simple stitch to make netting and laces through decreases and then balancing with increases.

Raspberry stitch (also known as a trinity stitch or astrakhan stitch)

A thick, puffy textured bobble stitch with staggered bunches of stitches resembling berry bushes that add dimension and warmth.

Reverse stockinette stitch

The same as a stockinette stitch except that the

purl stitches are done on the right side and the knit stitches on the wrong side. In reverse stockinette, the purl side is considered the right side.

Seed stitch (also known as moss stitch)

A knit and purl stitch that gives a raised dimple effect resembling scattered seeds by alternating one knit stitch and one purl stitch in every row.

Rib Knit

A pattern of alternating knit and purl stitches that produces an elastic reversible fabric.

Slip stitch

Slipping a stitch means moving it from the left needle to the right without adding any yarn, or working it. A stitch may be slipped knitwise or purlwise. If not specified, the default direction is to move purlwise.

Stockinette stitch (also known as a stocking stitch)

The most popular stitch pattern, stocking is formed by knitting one row and purling the next to create a smooth, versatile fabric.

Tiles stitch

A stitch with rows of reverse garter and stockinette tiles.

BASIC CROCHET STITCHES

Slip stitch

The shortest of all crochet stitches. Unlike other stitches, slip stitches are not usually used on their own to produce a large piece fabric but to join one crocheted element to another.

Chain stitch

The most basic of all crochet stitches, chain stitches are commonly used in three ways:

  1. To begin a crochet project. A grouping of chain stitches is referred to as a starting chain, base chain or a foundation chain.
  2. Between rows of crochet stitches, referred to as a turning chain.
  3. To connect the other stitches in a crochet pattern, especially in the round.

Single crochet stitch

A short, basic stitch with several variations. The stitch is frequently used in many patterns, including all amigurumi crochet work.

Half double crochet

In between the height of single crochet and double crochet. Made using aspects of both.

Double crochet stitch

A taller stitch than single crochet and half double crochet. Used in more advanced techniques including granny squares, filet crochet, v-stitch crochet and many other popular patterns with several variations.

Treble crochet stitch

Sometimes called triple crochet, a treble crochet stitch is similar to the double crochet stitch but taller, allowing you to quickly add height to a project. Made by working two yarn overs at the start of the stitch.

Blanket stitch

A basic stitch made up of a combination of one single crochet and two double crochet stitches. Used for crocheted blankets and afghans.

Crochet Lingo (Abbreviations)

Knit and crochet patterns rely on abbreviations, which can look like another language to beginners. Keep this handy guide as a reference for when you’ve mastered the basics and are ready to begin reading patterns.

Standard abbreviations used in a pattern are typically listed at the end of the pattern. Any specific or unusual combinations of stitches are typically explained in the Special Abbreviations section at the beginning of the pattern.

The following is a list of some common abbreviations for U.S. knitting and crochet terminology.

A, B, C, etc (or CA, CB, CC, etc)- Color A, Color B, Color C, etc.

alt- alternate
beg – beginning
bet- between
BL or BLO- back loop or back loop only
BC and RC – back cross or right cross (same thing) blk- block
BP- back post
BO- bind off
CC- contrasting color
ch- chain
cm- centimeter
cn- cable needle
CO- cast on
cont- continue
dc- double crochet
dc2tog- double crochet two stitches together Ddtr- double treble
dec- decrease

FC and LC – front cross or left cross (same thing) FL or FLO- front loop or front loop only
foll- follow
fsc- foundational single crochet

FP- front post
hdc- half double crochet
hdc2tog – half double crochet two stitches together inc- increase
k- knit
k1B- knit stitch in row below
k2tog- knit 2 stitches together
LH- left hand needle
lp- loop
m- marker
M1- make one stitch
MC- main color
mm- millimeter
ndl- needle
p- purl
pm- place marker
pat or patt- pattern
pm- place marker

pr or prev – previous row or previous round PU – pick up
pwise- purlwise
r- row

rem- remaining
rep- repeat
rev St st- reverse stockinette stitch
rf- right front
RH- right hand needle
rnd- round
RS- right side
sc- single crochet
sc2tog- single crochet two stitches together sk- skip
sl- slip
sl st- slip stitch
sp- space
st- stitch
St st- stockinette stitch
tbl- through back loop
tc or t-ch- turning chain
tr (or trc) – treble (or triple) crochet

tr2tog- treble crochet two stitches together tog- together
WE – work even
WS- wrong side

w&t- wrap and turn

wyib – with yarn in back or yarn back

wyif – with yarn in front or yarn forward

yb- yarn back

yfwd or yf- yarn forward

yrn- yarn round needle

yo- yarn over

* or **- repeat whatever follows the asterisk(s) as indicated

()-work instructions within parentheses as many times as directed or work a group of stitches all in the same stitch or space

[] – work directions in brackets the number of times indicated

Gauge

Gauge, sometimes referred to as tension, is a measure of the width and height of stitches per inch. Gauge is listed at the beginning of a pattern as a number of stitches and rows over 4 square inches or 10 square centimeters.

Gauge can be affected by the yarn’s fiber, texture, drape, color and even size and brand of needles. All of these can also affect the finished product. How you hold the needle/hook and thread can also affect the gauge. You may need to make adjustments to the yarn, pattern or needle/hook size if your gauge does not match the pattern.

It is important for your stitches to match the pattern gauge because that determines the look, fit and feel of the finished piece. It could also cause you to deviate from the pattern so you have too much or too little yarn supply.

Make a gauge swatch before you get started. This will ensure your personal tension will result in the final measurements being as you intended. Adjust with a smaller/larger needle/hook if the gauge isn’t right.

Tips & Tricks

  • If you’re a beginner, start with big needles and bulky yarn so you can easily see the stitches.
  • Use a binder clip on the edge of a bowl to hold your yarn. This will direct the working yarn and keep the ball from rolling all over. Or, use a teapot and thread the yarn through the spout!
  • Use a sticky note to keep your place in your pattern. It moves easily!
  • Save textured and fancy yarns for simple patterns. Work up more complicated cables and designs with simple yarns.
  • Whenever possible, finish the row before putting your work down. This way the tension will be the same when you pick it back up.
  • Save and label a small ball of the yarn you used so you’ll have it handy if you ever need to make repairs down the road.
  • Consider buying extra yarn before starting your project, as you might not be able to match the dye lot later if you need more yarn.
  • Match the yarn to the stitch to either accentuate or camouflage the desired effect.
  • The busier the yarn, the simpler the project shape and pattern stitch should be.
  • Knitting swatches can give you a better idea of what the final product will look like, especially for novelty yarn.
  • The final product’s drape and feel will vary depending on the fiber type, how tightly they are spun and the color dye.
  • When picking out yarns, remember that just because two yarns have the same gauge doesn’t mean they can be readily substituted. This is especially important if you want to make any changes to the pattern.
  • Keep your pattern in a plastic sheet protector and use a dry erase marker to mark off rows on the plastic. Use a binder clip to help secure the pattern so the paper and protector don’t move.
  • To fasten off a crochet project, try using a yarn needle instead of a crochet hook to weave the ends back through. This will secure them and reduce the chance of raveling.
  • To hide stitches, take the end of the stitch and crochet it into the other stitches a few times.
  • For crochet stitches with several loops, pull them up loosely to make drawing through them easier.
  • To thread fraying or stubborn yarn, dip the end in clear nail polish. Twist the yarn tight while it dries.
  • To avoid headaches or frustration later, take some time to practice new techniques with scrap yarn before you start your project.
  • Check for mistakes as you work each row. If you find any, rip out and start over again.
  • Finish a row before setting down your work. Otherwise, your may find your tension is different next time you pick it up.
  • Join new yarn at the beginning of a row to avoid a noticeable hole or looser stitches at the join site. If you run out of yarn mid-row, remove that row of stitches and join the new yarn at the edge where the join will be less noticeable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *