There are various uses of knit in knitting and context can often help you out. Be sure you understand the context in which it is being used.
- The stitch. Make the knit stitch
- The activity. You knit a project, but it may involve much more than the knit stitch.
- Knit all the stitches. Row 2: Knit
- Continue as you have been instructed. As in “knit through the stitch pattern as set out”. I do not use this in Jill Wolcott Knits® patterns, but I frequently think it!
We knit primarily in two ways:
- Flat, working rows of stitches
The knit stitch is considered the most basic stitch in knitting, and is usually the first stitch a new knitter learns. New knitters are often disappointed when they begin to make additional rows of stitches and it doesn’t look like the smooth knitted fabric they are expecting. That smooth fabric in hand knitting is referred to as Stockinette, Stockinette stitch, Stocking stitch, or abbreviated St st. In knitted fabric it is called jersey. When every row is knitted, it is called Garter or Garter stitch. If working in the round, every round is knitted and creates that smooth fabric. To create Stockinette working flat, you must work the purl stitch on the reverse rows. If the purl is the right side it is called Reverse Stockinette, Reverse Stockinette stitch, Reverse Stocking stitch, or abbreviated Rev St st.
2. In-the-round, working rounds (I abbreviate that ITR).
When the knit stitch is worked every round the result is Stockinette or Stockinette stitch. To make Garter or Garter stitch, knit one round and purl the next round. For the right side to be Reverse Stockinette or Reverse Stockinette stitch, each row must be worked in purl.
K – Abbreviation
K or k— specifies knit stitches. I only use the abbreviation adjacent to a number or in an abbreviation, otherwise use the word.
- k# – knit the specified number of stitches (ex. k4)
- k to end of row (not in Jill Wolcott Knits® patterns)
- k2tog, SK2P, k1-b, k1-fb, SSK, etc.
To Make a Knit Stitch
These are very basic instructions. I am co-author of a book, YNotKnit: step-by-step instructions for Continental knitting, if you are interested, or you can search for an online video.
- Begin with the yarn behind the left needle. You can hold the yarn in whichever hand you were taught to use.
- Put the right needle into the front leg of the first stitch on the left needle going in from front to back. Your right needle will go underneath and behind the left needle.
- Wrap the yarn around the right hand needle (there are different methods of wrapping, but the yarn goes the same direction) from underneath/behind and around the right needle toward the right.
- Pull through yarn and the right needle through the stitch on the left needle, moving from back to front.
- With the new stitch on the right needle (you can hold it with your forefinger), remove the original stitch from left needle.
There are many methods of achieving knit stitches, as long as the end result is the same, the methods are not materially different from each other.
Generically “Knit” vs. “Work” in a Knitting Pattern
Knit is sometimes used generically to mean our knitting. Instead of using knit to refer to continuing as instructed, patterns will say work or work even (but that means to continue as instructed).
Some authors will use “knit” or “knit across” or “knit around” or “knit to end” or “knit remaining”. In these instances the pattern is telling you to execute the knit stitch for the specified length, rows, rounds or stitches.
When a knitting pattern says “work St st” or “work as established” or “continue working,” work your established stitch pattern pattern, which is probably created using a combination of stitches.
See also: purl