How Your Stitches Should Look - The Anatomy of a Stitch
In this post, I am going to show you how your stitches should look whilst you're working them.
I find that when we first learn to knit, we focus so much on actually sticking the needle in the right place, and making sure our stitches don't come flying off the end that we don't actually look at what we're knitting! Even if we did, we don't know what it's meant to look like in the first place! Because of this, we never notice once something has gone awry.
It's meant to be that way in the beginning because making mistakes is how we learn.
So, if you feel like you're still at that point don't beat yourself up about it. That being said, if you've mastered the stitches now and you feel pretty confident, but you look at your stitches on the needles and can't tell a knit from a purl... I'm here to help.
In this post, I'm going to show you what your stitches SHOULD look like when they are positioned correctly on your needles.
So, let's just get right into it.
Say you are knitting a piece of garter stitch fabric, which is made up of rows of knit stitches stacked on top of each other.
Take a look at the photos below.
This is how your stitches should look on your needles when you have the working yarn on the right-hand side of the work, with it facing you as if you are about to knit your next row:
You will see that the bumps should be butted right up against the needle, completely parallel to it.
And if you flip the work over, this is how the stitches should look when the working yarn is on the left-hand side:
You will notice that there is a loop directly below the needle, as opposed to the yarn bump we see on the previous photo.
And this is what it should look like when you are midway across a row:
Now, let's say you are working a stocking stitch piece of fabric. This is made up of alternating rows of knit and purl stitch.
This is how the stitches should look on your needles when you have the right side facing you (the smooth side with the "V" shaped stitches) as if you are about to knit your next row:
These are the knit stitches. The tops of the "V's" should be touching the needle, with a vertical strand of yarn looping over the needle.
When a pattern says "knit the knits"... These are the stitches it is referring to.
And the wrong side of the work:
These are the purl stitches. You can see that it looks very similar to the garter stitch sample, the rows of bumps are just compacted more tightly. As with garter stitch, the bumps should be butted right up against the needle, completely parallel to it.
When a pattern says "purl the purls"... These are the stitches it’s referring to.
Now, with stocking stitch, you can see they look completely different on the right and wrong sides. This is because of the way the knit and purl rows work together.
This is what it should look like midway across a right side row:
And a wrong side row:
What I want YOU to do is keep an eye on your stitches as you are knitting them.
Keep referring back to this guide and learn what your knitting should look like as you go. It's so much easier to notice mistakes if you know what it should look like!
If you would like to know more about how to improve your knitting, I've created a new course, called Knitting with Confidence. It teaches you everything you need to know in order to both prevent mistakes from happening and how to fix them if they do!
Or, if you’re a COMPLETE newbie, and would love to learn to knit but have no idea where to start, click below to sign up for me FREE knitting course, From Newbie to Know-It-All, which teaches you everything you need to know to get started knitting!