Learn to knit – The free knitting school

Knitting is an amazing and incredibly satisfying hobby. But not everyone had the luck that grandma taught them how to knit. Well, thanks to the internet, it has never been easier to start this wonderful craft. On this page, I put together a very detailed free knitting course to help you out. I am going to be your knitting teacher and you can follow along through tons of videos, pictures, helpful texts, and knitting charts. It’s a free and self-guided course where I share my experience from 30+ years of knitting. All you need are the right knitting tools (<- read my list) and the willingness to learn! Experienced knitters might want to check out my index of all knitting techniques as well. And don’t forget to check out my list with the best knitting tips either. 

learning how to knit the continental way with a swatch

How to knit for beginners

The ultimate step-by-step tutorial on how to start knitting. A beginner-friendly resource with all the basic techniques you need for your first projects. Easy to follow instructions, big pictures, and slow-motion videos included.

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Level 1: Knitting tutorials for beginners: Step-by-step lessons to get you started

Definition: A knitting beginner is someone who grasps the most basic stitches and can finish simple patterns with aid.

The following couple of stitches and skills are what I would recommend focusing on as you start out. It’s a simple set of techniques that will allow you to finish some basic projects. 

how to knit 2 stitches together - a sample patch on the needle with right leaning k2tog stitches

Lesson 1: Is knitting hard to learn? What to expect

How long will it take for you to learn knitting and what you can (and what you cannot) expect of your first projects?

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different knitting needles in metal, wood, and carbon

Lesson 2: How to find the right knitting needles

A very detailed guide to finding the best knitting needles for beginners. Pros and cons of bamboo, and metal needles.

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different hanks and skeins of wool yarns in different colors

Lesson 3: The best knitting yarn for beginners

Everything you need to know about the different materials, weights, and how easy they are to knit

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starting the broken rib stitch by casting on an odd number of stitches

Lesson 4: How to cast on knitting stitches

A step-by-step tutorial on cast-on techniques for beginners. Easy methods to get you started

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starting knitting across the first dpn close to the taper

Lesson 5: How to knit the basic knit stitch

Learn how to make the basic stitch. Plenty of pictures and a video will teach you two easy methods in no time.

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a neater last bind off stitch - the edge doesn't show the ear

Lesson 6: How to bind-off stitches

A bind-off secure your stitches, keeps them from unraveling, and finishes your project.

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different knitted coaster one with and one without fringes

Lesson 7: How to knit a coaster

A simple project for beginners to utilize those first skills and create a useful item in a short amount of time.

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Wraping the yarn around the needle with your middle finger to purl

Lesson 8: How to knit the purl stitch

Time to learn your second stitch. Together with the knit stitch, you’ll be able to access tons of new patterns.

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A purl stockinette stitch cast on edge

Lesson 9: How to knit the stockinette stitch

Combine a purl and a knit stitch to create this classic and super smooth knitting stitch pattern.

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someone holding up two ends to join them with the spit splice

Lesson 10: How to join a new ball

A lot of projects require more than just one skein. Here’s how to add another ball the easy way.

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How to weave in ends - step by step

Lesson 11: How to weave in ends

After you’ve finished a project, you need to tidy up the tails. This process is called weaving in.

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someone joining two edges with the mattress stitch technique

Lesson 12: How to seam knitting

Using the ingenious mattress stitch, you can seam two knitted pieces together in an invisible way.

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a left and a right leaning knitting decrease side by side as shown with a simple swatch

Lesson 13: How to decrease knitting

Learn a simple decrease to shape your fabric and knit projects beyond simple rectangles.

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a swatch increased with m1 - make one on a wooden table

Lesson 14: How to knit an increase

Do you want your fabric to get wider? Well, then you need to work a so-called increase.

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super easy projects for knitting beginners decorated on a wooden board

10 easy patterns for beginners

Are you looking for some easy projects you will be able to finish with these skills? Here is a list for you.

See the patterns here

Level 2: Advanced Beginner

Definition: A knitter who easily handles the standard stitches, has learned directional increases & decreases, can follow simple patterns and knows a technique to add color and texture to their projects.

Once you’ve learned the basics, you can dig a little bit deeper into the way stitches work and your finished fabric behaves. Knitting has direction and the way you enter stitches matters as much as when and where you position a certain stitch. As an advanced beginner, you can also start to explore the many possibilities to knit with two colors.

different knitted swatched showing their respective wrongs sides

Reading tip 1: Wrong side vs right side

How to keep the two sides of your project apart? And what does it mean?

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someone holding up a super neat edge on a swatch in stockinette stitch

Reading tip 2: How to knit neater edges

Your edges are all wonky? Here are some helpful tips and tricks!

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Reading a knitting chart

Reading tip 3: How to read knitting patterns

A proper pattern will open a whole new world to you. 

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counting rows stockinette stitch knitting with numbers indicating

Reading tip 4: How to count rows

It’s easy to get lost. But it’s quite easy to count your knitting if you know this trick.

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a neater last bind off stitch - the edge doesn't show the ear

Reading tip 5: A neater last bind-off stitch

Does your last bind-off stitch always create an ear? Here’s how to avoid that.

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a swatch in stockinette stitch curling at the edges and at the bottom

Reading tip 6: How to keep knitting from curling

10 tips to prevent curling edges.

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a knitted swatch increased with m1r and m1l on both sides

Lesson 15: Directional Increases – M1R & M1L

Increases have a slant or lean. This tutorial shows you a neat set of directional increases.

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closeup of the ssk knitting decrease

Lesson 16: SSK – a left-leaning decrease

Decreases also come in pairs. Slip, Slip, knit will make your fabric lean to the left – as opposed to k2tog (right-leaning).

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counting rows in cable knitting with a swatch as an example

Lesson 17: How to knit the cable stitch

A super fancy and yet super simple way to create stunning patterns. Don’t be scared!

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Basic knitting stitch patterns

As an advanced beginner, you can definitely explore the many ways to combine knit and purl stitches. These two simple stitches can create so many stunning patterns that are very simple to knit at the same time. Some of them, like ribbings, are super useful as they are very stretchy and can be used for hems & cuffs, while other stitches are just beautiful to look at. Here are 6 stitches you definitely should have heard of. Maybe knit a little coaster or potholder to practice them. And for the more adventurous, here’s my knitting stitch library.

a 1x1 rib stitch knitting pattern swatch

1×1 rib stitch

The mother of all cuffs and hems: Stretchy, easy to knit for beginners and very versatile.

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the 2x2 rib stitch knitting pattern as shown on a full sized swatch

2×2 rib stitch

A very popular knitting stitch pattern for hems, cuffs, and socks – with a lot of negative ease.

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close-up of the seed stitch knitting pattern

Seed stitch

A very simple knit/purl variation suitable for beginners, and a great choice for more texture.

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A close-up of a swatch knitted in the Irish moss knitting pattern

Moss stitch

A popular and easy pattern for larger projects. Reversible, lays flat, and not too stretchy.

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the broken rib stitch knitting pattern show with a swatch in green yarn

Broken Rib stitch

Lots of texture and yet quite stretchy. A simple 2-row repeat with stunning effects.

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the waffle stitch knitting pattern as seen from the right side in purple yarn

Waffle stitch

Beautifully textured 4-row repeat. Very easy to remember and only needs knit and purl stitches.

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Simple Colorwork

As an advanced beginner, you may want to explore at least one way to do colorwork. Certainly, these techniques will occupy you for a lot longer but nothing speaks against some first steps. Most of these techniques just require the same basic stitches you have been using all along.

how to change colors in knitting shown on a swatch in garter stitch

Reading tip 7: How to change colors

Joining in a new color seamlessly will enable you to knit beautiful stripes and so much more.

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A swatch knitted using the fair isle technique in multiple colors close-up

Option 1: Simple Stranded knitting

If you know how to knit and purl, then you absolutely can start with your first Fair Isle project.

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a swatch knitted with the 2-colored fisherman's rib stitch using green and blue yarn

Option 2: 2-colored fisherman’s rib stitch

Create stunning projects by employing a simple trick. Basically, you knit across each row twice.

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Knit in the round: the basics

Knitting in the round can seem quite daunting – and it can be. But there are also tons of super easy tubular projects out there. A simple beanie could be well within your reach at this stage.

having joined knitting in the round without a gap

How to join your cast-on in the round

You know how to cast-on but how do you create a seamless round?

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how to knit in the round using the magic loop method on circular needles

Option 1: Magic loop

Employ a trick to use large circular needles to knit small(er) diameter tubular projects

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Knitting in the round on double-pointed needles

Option 2: Knit with double-pointed needles

The traditional way to knit in the round.

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sometimes fixing a knitting mistake with a crochet hook

The most common knitting mistakes

As a beginner, it’s very easy to develop bad habits. This fun list explores the 15 most common ones and how to avoid them. Fix your mistakes and prevent future mishaps!

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III. Intermediate knitter

Definition: A knitter who can follow most patterns with ease, is able to read knitting and charts, and knows advanced stitches and techniques for neater results. Knitting in the round is no longer a challenge, and advances have been made in lace knitting, brioche, or advanced colorwork.

Once you managed the basics, you can explore in two directions: First, you could learn special techniques and tricks for neater results. This probably means you need to ask a lot more after the why and less how. And secondly, you can also start looking for more advanced stitches and technique to create more ambitious designs and patterns. Most knitters start to specialize at this point and focus on one or two kind of projects they prefer (like socks, shawls, or sweaters).

knit vs purl stitches as shown in a swatch in blue yarn

Reading tip 8: Knit vs purl stitch

Understand how different stitches work and learn to recognize them in your fabric.

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a big knitted gauge swatch and someone counting stitches

Reading tip 9: How to get gauge

If you want to knit a garment from a pattern, you have to get gauge first. Here’s how.

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using a post-it to keep track of the current row of a knitting chart

Reading tip 10: How to read charts

Lace, colorwork, cables – most patterns use charts and you need to know how to read them.

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someone knitting a stitch through the back loop with blue yarn and wooden needles

Lesson 18: How to knit through the back loop

Twisted stitches are a favorite choice for ribbings, can add further structure to cables and close eyelets.

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Make one purl left mean purling the stitch through the back loop

Lesson 19: Purl through the back loop

If you want to knit a twisted rib, you need to adjust your purls on the wrong side. Here’s how.

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comparing different left leaning decreases in knitting in a swatch in stockinette stitch

The best left-leaning decrease

Do your SSKs all look wonky? Here’s why and how to fix it!

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swatches with different lifted increases in knitting - lli, llpi and lri

Lifted Increases

A set of very powerful and very invisible increases that are worked into the row below.

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differen tedge stitch knitting techniques stacked upon each other

10 super neat edge stitches

Tired of wonky edges? here is a list with alternatives

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3.1 Learn more cast-ons and bind-offs

As a beginner, one technique to start your knitting and one to end is will suffice. But later on, as you progress along your knitting journey, you will greatly benefit from expanding your choices. Some edges need to be more stretchy while others could look a bit neater or fancier. Here are three further options each for your consideration:

A longtail purl cast on on the needles

Longtail purl cast-on

Create the perfect cast-on edge for ribbings by creating purl stitches. 

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close up of a german twisted cast on on the knitting needles

German twisted cast-on

Quite stretchy and pretty.

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close-up of the provisional cast on with a crochet hook right below it

Provisional cast-on

A smart method that allows you to knit in the other direction.

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someone stretching out a swatch with jenys surprisingly stretchy bind off

The surprisingly stretchy bind-off

Creates a super stretchy edge for cuffs and hems.

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a stretchy bind off for a 2x2 rib stitch creating a very flared edge

Stretchy bind-off for 2×2 rib

A nice and neat edge for all sorts of ribbings with a lot of give.

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close-up of the spiked edge the picot bind of creates in knitting

Picot bind-off

A highly ornamental and stretchy choice with many fun applications. Perfect for shawls or the cuff of socks.

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3.2 Advanced colorwork

Stripes and simple stranded colorwork can be fun but there are so many other options to create colorful designs through knitting. As an intermediate knitter, you may want to explore at least one advanced colorwork technique.

the right and wrong side of an intarsia knitting swatch

Intarsia

A fun technique to transfer any picture into knitting with no messy backsides.

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a swatch knitted with the double knitting technique with various tools in the background

Double-knitting

Create a super cozy and reversible fabric with sheer unlimited design possibilities.

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entrelac knitting pattern in multiple colors

Entrelac

A super fun technique to create a basket-weave kind of pattern

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3.3 Intermediate knitting stitch patterns 

There are quite a lot of interesting patterns and knitting methods that require more than just knit and purl stitches. As an intermediate knitter, you definitely should dare to delve a little bit more into the many different ways to structure your fabric. Here are some options:

a swatch with a BR4ST DEC centered double decrease for the brioche stitch and an alternative version

Brioche Knitting

A super voluminous pattern with a lot of fun shaping options.

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double stockinette stitch pattern

Double Stockinette stitch

A smooth and reversible pattern.

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the bobble stitch knitting pattern

Bobble stitch

A fun way to add little bobbles and a lot of structure to your fabric.

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The honeycomb cable stitch pattern

Honeycomb cable stitch

A stunning cable variation.

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the star stitch knitting pattern

Star stitch

A bit tricky to knit but very beautiful.

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A close-up of a swatch in the zigzag rib stitch

Zigzag rib stitch

A fun variation of ribbings.

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Other useful skills for intermediate knitters

  • How to block finished projects
  • How to fix more complicated mistakes: How to use lifelines, how to reverse knit, etc.

anatomy of a column of knit stitches showing you the direction you need to graft

How to read your knitting

Understand how stitches truly work and how to read them.

Watch the video

fixing a purl stitch on the wrong side of a swatch in stockinette stitch

How to fix advanced mistakes

Helpful tips and tricks – no more unraveling your work.

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knitting backwards the continental way - example with a swatch in stockinette stitch

How to knit backwards

Knit in the other direction to avoid purling or turning your work.

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Patterns for intermediate knitters

Once you start learning more advanced knitting techniques and methods, you can certainly dare to approach more complicated patterns. Here is a selection of basic patterns you definitely can start knitting at this stage, if not earlier.

the finished socks on a wooden board - close-up shot

How to knit socks

The oldest and probably most popular pattern of them all.

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How to knit a hat

A detailed tutorial on knitting hats that fit and keep you warm.

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lace shawl pattern preview image

How to knit a shawl

A tutorial with 8 different ways to knit a shawl.

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a couple of different knitting hacks shown on a table

Expert knitting hacks for better results

A massive list of little hacks that make the difference. Knit faster, neater, or achieve better results with these simple yet effective tricks.

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Work in progress…

I will continuously expand this resource. Not only to help you learn how to knit but also to reach the high echelons of master knitting. This will take time. So please be patient. The experienced knitter part is still under construction.

Available master classes on my Patreon account:

IV. Experienced knitter

Definition: Someone who knows how to adjust patterns according to their own preferences, can substitute yarn, is proficient in at least one major knitting technique, and can produce neat results consistently.

Knitting is more than just knowing how to do something. It’s also about knowing techniques to adjust any given pattern/design according to your preferences. This will require a lot of practice but also yet more knowledge about how knitted fabric behaves and how certain stitches/patterns work.

using an app to choose the best yarn for knitting according to the color wheel

How to choose yarn for knitting

Find the right colors and materials.

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moving stitches with the fingers to and from the needle to knit faster

How to knit faster

10 tips for more efficient and faster movements.

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interchangable knitting needle sets on a table

The best knitting needles

Find the tools that work best for you

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someone grafting knitting stitchces with a tapestry needle

How to graft stitches

Learn special techniques to close seams and gaps in an invisible way – no matter your pattern.

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a swatch with german short rows laying on a table

How to knit German Short Rows

A super smart way to add colors or shape fabric – no holes. 

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close-up of a super neat swatch in a 1x1 rib stitch

How to knit neater ribbings

Are you frustrated by wonky ribbings? Here are techniques to fix that.

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someone finding out how to price hand knit items on a notepad with various hats, socks in the background

Reading tip: How to price hand-knit items

Do you want to sell your knitting? Here’s how much you should charge.

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a big knitted gauge swatch and someone counting stitches

Reading tip: Is getting gauge an illusion?

A close look at why you may never be able to get gauge.

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a scarf with different knitting increases lined up one after another

The ultimate list of knitting increases

A massive resource with all possible increases in knitting.

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different knitting decreases all in one swatch ontop of each other

The ultimate list of knitting decreases

A list of ALL possible knitting decreases. Left, right, and centered alternatives.

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different stretchy bind-off techniques on a bocking board

10 increasingly stretchy bind-offs

Comparing 10 different ways to add more stretch to your edge

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4.1 Advanced knitting stitch patterns 

Are you looking for even more advanced ways to structure your fabric and create unique designs? Well, then here are a couple of techniques that really will make you wow.

close-up of a gusset pattern knit in bavarian twisted stitches

Bavarian twisted stitches

A regional style from Germany with stunning design possibilities

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4.2 Advanced colorwork techniques

The first simple stripes are easy to knit. But you will probably notice that colorwork can also be incredibly difficult to get right. Maintaining a nice tension and achieving a neater stitch definition defines a true master knitter. Here are some tips to help you along the way.

the wrong side of an intarsia project with two neatly joined color panels

Advanced intarsia tips

Here are tricks for neater results when knitting intarsia

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close-up of a provisional join for intarsia in the round

Intarsia in the round

Challenge yourself with this very advanced technique

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knitting the perfect little entrelac knitting pattern

Advanced entrelac tips

Looking for neater results? These tips will bring your entrelac to the next level.

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knitting tips for beginners for beginners and advanced knitters

10 knitting tips for neater results

An inspirational list of tips and tricks that will help you to achieve neater results. Super smart techniques and little hints with big results.

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