Garter stitch scarf knit in SweetGeorgia Yarn's Superwash Worsted in Beach House

Learn How to Knit Your First Scarf (Part 1)

Are you ready to learn how to knit your first scarf? We’re so excited to join you on your journey to becoming a knitter! In this two-part blog series, I’m going to walk you through the basics of knitting your first scarf, from casting on and working a knit stitch, to binding off and weaving in your ends.

Before I get rolling into the tutorial, though, I wanted to let you know that we have a detailed Learn How to Knit PDF booklet with even more photos and tips that you can request at the bottom of the page. For our video learners, we also have a tutorial available for free on YouTube HERE. And, if you’re so inclined and want a ready-to-go Learn to Knit kit with everything you need to get started learning and making your first scarf. You can find that over HERE.

Ready? Let’s go!

Pictured is a skein of Superwash Worsted in Peachy, knitting needles, scissors, and tape measure

Materials Needed to Learn How to Knit Your First Scarf

You’ll need to gather the following materials:

Instructions on How to Knit Your First Scarf

These instructions will guide you through the steps to make the scarf. Down below, you’ll find the photo tutorials for the Long-Tail Cast On and how to work the knit stitch.

  • Step 1: Using the Long Tail Cast On, cast on 35 stitches.
  • Step 2: Knit all the stitches across.
  • Step 3: Turn your work, but before knitting the next row, place the locking stitch marker somewhere to indicate the right side of the scarf.
  • Step 4: Knit every stitch every row until the scarf measures the desired length, leaving approx. 20″ / 51 cm of yarn remaining to work the bind off.
  • Step 5: Bind off all stitches.
  • Step 6: Soak your scarf in warm water for 10-15 minutes. Squeeze out all excess water (do not wring). Lay it flat to dry. When fully dry, weave in the ends.

Learn How to Work a Long-Tail Cast On

  • Step 1: Lay the yarn across the top of the needle in your right hand, with the tail of the yarn at the front toward you and the working yarn (attached to the ball) at the back.
  • Step 2: Use your pinky and ring finger to hold light tension in the strands. From behind, insert your forefinger between the two strands and lift the working yarn strand up and out [Fig. 1].
  • Step 3: Insert your thumb between the two strands and push the tail strand out and up [Fig. 2].
  • Step 4: Pull the thumb and forefinger back and up, creating “bunny ears” with the strands [Fig. 3].
  • Step 5: With the needle in your right hand, insert it up into the thumb loop by going under the outside thumb strand [Fig. 4].

Learn how to knit your first scarf with this School of SweetGeorgia tutorial. Pictured is hands demonstrating the long-tail cast on

  • Step 6: Keep pulling the needle all the way over and insert it into the center of the forefinger loop.
  • Step 7: From inside the forefinger loop, use the needle to push the inside forefinger strand towards the center of the thumb loop [Fig. 5]. Keep going until the forefinger strand comes out through the other side of the thumb loop toward you [Fig. 6].
  • Step 8: Gently tighten that new stitch on the needle by placing your forefinger [Fig. 7] and thumb [Fig. 8] back into “bunny ear” position (see Steps 1-2).

Repeat Steps 5-8 to cast on the desired number of stitches. The Long-Tail Cast On counts as your first right-side row [Fig. 9].

Learn how to knit your first scarf with this School of SweetGeorgia tutorial. Pictured are hands demonstrating the long-tail cast on

And that’s how you work the Long-Tail Cast On. You’ll want to practice making sure not to pull too tight or let the yarn hang loose. The yarn should fit snugly against the needle with no gaps. Take your time experimenting with how you hold the needles and yarn. Once you’ve cast on your 35 stitches, you’re ready to learn how to knit your stitches.

Pictured is a a knitting needle with the first row of stitches cast on

Learn How to Knit a Stitch

  • Step 1: Hold the needle containing stitches in your left hand. Pick up your second needle and prepare to work the first stitch.
  • Step 2: Insert the right-hand needle into the front leg of the next stitch on the left-hand needle and push it through to the back [Fig. 10], making sure the needle point is between the two legs of the stitch.
  • Step 3: Coming from behind, wrap the working yarn around the point of the needle at the back [Fig. 11].
  • Step 4: Holding a light tension on the working yarn, push the right-hand needle with the wrapped strand back through to the front of the left-hand needle [Fig. 12]. Take note here that the stitch you’ve pulled through is the “new” stitch; ensure that it fits snugly around the thickets part of the right-hand needle (not the narrow tip) before moving to Step 5 (snugly means “not strangling the needle.” Grin!).
  • Step 5: Pull the left-hand needle out of the old stitch, leaving the new stitch on the right-hand needle [Fig. 13].

Learn how to knit your first scarf with this School of SweetGeorgia tutorial. Pictured is hands demonstrating how to work a knit stitch

Repeat Steps 1-5 until you have knit all the stitches on the left-hand needle. You’ve knit 1 row. From here, you’ll take that single needle of new stitches, place it in your left hand, and with the empty needle in your right hand, you’ll repeat Steps 1-5 to work Row 2 of your scarf. So, repeating this knit stitch over and over for every row is Step 4 in the Instructions for Your First Scarf section above. And when you knit every stitch on every row, it creates a stitch pattern called Garter Stitch (which is that bumpy, squishy texture you’ll see in the picture below.

Pictured is a blue garter stitch beginner scarf.
Garter Stitch Scarf worked in Superwash Worsted, Beach House

Keep Practicing

Keep on practicing it until your scarf is long enough for your liking! Then, return to tomorrow’s post (don’t worry, I don’t expect you to finish your scarf by tomorrow!) to learn how to bind off, or end your scarf, and weave in your ends.

The theme to keep in mind when you learn how to knit, as with any other new skill, is practice, practice, practice. But, once you’ve found your rhythm, you’ll find only pure joy and creative adventures in the knit projects ahead. If you find you’d like a little company on your knitting and crafting journey, consider joining us in the School of SweetGeorgia. We’ve got loads of tutorials and courses to take your skills to the next level, great company in the Community Forums to ask questions, troubleshoot, and bounce ideas around, and, if you need a little more enabling, lots of other fibre arts lessons to lull you into sheer crafting bliss.

Be sure to share your experience with us on social media by tagging us #sweetgeorgiayarns. When you learn to knit your first scarf, you’re going to know so much delight and I can’t wait to hear about it. Happy practicing!

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