New to knitting

I’m new to knitting and am watching the videos but some things aren’t clear. How many times do you need to cast on before you start knitting? Does it depend on the width of whatever you’re making? I want to do a scarf- and after I cast on, how do I switch from a cast on to actually knitting??? It’s very confusing! Also- which is easiest to learn with- the English or Continental video? Thanks for any help!

You need to cast on as many stitches one after the other as you need to make the width of the item you are making. All the stitches will be on the same needle. After you have as many stitches as you want you will hold the needle with the stitches on it in your left hand and the empty needle in your right hand. The yarn going to the skein will end up attached to the first stitch at the pointed end of the left hand needle after you cast on.

Once you have the stitches cast on and the needles as I said you are ready to start knitting the first stitch at the end of the left hand needle. Then when you have knit each stitch in the row, exchange the needles from one hand to the other so that the full needle is again in your left hand and the empty needle in your right hand. I think of the piece of knitting that you have completed as coming out toward you from the left hand needle and lying between the two needles. It will, of course not amount to much at first, but that is where the knitting will grow.

I know how to knit both styles and prefer Continental, but I actually think learning the English style is easier. I can teach a 5 year to knit that way, but they don’t usually have the coordination to knit Continental. I taught my husband to knit and he could do the knit stitch Continental, but not the purl so I had him switch. But if you crochet, or are left handed Continental may seem to make better sense to you. I taught several grown up beginners that way last winter. They had all crocheted and took to it well. Some teachers teach both methods right from the start and let the student decide which one works for them.

You just need to cast on the number of stitches either required for the pattern that you’re working on or however many you need to get the width. To figure out how many you need to get your width, knit a gauge swatch. A gauge swatch is when you cast on some stitches and knit a square kinda thing and measure it to see how many stitches you will need to get per inch/cm for a certain pattern. Here’s an example of gauge:
Gauge: 16 sts/20 rnds= 4" (St st on larger needles.)
So, to get this gauge, I would cast on 16 stitches and then a few extra, b/c everyone knits differently, and will get a different amount. As long as your getting close to what your pattern requires, you should be fine, especially on a scarf.
After you’ve figured out your gauge, and have cast on, you knit according to the pattern.
As far as English and Continental go, the best advice I can give you is to just try each, and see which is more comfortable for you. Try a few rows with each and see which suits you best.
I hope that I helped you out some, and hope you haven’t gone into information overload lol. Hope you enjoy knitting! It really is a wonderful craft. :slight_smile: