Once you learn how to knit and purl -- the basic stitches of knitting -- you can knit most anything. One of the simplest projects for beginners is a baby blanket. Although there are many different variations of the knit and purl stitches, a baby blanket knit with alternating rows of the knit and purl stitch produces a knitted fabric called the stockinet stitch, in which one side is flat and smooth (the knit side) while the other is bumpy (the purl side).
Determine the size of the blanket. Many baby blankets are 80 cm (32 inches) wide by 90 cm (36 inches) long.
Look at your yarn label to determine how many stitches to cast on. For example, if your label shows that a 10 by 10 cm (4 by 4 inch) swatch knitted on Size 6 needles is 17 stitches, then you'll need eight 10 by 10 cm (4 by 4 inch) swatches for a baby blanket that is 80 cm (32 inches) wide. Therefore, you'll need to cast on 136 stitches (17 x 8 = 136).
Cast 136 stitches onto your right-handed needle. Do a knit stitch (where the working yarn is in back of the needle) into each stitch for your first row.
Change to the purl stitch (where the working yarn is in front of the needle), purling each stitch for the second row, as well as every even row to come.
Continue knitting, by knitting the odd rows and purling the even ones. Use a knitting row counter to keep track of even and odd rows.
Cast off your stitches when your fabric measures 90 cm (36 inches) long.
Take a crochet hook (Size 6) and using either the same colour of yarn or a contrasting colour, single crochet around the fabric to finish off the blanket.
If you get confused or forget to use your row counter, and you are not sure whether you should knit or purl a row, place your fabric in your left hand. If you're looking at the smooth side made up little "Vs," it's a knit side, so you'll want to "knit the knits." On the other hand, if it's a purl side, you'll need to "purl the purls." By using multicoloured pastel-coloured yarn, you can produce a baby blanket that has several colours without having to change yarns. Decorate the blanket by embroidering on it or doing a cross stitch design on the knit side.
Although the stockinet stitch is a popular stitch, it does curl up when you have all knits on one side and all purls on the other. After you've knitted your blanket, use a process called "blocking" to take out much of the curl. Or, if you don't want to deal with the curling problem, you can knit every row in the blanket. This produces a garter stitch, in which both sides are identical.