I taught myself how to knit last night.... BUT...

jazzieJuly 27, 2008

This is long; I have a lot of questions, thanks for your patience.

I taught myself how to do a one needle cast on and just the basic knit stitch. It wasn't easy... Because really, the diagrams are too confusing to read. I had to watch several internet videos, over and over again. I spent some time trying to find a good video that explained in detail. (Like where to hold the end of the long string from the slip knot, and where to hold the ball sting. It does make a difference. Only one site explained that part, and before I learned that, I was really hung up.)

I did the one needle cast on. I noticed the first row of the cast on away from the slip knot is not square as I continued to knit. Why did this happen?

I also noticed that I casted on 16 stitches, but as I knitted this grew to 17 on my needle.

And what do you do when you realize you have dropped a stitch? Is there a way to safely unravel?

Ohh yeah, and at first my work was twisting all around the needle as I went from on needle to another. Why was that? Is that tension, and am I strangling my thread? lol...

But I did notice that as I reached the last stitch on the needle, that these stitches are REALLY lose. Why is that?

And I bought a kids starter kit to learn on and it has BIG FAT needles, and the points aren't that pointy. Does that make a difference; will it be easier if I got thinner needles, which are pointier?

And is there a preference over what the needles are made of?

Is there a trick to keeping your next stich to knit at the top of your needle? Do you push as you knit?

I hope my questions make sense. :)

Thank you so much for your help. I really appreciate it. My goal is to be able to make baby booties and baby blankets.

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1. The first row can warp a little if you cast on too tightly. Resolve this by casting onto a larger needle and then knitting onto the right size needle with the first row. The corners are rounded squares, but not 90 degrees if that is your question.

2. You picked up an additional stitch with 17. It may have been as you knitted the first or last stitch of the row. That stitch tends to be loose, and the double yarn part of the stitch often is what goes over the needle, and then beginners don't realize it and knit both parts of that one stitch. In knitting and crocheting, you must count your stitches, and that will prevent many problems.

3. You can unravel to get to the dropped stitch. Just undo the stitches one by one if you are close to the spot, or take the needle out and unravel the rows carefully till you get to the row where the stitch was dropped. If you have a loose enough skip of that stitch, sometimes you can drop that stitch next to it and unravel it down to the row in question. With a crochet hook, pick up the dropped stitch, pull the extra yarn through it, and then repeat with the stitch you dropped. This only works if there is enough extra yarn so that it won't pull the fabric and distort it.

4. The knitted work does twist around at first. As your work gets longer, it doesn't tend to twist so much.

5.Last stitch is usually really big. You can give it an extra tug. Some people like to resolve that problem by slipping that stitch at the beginning of rows and knitting it when it is the last stitch in a row.

6. I like to start learners on size 8 to 10 needles and worsted yarn. Really big needles are a little more awkward, though they make the knitting go fast. And yes, huge needles have a more rounded tip, which makes learning more difficult as beginners tend to knit so tightly and the rounded tip won't work into a tight stitch that easily.

7. I prefer wood or bamboo needles because the stitches do not slip off them as easily, a problem for a beginner. Also, my hands get cold when I use the slippery aluminum needles. I make my own wood needles with dowel too. They are not as smooth as purchased ones, but they are a whole lot cheaper. Once you try wood ones, you might try making some.

8. Cannot help you here. I guess I use my fingers a lot to manipulate the yarn and stitches.

The real work in learning to knit is to be sure you are holding everything right, moving the needles and yarn correctly, but mostly learning to be comfortable and lose all awkwardness in working the needles and yarn.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2008 at 4:06PM
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I think it sounds like you did pretty darn good for your first effort! You only picked up ONE stitch? Excellent! I wouldn't even worry about that at this point in the game. Sheila did a great job of answering your questions. The only thing I'd add is that you need to give yourself time to get comfortable with the process. Most of the "problems" you noticed will work themselves out as you find your comfort zone for knitting. You will learn to automatically adjust things as you go, like constantly pushing the next stitch into position for knitting. Rome wasn't built in a day, you had to crawl before you could walk and walk before you could run, so give yourself time to relax and learn.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2008 at 4:17PM
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Thank you so much for the answers Sheila. :) That helps so much. You can find general directions everywhere, but the finer details are missing.
I have made quite a few squares and unraveled them. I am getting better, and you are right, some of the issues have resolved themselves.
I think now I am struggling with the tension and trying to strangle my needles with the thread.
I was just using a regular yarn, and I didn't like it. I had some nubby yarn that I was using on my peg knitter, and I liked using that much better. (It hides my mistakes ohhh so much better.. )
I went and got me some bamboo needles. I don't like the sound of metal against metal, (Like nails on a chalkboard for me.) So I won't be using metal needles ever..
Thank you Damascusannie for the encouragement. I am really getting hooked on knitting. There is something very calming about it. I find it very comforting for some reason.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 1:54AM
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Knit a muffler or two, and you should find your tension is pretty good by the time you finish them.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 2:51AM
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I love knitting--it's my relaxation hobby. I don't smoke so, it gives me something to do with my hands. I totally agree about the metal needles, I really hate them now that I've switched to wood and bamboo. I don't mind plastic either, but bamboo is my favorite.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 11:19AM
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good luck jazzie! :)
i just started knitting its fun! n i love doing the blocks lol [thats all i can do right now!] ill move up when i get better but im so hooked on blocks, ill either sew or crochet them together for a afgan:)

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 3:09PM
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Jazz, if only one or two stitches are dropped, you do NOT have to unravel to fix the problem. Get a crochet hook. Maybe a zero or a 1. Something like that. Put the crochet hook into the loop of the dropped stitch. Now, grab the bar just above the stitch and pull it through the loop. Keep doing that until all the bars are incorporated into the knitting. When you get to the top, slip the stitch back onto the left-hand needle.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 11:43PM
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I admire you for your determination :) Can I suggest a site that I use quite often that has some fantastic videos for learning the basics? It's address is : www.knittinghelp.com

Good luck!!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 2:16AM
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Nookie, thank you for the cool site. I love watching the videos. They will repeat over and over again and not lose patience.. :)

I taught myslef how to purl last night.

I finished the base of my scarf yesterday. (I need to add fringe, and weave in the loose ends. I will post a pic of it when it is done.) Now I am makeing a shawl/Throw. I am using a size 6 1/2 needle, but I think I want to move up a size or two.

Is a ball the same thing as a skein? I notice when I am reading patterns they will say 5 balls of yarn... So what is a ball?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 3:41PM
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Same as a skein. Yarn lover did a better job of trying to explain how to pick up a dropped stitch without ripping out all your stitches.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 7:00PM
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I love your determination! My mother taught me to knit when I was a little girl but over the years I had pretty much forgotten. I was digging through some craft stuff my mother had given me years ago and found a book on knitting, one pair of knitting needles and an old skein of yarn. I, too, basically taught myself to knit again with that old book (late 70's) and now I knit all the time. I also taught myself to crochet using the about.com site. I'm constantly working on one project or another. I just mailed off a crocheted bunny and 3 knitted washcloths with Snoopy, Woodstock and Elmo on them for a friend's little boy. I love making things for people, they are always so appreciated! Good luck to you, I think it's wonderful that you're doing this, keep up the great work!


PS Find yourself a fun and funky yarn, cast on about 20 or 30 stitches, and knit knit knit...you'll end up with a great easy scarf and a great Christmas gift for a friend!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 4:31PM
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