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New to Knitting

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  • New to Knitting


    In my crafty quest with lots of time on my hands and after a lovely break in York where I picked up a book on knitting for beginners for 50p I decided I wanted to start.

    The first few pages talked of knitting needle sizes and I got scared and put it down as it didnt explain what ones I should use! How do I go about choosing or is any pair okay especially since Im a beginner and on a budget!

    Help please

    My Homemade Life

    Or at least the early beginnings

  • #2
    Hi KayleighlyAnn, how's life?

    The size needle you need will be specified in whatever patterns you use. It depends on yarn size and item being made.

    You can often find knitting needles and even yarns in thrift shops, or at decent prices at some big box stores (like Walmart, here). I always recommend natural yarns like cotton, wool, mohair, though wool or mohair may be easier to handle in the beginning - less slippy...less likely for a stitch to be dropped accidentally.

    For teaching yourself basic stitches, I always suggest needles that are not too thin, but you also don't want something gigantic. Go to some shop and look at the sizes and look at them and get a 'feel' for them.

    Also, if you get fatter needles, you'll want fatter yarn. Ask the people in the shop.

    The thing is to not be intimidated by the instructions. Read part and say to yourself "ah ha, okay, sure, let me read that again..." things like that, and give yourself a big bear hug. I.e., stay calm! Often, a lightbulb will go on over your head after you have read and re-read the stuff a few times, giving it a try on your needles so you can really get it set in your mind's eye. Now this is important - don't be upset if your initial attempts looks like spaghetti in whirlwind! That is OK and you must give yourself permission to screw up, and you must learn to laugh at it all!

    Many yarn shops over here have free knitting help ... ask your local shops! Or maybe there's a knitting club on campus! You could always start one!

    You need to learn basic knit and purl, and of course casting on and off, BUT, you need to recognize what you have done wrong, too, so spend time making deliberate mistakes and figuring out how to "fix it." Learn to rip out a row, or even a half a row, and how to pick it all up again. Learn to see where you accidentally added or dropped a stitch, and how to get back there to undo it and start from that point doing it right.

    You have to approach it as FUN and as OK not to be perfect for a while! But who knows, you might be a natural! It was just my experience that once i got the basics down, I seriously had to learn how to deal with the whys and wherefores of the mistakes...

    I have been teaching my now 6 year old granddaughter for about a year, off and on. She loves it, and every time we start it up again, it makes ever-so-slightly more sense to her, because she has "experience." I am still casting on for her and doing the first couple of rows, because she hates all that "slow boring" part...oh, and she told me, the first time we sat down to learn a little, that she wanted to "knit a dress!" I said "well, there's no time like the present!" Then she said maybe it would be a doll dress....then she gave up on that idea altogether and just wants to make a rectangle to make into a purse. So at least she is learning to be more practical!

    Oh and another thing...for now, avoid all teh "fun yarns" like eyelash and frizzley yarns, confetti ones...etc.. they drive me nuts! They might be too frustrating for you, just starting out. Hmmmm, I thought of something else but it left me...I'll post it when it comes back to me...

    So, HAVE FUN!!!!

    P.S. I better add an explanation - when I say wool, I am talking about fiber that comes from sheep...when I say yarn, I mean spun fiber that is in a skein or ball, ready to knit, crochet, or weave. Y'all talk funny!
    Last edited by removed10; 12-06-2011, 03:51 PM.


    • #3
      Just to add a few bits from my experience
      I am not an 'accomplished' knitter, i can make basic garments and that has always been enough for me! I was taught by my mum who had a full set of aero needles in a lovely red case! So i had access to whatever size i wanted, but when it was rime for me to have my 'own stuff' she gave me a set of 3 1/4 and 4 mm needles and 2 balls of acrylic dk. Dk just means double knit and it is the 'weight' of the yarn. On the ball of yarn you will find a label of some kind, giving washing instructions, what the yarn is made of and the size of needles to knit it with. As a general rule dk is 4 mm and to be honest that is where i would start. If you are on a budget as well i would go for the acrylic wools (budget wools) just to get a feel for what knitting is like. Needle wise there are lots of different types made from different materials its a personal choice. But have a rummage at your local charity shop they often have some stashed somewhere.

      I recently subscribed to the Art of Knitting (am also subscribed to the crochet version) for about £11 a month i thought it would be a good investment for the future for the girls when they want to learn as well (tho my oldest is only 2 1/2 so will be a while yet!) personally i learned sitting at my mum's knee, watching her, copying her and bugging her if things didn't go right! The first item i made was a scarf - all in garter stitch (so all made knitwise) but i love the idea of making squares for a throw, which is what the art of knitting shows you.

      My biggest tip is to relax while you're doing it. Get comfy, put some telly or music on and go with the flow. Don't concentrate too hard because your tension will be all wrong. Be loose as my friend says oh and post-its are your friend. I use them all the time, sticking them on the pattern under the row i am doing and with a pen ready to mark off when the row is complete. You don't need them, but i find it stops my eyes from wandering onto the instructions below

      I wish you lots of luck!


      • #4
        Have a troll round your local charity shops for pins and wool. If there is none on the shelves ask, they usually have the in the back. Knitting isnt difficult, its mostly practice and good luck with it. Once you get the hang of it you will stride ahead. Its such a handy craft to pick up and put down quickly. Happy knitting.
        God helps them that help themselves.


        • #5
          Thanks Ladies! You have instilled me with confidence to knit!

          Susan! I just got back from York with a bunch of pretty things to use in crafting, got a busy two weeks ahead of me though so life may get stressful and the forum my sanctuary haha . Oh and allegedly in America you use only a third of the English language but then have a lots of your own vocab created? I could be wrong but whilst I worked at a camp there we got some really funny looks from the kids sometimes. Apparently the word 'rubbish' is hilarious..

          I had to put glasses on you ladies all had so much insight, my little netbook nearly powered down! Knitting needles have gone on my bargain shopping list.

          My Homemade Life

          Or at least the early beginnings


          • #6
            Rubbish? Whaaa?

            I hear that all the time in all my BBC dvd's - y'all leave off the final 't' and say "wha" as a sort of expression of incredulity...'wha' almost has three syllables - it starts high then goes lower then comes back up again in a question, usually when someone is sort of shocked, or acting shocked...or just being silly.

            BTW, it's WWKIP week!!!



            • #7
              Ah, well if that is the case that it is WWKIP week, then I have started the week well by knitting on the bus....

              Just for your info KayleighAnn I only started knitting 2 weeks ago and have already made a pair of baby bootees and I am knitting dinosaurs. So don't fret too much. Find a smallish pattern to start you off that you could finish a bit quicker so you don't feel like you have spent hours knitting and you don't feel like you have much to show for it. I have been knitting on the bus into work so I can get a bit further on in the pattern, but I wouldn't do any fancy patterns on the bus because I can't concentrate well enough to get them right! The patterns are good in telling you what kind of wool to use and which needles to use. Hope you have fun!
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              'I am sure it must hurt your eyes to work filigree by candlelight.' - Jane Austen