A funny encouraging note to beginners


56 years ago I decided to teach myself how to knit. I knew how to crochet but knitting was a mystery to me. I bought a little instruction booklet (oh, how wonderful it would have been to have videos to watch!) and sat in a chair with my ball of yarn and my two needles. I didn’t have any particular project in mind – just wanted to learn how to make a square or circle. I was 22 years old with a two-year old baby.

Somehow I managed to cast on the desired # of stitches for my sample. But that’s where I ran into a wall. The instructions just did not make sense to me. They told me that when I knitted, I kept the yarn in front of my needle and when I purled, I had to keep the yarn in back of my needle. I had no idea what I was supposed to do. So – I knitted following the drawings in the booklet and that seemed to work; but when I turned and had to purl and put the yarn “behind” the needle, I was lost. What I did was (and you are all welcomed to laugh) — I moved my ball of yarn to the back of the chair I sat in – which made no sense to me. And then when I was to knit, I moved the ball of yarn to the front – well ---- I can’t even go into the mess that evolved from all of that. In other words, I was moving the ball of yarn front and back but not changing anything at all. That may not make any sense – but then, it didn’t make sense to me, either!!! — Years passed before I tried it again and finally got the gist of it. but I laugh to this day picturing myself moving the ball of yarn to front of the chair to knit and then moving it to the back of the chair to purl. SO!! I’m writing this to all of those who are venturing into this craft – don’t ever think you can’t figure it out because I eventually did and if I can, you can, too!!


I learned how to knit and crochet from a booklet called “The Learn How Book”. People who want to learn those crafts today have so many more options than we did!!!



I learned in 2005 when I was 52 so you can learn at any age. Just keep practicing and working on how best to hold the needles and knitting method that works for you. It’s a great hobby! Welcome to KH!


I still have my copy of that lovely little book as well as my mother’s copy, although that one is a bit older! :wink:


IKWYM!!! I lost my grandmother’s cherished copy. Then a few years ago I bought myself another one off eBay to replace it!!



I completely understand your story. When I first learned to knit, I had trouble with turning at the end of a row. Something about where the yarn was and where it should go baffled me. I solved it by turning very, very slowly with an eagle eye on the yarn and that last stitch. Now I can’t remember what was so puzzling.


I almost didn’t post my story because it would certainly make someone
wonder just how ditzy I was. Like you, now I wonder how in the world I
wasn’t able to figure it out! But whenever I need a good chuckle, I
remember those days when I was so young and naive. Thanks for your comment!


I learned to knit just after my son was born and he’s almost 43 now… :slight_smile: Another lady in our neighbourhood had a new baby too and we met on the sidewalk as we pushed our baby carriages along trying to sooth a fussy wee one. We became good friends. She’s been knitting since she was 5 and was absolutely appalled to learn that I didn’t know how to knit.
Well, she said she would teach me. We’d start with something easy… a pair of socks! 4 needles… Are you kidding?
That Christmas I knit my father 4 pairs of socks! She was a good teacher…:slight_smile:


You were obviously brighter than I was!! Even today I struggle with using
4 needles so I admire anyone who knits socks!


I learned to knit in grade school!!! It was a school run by nums and the sisters thought every girl should know how to knit…:blush:. The problem I had was I am left handed, which was around upon in the first place, so I learned to knit right handed… My mom took up the slack and worked with me until I got it… I also had a book on knitting which I wish I still had!!! What an amazing book it was… I learned how to crochet from that book… So happy you stuck with it despite your challenges… Good for you… oh, by the way, your story was very funny…:laughing:


Simply amazing!! Thank you so much for sharing that story!


Great story! When I first learned how to knit, I was 14. I was making a sweater in the round with the help of my mentor. I was so proud to bring her most of the finished body: but somehow, I had knit half the sweater inside out (purl stitches). I think I’d started going from right to left instead of left to right, too.


Hi Spurs!!!

Do u remember the name of that fantastic knitting book?? I like to have learn-to-knit books on hand. Let me know if you remember!!!



It’s called “The Knitting Answer Book” It’s handy to have and has lots of
instructions… I purchased it as an e-book. Although I have to admit when
I get stuck, the Knitting Help forum is my go to place…:grin:


I tried to learn to knit from a book when I was seven years old, but never could figure out what dropping the stitch meant. So I gave up on it, and did not go back to learning to knit until a few years ago. But I learned, and have been knitting ever since! By the way, your story is really funny. lol


One thing I always say to kids and knit students I’m working with:

Making mistakes is a good way to learn.

Then I ask

Now, what have you learned from that (mistake)?

Heavens, I must have learned to knit more than 60 years ago and I’m always learning new things.


Your shared memory was an excellent example showing the importance of establishing a common “frame of reference.”


I am a fairly new knitter at least I haven’t progressed much since I started. The instructor didn’t do socks. So after more than 5 years I am determined to make socks. I have a pattern from Cat Bordhi and since I am using a yarn different than recommended, I need to make a 4 inch gauge swatch. How do I choose a correct needle size yarn to come up with the swatch that is 4 inch with 28 cast on.
Do I need to buy the yarn that the pattern recommends can I figure it out with someones help? Thank you for any advice as I am not good with instructions.


You don’t necessarily have to buy the yarn recommended in the pattern but you should buy yarn of the same weight. If the yarn gauge is 28sts to 4 inches in stockinette stitch then look for a yarn that gives that gauge.
You will need to knit a swatch even if you do buy the recommended yarn. Everyone knits with a different tension on the yarn so a swatch is a good starting point. Once you’re knit a swatch you can determine if you need to change needle size in order to get 28sts/4 inches.
What is the name of the Cat Bordhi sock pattern?


Thank you. Most of my yarn has been wound into balls and have no labels. So to the store I go. “Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles”-- Simple sock.