Adventures in Knitting, Part I

Hi there, newbie knitter here. Been poking around this web-site for awhile, and it seems to be a great group here!

I have been wanting to learn how to knit for sometime, I love anthropologie and urban outfitters…figured why can’t I knit sweaters and wraps like they sell for much cheaper?

Now armed with numerous knitting books and supplies, I have about 20 samples lying around my house, each with about 10 rows of knitting that I tossed aside because I didn’t like how it looked. Grrrr…too tight, too loose, dropped stitches…grrrr…

Which makes me wonder…How long does it takes to get the hang of it? What was your first project? What helped you the most?

I am so anxious to jump in…so many wonderful projects I want to do…


Don’t discard after a few rows. Sit down and knit, knit, knit. Make a long, possibly wonky scarf. Knit some rows, purl some rows, play around. The more you knit, the more even your knitting will become. You’ll see a noticeable difference from the beginning of your work and then end. By the time you finish off a skein, you should be able to count on your tension more.

Well my very first project were mug mats, it’s usually something small, for each knitter, but I agree with Ingrid, only going to get yourself frustrated if you toss aside every few rows, Don’t worry about tension, just yet anyway, get used to working with both knit and purl stitches, then, after you feel comfortable with it, you’ll notice that your tension (gauge) problem works itself out.

Though you did mention that some of it was too tight, one problem many new knitters face, one thing that you might be doing is tightening each stitch as you go along, don’t, each stitch will tighten on its own as you knit the next stitch.

As far as projects went, my first major project was the Winter’s night afghan, available out on it’s all in garter stitch, so it makes for a very easy project. What helped me the most was making the mistakes I did, finding out what caused those mistakes and then learning how to fix them. Hang in there, you’ll get it, and if you need help, that’s what we’re here for. cheers!


I started with a simple 2x2 ribbed scarf. The thing was hilarious to look at as you could see the progress of my knitting improvement as you went down the scarf.

As already suggested, just start something like a long scarf and just knit knit knit and you’ll see you’re own progress as you go.

Samplers are good to knit - start out in garter stitch, then go to stockinette, make a few increases, make a few decreases, try ribbing - 3x3, 2x2, 1x1 - then seed stitch. That should get you the basics down and you’ll learn a lot.

I really believe a brand new knitter shouldn’t try a real project unless they’ve played around with yarn and needles for several hours. It’s less frustrating that way when the `Oh I love that <fitb>’ piece doesn’t turn out the way the picture looks.


[B][COLOR=“Navy”]HI Rorshaac,

Where did you get a pattern for a Mug Rug ???


You need a pattern for a square? Try a dishcloth pattern and CO a few less stitches.


Hi there - I just started knitting in March of this year…I was in Michaels and bought a little booklet that showed the basics that was followed by a whole series of stiches/patterns. I bought a skein of yarn and just started knitting my way through the patterns in the booklet, with 10 rows of stockinette in between each pattern. Because it wasn’t a “real” project I wasn’t worried about mistakes (overly) and didn’t feel any pressure other than to learn…After my 3rd skein of yarn (I kept to the same brand (cheap!) but changed colors so I could mark my progress) I was ready to move onto “real projects” and have since knitted a scraf, baby sweater, hat, booties, woobie and am 3/4s through a sweater for myself. The sampler has some really rough patches, and some places where I just went back to the stockinette stich and then started the pattern over again - but I love to pull it out and look at it and think “I DID that!” :cheering: I learnt about increases/decreases as I had to adjust the number of stitches to fit each pattern, did a little lace work, a little cable work, learned how to correct mistakes and how to tink along the way - and now have a sampler of a bunch of patterns that I KNOW I can do and much more confidence and consistency in my knitting abilities!

One warning…this isn’t a hobby to pick up lightly as it is very likely you to will become ADDICTED!!! :heart::heart::heart: I know I have! :happydancing: Chris

The previous poster chrislt8 was smart and started knitting in a very good way. You should follow her example and then you will have the confidence to try other things later. The sampler is always fun to look back on. Good luck.

It was good to hear that some of y’all had the same experiences starting out.

I stuck with doing a simple stocking sampler…just kept going at it for a few hours. It did get better as I went along…now I am attempting a simple rib pattern, so far a bit slow but coming along…

Now I am stuck with why my borders are so loose. In my stocking stitch, the border stitches are larger and looser than the inner part of scarf. I am slipping my first stitch as the video shows on each row, but still loose. Will the borders look like this?

Thanks for all your imput and encouragement!!!:muah:

I found that I get the best edges by making sure to pull that first stitch extra tight instead of slipping.

Does it matter what method you use? I am using the English method, kinda throwing the yarn around as I go…

The first stitches will be loose either way.
If you feel like you are getting discouraged and want a project to encourage yourself with, you might try a bag knit in a wool that felts easily and felt it. Felting will hide mistakes, they are invisible afterwards, and you could do a nice one by knitting two big squares: knits up fast on bigger needles than the wool usually calls for, equals about the same amount of knitting as a scarf, you can practise purling or whatever.

Here’s how if you decide to try it: get some wool you like in pretty colour/s, make sure it is 100% wool. Make stripes if you want to, anywhere at all. Use needles a bit bigger than the label says. Knit two big squares or rectangles (it will shrink when felted). When you have gone about 10cm/4 inches from the caston edge, cast off a few stitches in the middle of the row (you can cast off very easy very similar to knitting, check the video here) but knit most of the row: say knit until you are 2-3 inches from the middle, cast off the middle 4-6 inches, knit the rest of the row normally, count how many you cast off. On the next row, knit back to the gap where you cast off, now cast on the same number of stitches that you cast off, continue to knit the whole big square.
Do another identical square and sew them together with the same wool. You can be messy as it will be invisible when felted. The holes you made by casting off and then back on will be the handles (just holes for your hands to go through), so put them at the top edge and sew up the other 3 edges. Put it in a pillowcase which you close very tightly with a rubber band or whatever, otherwise the fibres will get out and clog up your washing machine. Wash the pillowcase with some jeans on a hot cycle with soap.
Take it out. If it has shrunk and the stitches are not as visible stuff it with something like plastic bags to the shape you want, be tough with it, it will dry to the right shape.
If it has not shrunk much wash it again the same way or throw it in the dryer on hot. Check it every few minutes, continue until it has shrunk and felted enough for you.

Both methods end up with the same result. Some people prefer continental, some English (like myself). It’s all what you’re comfortable with.

i really like making dish/wash cloths when i’m trying out a new stitch. i just occasionally buy a 1 pound cone of natural colored cotton yarn like sugar ‘n’ cream brand. washes up like a dream. i’ve even bleached them if they were dish cloths. doesn’t matter if the color washes out. it’s just for the kitchen.

my very first project was years ago in girl scouts. i made a ‘snood’ which was a long rectangle of garter stitch, seamed in a circle. it was hideous and i’m not actually sure i ever finished it.

here is a good beginner dishcloth pattern: Grandma’s Favorite Dishcloth. try this with a size 10 or 10.5 needle. don’t be intimidated by the "yo"s, all it means is that you bring the yarn forward.

Thanks for the dishcloth pattern, I am eager to try it, but I am lost with the pattern…
It says, cast on 4 stitches…got that.
Then knit 4 stitches on the next row…got that.
Then for the next row, knit 44 stitches…how do I go from 4 stitches to 44??
And why does it say “knit 1, knit 2” what does that mean?

Sorry for my weird question, newbie knitter here…Thanks!

Row 2 is the increase row (the YO is the increase). You repeat it until you have 44 stitches on the needle.

Row 3 is the decrease row, and “Knit 2 together” is the decrease.

That’s essentially how I learned Chris, and I recommend it to all new knitters. There’s much less frustration and pressure on oneslef to `do it right’ according to a pattern. So many new knitters pick a really terrific project based on looks and give up because it doesn’t look like the picture of it - which was designed by someone with lots of experience. Keep it easy, just play with the yarn and learn from your mistakes.


Yes, that is exactly what I found Sue…then when I was ready to move on to a “real” project I wasn’t worried so much about the stitches and could focus on the technique/pattern…It was a great way to learn the basics! Chris