Am I actually doing something wrong or am I overreacting?

I’m just learning to knit. I’ve can DO the slip knot to start me off, even though it takes me a while to get it right, I can DO my casting on all right, but when it comes to the knitting I’m worried I’m doing something wrong. As I do my stitches, the yarn between the two needles keeps increasing and increasing. I’ve tried several different methods of wrapping it around my fingers, but it keeps happening. Then when I get down to my last stitch (where the slip knot is), I have this big loop of yarn between the last stitch and the second to last stitch. This is the only place I can come for help, my family doesn’t know I’m doing this (part of my Mom’s Christmas present is what’s on the needle right now) and my Mom’s a crocheter, anyways.

I remember that happening when I was first learning. I can’t remember what I did differently then versus now. The only thing I can think of is when I was learning I had problems with inconsistent tension and gauge, but the only thing I did to make that better is practice and muscle memory.

I knit and crochet, and I always wish beginners could somehow learn those crafts in the middle of something, the first couple rows never feels right to a beginner. I have taught several people to crochet and I always give them something that has at least a few inches already done at first.

I would suggest knitting a swatch first at least. After you knit a dozen or so rows from the cast on that strange loose piece from the first row might not be as big as you thought it was.

Wish I could help. Good luck.

OK, I’ll try to keep going with it then. Maybe I can weave it in at the end, if it’s still big enough. Yeah, you’re right about the first couple rows, trying to keep the tension doesn’t feel right, (it’s awkward, but I know it’s supposed to be so I’m not worried about that), and I just worry about everything else because I am learning this solely online (God, please keep the wifi going!) and not having anyone to watch over me and tell me I’m doing it right is making me paranoid, I think. But I can’t wait any longer, because I NEED something to do when I’m on the bus or those other times when I’m bored out of my mind. Thanks again for your help.

Have you looked at the videos on the Knitting Help site? They’re very good and they’ll show lot’s of handy techniques like casting on, the knit stitch, purl stitch and how to fix mistakes and they continue on to more specialized techniques. It sounds like you may be doing a backward loop cast on which can give the long thread between sts that keeps growing. Try the long tail or knitted cast on to avoid that problem with these better cast ons.

For the cast on I’m doing, I make a slip knot, put it on what will be the left needle, wrap the yarn from the skein onto my first finger, slip the needle between my finger and the yarn and pull my finger out of the loop I made. Then I pull the yarn to tighten the stitch to the needle. Is that a backward loop?

I think this is one of those “it comes with practice” things. As you become better at getting a nice consistent cast on, you shouldn’t have all of that extra yarn by the end. I try to focus on keeping my cast on loops close together. Not necessarily “tighter”, because you still need to be able to get the needle in there, but without big gaps in between stitches.

Also, maybe you could try a different cast on? Different methods work better for different projects. I hate single cast on because mine is always messy and inconsistent. I use long tail cast on for pretty much everything because I am much better at it. I also recently learned tubular cast on for k1p1 ribbing and I am so happy I did because it is gorgeous. There are a ton of videos on the cast-on page, hopefully you can find one that works for you!

Sounds like it. Take a look at the Cast On videos. Long tail cast on is really fun to do (like playing cat’s cradle) and it is much easier to knit the first row after the cast on. As an added benefit, it creates a prettier and more finishe edge.
Knitted cast on puts stitches onto the needle and lets you practice the knit stitch at the same time.

I watched the single cast on video on here and that’s EXACTLY what I was doing. I know why they would have on a Learn to Knit CD, because it is so easy to learn, but at the same time, I can’t believe it’s on there, because it can screw you up so easily with the rest of your work. I think I’m only going to use that CD for the Patterns that are on it and learn most of what I need to know here or Youtube.

I still got the extra big loop at the end when doing long tail cast on when I was beginning. (actually I still do sometimes, I think whatever slack that comes out of the casted on stitches gets added up and moved to the last stitch somehow?)

But knitted cast on I think would minimize that problem and still give a pretty edge. Great idea.

Hi. Welcome to the world of knitting! Your mom should be suitably impressed when she discovers your secret! I crocheted for years before learning to knit and I think it might have been easier to learn crochet 2nd, knitting 1st, but who knows.

I had to go look and see what single cast on is. I’ve never done that one. I agree with everyone else, try different cast ons and keep at it. I expect you’re feeling fairly frustrated about now, but it does get easier. There are so many videos online that if the first one you watch doesn’t work well for you, you should be able to find more. Sometimes I really need to see more than one presentation for whatever reason. Hang in there, you can learn to knit.

You might be doing the backward loop CO and that’s normal for it. It’s okay for just a few sts, but it’s hard to knit into and makes the extra yarn loops between sts if you use it for a project. Try the knit or cable CO or even long tail and you won’t have this problem.

I tried Long tail CO and found that I didn’t like it as I was unsure as to how many CO stitches I actually had unless I counted as I was knitting and that I still was unsure if I was doing it right (I did it exactly as she does in the video but it didn’t look right and I wasn’t sure about doing my English knitting with it (I’m right handed, so it’s easier for me to use that hand to push my needle around my stitches and I seem to throw my yarn more precisely that way), so I’m trying Knitting CO and it is working, but I’ve only doing a few stitches so far. And yes, GrumpyGrandma, my Mom is going to be really surprised, I’ve got her mug mat on my needles right now and she’s getting placemats and a doily, too. I was thinking of making my Dad a sweater…

Look at the ‘thumb alternative’ version of long tail. I never could get it right with just using one hand and figured out that I could ‘knit’ the thumb stitches and that it was just the same. May be easier for you to try two handed. Figuring out how much yarn to use for the tail just comes with practice, about half an inch per stitch plus 6" or so.

Thanks suzeeq, but I think I’ll stick with my Knitting CO, the only problem I’m having so far there is the occasional dropped stitch.

Sure, I was just throwing another option out there for you. At some later point you might want to try it.

Yeah, when I actually figure out what I’m doing most of the time.