Another newbie question

Hi, I’m Trish, and I’m really new.

My mother and grandmother crocheted (I still have the afghan my grandmother crocheted for me when I was tiny) but I prefer knitting. I’ve played around with it on and off over the years, but never finished anything. Actually, I can’t say that anymore. My first finished project was a 1-ball scarf knitted in a 2x2 rib using Bernat’s Alpaca blend. It was for my mother-in-law for Christmas, finished in two days (in secret) at her house after she mentioned she couldn’t find a nice scarf on the 21st of December. Um, did I mention I tend to be ambitious? I re-taught myself how to knit for that one, and I got a little bit hooked.

Right now I’m working on a simple afghan - trying to avoid getting too complicated too fast. It’s one of Lion Brand’s free patterns - 35 squares of two colors in a garter stitch using their Homespun yarn, then sewn together in a pattern. I’ve gotten the hang of working with a yarn that loosely spun (I think it’s really helping with tension and gauge issues - I can’t pull it too tight or I start splitting the strand with the needles) but there’s one thing that’s driving me up a wall.

I knit Continental style (at least I think I do) where my left hand controls the yarn and my right hand moves the needles. I don’t know if it’s that, or if it’s the garter stitch that is winding the yarn tighter and tighter, but every couple of rows I have to unwind the length between the ball and the needles so it will quit knotting up.

Am I making any sense? I figured I’d ask, since I’m getting close to done with the first square, and I can implement any suggestions with the next square. TYIA!


Hi Trish…
I’ve just re-started to knit lately…
I remember when I first started knitting… way back when… that my yarn was always too tight. I can’t remember what I did about it but now I knit a lot looser - probably because my hands can’t take the pressure, or give it… LOL!
What I have seen on this site is that people recommend that you use a bigger needle that asked for in the pattern to start with so that the cast on is looser… perhaps this could help you with you too tight problem.
I do believe that continental is what you are using and I remember seeing a video on this site that shows a person how… perhaps you could learn something from that… about how to make your knitting a bit looser, I mean…

It’s more likely the Homespun than your knitting style. If the scarf yarn didn’t twist on you, then you can blame it on the Homespun. I don’t know how to correct it, since Homespun is probably my least favorite yarn :shifty: , but I don’t think it’s something you’re doing wrong.

Yes, homespun likes to be knit on large needles and a really loose tension. It’s the motions of making stitches that cause it to twist (or untwist, some people have problems with that) so yeah, you just have to unwind it every once in a while.

Tema, I think my tension is okay. That’s one of the reasons I’m working with a garter stitch repetitive project - it’s only an afghan, and by the end I hope my tension will be completely even. It’s the yarn twisting as I work that is driving me nuts.

Ingrid, wow, you guys are quick to answer! Yes, the Homespun is a bit obnoxious to work with. Even when I’m knitting nice and loose, I have to watch it to avoid splitting the strand with my super-blunt acrylic size 9 needles. Maybe by the time I’m done, I’ll have sworn off Homespun for good.

Unfortunately, the scarf yarn did the same thing, although not as much. I think it’s coming from when I loop the yarn around the right needle - it’s always in the same direction and after a couple of rows I have to twirl either the ball or the work to untwist it. When I was doing the rib, it may have been reversing direction with the purl stitches.

edited to add - thanks, suzeeq! I was afraid of that.

Well, at least it’s only 8in x 8in squares, so it doesn’t get too big before I start over again.

You’re knitting this with size 9s!? No wonder you’re having trouble. It’s a bulky yarn and should be done with at least 10½s and 11s are even better.

But, but… that’s what the pattern says, and the gauge seemed to be right - in stitches, anyway. The rows aren’t AS important - it’s just 5 inches of one color, and 3 of the other. Maybe I’ll go grab my 10 1/2s, and see what the stitch gauge looks like. I’m just starting, so I can switch out and not be out of much of anything more than an hour or so.

You’ll probably get a larger gauge, but does it matter as long as the squares come out to 8x8?

Which pattern is it?

It’s this one in shades of brown.

:aww: I’m going to scream. I have no idea why I thought it was size 9. I started the first square at my mother-in-law’s week before last, and didn’t have much time at the computer.

sigh this is what overconfidence gets me. The first square will still be useable - it’s just an afghan to go on the couch, where the cat will drool on it (she loooooves fuzzy things) and the dogs will get hair all over it. Knitting is supposed to teach me patience and perseverance, not letting me find yet another way to look silly. Off to try this bugger with size 10 1/2!

Maybe you read the 6mm upside down…? Yeah, go for 10½ and look on the bright side - with larger needles it won’t take you as long to make the squares.

I think I must be one of…oh, maybe two people who like this yarn. :???:

I did find it easier to work with when I wind it into a ball instead of using it the way it comes. It makes a REALLY big ball; but, for me, it was easier to work with. I just put the ball in a small square “box” on the floor by my chair. That lets it roll around easily on its own in the box without rolling across the floor.

Maybe that helps. I didn’t have as much trouble with the twisting after that. I may have to try that pattern…:knitting:

Hi, Trish! :waving:

Sorry to hear you’re having a problem with your squares! That can be so frustrating!

When I first got back into knitting a couple of years ago, I started with scarves using all knit stitches. My purling was a little bit shaky then so I opted for garter stitch! :slight_smile:

I used Homespun for all 17 scarves (yes, 17!!! That could make me the scarf diva of knitting!) :woohoo:

They were all of Homespun but knitted on size 15 plastic needles, using the thread from the center pull and the one from the end of the skein. Casting on 12 stitches, and working with the double strand on those honkin’ big needles I was more or less forced to knit loosely.

They came out beautifully! I had no problems with the twisting of the yarn you describe even though the skein would twirl a lot when I pulled more yarn out.

And the scarves were so fluffy and warm! The whole family loves them and one of my DIL’s actually “scarfed up” several!!! She and my grandaughter practically have a scarf wardrobe!

I also crocheted an afghan, single strand, out of Homespun, using a large needle, and my cousin who got it treasures it. That is one warm, soft, comforting yarn.

I’d hate for you to give up on it, it makes up so well once you loosen up and use large enough needles!

Good luck, girl, and Happy Knitting!


sgtpam, I actually do like it. The fussiness of the fibers forces me to pay attention and do it right, otherwise it frays and becomes a nightmare.

(psst, I would have gone Air Force, but they wouldn’t give me cash like the Army did, and omg, the paperwork! I’ve been joint-service since I joined, so I’ve seen the headaches in all the services)

And Ruthie, I was a little dubious about it when I saw it, but it is SO fuzzy-soft, and so many colors!

Apparently, I knit a lot looser than I thought. I have to keep some serious (for me) tension on the 10 1/2s to keep it from being completely holey. Well, that’s what early pieces are about, right?

I just realized - my boss is pregnant, and my original baby gift isn’t going to work. Her husband is deployed and she can’t cook, so I was going to make up a couple weeks of food. Unfortunately, I’m heading overseas in about 5 weeks, and she isn’t due until May. I’ll be home by July, and knitting is something I can pack along. (My deployments are unusual, to say the least) I hate the idea of a NEBB, and she doesn’t know what gender she’s having, but I have no idea what else is within my capacity to make. Arrgh!

Just wanted to say hi Trish, and welcome! Looks like you’ve got your Homespun problem worked out. Larger needles definitely helps with that yarn. Good luck on your afghan!

Hey, Trish! :waving:

Check out the Lion Brand website for their free pattern for a “baby wrap”. It’s a smallish square blanket with a knitted triangle that gets sewn in one corner for a little hood. It’s beautiful, easy to do and not so big it turns into a NEBB! :slight_smile:

I knitted one for a friend out of Lion Brand Wool-ease Multi in white. That yarn has a thread of silver running through it and it just sparkles like fairy dust. Warm, too, since it’s mostly wool!

I got a little white teddy bear and wrapped him up in it and then lined a gift box with tissue (you can actually get sparkly tissue!). She loved it.

I also wrote her a poem that I put in the card that you can use if you like… (she didn’t know if it was a boy or girl, either.)

Every stitch contains a wish
For happiness and joy,
Whether you’re a lovely girl
Or a bouncing baby boy.
Just snuggle in this blanket
Where you’ll be safe and warm
Held in the protection
Of your loving Mama’s arms.
And while you sleep, dream softly
Of happy days to come
And know I made this little gift
To bid you “Welcome Home”!

Peace, Joy and Love
in your new life!

Good luck with your special little project!

Happy knitting,

That’s a thought, there’s smaller blankets there for babies. Like this one -
Just start at one corner, increase till it’s baby size, then decrease.

That’s beautiful, Ruthie!

I love the way all of our services have that little extra pride in their own mixed with the general pride we have in all of our sister services. I compare it to that “I can tell my sister she’s an idiot…but, don’t you dare try it!”

Take extra care while you’re away!..hooah

Oh, whyyyyy didn’t anyone tell me!!

So, I am (as I figured I would) getting bored with garter stitch and bulky fray-prone yarn. And since I had the realization that a) I have to do something for the boss, and b) I don’t want to be shipping it to her from Iraqistan, therefore I must start as soon as possible!

So, blah, blah, Pound of Love in Antique White with a hooded blanket on the label, but thispattern (not the same yarn, but supposedly equivalent and totally machine-washable.)

Why didn’t anybody tell me worsted-weight was SO much easier to handle? I’ve got three inches on a side in a half-hour, and my biggest problem is zoning so far out watching football that I’m having to forcibly remind myself that I need to YO after two stitches. I know the first bits go really really fast, and it’ll slow down, but unless I get really insane, I don’t think this’ll turn into a NEBB.

Boy, now that afghan might never get done…

b) I don’t want to be shipping it to her from Iraqistan,

I didn’t think you were allowed to say where you were going… :wink: