At my wits end!

I can’t knit. :cry: I thought I could and I really tried but I’m never going to be any good at this. Not even simple patterns. Over the weekend I tried out an easy ribbed scarf. I frogged that thing so many times it wasn’t funny. If I’d ever gotten past 10 rows I’d have put a lifeline in it but I’d mess up way before that. I kept losing count and putting the wrong stitch in the wrong place. I split that wool so bad I’ll probably have to toss it. I had some gorgeous cotton yarn from Knit Picks and I can’t knit with it. Can’t find the stitches because it’s a boucle and I’m splitting it up to pieces. Worse than that, I just got a pair of Knit Picks Options circulars in the mail. I’ve been dying to try them out because I’ve heard such good things about them. Thank goodness I didn’t get the whole set at once. I can’t do a thing with them! I hate them! I must be the only person on the planet that can’t use them. I can do the knit stitch ok w/them but purling is impossibly difficult (I was knitting flat w/them). My arms and hands hurt SO bad after trying I had to put it down. I get so stressed and tense while trying that I can hardly breathe and my jaw hurts from clenching my teeth. This is not relaxing! I’m going to get an ulcer. Can you tell I’m discouraged? I am doomed to garter stitch scarves and Grandmother’s Favorite Dishcloth on straights forever.

OH BOY did that rant feel good. :blooby: Now to go eat something I shouldn’t.

I’m glad the rant helped.

Remember there are plenty of other crafty things you can do - you could spin, or crochet, or weave, or do cross-stitch. Not all crafts are for everyone. Personally, I love quilts. I love the way they look, and I love the weight of them when I snuggle under them. I hate quilting. I keep wondering why anyone would cut up perfectly good cloth just to sew it back together again. I CAN quilt, I just hate it. So (no pun intended), I just do other things.

FWIW - boucle is tough to work with. I prefer straight needles. And when I first started ribbing, I kept ending up with gobs more stitches than should have been there. But if you don’t enjoy it - it’s just not worth it.

I think you’re trying too hard. I don’t mean that in a bad way either.

I had that problem with hubby’s “Jesse’s Flames” sweater, the one I just this month finished and started about 2 years ago…lol…The sweater really was so insanely easy, however, that was the very first sweater I had ever knit and I was trying to concentrate so hard that I kept making mistakes.

I frogged the sleeves I can’t even count how many times and got so incredibly discouraged with it. That’s really why it took about 2 years to complete. I’d get so upset with it that I wouldn’t even look at it for months at a time.

Finally, one day, I just told myself I was going to do it…I didn’t care how many times I messed up after that, I was going to conquer that sweater! And, I finally did. I completely organized everything, had my book in place, the copy of my chart so I could cross off rows as I finished them, paid close attention to when I needed to make my increases, and, wasn’t lazy with the intarsia (previously I was too lax about it and tried to carry yarn over too much and ended up with huge gaps, or, stitches that were way too tight which caused the sleeve to pucker).

If it’s something you really want to do, maybe just try a little break from it. For now, stick with what you’re comfortable with until you just have that feeling you’re ready to move on and conquer something new.

I also have a little “mantra” going through my head when I do ribbing…If it’s 2x2 ribbing, I repeat, in my head, as I’m knitting: knit 2, purl 2…I say the word knit on the first knit stitch, and the word two on the second knit stitch, then, purl on the first purl stitch, and the word two on the second purl stitch. It really comes in handy because I’ve caught myself in the middle of a purl when I know I should be knitting a stitch and vice versa.

If you notice you’re tensing up, set the knitting down and walk around the house for a bit or call a friend or relative, or, if you need to do some dusting or vacuuming, do that and when you’re done, sit back down in a relaxed position and try again. You may also want to practice on a yarn that’s easier for you to use. Maybe a light colored worsted acrylic until you get used to doing the stitches.

Also, ribbing, to me, looks pretty crappy until you get about 2 inches or so into it and you can really start to see what it will look like. I started another sock last night and the cuff of the sock is rib stitch. I was swearing up and down I had done something wrong (though I’ve been doing rib stitch for years) because it looked terrible. I thought for sure I had messed up somewhere. However, after about an two inches into it, it looked like it was supposed to.

When you are learning to knit it’s best to stick to plain yarns and many people find it easier to use straight needles at first.

Just take one stitch at a time. Practice the knit stitch till you can do it w/o thinking about it. Then practice purling. THEN try putting them together.

We ALL had a hard time when we were learning. It’s not comfortable or relaxing till you get used to it. Your hands and body are tense while you concentrate.

Hang in there. It WILL get easier. :hug:

I agree with Demonica and Jan.

The more expensive the yarn, the increased number of mistakes.

You’re putting too much pressure on yourself and you’re too tense which is why your arms and hands hurt so bad.

For the yarn splitting, what size needles are you using? generally when the yarn splits it’s because the needles are too small or too pointy. I didn’t “get” knitting when i first tried it… my first project i frogged and then crocheted the yarn into granny squares… about a year and a half ago I picked it up again and took my time, and it just clicked. I started with the Weasley sweater from Charmed knits (2 feet of stockingette stitch… dull and boring but I did learn how to do the stockingette stitch very well!).

What about working on something from the warm up america website? you could do the different stitches they have up there for afghan squares and then stitch them together, and have a throw :slight_smile:

my advice is to put it away for a while, then when you’re more relaxed and not so stressed pull it out again.

I think you just took the words out of every beginning knitters mouth!
Really, we all have our own stories of whipping things across the room, frogging until the yarn is unworkable, etc…
sit down and knit garter stitch for a while. get your confidence back up before you move on. Or just knit garter stitch forever. it’s still knitting!:roflhard:

EXACTLY! And there are lots of garter stitch patterns…everything from scarves to sweaters to afghans!

Here here! I agree with all of the above. Walk away from it for a bit…or start on another project with plainer yarn. Boucle yarn is beautiful, but it is harder to see the stitches. After you do another project or two (or none), you’ll come back with renewed interest and energy to get through it. It is as the saying goes, “practice makes perfect.” Or in many of our cases, practice makes things easier.

Speaking as a brand new and very slow learner of knitting myself (it took me a whole year to ‘get’ the purl stitch), I TOTALLY understand what you’re going through.

I understand the need to rant about it too. It helps blow off the steam. What I want to know is this: do you, despite how hard it is, want to keep learning to knit? Do you like it even if it is hard? Does it make you happy? If yes, then keep going. If not, don’t punish yourself by making yourself do it. The reason I do it because despite what a tough time I’m having learning, I still enjoy it and want to learn more. It’s a hobby, a way to unwind, not a way for me to get more stressed out. If you see it the same way, then just take a breath and keep going. Knitting should be a source of joy, not frustration or misery. No one is making you do it. You have no deadlines hanging over your head except those you make for yourself.

I have times when I’m feeling SO frustrated, I want to snap my needles in half. I keep trying to learn the seed stitch lately but all I’m going is making a gigantic tangle of yarn. :frowning: I just put them down and say no more for today, go and read a book or watch tv or cook or make myself some tea, whatever. If you’ve reached a dead end, quit for a while and get away and come back when you’re re-grouped.

Best of luck to you!

Boucle is not a good yarn for a beginner, especially if you are trying to also learn to manipulate circulars.
I picked up a number of boucle and slub yarns years ago because I thought they were pretty. I still have some of them because I don’t like knitting with them. Now that I have discovered one piece sweaters I am forcing myself to use them up making tops. I just yesterday finished a top down tee done in stockinette using an acrylic/linen slub yarn and I’m tickled to get it off the needles so I can knit something I’ll enjoy.
Find a nice smooth yarn that works with your new needles and try again.

Been there done that! Don’t worry you are not alone in your frustration. I agree with all the advice that came before. Just take a break, come back to knitting later, don’t be too hard on yourself, take things slow. :wink:

Oooh, and cotton on top of that. :slight_smile: Cotton can be very difficult to work, because it isn’t as springy and stretchy as wool. Add boucle on top of that? Yeeks! :wink:

I personally have come to the conclusion that it took me literally 45 years to get knitting to be something I wanted to do badly enough to get past the learning stages is that I am totally a fibre and tool snob – I only made silk wedding dresses, for instance, because I think everyone ought to wear a totally silk dress at least once in their lives, as it feels like you’re wearing clouds. And I’ve gotten used to buying and using top-quality tools, from scissors and snips to top-of-the-line sewing and embroidery machines, because that was my work and my business. So what did I do when I started learning to knit? Well, I used cheap tools and cheap acrylic yarns.

Now that I look back at that, I can only think…what was I actually thinking?

Don’t worry. Just keep going, if it’s what you want to do. The only way you won’t get there is if you stop trying to get there. :slight_smile:

I’m quite a bit calmer now than I was before, lol. I took the whole day off to try to get in some quality knitting time so I guess I was kinda angry with myself for wasting a day. In the heat of the moment, I didn’t think about putting it down for a time, maybe a day or two, and to come back fresh. It really is the best thing to do. I CAN purl, I’ve done it before on straights. It’s not perfect but at least I can do it. I just can’t do it w/the circulars and I shouldn’t have pushed myself so much. I know how to put a project down and walk away. I’ve done it enough times in crochet. BTW, the pretty cotton boucle yarn is not a total waste. I’ve found I can crochet with it. :slight_smile: I will try a nice smooth yarn next. In two days, lol. In the meantime I’ll have a nice funeral for that poor wool that I tore up. :wink:

What I want to know is this: do you, despite how hard it is, want to keep learning to knit? Do you like it even if it is hard? Does it make you happy?

YES! Except when I screw up, lol. I’ve wanted to learn to knit for YEARS and now that I can almost do it, I’m losing patience with myself.

Thank you very much all ye with patience. You guys are awesome. See you in 2 days where I will either learn to knit with the @@##&&!! circs or you’ll see me post them for sale, ha ha. At least I’m not tempted to throw them out the window anymore. :mrgreen:

What everyone else said. :slight_smile:

I really agree about getting a smoother yarn. Heck, I’ve been knitting almost 10 years and I still don’t like using boucles and a lot of novelty yarns. Also, get a yarn in a fairly light color–it’s hard to see your stitches in black yarn. Another thing to consider is the material your needles are made out of vs. the material your yarn is made out of. If you have slick yarn, use bamboo or wood needles as the stitches won’t fall off as easily. If you are using hairy or ‘sticky’ yarn, metal needles would probably work better.

Some people like really big needles to start with (I learned on size 11s). I actually think that around an 8 or 9 is a good size to start with. I think that using really big needles right away can be as awkward as using the smaller ones.

ETA: I was just going to add that I recently taught a couple of co-workers to knit, and I had them start with a ball of Patons Classic Merino. You can get it for about 5 bucks a ball at Jo-Ann. It’s 100% soft merino wool with a lot of yardage (around 220 per skein), and it’s nice and smooth and not too splitty. If you are allergic to wool or want to use acrylic, I recommend Caron Simply Soft.

Knitting and purling with circs is really no different than straights. It just takes practice. I wouldn’t sell them. There will come a time when you want to make something in the round and you’ll be glad you kept them. :wink:

Don’t give up. Everyone tenses up at first and has trouble with the stitches. Just relax and enjoy whatever you do. Frogging is a BIG part of the knitting AND learning process, so DON’T give up. We all go there. I do it every time I start a new pattern, even a simple one, such as the February Lady Sweater has been giving me a headache, but I think I’m over the hurdle and I’ve frogged several times!

So really, don’t think it’s just you.

Stick to easy yarn to work with, maybe get some cheap acryllic or cotton which doesn’t cost much and doesn’t split to practice and get comfortable with. Also, use whatever needles you feel comfortable with, put away the KnitPicks for now if you don’t and do whatever feels right and fun to you now. Move on later.

Also, do you knit English or Continental? I CAN’T knit English, but Continental is soooooooooo easy for me. So check out the videos here on KH, they will help guide you and help give you confidence and answer some questions too.

Then, there’s the great KH group to help any time you need it! :wink:

Hang in there!

Even at my ripe old age (57) and knitting since I was about 9yrs old, I am not a fan of cotton because it does not ‘slide’ like wool does and boucle as well with its lumps and bumps and thicks and thins…horror!!! I think Marria has the right idea, some nice wool and knit til you can do it without thinking. A bit like learning to drive, practice until it comes naturally. [B][U]Then [/U][/B]tackle the cottons and boucles and fancy yarns. Good Luck!

Oh no! I feel for you, I really do. Seriously, if knitting is just making you miserable, don’t do it! Really, don’t let something you were only doing for fun in the first place get you so upset. If you do want to give it another try, I absolutely second (or third, or fourth) the comment about the yarn - start out with a nice, simple dk which lets you see what you’re doing and doesn’t try quite so hard to thwart you all the time! I’ve been knitting on and off for a few years and I’m still hesitant about trying anything other than dk (shows how confident I am!). The yarns you have sound lovely, so just put them away and you can look forward to using them when you have a bit more experience and confidence.

I’ve never used circular needles so I can’t really comment but I know some people dislike them (of course, other people swear by them - I suppose it’s a matter of personal taste). If you’ve never tried straights, I suggest you give them a go to see if they suit you better. Again, you might find that once you’ve got the hang of things, you may go back to your circular needles and love them.

If you want, have a quick look at my last post here, where I talk about how I learned to knit (the one about knitting squares). This was something that worked really well for me. It may not appeal to you at all, in which case, obviously, you should ignore it.

Most importantly - remember that this is all supposed to be FUN. The occasional bit of frustration is normal, but if you’re not enjoying it at all (and certainly if it’s upsetting you), stop - either for an hour or so, or permanently, whatever you think is right. I hope that knitting works out for you but if it doesn’t, you will find the right craft for you soon, I’m certain.

Good luck!


Just relax and knit something you enjoy. No one says that you have to knit complicated pieces. ENJOY!

I agree with the others–choose a simpler yarn, such as acrylic. Try a bright color so you can see your stitches more easily. I don’t use boucle or novelty yarns or Homespun because I don’t like to work with them (not really crazy about the fuzzy yarns anyhow). Also, accept that there is a learning curve for some of us for knitting, people like me who are not naturally gifted at it. It took me weeks to get the hang of even simple stuff–I thought I’d never learn to purl. But I kept trying, and I can do it, not an expert, but competent. You can do this!