Intro and q's -- books, needles

Hi! I am relatively new to knitting and just found this site. I learned to knit in high school when I had to knit during a play – I just knitted one long blob during the scene where it was required. Then , about 7 years ago, I saw an easy scarf pattern in Martha Stewart’s magazine and decided to knit it for my husband (now ex). I did about half of it, but never finished. It was basically a stockingette, but had ribbing and a border. Then, a couple of months ago, a friend of my family’s died and left a whole bunch of half-finished knitting projects and yarn bought for purposes unknown, so my mother asked if I wanted it, and now I’m trying to finish some of her stuff. I’m starting with a baby blanket. My daughter (6) loves the soft fabric and wants to put it on her bed. What I like is that the fuzzy yarn covers a lot of mistakes.

Needle question: She had tons of knitting stuff, but I only found one set of straight needles. The rest are round. The blanket I am finishing was started on round needles, so that’s what I’m using. Anything I should know about them? I’m getting used to them. Is there a reason to use them, as opposed to straight needles? Do most people prefer one or the other?

Also, she had a Reader’s Digest book that I’m using called The Knitter’s Handbook. I am not too fond of it, though, as it’s difficult to find anything in it, and the instructions are unclear. Also, the writing style is rather condescending, which is annoying me. Every time I look up a problem I’m having, it seems to say this is a problem with lazy knitters. Maybe I’m making mistakes because I’m curing cancer and promoting peace in the Middle East as I knit! I’m not lazy, I’m just easily distracted! Any suggestions for good books about basic stitches and fixing mistakes like dropped stitches, holes of unknown cause and such?


Circular needles aren’t only used to knit in the round, you can knit flat on them. Which explains why there was only one set of straights and a bunch of circs in the inherited knitting stuff. They can hold a lot more sts (like a blanket) and it won’t be so hard on your wrists because you don’t have to hold up the ends with the knitting on them, you can let the work rest in your lap. Most people who’ve tried them a few times never go back to using straight needls.

You can find most of the information you need about basice stitches and fixing mistakes in the videos on this site. And asking questions on the forum…

It sounds like the knitting bug has bitten you. This is a great site with many friendly people. Feel free to ask lots of questions.

The circular needles you’re using have several purposes. One is for a project with lots of stitches, like the blanket you’re making. Another is for a project like a sweater, or a hat that is already circular and will be knit “in the round”. For projects like that you connect the ends instead of turning the project when you finish a row.

As for books, there are lots out there. I would suggest going to the library and maybe taking out as many as possible to try before buying. Everyone has such different tastes when it comes to books that it’s hard to recommend one sometimes.

I much, [I]much[/I] prefer circular needles to straight ones. There are some purists who prefer straight, but in my experience more people prefer circulars. Blankets are easier on circulars because the weight is distributed on the cable and sits in your lap rather than on just the needle which can get heavy and cumbersome. You can also knit seamless sweaters on them (if they are the right size) which is wonderful!

I don’t know about that about that book, but there are many others. Going to a bookstore to check them out or your library is a good way to see what kinds you like. There are also many websites, including this one, that have videos and good instruction for just about anything you’ll need. The tabs and other information are at the top of the page.

If you need to post photos there are instructions at the link in my signature or in the What’cha Knittin’ forum in a sticky at the top of the thread list.

Welcome to KH and if you have any questions be sure to ask. We’ve got lots of different forums to help you! :thumbsup:

I have some projects I prefer straights for (narrow pieces like scarves, for example), and others I prefer circular needles for (wider pieces like blankets/afghans). There are some projects which I’ll use whatever I happen to have handy (sweaters).

I really like this knitting how-to book, if you want a book.

One thing about circular knitting needles-- unless the item is tiny, the majority of the stitches stay on the cord as you are knitting, and so every few stitches, you have to push them up onto the needles as you go along. I am a loose knitter so I notice but it isn’t a problem for me. But I know a lot of people who knit more tightly and dislike that aspect of them. There are still plenty of people who use straights-- witness the fact that you can find them everywhere and anywhere, and that the Harmony line just came out with them in tons of sizes-- in 2 different lengths! So obviously they sell well, and I wouldn’t be so quick to brush them off. I would try both and see what you like best, and for which projects. If you can only afford to buy 1, then you should be the circulars, because yes, you can knit both flat and in the round. For knitting in the round, there are also the double pointed needles, DPNs, which some folks (me included) love and others hate. So it’s really a matter of personal preference.

I was thinking of getting that one! :inlove:

Another great book suggestion is called “Vogue Knitting”

The blurb on the cover states "The ultimate knitting book by the editors of Vogue Knitting magazine"
It has the following sections:
History of knitting
Knitting supplies: yarns & tools
Basic techniques
understanding knitting instructions
correcting errors
circular and double pointed knitting
color knitting
blocking, assembling and finishing
care of knitwear
stitch dictionary
modular knitting patterns
traditional knitting patterns

(my mother bought it for my ??th birthday, when I decided I wanted to learn to knit - mine is copyright from 1989 - and is a plain blue cover - different from what shows up now when you search it, but I’m sure it’s the same inside)