Is it possible I CAN'T learn to knit?

:crying: For the past two years I have attempted to learn to knit on and off, sometimes when a friend has a spare moment, sometimes with a group. I haven’t signed up for formal lessons yet since I’m still not certain I can learn. They talk about muscle memory kicking in but it hasn’t yet. I work two mornings a week as a hostess and during this time I take the little bit of knitting I have (almost all done by friends trying to teach me), and ask for help. Is it possible some of us just aren’t wired right? Has anyone else had this kind of track record? It took me 3 tries to get my driver’s license. I do have higher education but that’s book learning. Knitting is different. Trouble is, I LOOK like someone’s loveable grandmother with a face that looks like its been knitting all my life. Maybe nobody believes that I REALLY CAN’T KNIT YET. Help! Pinkish

Yup! You must be the only able-bodied person in the entire world who can’t knit. That’s it. :rofling:

Sit down with the videos, some yarn and needles, and spend time the best you can. Don’t expect perfection–everyone makes mistakes.

What is it you mainly have a problem with?

If you really want to learn to knit, keep with it. It took me three whole-hearted tries before it finally clicked. You need a couple of things though in order to succeed since it doesn’t come “naturally” to you. First and foremost, you need to have a NEED to learn. My NEED was a fairly simple baby blanket kit my DH bought for me when I was on bed rest while preggers. Secondly you need a good resource for learning. That can be in the form of a learn how book, a dvd or online videos like the ones Amy has done for us here. Thirdly you need someone you can ask questions and they can answer them in language you understand… or at least that will provide a sympathetic ear when whatever it is that you’re trying to do just isn’t working out right.

Keep at it… it’ll click eventually and then you’ll wonder what all the fuss was about! If you need help with anything, just holler… someone here is always willing to help.


I was in nearly the exact same situation as you about eight years ago. Then one winter, I decided to try out a yarn shop in a town I’d moved to. I loved to crochet, but had no confidence in my knitting (I was self-taught, and frustrated). When I got to the yarn store I found out they had a Knitter’s Sunday every week, where people could drop in - lessons were given the first hour, and the rest was knitting and socialization. It was a great community of knitters, fun and inspiring.

I found through my experiences with that group, that between having people show me to knit and trying to learn from books and videos over the years, I had taught myself the equivalent of ‘pidgin knitting’ - in that it wasn’t quite one method or another, but a bastardization of various types. Keep in mind I didn’t know there was a difference between Continental, English, and Eastern when I started; I thought it was just regional names for the same craft. I was, in a word, ign’rnt.

Well, one of the ladies at the Knitter’s Sunday took pity on me and straightened me out. She exclaimed to me when I demonstrated how I knit that she was amazed I managed to create a fabric at all. That day she taught me continental knitting, and I’ve been knitting that way ever since.

If you do take a class or buy a video, make sure you know what style of knitting they use, and make sure that you’re learning a consistent style. I didn’t at first, and it messed me up for YEARS. It doesn’t matter which you pick - some will say continental is faster, some will say English is easier - but what it really boils down to is what workflow your hands are comfortable with. Try it consistently one way, and if you feel like you have seven thumbs after a few swatches, try another way. I have to say though, having a teacher helps. If the knitting circles aren’t helping you along, try an adult ed course - or ask your local yarn store if they can guide you through. Sometimes stores charge for lessons, but most folks will be happy to help for free - it creates a loyal customer for them!

Don’t be afraid to ask questions - the dexterity will improve with time. It took me a few years before any continental knitting I did looked even in gauge from one end to the other. It just takes practice, and time. As you are knitting in bursts, have some patience with yourself. Most of all don’t give up, if you really want to learn. If I could learn, anyone can learn.

We’re all pulling for ya, babe. :cheering:

Keep at it, seriously! You CAN do this.

I don’t know if this is the problem you’re encountering, but it was mine and was very frustrating, so here goes: the best advice that I can give is to keep knitting on one piece–no matter how hideous you think it looks, don’t keep ripping it out and starting over. The reason is that when you’ve just started knitting, the first few rows look absolutely disgusting. They don’t have definition and appear not to be knitting at all; however, they are. I grew so weary of casting on that I made myself keep going without starting over. After a few inches, the stitches started to look, well, like stitches! And after a few inches more, the rows started looking more uniform as I got into the rhythm of knitting and figured out what the best way was for me to hold the yarn and needles.

Just don’t give up. Please! And you’ll find all sorts of help here, so don’t hesitate to ask!

I am desperately trying to finish a project. I want so badly to make things but I never seem to get finished with them–the things I do finish I end up doing on a loom (which feels like cheating–it’s not what I WANT to do). I have been diligently working on ipod socks b/c they are a basic rib knit stitch and they’re small-so I’m less likely to get discouraged and quit. I know the stitches–at least the basics but I always seem to screw something up that I can’t fix and I end up yanking all of my stitches out and started over or on something new.

Tonight I was working away on my sil’s ipod sock and I screwed up–I don’t know what I did but when I got to the end of the row, I was short a stitch. I tried and tried to look at my knitting and find my mistake but I couldn’t so I decided to pull out just a few rows. While doing so I cried (seriously–while my dh looked like he wanted to run away and continuously told me that it wasn’t work crying over…which it is). I pulled off two rows–got my needle back through all of the loops (painstakingly), only to find I had put my needle in backwards–I had to move all of the loops to my other needs to get my fabric back on the right side. I was starting to feel okay–I finished the row (my yarn-basic boring acrylic–was splitting and I was struggling to get the whole piece instead of parts of strands), turned to the next row, only to find that I was again short a stitch. I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS WRONG!!! I’m reluctant to pull out the stitches again b/c my yarn is getting yucky (frayed and split) and b/c it didn’t help before…why would it now! I don’t know what to do–I’m ready to scream. I’m tired of starting things that I can’t finish. I wanted to do a Booga bag so bad and Angelia kept telling me it’d be a great beginner project but I’d be so pissed if I screwed up just like I keep doing on something as small and simple as these stupid ipod socks (especially since I bought NORO to do my booga bag). help guys–what do I do? Do I frog it and start over (these stupid things are supposed to take about 2 hours–so far I’ve put double that in and I’m only half way finished–I’m SLOW). I hate to start over but I don’t think I can fix what I’m working on. Everytime I have to pull something apart–I get more frustrated and less likely to want to try something new. I know the stitches and God knows I’ve practiced a lot…how come it seems like I just can’t get anything completed w/o screwing up??? Help…sorry to whine…I’m really frustrated.

Nothing has to be perfect. If you find you have an extra stitch, knit 2 together somewhere. If you’re short one, and you can’t see where a dropped stitch is unravelling, then make another. It’s an ipod sock–not a prom dress! Finish something in all it’s glorious imperfection, and I guarantee no one will notice but you. Everything I’ve made has mistakes in it. I don’t think I’ve every made anything perfect. I defy anyone but me to find them though. If it’s noticeable, fix it. If it’s only noticeable to you, compensate.

ok, first–I’m sorry I posted in someone else’s thread–I didn’t mean to–I swear I started a new one…
secondly–I would love to just “make a new one” but I don’t know how to do that!

make a new stitch that is…

I’d use a M1 increase or knit into the front and back of the stitch. M1 is virtually invisible. Amy has videos of many different increases.

I guess this is as good a time as any to learn something new…I have no idea what M1 is–I’ve watched the increase videos–or at least some of them but I’m not sure I understand when you are supposed to increase. Sigh…there is so much I don’t know…I’m headed to the videos…

Yes, you can learn. It just takes time. If you are having trouble try learning just one thing at a time. Try just mastering garter stitch first it will help with your tension and how to hold the needles and yarn.

Also another thing to consider… Some people hold the yarn in their left hand (continental knitters) and some hold it in their right hands (english knitters or throwers). Try both ways and see what works best for you. I found that I can do it better with the yarn in my right hand.

Here’s Amy’s video on increases; just pick one that seems to suit your needs.

And if I frogged everything I’ve done because I’ve made a mistake, I wouldn’t have anything knit at all! Gee, no wonder you are frustrated!

Just take a deep breath, and accept that mistakes happen to all of us! And most of them don’t have a serious effect on the finished product, and most are easily fixable on the spot (the increases/decreases Ingrid mentioned, for instance). You’re learning from them–be proud of that!

I knit a pair of socks for my husband to wear to a big interview. They had a simple 3x1 rib…but in a few places, I got out of rhythm and the knits and purls got all messed up. I didn’t notice until the next row. There was no way I was going to frog the thing, so there are some minor…“hand-knit features” on his socks. :smiley: (And those are NOT the only mistakes in those socks!) He wore them and said it was like I was there with him. He loves them because I made them for him. That’s all that matters to me.

Oh, and the booga? I knit one for my best friend’s daughter. (It’s drying as I type.) There are several mistakes on it, but I just was not going to frog. I try never to unless I absolutely have to. (Thank heavens for felting!)

You CAN do this–knitting shouldn’t be stressful–don’t let it be. Remember the term “hand-knit feature” and make it your friend! :smiley:

One of the first rules of knitting is that nothing is perfect. You just learn to fudge it. I have been knitting for sometime and I still have to adjust my stitches now and then, adding here and decreasing there to keep the numbers right on the needles.

I took more to crochet then knitting at first also, I didn’t think I would like knitting, too many stitches, all new dialogue to learn. Just remember its supposed to be fun and relaxing, if not then it’s not worth doing.

I recommend a book called knitting without tears and knitting around by Elizabeth Zimmerman, she talks all about knitting, adjusting things etc. We don’t make handmade items so that they can look, just like something we could have bought from the beginning.

Keep trying, even if you use the same ball over and over to practice (my daughter allie has a ball of acrylic-I think red heart) she uses it to practice and try new things. then rips it out and rewinds the ball again.

Best of luck, remember everyone is willing to help you. Just ask, have a tea relax, laugh, eat chocolate and enjoy the journey. Before long you will look back at this and say wow look how far I have come.

Ingrid and Angelia–you guys are my heros! I just watched the videos–I was wrong about what was wrong-I increased to get another stitch and realized I had way to many stitches b/c suddenly I was ending w/ 2 Ks–so I figured out that my problem was that I had picked up and extra stitch (which probably happened when they yarn was splitting I think) so I watched the decrease video and decreased by knitting two stitches together as one.–actually I purled them together. Anyway–I went ahead and knitted another two rows b/c I didn’t want to claim victory until I was sure and so far–everything seems to be working out nicely. I can see where I messed up but you’re right–it’s not that obvious (especially since I’m using multicolor yarn). I’ll remember “hand knit touches” and carry on…thank you guys–I do tend to be a little bit of a perfectionist so it makes learning difficult–it’s amazing I made it through graduate school! teheehee. :heart: :cheering: :heart: :cheering:

:cheering: :cheering: What a good way to start the new year!

:cheering: :cheering: :cheering:

I knew you could do it if you just kept at it!!! :thumbsup:

I’m sure you can, it’s just practice practice and perhaps sitting with someone maybe with their hands on top of yours, like when we first learn to write.

I’m sure anyone with an able mind can. Just really, do what Ingrid said - sit down with some needles and watch the vids. I’d say stitck with the three basic vids - knit, purl and cast on. And watch one over and over until you get it. Because once you know how to do these, it’s SO much easier to do everything else.


I resisted ripping from the beginning, and seeing it work out a few rows in, or the difference between one day’s work and the product of the a few days later was an immeasurable help to me. Ripping has it’s place, as Kelly mentioned to me when I first came here (and I now see why) but it can be a little discouraging if you do it too much in the beginning.

well, so far so good–I can see the mistakes but I’m okay w/ them and I’m glad I didn’t rip it all out. I think I’ll be done with it by later tonight. It’s sad how long it has taken me to do this one little sock… :crying: