Knitting relaxing?

Hi everyone, I have been reading how knitting is relaxing for some people. I want knitting to be relaxing for me! Trouble is, It isn’t when I have to keep looking at a pattern every few stitches or every row. And if it is just straight knitting it is boring.

Also I think there must be something wrong with the way I sit or hold my work or something. I tend to get tense in the shoulders. I am doing continental style. I am always worried about making a mistake as I don’t know how to fix them.

In the last couple of months I have learned crochet also which I do find fun and relaxing. I so much want to enjoy the knitting too! Any tips? Crochet mistakes are so easy to fix. The way the yarn twists around in knitting confuses me.

I am the type who likes to cook without a recipe btw, I find it tedious looking things up while I’m doing something.

You could try something with a simple repeat pattern that is a bit more interesting but not just garter stitch. That way after a few rows you will have memorized it and can just “go” with it?

I used to feel similarly. Then, one day when I was feeling like I wanted a project, I spent a lot of time studying the mechanics of the knit and purl stitches, how the yarn threads through to make them both. And I studied increases and decreases, what makes them slant one way or the other. When I had a better understanding of what I was doing, I had to study patterns less and made many less mistakes. And when I did, they were easier to fix, and kind of fun. So hang in there with it and eventually it will get more comfortable relaxing! Take breaks and crochet to relax till you get there!

You’ll get to the relaxing part with practice. :hug:Try knitting a simple stockinette swatch, and then accidentally on purpose let a stitch drop. With a simple swatch the mental pressure is off, and you can practice fixing the dropped stitch.
Scroll down on [COLOR=#333333][FONT=Verdana]this page and you’ll find some techniques on fixing mistakes.

Try a washcloth. I did one on the diagonal. And it was interesting, simple, and short enough to relax and keep my interest.

Cast on 5
Knit 5
Knit 3 yo Knit 2
Knit 3 yo Knit 3
Knit 3 yo Knit to end
Keep this up until you get the diagonal length you want.
Then knit 1, k2tog, yo, k2tog, knit to end
Repeat until you have 5 stitches left on and bind off.

(This is what I did with the blue fuzzy yarn, but you don’t have to use the fuzzy)

Hi Waggus,

I think you pretty much answered your own question. You’re anxious and nervous when you knit but relaxed when you crochet because you know how to fix a mistake with crocheting.

You’re not lacking relaxation skills, just the confidence of knowing that you can handle misstitches when knitting.

Become familar with the nature of knitting, with how a stitch, a row, a patch of knitting is created and how each stitch is connected to the next.

Become comfortable with accidents and mishaps. They are a part of knitting. If you’re worried about particular issues like missed stitches or messing up your stitch pattern, maybe use stitch markers to mark each pattern repeat so it’s easier to see where the mistake is. And realize that most knitting mistakes are easily (maybe not quickly) resolved. Also learn to accept that it doesn’t have to be perfect. Learn how to fix mistakes. The sooner you figure out how to fix a stitch that has laddered or a knit stitch that out to be a purl 2 rows below or a miscrossed cable, the better.

Learn, experiment, push the boundaries, play the game of “what happens when I do this?” and learn from the results. Once you start realizing that you can deal with knitting mishaps, you’ll start relaxing because you accept that you can deal with whatever comes your way. Confidence doens’t come from always doing perfectly but from know that you handle things when they’re not so perfect.

As someone who also likes to cook beyond the recipe, I see this approach as a form of improvisation. In order to improvise well, you have to know your tool and your medium very well to be able to mix it up:wink:
It sounds like once you become more comfortable with knitting as you have with cooking, we’ll be hearing from you how you’re designing some cool, innovative patterns:mrgreen:

Good luck!

I find knitting very relaxing UNLESS my stress-o-meter is too high; then I can’t do anything. Didn’t knit a stitch last night. :frowning:

I divide knitting mistakes into two groups. One group is the “okay, I’ll fix that” group, like making an accidental yarn over and the other is the “do not make this mistake” group, like dropping a stitch and not noticing it.

About knitting with a stitch pattern. I find I prefer it because it’s more interesting than plain knitting. I used to have to keep up with every stitch, but now I can more or less “read” the row I’m on after a few repeats and just refer to the paper mostly to see which kind of row this is. Right now I’m doing a pattern that has the same thing for every wrong side row so I just have to check the paper when I start a right side row.

You know, my grandmother can knit and crochet, but prefers crochet. I don’t know how to crochet, but I do have the impression it’s more “free” than knitting, and that may suit your personality better. When my mother started crocheting, she immediately turned out several things that I still am not ready to do in knitting. I don’t think that knitting is harder, exactly, but maybe it’s more technical?

I also agree with StefannyJo to do some dishcloths. They are fun, quick, and you can test out all sorts of stitch patterns.

It took me quite some time to get comfortable enough to where knitting was relaxing. Many of the same reasons you mention. I usually have several projects going at once. One will be something that is fairly intricate and requires me paying attention and the other is what I call “tv knitting” it’s either plain stockinette for something I’m going to felt or it has a continuing repeat pattern (like cables or stranded stitches or some other pattern that I can easily remember in my head) that I can just do while watching tv.

As you become more familiar with the way in which knitting stitches work then you will become less afraid of mistakes or dropped stitches. And since you (like me) enjoy cooking without a recipe you will eventually get to a point where you can knit without a pattern! It’s pretty fun to make these things up (some as you go along)

And a key to making it relaxing is to stop when it becomes stressful! Take a break, work on the “tv project” or pick up your crocheting. Look at mistakes when you are fresh not stressed and you will eventually see how to fix them. Compare your mistake area to an area that has none so you can see the “puzzle” of how to make the fix.

You’ll get there!

I felt the same at some point. I think after a while - after you get past the looking, and not knowing, and what nots you eventually “know” knitting the way you know crochet, or something else you’ve done forever.

I found myself recently knitting something not super complicated, but something I would have needed to “concentrate on” at some time before now. I was shocked to discover that almost without my permission, my fingers were not only knitting, but feeling the stitches (and markers, lest we all be misled that I’m some genius. I am not.) and [I]knowing [/I]what to do next. If I needed to look my hands would tell me. I suspect it’s because after a few rows in a pattern the shape of the thing usually really begins to reveal itself, and the yarn becomes whatever you’re making it into…so the seams are clear…the place where the increases go are more obvious…

Anyway. Don’t despair about patterns. Your head and your hands will free your eyes and nerves soon enough.

As for the body tension - the only trick I know is to just try to get really comfortable from the start. I like to knit with one of those “husbands” they sell to college kids - the back pillows with the little arms that come around the sides? I like some support for my arms when I knit. Helps with the shoulder aches I get if I’m not careful. Then I add another super soft pillow on top of that so that I’m good and snuggled in. I find that if whatever position I’m in was sort of low grade uncomfortable to begin with, it just gets WORSE the longer I knit. So make sure you’re absolutely comfy from the start. Adjust as you go, if you can’t get it right initially. Soon you’ll know the exact best position for you. :slight_smile:

try a basket weave scarf. I made one. Its a fairly simple pattern, actually, if you can purl and knit, you can make basket weave I did a k4 p4 basket weave, 24 stitches cast on, 5 inches wide.

the tightness you were talking about sounds to me like you’re sitting hunched over… that always bugs my shoulders too…

Here’s what i do:
when i was bigger (just over about a year ago i was nearly 400 pounds, i am now down to 304 and still losing… and no, i didn’t have surgery and i’m not using pills, i’m following a modified south beach diet and got a personal trainer) I used to be able to rest my projects on my stomach so it wasn’t any big deal on the tension and weight… Now it is because i don’t have that stomach anymore that i’m sitting hunched over to have my lap support the weight of the project. I end up taking two pillows and stacking them on my lap and using that to support the weight of the project so that I can sit up straight to knit (saves the back and shoulders… I can now knit for 4+ hours and not even realize the time has passed). I take my pattern and either have it up on my computer screen or i have it propped up against some books or my lamp so that i can see it.

On the repetitious pattern, i’d try the irish hiking scarf… I started knitting it yesterday during a bus trip with a group of friends on the way to a beach in vermont… the only row that’s really different and I had to pay attention to was every 8th row where I need to use the cable needle.

I also find crochet to be relaxing… for the first half hour or so and then my wrists go (carpal tunnel). I have a 1/2 finished baby ripple afghan upstairs that I’m not sure i’ll be crocheting anything else once i’m done… my wrists can’t take it anymore. I’m going to keep 1 hook in each size and then give the rest to a friend who crochets for Project Linus…

I felt the same way when I first started knitting. I would often break out in a sweat when knitting because I was so nervous. My neck and shoulders would hurt from being so tense, and also my fingers hurt from grasping the needle so tightly. BTW - I also knitted very tightly. Often the stitches were so tight that I had trouble getting a needle into a stitch.

Like you, I also worried about making a mistake because I didn’t know how to fix anything. The only thing I knew to do was to unravel and start completely over, which is frustrating and NOT fun!

I decided I needed to do something about it. I requested and received a copy of [U]Knit Fix[/U] by Lisa Kartus this past Christmas. This book has given me so much confidence. I feel like I can fix almost anything now.

I now know how to TINK (knit backwards) to the beginning of the problem. To learn to do this you really have to pay attention to the orientation of the stitches, which I think is the key.

This has made my knitting so much more enjoyable. I have noticed that I’m much more relaxed and I even knit more loosely. Now I don’t have a panic attack if I drop a stitch. Even my husband has commented that my knitting seems more ‘peaceful’. I’m embarrassed to admit that I have yelled at my yarn/needles once or twice!

Got a photo of it?

Sorry, i’m not used to forums, i meant a photo of the basketweave scarf!

Thanks Mc Knitty, I have hope! I will look for a copy of Knit Fix. I will also look at the videos on KH about fixing mistakes. I had thought that I’d just do that when I actuall made a mistake, but the fear of mistakes (I am a bit of a perfectionist as you can tell) is stopping me doing anything. Thanks to the others who replied also. I clicked on thanks but wanted to thank you all properly. I have had some very useful advice.

Huskies Football mom thanks, I will try using pillows to support the work, and WELL DONE on your weight loss! Where can I see the pattern for the Irish football scarf?