New Guy with a Question

Okay, I’m completly new… and I am trying to learn in order to help my daughter who wants to knit. Being a guy I can’t say this is one of my strong suites but I’ll learn if it makes her happy.

So, I have the whole casting on thing down pretty well (long tail cast on anyway) and can fill up a needle with no problem. However even though I can visualize the knit stich process and have that little rhyme stuck in my head I can’t get it to work.

What is the trick??? the video shows the process with a whole bunch of rows all ready knitted. Does it get easier after you have one or two rows done? I did a stitch (I think) but couldn’t get the needles apart far enough to even attempt a second stich. What am I missing…


sounds like you’re not missing anything - at least in the “dad” department! :yay: You sound like a winner!

Anyway, as far as the actual knitting is concerned, are you a lefty or a righty? and, do you wrap the yarn with your left hand or your right? (yes, we really do need to know the answers to these questions to be able to help… sorry for getting so technical.)

Yup, that’s the sweetest ‘new knitter’ story I’ve ever heard! How old is your daughter you’re doing this for?

Yes, it does get easier after the firt row. Plus it is possible you cast on too tightly, making it difficult to get that first row completed.

When I’ve taught new people to knit I always tell them that the most frustrating thing about knitting that its harder to get started than it is to actually do the knitting. The at first cast on row is usually a little tight and it just makes it hard.

If your needles are too close together to even get into the next stitch, that is probably because you are pulling the free yarn too tightly. A common new knitter issue is pulling things too tight or leaving things too loose. Give that first stitch a little slack and move on to the next stitch.

Well, let’s see… I’ll try to answer with some knitting terms.

Okay, I’m right handed, I cast on via the long tail method… I have been trying to hold the yarn in my right hand very unsuccessfully and I am trying to knit in the English style.


Good job Dad! :thumbsup: Yes, the first row is definitely the hardest. When I teach people to knit I like to start with the knit stitch and I like to have a little piece already started for each learner so they don’t have to face that first row until later. After they knit a little then we go back to the cast on and the first row.

Try to cast on loosely. Long tail is a great cast on to know, the most common and useful really, so good place to start. Another thing to try would be to cast on over both of your needles held together, (it is a bit awkward, but might be worth it) then pull one out after the cast on so you can knit with it. That way your cast on row will be looser. This is actually recommended in some patterns, etc.

Hang in there, it gets easier, I wish someone could knit you up a couple of rows for now, but you have to bite the bullet and knit that first row. :lol:

Awww what a good dad you are, Tom! :thumbsup: Welcome to Knitting Help!

There is a video called “demo of a small project” under the tips section in the videos. It shows how to work from cast on to cast off. It’s just a sample, but maybe it’ll help. Here’s some more tutorials if you need some still photos.

Main tutorial page

The first row after cast on is the most exasperating, IMHO. Especially if you cast on tight. Try casting on your loops a little looser and see if perhaps that doesn’t help.

If it doesn’t, try Combined Knitting, so that you’re always approaching the loop in a logical manner, from the right side :wink: But I honestly think that just casting on a little looser will help you with your knitting, also, you may want to use a stretchy acrylic yarn to start out with as it is incredibly forgiving and visible while you are learning.

Good Luck, Dad!

Wow…what a pain in the a** this is turning out to be… Okay, didn’t have any luck with the long tail cast on so taught myself the e-loop or backwards cast on.

Seems somwhat easier no dangeling tail to annoy me since I have no idea what to do with it right now. Started with 20 loops, and tried the knit stitch again. This time I thought was going okay until about stitch four when the needles kept getting further and further apart and the yarn stretched between the two kept getting in the way. What turned out was some kind of large knot mess on one needle.

Not feeling the love here in Fredericksburg at the moment.

I cast on either over 2 needles side by side or on one much larger needle. Otherwise it comes out too tight.
Even doing that it’s much easier a few rows in.

As far as the looseness building up. You get better at that with practice.

I’m brand new at knitting, too. I can tell you that I had a really hard time making my work look like the video… it looked so easy! Once I got used to the hand movements and got comfortable, my “work” didn’t look like anything I’d want to show anyone.

My advice is to continue to practice both the knit and purl stitches. It [I]will[/I] get easier with time and after a while, the work will start to look like something. The first row is always (for me) the hardest to tell if a project will turn out OK. It just looks like a big mess until I get a 2nd or 3rd row finished.

And, if by the 3rd or so row, it doesn’t look like you want it to, just rip it out and try again. God knows I’ve done that about a hundred times this week!

This time I thought was going okay until about stitch four when the needles kept getting further and further apart and the yarn stretched between the two kept getting in the way.

That’s the inherent problem with the backward loop CO; very easy to do, difficult to knit into and it creates extra yarn between stitches.

Try the knit cast on; that has similar motions to the knit stitch, except you put the new stitch on the left needle instead of the right needle.

I had to laugh when I read this tonight. It suddenly brought to mind, learning to knit as an adult on the steps in front of my apartment in Houston, while my two girlfriends were jabbering away in Spanish. Suddenly, Yolanda yelled at me, “Hey, where is the tail?” I looked at her like a cow looks at an oncoming train and she goes “The end, from where you cast on?” So I told her I just knitted it in so it wouldn’t hang out. She made me frog it all the way back to the cast on row and told me to leave it there and she would show me how to weave in ends. She then turned to our other friend and said, “This is what happens when white people knit.” I miss her so much.

Try the knit cast on; that has similar motions to the knit stitch, except you put the new stitch on the left needle instead of the right needle.

I agree…the folks ive taught to knit seem to get this cast on quicker than any other one. And the next row is much easier with this cast on.

the getting looser and looser bit ia a “feature” of the backwards e cast on.

Is there a yarn shop near you? Some will help no matter what and others want you to buy yarn there. It might be worth going in, buy a ball or yarn, and show them what you’re doing. It should take only a couple minutes to get you started. (High School Adult Ed sometimes have knitting classes)

My first thought about the needles being close instead of being too tight was if you are getting the whole stitch off the needle. With the needles far apart, if you can manage to keep going, even if your needles are far apart, it will get you a little further along so you can see progress and get more practice. Something might click as you’re going. On holding the yarn, I wrap it loosely around my little finger and use the index finger to wrap yarn around the needle for each stitch.

What a wonderful Dad to be doing this for your daughter. I’d say father of the year should be coming your way!

Okay, took all the advice and taught myself yet another cast on style… This time the knit on cast on. Turned out to be easier than it looked. I put 60 loops on, why? no idea just did and it took up about three quarters of the needle. Decided it was now or never and began the knit stitch. While it may not look pretty I have now gotten to row three! My technique sucks, and my efficiancy is down around 0.01% but it is some kind of knitting type thing. BTW it has gotten much easier as I get away from the cast on row. I’m not sure how far I will go before I get crazy and try learning the purl stitch but for now I’ll keep doing the knit stitch.

Funny thing was that after I did the first row how much the thing expanded… What once covered three quarters of a needle takes up the whole thing and wants more.


Just keep goin’, you’re doing great. Even if you make a mistake, just figure out how what you did and how to fix it and keep knitting; it’s too frustrating to rip out and start over again over and over.

You can knit all the rows for a few inches, then add a purl row. Alternate knit and purl rows to get stockinette. Yeah, a cast on is only about 80% of the actual width of the knitted item so you can’t cast on 8" worth of sts and expect the finished item will also be 8" wide.

Way to go! Just remember when you decide to take on a purl, keep your yarn in front instead of behind like knit. It’s so great you’re doing this for your daughter. You’ll be knitting her a sweater for Christmas in not time, kidding don’t get nervous.

I have a book I bought at Walmart that is a learn to knit and has some beginner projects. It shows knit, purl, increasing and decreasing (pattern has you make one or decrease one), how to end a project (binding off). I started by making dishcloths. It’s a small project but you can finish fairly quick and see your handy work when you use them.

Still say Dad of the Year!

Good for you! One thing to remember is it was the same for all of us when we learned…awkward and frustrating! But, once you get the hang of it’s fun and rewarding! :thumbsup: