OK, here’s the deal. I’m an fairly intelligent person (I think), but I absolutely after many tries cannot get the hang of casting on or basic knitting. I know how the motions work and can do them VERY awkwardly. How long does it take to get the knack? I come from a crocheting background, and find it easy to pull yarn with a hook as opposed to pointy ends. Help!
If you’ve got the basics, maybe it’s time to look at your needles and yarn. What kind of yarn are you using on what size needles?
Hang in there! When I first began, I had several frustrating stops and starts. As you come from a crochet background, you may find it easier to learn the continental method (holding working yarn in left hand). When at my most frustrated was when I found this site and Amy’s videos, and they made a tremendous difference Sit in front of the computer and follow the videos on the basic stitches – over and over! Rewind and try until you can really see what you are supposed to do. My next suggestion is to LOOSEN UP!! I was soooo tight when I first started, and that makes it very frustrating and difficult. You might try holding on to two needles at one time, and casting on around both. When you have enough stitches cast on, pull out one of the needles. This method helps keep your stitches loose. Don’t worry so much about even stitches at this point, just get comfortable with the basic stitches. Most of all, remember that it is supposed to be FUN!! Make an effort to relax and keep all your knitting loose.
For a book suggestion, I found the first Stitch and Bitch book to have really good diagrams and descriptions, and I used that when I couldn’t get to Amy’s videos.
Keep us posted
Thanks for the quick responses–y’all are awesome!
Ingrid, I just bought a kit that had size 6 and 8 needles, I believe. As for yarn, I tried both cotton yarn (Peaches n Cream brand) and some Red Heart Super Saver, since I didn’t want to buy expensive yarn at this point, seeing as how I’m awful, at least until I get better. Should I try bigger needles or different yarn maybe?
Holly, I’ll try to loosen up. I must have watched the cast-on video 20 times last night. Of course, the more I didn’t get it, the more frustrated I got! Arrrrgh! I want to be one of those placid knitters that you see at the park . . . I want to feel about knitting the way I do about crochet–that it relaxes me and allows me to create neat things. But I guess I need to be patient, which is the hardest thing for me. Thanks again.
The cotton will be harder to knit evenly with in the beginning. The other should be fine to learn. I was afraid that you were trying to learn on eyelash yarn which is a common mistake.
My suggestion is to cast on and knit. Your stitches will be uneven and loopy at first, you might get holes. Don’t tear it out. Just keep knitting the whole skein if you can. You’ll be amazed at the difference between the beginning of your first ‘scarf’ and the end.
Learning to knit is like getting into Carnegie Hall–practice, practice, practice!
OK, I’ll stick to the acrylic yarn then and try some bigger needles (I noticed in the website info here they said size 10 might be better for beginners). Maybe soon I can join the ranks of you who are actually making something!
I think you have gotten some great tips already, but I’ll add one more. I was trying to teach a co-worker how to knit and she also just couldn’t get the cast one right. Her problem was positioning.
Relax your arms, wrists, and hands. Tuck your elbows in. My co-worker had her elbows up and hands stiff and contorted to the point where she was obscuring what she needed to be doing with the yarn. Once she relaxed and tucked her elbows in, she saw what she was doing wrong and it clicked!
I have been trying to pick up knitting for ALMOST a year…and just recently (thanks to this site) have been able to get better at it…I agree watch the videos OVER and OVER…that is what I did…
and everyone on here is so quick to answer your questions and help out! It amazes me! Good Luck and KEEP practiceing…I am just now starting my “first project” that will be something other than a "square - my hubby calls them) and I have literally taken it apart and started over about 4 times…I am close to half way done now…
Keep knitting, just keep knitting!!!
one thing that you have to remember is that your work is NOT going to look like Amy’s in the video to begin with. She’s been knitting for a long time and you haven’t. your work isn’t going to be perfect but if you just keep going it will really look a lot better before too long.
Like Glenda told me when she taught me to knit…“You haven’t been knitting long enough to know what looks right and what doesn’t. Just keep knitting.”
Oh and put that cotton aside for now…it will just make you crazy until you get the hang of it.
Wow, thanks for the great advice! I’ll definitely confine my cotton yarn to crocheting for now (am doing some sorely needed placemats with that and want to do some summer tops). I’ve got to relax and just keep trying, be patient, and cast on and knit.
As far as cast on, which method do y’all prefer? I can do the Continental method on the video (not well), but seem to do better at the method which involves two needles, not sure of the name.
i only use the long tail cast on unless i need a provisional cast on for something. I haven’t found anything that i wanted to do that i couldn’t use that cast on for, even if it suggested a different cast on. The others all leave me scratching my head in confusion!
use whichever one is easiest for you though…there is no reason to conform plus when you start knitting in public with li’l ol’ ladies it will be kinda fun to see that disapproving look because you are knitting “wrong” :rofling:
I prefer long-tail, too–but do whatever is easiest for you to start out with.
Ha! I need to find some of those disapproving older ladies–maybe they could set me on the right track! :XX:
well, are you near Jackson? I found this review on About.com. Unfortunately it was the only yarn store listed for MS but if you look around you might be able to find a local yarn shop (not walmart or hobby lobby) that you can frequent. MOST of those shops have wonderful employees and customers who love to help someone new. (beware however…people tend to feel very overwhelmed at their first visit and never want to go back to the cheapy yarn…lol)
1491 Canton Mart Road
Jackson, MS 39211
Submitted by Darlene Galbreath
This shop is great! It regularly has sales at 50% off for most yarns, has wonderful customer service, and has lessons for all types of projects. Every time I go there, I feel at home. The owners and workers are more than willing to help, explain, and teach their customers. Please put this shop on your list of great shops!
cgd, I too am a crocheter - although i learnd both knit and crochet at the age of 8, i have always leaned towards crochet. i tried the continential method holding the yarn in the left hand, but i have arthritis in my hands and my hand just will not move the right way. i know others have suggested using larger needles, but i find they feel even more awkward in my crocheting hands. i recently tried using circular needles and that feels better since i’m used to holding the smaller crochet hook. i would suggest you work with an inexpensive acrylic or wool on a 4mm or 5mm circular needle. I’m not sold yet on knitting…but i’ll be #&$# if i’ll let it get the best of me!
Brendajos, yes, I’m near Jackson and thanks for the name of the yarn shop. I’m sure this will strain my budget when I walk in the door!
GeeBee, thanks for the advice–I’ll pick up a couple of circular needles. I’ll need them someday anyway, right? [Rationalization . . .]
i bought inexpensive circulars from JoAnn’s - Susan Bates - the circulars in the knitting shops around here are $16.00! compared to my $5.99 – so i’d say go cheap and give it a try, if you like it better then invest. also the women on this site turned me onto a man on ebay who sells teir favorite circular needles…if you get to that point…
oooooooooh but those $16 needles are WONDERFUL. i wouldn’t have wanted to use them when i first started though or i likely would have quit. they are VERY slippery for quick knitting but stitches can fall off easily. I liked the bamboo for first starting out because they didn’t slip too easily so the stiches didn’t fall off my needle. just know that there are differences between needles and if you pick one that you don’t like much there is probably another that will work better for you. I bought needles after i learned and decided to go with the cheapest ones at the store figuring they were all the same. :rollseyes: i won’t buy that brand at all no matter how much people talk about their love of the other styles these people make just based on how bad they were. (they were plastic needles.)
yeah, knitting is a tactile experince, so have to like the feel of the needles and the thread/yarn. my inexpensive Bates are metal - and i LOVE her crochet hooks. wouldn’t want to use plastic. if the expensive ones are easier to drop stitches i’d better avoid them - i am not familiar enough with how the stitches look to be able to pick them up, at best i pull out until i get to a point where i can put the stitches back on the needle - ugh :oops:
I’m not sure if someone else mentioned this yet, but I was a crocheter first too. When I tried the “throw” method it seemed really awkward. I thought the “continental” method felt much better as a crocheter, since we are use to using our right hand and “picking” the yarn rather than throwing it.