Newbie with thanks and lots of questions

I had never touched a knitting needle before one week ago and I finished my first hat on Thursday thanks to the videos here. Now I am working on a scarf and I keep messing up. I drop stitches or twist them or something - it just doesn’t look right and I can’t figure out what I did so I tear it all up and start again. Will I soon learn how to recognize my mistakes?

Also, the first video I watched showed the way of holding the yarn in my right hand so I did that. Then I saw a video of someone doing it by holding the yarn in the left hand. Still don’t know which is continental or whatever. But it seems faster to hold yarn in the left hand but I just can’t get it down. My hand cramps and the yarn falls off and I just make a mess. Should I keep on trying to do it that way or just go back to the other way that feels more comfortable but way slower? I don’t want to go to a knitting circle and be the only one doing it that way. :aww:

Also, should I buy a book or try to find a class at Joanne’s or Hobby Lobby? How did those of you who had no one around to teach you learn? Thanks!!

Hi and welcome to the wonderful wacky world of knitting and to Knitting Help! Holding the yarn in your left hand is Continental. Which should you do? Whichever works for you. I knit Continental and am trying to get the hang of English style but it’s hard, really hard, for me. Being able to do both is a plus. I learned from a book I got in kit (it had a book, needles, a few other things) from WalMart, then didn’t make anything because I couldn’t figure out anything beyond knit and purl…until I found this forum. Now I’m convinced I can knit just about anything, someday. Joining a group or class of some kind could be a good idea. I often think it would really nice to have another knitter nearby. You will learn to recognize mistakes and there is always this forum for getting help. You’ve already discovered the videos. The glossary is really useful too and some of the entries are linked to videos. Enjoy!

Continental is holding the yarn in your left hand, english holds it in the right hand. I suggest that for now you knit whatever way is easiest for you. No matter what anyone tells you one way is NOT better than another. Some people are just more comfortable knitting one way over another way. I can knit either way, but prefer English and I’m pretty fast at it. You get faster as you become more comfortable and experienced.

Yes, you will learn to read your mistakes. Unless you need to rip out (aka frog) you can also learn to fix a lot of mistakes. A class is always helpful. My local yarn store has them so you might check there, too. Be aware though that some teachers will tell you that it’s better to knit one method or that you must. That bugs the heck out of me. I learned from this forum and the videos here.

Are you following a pattern? Link to it if possible because its easier to help you.

Oh thanks! Now I feel much better. I still want to learn both ways but I’ll stick with the english way for now since it feels better. I hope after I get more confidence I can learn the other way.

I got a kit at Joanne’s that had the yarn, 2 large needles (15) and instructions to make a hat and scarf. The hat was all garter stitch. The scarf has garter, stockinette and ribbing. I mess up when I go from knit to purl. I think I need to practice the purl thing a lot more!

I’m not generally a very patient person but I find that when I get going it is very calming. I love to listen to books on tape while knitting.

Thanks for the advice. I’m sure I will be around here much more especially when I move on to patterns and more complicated stuff!


To go from knit to purl you knit the stitch then bring the yarn forward between the needles. Purl the stitch then move the yarn to the back between the needles to knit. The videos here are have English method and continental.

Ask if you need help!

Good approach. it doesn’t really matter if you’re the only one knitting a certain way in a group. Other real knitters will always be fascinated by a new way to do something, never critical if it works for you. Don’t worry about speed right now either. As a pretty slow knitter, I think speed is over-rated. Get the sts right, enjoy what you’re doing. I agree that a class is a good idea, too. It’s much easier for someone to show you a technique or find a mistake if they’re right there with you. Do a practice piece and make some deliberate mistakes so you can see them and learn to fix them. Good luck with your knitting and do come back here with questions and comments!

I agree. I can knit fairly fast, but I do think it doesn’t really matter if you’re enjoying yourself. I knit with a group at my LYS and no one pays any attention to how each other knits. :thumbsup: