Novice Knitter Needs Help

Hi. I have just started knitting and am on my own right now. I thought I knew how to do a knit stitch and a purl stitch. Mostly, I do. But my question is this: When you make the first few stitches of either stitch, is the tail supposed to be in any of them?

Thanks!

No, not usually.

SOMETIMES, knitters will knit the first 3 stitches using both [U]the working yarn[/U] and [U]the tail[/U] on the very first row. The purpose is to dispose of the tail. There are occasions where it’s a handy trick!

The “working yarn” is the yarn that comes out of the skein.

Here’s a video that shows you just what ArtLady is describing.

The tail might flop around and get picked up with the working yarn, or poke into the sts which could be okay. You can usually fix it when you’re done.

Actually, I had already seen the video that salmonmac referred me to to illustrate your reply. I found it revelatory but a bit unsettling. The reason for the latter is that, looking at the video, I could see even then that there was obviously going to be a big part of the finished product that was going to stick out. So, 1) Why would anyone ever want to do that?; and, 2) Is the best answer simply to cut the tail off after one has finished casting on? Thank you for your help.

Celaeno

Actually, I had already seen the video that [you] referred me to to illustrate your reply. I found it revelatory but a bit unsettling. The reason for the latter is that, looking at the video, I could see even then that there was obviously going to be a big part of the finished product that was going to stick out. So, 1) Why would anyone ever want to do that?; and, 2) Is the best answer simply to cut the tail off after one has finished casting on?

You can weave it in to some stitches on the wrongs side . Just google weaving in yarn tail

Daylily is right. If you just cut it off, the end will work its way out of the first couple of sts. Weaving in the end or working the first few sts with both the working yarn and tail are the usual ways to handle this. Actually, knitting with both the working yarn and tail is unnoticeable. I think you see it so much in the video because it’s such thick yarn on maybe a smaller needle.

You wouldn’t want to cut the tail off right next to the st, leave a few inches to work it into the sts later to hide it and keep it from working loose.

  1. Is the best answer simply to cut the tail off after one has finished casting on?

Tempting, very tempting. That’s what I wanted to do when I first started to crochet, learned the hard way that more experienced people really did have a reason for doing things the way they do. If that end works loose, [I]everything[/I] comes loose after that first stitch comes out. Aren’t we lucky to have people who know how to do these things to turn to? When in doubt, ask. You absolutely made the best choice in checking it out.

OK, thanks. This makes a lot of sense, and you’re right. The yarn in the video was thick. I guess you’ve solved my tail problem then. I’m going to assume that most knitters do this. Please let me know if I’m wrong or if there are any other novice options. Thank you.

Celaeno

You don’t really need to reply to this, I just wanted to say that I don’t even KNOW which side is the right and which the wrong! Then I read something about “left and right hand legs” and “front and back.” I will just assume that your closing remark means to check out different options on the Internet. Thank you.

Celaeno

Thanks alot, GrumpyGramma! I am convinced by the experienced replies I’ve received that they are right. Everything would come loose. Indeed, we a lucky to have experts to turn to.

The ‘right side’ is the side that’s worn to the outside, the ‘wrong side’ is worn facing the body. For patterns like scarves and sts like garter st, either side can be RS/WS. For stockinette st pattern (knit one row, purl the next) the knit side is considered the RS. If you go to the Tips page and scroll about halfway down to the Duplicate Stitch Join under Joining a new Color, the video shows how to weave in ends over existing sts so they won’t show.