Starting Out-feeling overwhelmed

You may remember by post from earlier this week about finally learning how to knit. I picked up one of Debbie Stoller’s books and have read and re-read the information. I finally got the opportunity to go out and get some supplies and just had a terrible time. I first went to a local yarn shop and was completely ignored. I looked around but ended up leaving shortly after because I just didn’t know where to start. I then went to Michael’s and looked around but again I was completely unsure. I have chosen two projects to start with the garter stitch scarf and a dish cloth. I have not unwrapped anything and still have the receipt if I didn’t make the right purchases. Will these supplies work?

For the scarf: Susan Bates silvalume 10inch 10US needles and
Lions Brand Homespun yarn in quartz

For the dish cloth: Clover no8 9inch bamboo needles and
Sugar 'n cream Twist yarn in Country Twists

Thanks so much for the help.


I can understand you feeling overwhelmed…but there’s lots of great resources to help you learn whatever you’d like to learn in knitting.

My best recommendations for you:

As far as knowing what to use, if you look on the yarn’s label for the little knitting needle picture, it will tell you what size needles are recommend for use with that yarn. That makes it pretty easy. You can use a different size needle and sometimes have to if you are knitting something where your little gauge swatch doesn’t come out right (meaning your garment won’t fit unless you change needle size and make the gauge swatch come out right before doing the real project), but don’t worry about that yet since you are doing a scarf and dishcloth which don’t require gauge testing.

The needle size sounds about right for the Homespun…not sure about the dishcloth yarn, but you know what? You are just starting out and learning so don’t beat yourself up about choices - just practice getting the basics down first and then you can pick and choose precisely what you want and need.

You can use wood, metal or plastic needles…it’s all a matter of preference. Wood is warmer and gets smoother as you use them also yarn doesn’t slide off of them the way it can the others (especially important if you make something with double pointed needles later on). Metal points tend to be sharper so it picks up the stitches nicely but are colder feeling and can be slippery. I haven’t used plastic but they are lightweight, I know.

I think you picked out two nice starting projects. I would do the scarf first myself since it will go a little faster so you get more immediate gratification.

If you need tutorials on how to get started, go to the video section on this site - Amy’s videos are really easy to understand. If you need more help, feel free to ask us (I am a fairly new knitter but you are always welcome to PM me).

Happy knitting!!!

Big hugs! :hug:

Oy… the cotton yarn is fine for dishcloths, but you should probably use metal, the bamboo may make the yarn drag. Work on that first. The Homespun is difficult to knit with and it does much better on larger needles, like 11s. I’d say take back the bamboo needles and swap them for metal ones, and exchange the Homespun for a smooth yarn like Caron Simply soft, or something by Bernat or Patons. Or Red Heart soft. Or just RedHeart. Keep the cotton and and size 10 needles.

One step at a time. Knitting is always done a single stitch at a time.

I’d say go ahead and start with the supplies you have. Work on the simple garter stitch scarf first as it will help you learn tensioning and the knit stitch.

Don’t expect perfection, just knit it. Maybe it won’t look so great to begin with but I’ll bet as you go along it will begin looking more and more even.

One stitch at a time, be patient with yourself as you learn this new skill, and before you know it you’ll be turning out some very cool stuff.

Yes, i agree with suzeeq. Mason, i :heart: your new avatar!

:hug: I’m sorry you were ignored at your local yarn shop…I agree with what has already been said…just take it one stitch at a time :hug:

I think you should keep the bamboo needles. When I first started, I also felt overwhelmed with everything and bought aluminum needles and some worsted weight yarn, I could not knit with those needles. They were very slippery for me I was not able to slip the yarn off the needle with out losing everything and almost quit because of that. I knit only with bamboo needles now and have knit a lot of washcloths with it. I would say go grab some worsted weight yarn for the scarf (Homespun can be a little difficult to start with I think) and knit yourself up a scarf with it, then try the washcloth. Bamboos are a little sticky but not so much that you can’t move the yarn around. And don’t worry, you will make mistakes, we all have and we still do sometimes! But it is a lot of fun and worth it.

I’d suggest you do the scarf project first in an acrylic or wool worsted. (I’m not keen on the Homespun but you can give it a try.) Cotton has NO elasticity and as someone just learning this can be frustrating and very fatiguing. Better to learn sts when the yarn has some give and take.

As already noted, the bamboo will grab the sts but sometimes it’s a matter of personal preference as to what combination of yarn and fiber feels right for you. The only way you’re going to know is by trying. It’s unfortunate that you weren’t assisted in the yarn shop as that would’ve been a good place for someone to give recommendations and perhaps let your try out a few diff combos.


I’m jut starting out too, haven’t prepared anywhere near as much as you! just bought some wool and used needles i had from a gift set! From the replies you got it seems like you should make a start with what you have :slight_smile:
Try not to be overwhelmed and just go for it! If you make a mistake (which i did lots) then yyou can always unpull it and start over -though it sucks a bit to have to pull it all apart.

Good luck, hope you pick it up ok :slight_smile:

I would strongly suggest not using the Homespun for a first project. It splits like crazy (it tends to untwist and you end up sticking your needle in the middle of the strands, or it just splits and looks like two stitches on the needle, when it’s really only one)
Redheart is fine but a little sticky, esp. on bamboo needles.
Try Patons merino, or some Lion Brand wool. My first project was a scarf done in Lion Brand Landscapes. Nice chunky wool, size 13 needles, it was perfect. I could see the big stitches easily, and the wool was soft, and didn’t split much.
It did kinda feel like a kindergarten project at first (remember chunky crayons? heh) but once I got the hang of it, and saw those first few inches, it felt like real knitting.

I totally agree about the bamboo needles. I think it’s easier to learn if the stitches don’t tend to slide off the needles. Bamboo sort of grips the yarn. At this point you don’t care how fast you are knitting.
I also find Homespun to be difficult to work with. I’d switch it for something else, maybe Caron’s Simply soft or one of the others already suggested.
Just go for it. We all had to begin, and made lots of mistakes, I’m sure.
Welcome to KH. Feel free to ask questions here as you go. You’ll always get great answers. Check out the videos too. They are a great help.
:knitting: :knitting: :knitting:'_Baby_Hat!

Hey Mason,
I was searching online for patterns and came across this one, I hope you get this message.

I did not know how else to get ya…

Kryssie (gingergal4L8R)

Welcome to the wonderful world of knitting!!

Everyone’s given such great advice so far, I love this board and what it’s all about!!

I would 2nd the suggestion for Paton’s classic merino. I got some off amazon for about 5 dollars a ball, and they’re HUGE! 3x the size of the ones at the LYS, and the ones at the LYS cost 3x as much! heh. I did a garter stitch scarf in the wedgewood colorway, and the changing colors sort of broke up the monotony of doing the same stitch over and over again.

Also the good thing about doing your garter stitch scarf in a wool (or other animal fiber) is that you can block it afterwards, which TOTALLY made it look awesome. Blocking is basically wetting it down, stretching it out and letting it dry. The wool will hold the shape, and what started out as a kinda short, kinda bulky and stiff scarf turned into a lovely, drapey long flowing scarf. It went from barely wrapping around my neck to being longer than my bed! Instant gratification!!

Also, having the color broken up a bit might make it easier to SEE the individual stitches. When I first started knitting what confused me the most was that. I couldn’t tell if what I was looking at was a full stitch, two stitches interacting, half of one stitch and half of the other, or what!! It’s like looking at an Escher drawing and trying to find the “right” perspective! If you’re working yarn is now green and the stitch you’re knitting into was more blue, you sort of see instantly the green yarn working through the little blue loop and things just click in your brain a little easier.

At least I think so.

And that’s a shame that the ppl at your LYS ignore you like that. Next time (if you ever go back) you should approach one of the people who work there, or sort of ask in general “I’m totally new to this, can anyone help me out?” That way maybe if the people that work there are busy, someone else who’s shopping might be able to help you out?

The ladies at my store are pretty good about asking if people need help and spotting first time customers, maybe you were just unlucky and came at a busy time? Or did they look like they had nothing else to do but just didn’t bother? Hmm. Well, either way. If they aren’t any help, you’re in luck because KH is here to come to the rescue!

Sometimes it takes 10 people to say explain the same thing in 10 different ways for it to finally click, and sometimes a video is worth a thousand pictures and a trillion words.

KH to the rescue!

I agree with a lot of what was said by the previous posters. I would take back the Homespun and the cotton. I would buy some Caron Simply Soft or Lion Brand Wool to start. The Homespun is hard to work with since it is so splitty and I think because of the texture it would be hard to see what you are doing as a new knitter. Cotton has no elastic to it, so I also think that it would be hard for a new knitter.

Get a light color so it is easier to see the stitches. Also, on the wrapper, it tells you the recommended needle size for any yarn you buy - so you really don’t have to guess.

Good luck - and hang in there… knitting is fun!

Lion Wool ease, rather than their wool. It’s washable and there’s more yardage in them.