What am I doing wrong?

I’m literally finding it impossible to get even simple patterns right. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.

I spent what must have been 6 hours doing a pattern yesterday and followed every little step accurately, writing down each instruction such as k1 as I went to ensure I didn’t miss anything. I also got my Mum to show me things I wasn’t sure of as she’s a fairly experienced knitter.

Today I finally cast off and the deranged knitted object I created looks NOTHING like the picture. It’s wonky, holey and curvy and I have no idea why.

So I moved on to a new, simpler pattern and refused to give up, but as I got to the end of the row I found I had one extra stitch on the end of a row that didn’t fit in with the pattern, despite following the pattern exactly and casting on the correct amount of stitches.

I know as someone fairly new to knitting I will make mistakes, but it really isn’t as if I’m aiming too high, I’m focusing on really simple patterns and just can’t get it right. It’s frustrating because I just feel stuck and don’t know how to move forward if I can’t get even simple patterns right.

Do any experienced knitters have any advice for how they learnt or improved?

Wonky, holey, curvy things are usually made by inconsistent tension, which is a function of being new. New knitters drop stitches, get stitches so tight they stretch over the needle and look like two (so you end up knitting THOSE and get extras), knit with the cast-on tail, forget which direction they were knitting in…
Ask me how I know. Nothing you’re doing right now is new. I’ve done it all. I still mess up occasionally, but not NEARLY as much as I did almost forty years ago. Things that seem impossibly complicated to begin with soon seem so commonplace that in a few months you’ll wonder what the big deal was.
Until it feels automatic, use all the aids you can get. Mark the right side of your work. A plain safety pin stuck through will do. Mark the line you’re on in a pattern–a Post-It note works, as many here will tell you, or any one of a dozen other ways to manage so you don’t knit Row 12 three times (yes, I have, and wondered what was up with the stitch count.) When you do anything complicated, learn to use lifelines. When you put your work down, make sure the pattern is with it (uh, yeah, ask me how I know about that, or why I had so many UFOs before the Internet made it easier to find patterns when you lose them.)
I promise you, it DOES get better. If you’re really frustrated and don’t like the way your knitting works yet, buy some non-superwash wool, knit a purse or slippers and FELT IT! Felting makes stitches disappear. You get to practice, all of your mistakes disappear, and you get a finished project to use instead of a lot of frogged and re-frogged swatches. It’s supposed to be fun, so make it that way!:grphug:

First - Were the needles and yarn appropriate for the pattern? What is the pattern did you make and what size needles and what specific yarn did you use? Always include this info when asking questions because it can affect the answer and it helps us if we can visualize.

Yes, as a new knitter your tension and gauge can be wonky and holey. It’s not uncommon at all to accidentally create holes or tighten up then loosen up when you’re learning. It does take practice. I always recommend that you cast on 25 or 30 stitches and just knit for awhile till you feel comfortable and your stitches start to even out. Then purl a bit and then alternate rows. If you’ve done this good…if not give it a try. And make sure you’re using a smooth, light colored, worsted weight yarn on size US 7-9 needles.

Sometimes even experienced knitters get into a slump where nothing goes right. I recently frogged the pattern from h about twenty times. When that happens, sometimes you need to move on to another simpler pattern or just take a rest from knitting for a few days. The funny thing is, I have the most problems with simple patterns and not the complicated ones. Just keep trying. Don’t be afraid to ask your mom to fix it for you if you need to get back on the right track. Your work may not be perfect, but it’s made with love.

For the longest time I knit squares of 40 sts across only in knit or purl with a marker every 10 sts, just to try and identify what I was doing and where. Break it into little pieces and take it a little chunk at a time, things will get easier as you go. See if you can’t go to a LYS for some help too. My mother is a wonderful woman and a talented knitter but I simply can’t learn from her. Maybe a new perspective or opinion may break the knitting ice…