Learning to knit

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jeansphotos_03-2009_pic0409

I've wanted to learn how to knit for a while now, but never really thought I would have the patience for it. But now, look! I'm learning to knit. Slowly but surely. I'm still not sure I have the patience for it — I think the first three stitches took about half an hour. But after that it went a lot quicker, so there's still hope for me.

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I'm using Stitch 'N Bitch as my guide and some knitting supplies graciously loaned to me by a friend. I can do this, right? Lots of people knit. I think I'd like to try straight needles next time though, rather than these circular needles. They keep getting in the way of each other, the yarn, me. Although that's probably just me and complete inexperience.

Now here's what I'm wondering. How soon will I be able to do something like this? — hats for the whole family and then some.

I think it's time to visit my grandma. I could pick up some serious tips from her (and some leisurely side-by-side knitting time).

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  1. says

    I need to learn how to do this. We are cooped up inside in the rain with nasty colds (in the Triad) and I’m going nuts.

  2. says

    I have the honor of being a beginning knitting instructor, and I’ll tell you what I tell all of my newbie students:
    First of all, it feels strange and awkward because it is strange and awkward. Every person you see knitting away without seeming to pay attention to their stitches started out as a clumsy fingered “new knitter” painstakingly wrapping each stitch around the needle while trying to hold on to their needles, their yarn and their dignity all at the same time.
    Second of all. Even a small project has thousands and thousands of stitches in it, so by the end of your first project, you will have had a lot of practice. Sure, the first 600 stitches might feel strange, take too long, look messy and generally be disappointing, but the next 20,000 will go much more smoothly, and by the time you reach the far side of your scarf you won’t be able to recognize that “non-knitter” who started on the other end.
    And hats are a great second project. I give you about two weeks before you are cranking them out at a mile a minute.
    Congratulations on learning something new!

  3. says

    I love that book! I’ve been knitting for a couple of years and still go back to it for reference.
    I also go to knittinghelp.com quite often. It has short videos that show you how to do the different stitches.
    Have fun knitting!

  4. says

    I taught myself to knit in January from Youtube videos and books. I made my husband that first hat you have linked for Valentine’s day- and then one for myself. Now I am onto fingerless gloves. I say you are well on your way! My suggestion is to knit and purl and knit etc a practice piece. After I got the feel for it, I kinda just went with it, experimenting and so on, not having an end desired result for this practice piece so I didn’t feel the pressure if I dropped a stitch or purled when I should have knit. You can do it!

  5. says

    I taught myself to knit from Stitch n’ Bitch 4 or 5 years ago. You can do it! There are tons of great tutorials on the web.
    There is one nasty side effect of knitting though…you will eventually have more yarn than you will know what to do with.

  6. caideey says

    Yay! Another knitter! Your work looks great so far, and you’ll be surprised how quickly it doesn’t feel quite so clumsy. Hats are a great beginning project, so you can start making them anytime. Making hats for the whole family while there’s a new baby in the house? That is something I have yet to master.

  7. Jennifer says

    I’ll add my voice to all the other knitters here who’ve said: you’ll be knitting hats in mere weeks. That first piece you do–whatever it is, even a large strip of ugliness destined for the trashcan–will teach you the motions, give you the muscle memory, and send you on your way. Hats ahoy!

  8. potagergardengirl says

    I just taught myself how to knit in January. I’m still going really slow since gardening season is coming up and then i have 3 little ones to contend with daily. I really like it though. Good luck!

  9. says

    Good for you Jean! I’ve tried many times, and actually learned the stitches, but then, when I run into a problem I totally give up. If I lose or gain a stitch I am unsure what to do. And, I am impatient, so trying to figure it out is frustrating to me. I’ll look forward to hearing how it continues to go, maybe I too can get past my hangups and make something more than a scarf!

  10. says

    I just learned to knit in November, and I’ve made a few hats and baby sweaters and booties and… all sorts of things! Once you get the hang of the basics, there are a TON of simple patterns out there for things like hats. Have you signed up for Ravelry yet? If not, do it! So many free patterns and it’s always inspiring to see what other people are making too.
    Here’s what I’ve made so far (and remember, I’m still a beginner too… but I’m hooked): http://amanda.smugmug.com/gallery/6248652_hcoSh
    Happy knitting!

  11. says

    Congratulations on learning how to knit! I have been knitting for three years now, and still love it deeply. :o) My first projects were hats for my guys, so when you’re finished this piece you’re working on, you should be good to go! If you’re having trouble picturing a knitting instruction, there are lots and lots of online videos to check out, just Google it!

  12. says

    I forgot to add, I have taught my older two children to knit (they’re now 11 and 6), and they picked it up more quickly than I did. I’ve heard of children being taught to knit at 3, but personally plan to wait until my next daughter is in the 4-5 year range. She’s 3 now, but I think the process would frustrate her at this point. Perhaps some finger knitting, though…

  13. says

    My oldest still has the very first practice scarf I ever knit. I taught myself when she was just a few months old. One of the most helpful things for me was to start working with a nice soft wool yarn. Stretchier and I found much nicer to work with than a cotton or acrylic blend.

  14. says

    I just started knitting at the beginning of the year, too. Hats were pretty easy once I figured out decreases. Every needle seems awkward to me when I start, but you eventually get more comfortable with it. I agree with what the others have said, and I would also add this: find a good local yarn shop with helpful folks. Many have knitting groups, classes, etc. Some you can just drop in to knit or ask questions or get help. There are two within 15 minutes of me, and I have found one to be much more helpful and friendly than the other. I’ve gone to a couple of “knit nights” and learned so much there.
    One warning: It’s addictive!! But now that I’m not so stressed about each move, I am finding it relaxing and restful. If you lack patience, hats are a good thing to try (if you find a simple pattern) since they knit up quickly and you gain confidence and get that feeling of completion.
    Good luck!!

  15. says

    Knitting is such a complete pleasure and joy – good on you for giving it a go!! The best bit is then teaching the younger people in the house and sitting around knitting together during long winter afternoons (that we’re just heading into).

  16. says

    Learning how to knit and crochet are on my list of things I’d like to learn too! I started a few years ago and really loved it – even if I was only doing scarves ;) and I’d like to jump back into it again. It’s so nice to be able to make friends warm and snuggly gifts. Good luck! Have fun!

  17. Kathie says

    Hi — Good luck. I am also a self-taught knitter but haven’t moved beyond baby blankets. I used Debbie Bliss’s book about learning how to knit and really enjoyed it. She organizes lessons by projects. Have fun!

  18. says

    Yay, knitting! I did only rectangles for several years before I moved onto a hat, but once I did, it was really fun. The hardest part for me was that I was using a different thickness of yarn than the pattern I was reading, so it knit up differently. I had to knit a few inches, try the circle on my head, pull it all out because it was too small, then repeat this process a couple of times before I got it right. After that, though, it was a breeze, even fiddling with the double-pointed needles at the top!
    I knew as soon as you said something about moving on to other projects that you were going to comment on SouleMama’s hat post. What amazing stuff she does… I’m kind of jealous that she lives in a cold climate where she and her fam can wear hats for so many months of the year! She has some amazingly inspirational pieces on there. Happy knitting!

  19. attachlings says

    Another newer knitter here. I started in mid January and it’s going quite well. I did make a hat as a present for a friend with a new baby. And I’ve made bags of one type or another for each of my 3 children. And a scarf for my husband. And I just finished my first baby blanket. Now I”m making a poncho for my 2 yo daughter.
    It does get so much easier. And even though I first learned with straight needles, I love working with circulars now…and dpns too!
    Hope you come to love it. I’m very nearly addicted.
    Mary
    http://www.mindfulknitting.wordpress.com
    http://www.attachlings.wordpress.com

  20. says

    I learned to knit with that yarn too :) You’ll pick up speed in no time, I learned just over a year ago and it gets a lot faster quickly!
    Cara (enjoying your blog!)