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So where's a good place to start? - Knitting


Izzybee

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Anyone have a book/ website or any resource that's good for beginners?

 

My mum can knit beautifully, but she's never been able to teach me - she's just not someone who finds it easy to teach a skill like knitting, since it comes so easy to her. Her explanations include "you just do it, it's how it makes sense". The fact I'm left handed just makes it worse. I would love to learn, nothing fancy but to be able to actually make something from yarn!

 

I look forward to looking at all the awesome projects you guys will share, but I thought here would be a good place to ask.

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I just started teaching myself how to knit. My mother's a big knitter, too, but a terrible teacher, so I ask her when I have questions, but I'd rather teach myself.

I use this site a lot, for the basics. This is the casting on page: http://www.knittinghelp.com/videos/cast-on

The thing that sucks for me is that I'm allergic to wool, so I have to find an acrylic version of the yarn required, but those generally aren't as nice.

I live really close to a huge yarn shop, and I'm thinking about taking a beginner class. There are often knitting groups that meet at libraries or community halls, too - you could check your local paper and see if something like that is in your area.

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YouTube. That's how I taught myself. There's so much useful stuff in YouTube!

Also, this is the bit that took me the longest to figure out, even though it seems obvious now: the difference between knit and purl is not where the needles are, it's where the yarn is. It took me three months of frustration to figure this out.

My two cents.

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I can't knit but would love to learn, is there a particular type of knitting needle that's best for beginners? And ditto for wool? Sorry for the silly questions, but I don't know where to start and don't want to waste money by buying the wrong equipment! :)

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Awesome! Thanks guys, I feel armed and ready now. Thanks for the tip on the difference on where the yarn is... I would do exactly that same thing.

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I can't knit but would love to learn, is there a particular type of knitting needle that's best for beginners? And ditto for wool? Sorry for the silly questions, but I don't know where to start and don't want to waste money by buying the wrong equipment! :)

To start out I would recommend medium sized needles. I like US 10.5 (6.5mm) but any size between 9 (5.5mm) and 11 (8mm) would probably be good. Dish cloths are a good beginning project. You need to make those with cotton yarn. Sugar and Cream is the brand name I usually see. Acyclic yarn (Red Heart brand, etc) is good for practicing and some early projects like a scarf.

I learned to knit in College from one of the Librarians, but have turned to YouTube to learn to stitches. Most of the patterns I've made I found online for free, but I have used a couple of books from the public library.

eta: Metric equivalent

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To start out I would recommend medium sized needles. I like US 10.5, but any size between 9 and 11 would probably be good. Dish cloths are a good beginning project. You need to make those with cotton yarn. Sugar and Cream is the brand name I usually see. Acyclic yarn (Red Heart brand, etc) is good for practicing and some early projects like a scarf.

I learned to knit in College from one of the Librarians, but have turned to YouTube to learn to stitches. Most of the patterns I've made I found online for free, but I have used a couple of books from the public library.

Thank you!

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For my cred: I've been knitting (and teaching) for 20 years.

- Anyway, I suggest thrift stores for cheap yarn and needles - getting a straight pair a little smaller around than your pinky should be large enough to get some dexterity, but not be super clumsy. A circular pair is good, too, because when you drop your needle (and you will), it's still in your lap, and not under the seat of the creep in front of you.

- Avoid tiny needles, yarns that come apart easily, and cute sock patterns until later.

- Recognize that your pieces will suck for a while. Getting a color/texture of yarn you like will keep you going anyway. Thick, cheap, solid acrylics may not feel the best, but they will hold up. And you can throw it away when you get angry without feeling bad about wasting money.

- A local group is the best - they won't really laugh at you. I think pretty much every yarn store I've called has a free beginners' or general session to just work (and chat if you're that advanced). (If you PM your location, I might be able to tell you about a friend in your area, probably.)

I finally got the knit and purl stitches down while tying together scrap yarns from the extended family. It made a heck of an ugly (and huge) blanket, but by doing a rectangle, I could see when I did something wrong. Plus, the dog loved that hideous thing.

I am not kidding - I was embarrassed by its ugliness and dropped stitches for years, but that blanket taught me to knit without looking. Honestly, just try out rectangles, like Jenny said. It's so much fun if you like precise, repetitive activities. I did the Sugar and Cream (there is a private-label equivalent at Wal-Mart) for washcloths, bath mats, and the fluffy acrylics for scarfs, hats, vest. They hold up really well in a washing machine. For inspiration, there's also the Stich'n'Bitch book series. Enjoy!

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I just learnt to knit around 4 months ago. I used Youtube. So easy if you are a visual learner.

Now I am knitting in the round, vests for my boys.

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I've been knitting for more than 40 years and learned the traditional way - taught individually by another knitter. These days I think that group knitting classes taught at/by your LYS (local yarn shop) or school board / college continuing education centre and Youtube are becoming the "go to" methods. The best method is the one that works for you (makes you feel most comfortable and where the instructions make the most sense). I like that you can see the same Youtube video over and over and over until it makes sense. Youtube is terrific if you are left handed, etc.

Like most noobs, I started with scarves and other "instant gratification" pieces and went on from there, trying to learn something new with each project.

Most knitters have favourite techniques and other, not so favourite techniques. Many of us stick to 1 or 2 types of cast-on and -off techniques, although we know others that can be used depending on what we're knitting and, of course, we can look stuff up. Of course we ALL frog from time to time (a process of ripping stuff out due to mistakes called frogging because we rip it, rip it), but after a while it doesn't freak us out any more because ain't nobody perfect.

For those of us, and there are MANY, who are allergic to wool, alpaca, etc., there is acrylic, soy, bamboo, silk, cotton, even seaweed based yarn (yes, seaweed). I always use acrylic for things that will get hard use, such as mittens, kids hats, etc. because acrylic can be machine washed and machine dried. Amy Singer, knitting designer, wrote "No Sheep for You", a book of knitting patterns utilizing non animal fiber yarns.

My favourite knitter/designer is the late Elizabeth Zimmerman. That lady knew how to make the most complex things from the most simple ideas. I would recommend that any knitter not familiar with her look up her patterns / books.

Knitting is fun and relaxing and knitters enjoy it as such. It isn't rocket science, a job for which we are paid or an olympic sport on which we are judged.

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I've been knitting for more than 40 years and learned the traditional way - taught individually by another knitter. These days I think that group knitting classes taught at/by your LYS (local yarn shop) or school board / college continuing education centre and Youtube are becoming the "go to" methods. The best method is the one that works for you (makes you feel most comfortable and where the instructions make the most sense). I like that you can see the same Youtube video over and over and over until it makes sense. Youtube is terrific if you are left handed, etc.

Like most noobs, I started with scarves and other "instant gratification" pieces and went on from there, trying to learn something new with each project.

Most knitters have favourite techniques and other, not so favourite techniques. Many of us stick to 1 or 2 types of cast-on and -off techniques, although we know others that can be used depending on what we're knitting and, of course, we can look stuff up. Of course we ALL frog from time to time (a process of ripping stuff out due to mistakes called frogging because we rip it, rip it), but after a while it doesn't freak us out any more because ain't nobody perfect.

For those of us, and there are MANY, who are allergic to wool, alpaca, etc., there is acrylic, soy, bamboo, silk, cotton, even seaweed based yarn (yes, seaweed). I always use acrylic for things that will get hard use, such as mittens, kids hats, etc. because acrylic can be machine washed and machine dried. Amy Singer, knitting designer, wrote "No Sheep for You", a book of knitting patterns utilizing non animal fiber yarns.

My favourite knitter/designer is the late Elizabeth Zimmerman. That lady knew how to make the most complex things from the most simple ideas. I would recommend that any knitter not familiar with her look up her patterns / books.

Knitting is fun and relaxing and knitters enjoy it as such. It isn't rocket science, a job for which we are paid or an olympic sport on which we are judged.

Oh, now I have a new dream. I want knitting in the Olympics.

I highly, highly recommend and second the suggestions of any of the Stitch and Bitch books. I would also recommend when you get your wool/yarn make sure it isn't something that will split the strands super easy.

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Terrasola, I see you're a fan of EZ! She used to knit riding on the back of her husband's motorcycle. She's written a number of books including Knitting Without Tears.

Besides Knitting Without Tears, there is Knitting in Plain English by Maggie Righetti which I have and The Principles of Knitting which I want to get. One thing I love about Knitting in Plain English is Maggie's saying that there is really one stitch or maybe two in knitting and everything else is just a variation of those stitches.

As for needles, you'll find what you like through experimentation. I use everything from Boye and Susan Bates aluminum, Clover bamboo to Addi Turbo circulars. I've got a pair of Knit Picks wooden needles that are multi-colored. They are so pretty. And I want a Kollage circular where the body of the needles is square. ETA: There are also sets of interchangeable needles where you get several lengths of cables and all the standard needle gauges so that you can make whatever circular needle your pattern calls for.

I need to get to my knitting this weekend and knit my grandson a hat and a baby blanket. Then I need to make my daughter a snowflake scarf for graduation.

ET to also add: That page of videos of cast-ons is great! I'll have to bookmark it.

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I taught myself so I knit a hybrid of what works for me.

Buy inexpensive materials at first is my suggestion. There are some decent acrylic yarns out there, grope it a bit in the store and see if you like it. I knit everyone I knew a scarf for a good 2 years. The label will say what size range of needles to use. I'd start with a worsted weight yarn, which is also called "4". The smaller the yarn number, the longer it takes to get something done.The needle range is usually 8- 10 for worsted weight.

To make a scarf, Figure out a cast on. Cast on about 30 stitches. Knit- stitch across (there are 2 stitches in knitting, knit stitch and purl stitch) . Turn it around and knit stitch again. Keep going until you are ready to scream. It's done. Then learn the purl stitch and make another one.

If you want inspiration, you have to check out http://www.ravelry.com its like facebook for knitters. It will suck you in until you are propping your eyelids up with toothpicks.

http://www.knitpicks.com has tutorials and good, inexpensive yarns . They also do a podcast.

http://www.knitty.com a free online mag

Good luck!

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I just had to rip out about 8 inches of a scarf I started. I didn't realize you had to add knit stitches and it was all curled in on itself. Very frustrating. I'm going to start again and see if I can figure it out but this is the fourth time I've had to rip out this particular scarf - I don't know how many times I can do that without ruining the yarn entirely.

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I just had to rip out about 8 inches of a scarf I started. I didn't realize you had to add knit stitches and it was all curled in on itself. Very frustrating. I'm going to start again and see if I can figure it out but this is the fourth time I've had to rip out this particular scarf - I don't know how many times I can do that without ruining the yarn entirely.

If you hold down the edges, is it the right shape?

Yes: That happens when the pattern is only using the knit stitch (or only the purl stitch) along the edges. You can look up blocking if it's a really bad curl and try that.

No: Ah, yeah, that would be super frustrating. Sometimes I work problem areas separately in a cheap yarn to avoid ruining a fancy yarn. Is there someone you can show it to in person? Or maybe take a pic of the pattern and some close-ups of the problem and post it to the knitters here?

Boy, does that suck. I'm with you on the aggravation of doing it over and over. It's awesome when it finally works, isn't it? Perhaps post a pic when it's finished, and we can cheer!

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I was doing knit 5, purl 5 to get a stripe effect and it looked really cool until it started to curl. I don't think I could have blocked it - it's too late anyway - I already tore it all out. I'm going to try again, with larger needles. I found a gorgeous deep purple yarn and I really want a nice scarf for myself. Maybe I should try some really cheap yarn first, so I don't ruin my lovely purple stuff.

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I'm a lefty, but I knit like righties...I wonder if that's common? I learned in the days before YouTube, using "Knitting in Plain English" as PennySycamore mentioned, and trial and error. It took me forever to learn how to purl and even longer to learn how to join so I could knit in the round (tubes, yay!). Another book I'd recommend is The Joy of Knitting Companion which is kind of a combination workbook and explanation of pattern basics, like "how to knit a basic hat." Now I'm on a mitten kick and doing my first stranded colorwork. It's a snowflake mitten, and it's turning out pretty, but too small because my gauge is ALWAYS smaller than patterns predict.

Seconding everyone's advice about medium-sized needles and acrylic yarns to start out with. Also, Ravelry is incredible. Besides FJ it is one of my most frequented internet places. There are local groups to join, and you can find actual knitting get-togethers, and of course you can browse patterns for just about anything you can think of.

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The yarn store near me gives free lessons on Saturday morning. You do have to buy your needles and yarn from them but its not too expensive. They also have beginning knit classes. They are more expensive but worth it if you need something beyond youtube or a book.

I do like to support my local yarn stores. I try to buy from them instead of the internet most of the time. The exception is when I cant find something.

Also are anyone of you on Ravelry? I dont do much on the forums there but I do get patterns from there. If you want to friend me, my screen name is shewearsfunnyhat. I use that handle quite a bit. Its a throwback from my aol 2.0 days.

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I'm now the proud creator of two squares of knitting that will eventually form with many others to form a blanket. I figure I can practice lots of different things on squares without having to tackle following patterns until I know what I'm doing.

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  • 1 year later...
The yarn store near me gives free lessons on Saturday morning. You do have to buy your needles and yarn from them but its not too expensive. They also have beginning knit classes. They are more expensive but worth it if you need something beyond youtube or a book.

I do like to support my local yarn stores. I try to buy from them instead of the internet most of the time. The exception is when I cant find something.

Also are anyone of you on Ravelry? I dont do much on the forums there but I do get patterns from there. If you want to friend me, my screen name is shewearsfunnyhat. I use that handle quite a bit. Its a throwback from my aol 2.0 days.

I just started, and am on ravelry, so sucked in right now it is ridiculous!!! I'm nitrot150

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  • 5 months later...

I'm trying to learn but I'm rather clumsy and impatient, so it's not a great success. If I do manage to figure it out, though, I'd like to learn how to knit in that heavy Icelandic style, which is my mother's favourite. Just about everyone in the family has one of her sweaters!

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So i just found this little sidearm of the site! Had to take a break from all of the molesting news. I am generally a jolly and snarky person, but The Boob and J'Uterus have pissed me off.

Anyway, yes, YouTube is fantastic. Ravelry is a treasure trove as well. I have found out that my local Senior Center has a group that knits weekly. Everyone, age 6 to 106 is welcome. I will start going soon! I love listening to the stories from older people. ☺

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When I first started learning, I checked out every knitting book from our tiny town library and picked the best advice from each book. Each one explained everything a bit differently, so if one explanation didn't help me, another book was right there. Youtube is awesome, I second (or third?) the suggestion of ravelry. Lots of my yarn stash was given to me by people; they found yarn from abandoned projects, they developed arthritis and could no longer knit, or were moving. My mother will also buy yarn she likes and ship it to me, saying "Make me something cute." Now that you've started a yarn craft, the yarn will find you. And you'll find it on literally everything.

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This is something that I wish I would've done when I was first learning how to knit, but I was too intimidated to do it: join the local knitting guild. I picked up so much from them-- and there was ALWAYS someone willing to help me figure something out. I thought it was going to be filled with a bunch of old grannies, and it was, but also younger people, but the grannies were doing some interesting stuff. I learned not to discount them. My favorite part of the guild meetings were the SHOW and SHARE which I think is pretty standard in meetings where everyone holds up their WIP.

I belonged to knitting groups, which were great fun, but the guilds have the gauranteed expertise.

I learned my basic knit and purl from a LYS, and then used Barbara Walker's Knit a Afghan or something to learn as each of the squares of the taught a different technique...but the whole process would have gone faster if I were in a guild.

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