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Watching an experienced knitter knit

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I don't know anyone who knits so I have been trying to eeek by on my own with the help of people here on the 'ville through my posts.

 

However, tomorrow I'm heading to Texas where my niece who is a Baylor student and an avid knitter is going to give me hands on knitting instructions.

 

Since this is the first time I get to actually sit with a person who knits and learn as much as I can in ONE SINGLE DAY.... I'd like some input from you experienced knitters to find out what you would have her teach me. I feel absolutely stupid knitting. So un-coordinated, balancing the needles against my stomach when I do each stitch, I just want to make sure I learn whatever you all think is MOST important to learn.

 

Any and all suggestions are appreciated. Any specific stitches? Techniques?

 

DOnna

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I would have her show you how to fix a dropped stitch, how to increase, decrease and yarn over. I am not sure quite how to put this but I would have her show you the dynamics of a stitch. For example, if you know how a stitch should look on the needle or what happens to the slant when you make a cable, then you can catch problems like sometimes when you frog a row...which direction would you place the yarn loops back on the needle. My friend lives far away and has no one to show her either so she calls me and when I try to explain, it is very hard for her to see it and does get frustrated when I tell her there is a right and wrong way to have the loop on the needles.

 

As far as being un-coordinated, you should have seen me try to learn to use 5 needles at one time. I got a headache from not breathing. In no time at all I was speeding away and breathing fine. The best advice is practice, practice, practice.

 

Enjoy your visit and have a wonderful holiday!

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Good point about how to fix a dropped stitch and putting them back on the needles. I have no idea how to do it and it would mean I would think about ripping the entire item up and starting over again.

 

I also wonder how far you have to insert the needle through a stitch to do the next stitch. On the video's it always seems they don't have the larger pointed needles I'm using so I always feel I have to push my needle through all the way before I can do the stitch. In the video's it seems they just put the needles barely through because the width of the needles are about the same size as the point / tip.

 

So no recommendations about stitches to learn?

 

Come on. Please. I won't see another "knitter" live in person for years to come.

 

Donna

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Donna, have her show you continental knitting (holding the yarn in left hand and "picking" at the yarn with right needle) and the "throwing" version (holding yarn in right hand and using right hand to "throw" yarn around right needle). I'm left-handed, and continental knitting felt much, much more natural to me. (Which is strange, since I crochet left-handed with the yarn in my right hand. I would have thought I'd prefer to also have the yarn in my right hand when knitting.)

 

As far as how far to insert the needle, only long enough to comfortably grab the yarn and pull it back through the stitch. For me, probably less than 1/2 to 1", depending on the size of needles I'm using.

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I second having her show you her knitting style(s). If you are perching the needles on your tummy in order to stabilize them I suspect you are throwing by taking your right hand off that needle each time you do a stitch. I started trying to learn that style, too, and quickly realized I had to use the middle finger of my left hand to support the right needle against the left or the whole mess would drag toward the ground, even dropping stitches on the way. Continental or Combination knitting are definitely quicker and in the long run easier, in my opinion. Hopefully she knows these.

 

Not knowing your friend, please emphasize for her to SLOW DOWN before you even begin. I've seen people try to explain something and they go so lickety split no one could possibly keep up. Simple, but important.

 

Repairing those dropped stitches is something which took me forever to catch. Good idea, morehotcoffee.

 

Also you might demonstrate your cast-on method to her and have her help you with it or maybe another, easier way than what you currently do. A friend of mine had to have someone cast on for her before she could knit a stitch; that's pretty limiting. She finally made herself learn how.

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I learned on my own so I HIGHLY recommend having her show you how to put it all back on the needles if you accidently get the needle pulled out. HIGHLY RECOMMEND! and fixing mistakes. all the stitches you can learn online later lol

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Okay so I've got the gist of what you experienced knitters think is important.

 

So it was just me that has to balance the needles against my stomach to wrap the yarn to do the stitches? I only have to do that I think if I am knitting becuse purling I don't think I do it.

 

What about some basic stitches. I figured out how to do the K2tog but can't figure out how to do one in front and one in back. Or is that too advanced to have someone show me?

 

With crocheting, to me most stitches are sc, dc, tr, dtr, hdc, ch and a few variations. What about with knitting? Anything that you feel is BASIC besides knit and purl and maybe YO and K2tog?

 

I'll log in from TExas when I get there to look to see if anyone has ideas.

 

THANKS TO YOU ALL FOR YOUR WONDERFUL INPUT!!!!!

 

Donna

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For some reason, I could not wrap my head around psso, or pass slipped stitch over. I had to watch it on knittinghelp.com something like a million times. So if you know k2tog, maybe ssk (slip, slip, knit) would be good to learn also, to balance your leaning stitches knowledge.

 

And I learned how to cable really early on, and it wasn't nearly as hard as I thought. In fact, it was quite simple. And learning it early was such a shot int he arm--I thought, gee, if I can do this already, I can learn this other stuff.

 

Good luck! Patty

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So it was just me that has to balance the needles against my stomach to wrap the yarn to do the stitches?

 

I've never seen anyone knit this way, maybe your friend can show you how to knit without doing this.

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Doesn't the Stitch and B**** author (whose name I am totally blanking on this moment for some reason) say in the first book that she knits with one needle held in her armpit? I say, if it works and doesn't feel awkward, don't change. That's just one more thing to try keeping an eye on. But, if it feels weird, try mimicking your teacher. I suspect that as you get more comfortable and more proficient at knitting, you'll find what fits best in your hands.

 

Patty

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Doesn't the Stitch and B**** author (whose name I am totally blanking on this moment for some reason) say in the first book that she knits with one needle held in her armpit? I say, if it works and doesn't feel awkward, don't change. That's just one more thing to try keeping an eye on. But, if it feels weird, try mimicking your teacher. I suspect that as you get more comfortable and more proficient at knitting, you'll find what fits best in your hands.

 

Patty

I think in some small subcultures in Europe people are taught this way, with a long needle held under the armpit. Just like any other way, those who are proficient in this method can really go fast with it.

 

SnB was done by Debbi Stoller.

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I think in some small subcultures in Europe people are taught this way, with a long needle held under the armpit. Just like any other way, those who are proficient in this method can really go fast with it.

 

SnB was done by Debbi Stoller.

 

How interesting! I've never heard of it before this thread.

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I've never seen anyone knit this way, maybe your friend can show you how to knit without doing this.

 

When I knit, often times I find myself with the right hand needle balanced on my leg and, apart from wrapping the yarn, my left hand is doing all the work... I don't need to do it that way (regardless of whether I do this or not I tend to come out the same) but it's the most comfortable for me in a lot of sitting positions.

 

 

For basic stitches other than what you've listed, I'd try learning about various increases, such as knitting through the front and back of the stitch. Don't be afraid to ask about things that sound hard either. One of the first things I learned to do after learning to knit was casting on in the middle of a row. And the only hard part about cables is following the written instructions. Cables are much easier than most people seem to thing they are.

 

What I'd really suggest learning about though, would be to see how wrapping your stitches differently can change the "direction" of the stitch on the needle. It's really useful to know that wrapping this way will cause you to need to knit in the front of the stitch and wrapping that way will cause you to need to knit in the back of the stitch. For years I wrapped "backwards" (compared to most knitting instructions) and all my purl rows were very hard to do (I knitted through the back loop, so wrapping backwards had no effect on my knitted stitches). Most of my early stuff has an every other row twisted texture to it. Not that that's bad. ;) Once you learn the structure of a stitch and how wrapping affects things, it's so much easier.

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Okay. I'm here in Texas now. Tomorrow and the next day I'm going to really try to learn all the "stuff" you all mentioned. If you come up with anything else, please post some ideas and we will try to accomplish everything in one or two days.

 

Donna

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:cheerI have not read every post on this thread but wanted to add my 2 pence worth.

 

I would ask your would-be tutor to teach you to knit with Circular needles.

 

You do not have to balance anything anywhere when you knit with Circulars.

 

You still knit and purl your rows as with straight needles, but the weight of your knitting is held on the cord between the knitting bits.

 

My first suggestion, as to what she should teach you, if she knows how to do it, is to Cast On using the Cable Cast On method, how to knit and purl evenly and how to cast off.

 

Once you have mastered these things, the rest will take care of itself.

 

For casting on, just cast on lots and lots of stitches, then knit a few rows and cast them all off. (You can then unravel it all and use the yarn again)

 

For the knitting and purling, just cast on about 20 stitches and knit lots of rows, them purl lots of rows and you will see that, other than the first changed row, both form exactly the same fabric.

This is called Garter Stitch.

 

Then learn to knit one row, purl one row.

This is called Stocking Stitch.

 

This way you will recognise that Stocking Stitch rolls up and Garter Stitch does not.

You will also see how different the length and width of the same number of stitches and rows can be when using the 2 different stitches.

 

My last and best bit of advice is to "Relax, Relax, Relax"

 

Have fun.

Colleen:hug

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You asked about how many stitches there are in knitting. There are only two - knit and purl. Everything else is a combination of those two stitches.

 

I would have her show you how to make all the different kinds of increases and decreases. Those can be tricky at first. Also have her show you kitchener stitch which is really easy but can be hard to grasp by following written directions when you are just beginning. Have her show you how to seam. Finishing is as important as the actual knitting.

 

Have her show you how to set up on DPNs which again is easy once you get the hang of it but can be awkward when you're learning.

 

Good luck! Have fun with your lessons!

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Well I'm back from Texas and I'm quite disappointed.

 

I did learn how to use circular needles. I did learn how to knit in the back, front and again in the back. I did learn how to use dpn and found it very confusing and am scared to even try it again LOL.

 

I did drop a few stitches and she helped me put them back on.

 

HOWEVER our time that I thought we would have together for knitting was cut short. I need to see where to post for a local knitter in my area of Northern Kentucky.

 

One thing my niece did for me though was she took me to my FIRST yarn store. A real, actual store that sold only YARN and needle craft items and I freaked out!!! I've only been to either a Walmart or Joanns or Michaels. I ran around looking at all the balls of wonderful yarn. So many makers, manufacturers or whatever you call it that I had either never heard about before or had just not seen.

 

The store was filled with about 25 ladies all over the place because there was an after Christmas sale. Everything was on sale and I didn't even look at the price tags. I knew my space was limited in the suitcase to bring home so I selected carefully.

 

I did get some Ironstone yarn, Lorna's yarn, Linie 195 Candia and couldn't believe I was actually paying that high of prices for yarn. I know they were on sale but wow, never knew yarn was that expensive.

 

Santa was great to me also and gave me every single size of LIGHTED crochet hooks, every single size of LIGHTED needles and a yarn ball winder!!!!!!!

 

So where in Crochetville would one post that they are looking for knitters in the Northern Kentucky area? I didn't learn hardly anything.... arggggg!!

 

Donna

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Well I'm back from Texas and I'm quite disappointed.

 

I did learn how to use circular needles. I did learn how to knit in the back, front and again in the back. I did learn how to use dpn and found it very confusing and am scared to even try it again LOL.

 

I did drop a few stitches and she helped me put them back on.

 

Donna, I don't think that is too bad for one day, honest! And the yarn shop is a wonderful revelation if you've never been to one before! :D Amazing fun, aren't they? I, at least, wasn't sure how much time you would have anyway and just tossed some things out. If you and she had managed to do everything that was listed on this thread (and remember it later) you would be quite a prodigy, in my opinion. Take a deep mental breath and realize that most people have to spend a long time developing their skills.

 

Also, do you have a good quality how-to knitting book? My personal favorite is Knitting for Dummies by Pam Allen, who used to be the editor of Interweave Knits. Maybe you can check some how-to books out of your library before you buy one in order to see which one makes the most sense to you. And do put Knitting Help on your favorites if you don't already have it there. This site is invaluable because it has short videos of important techniques both for beginning and advanced knitters. They move slowly, explain as they go and don't get tired if you play them 50 times a day. ;) Finally, try to locate a real yarn shop or two near you in Kentucky. If you buy yarn from them they will pretty much always give you the help you need as you learn. Some shops even hold classes for different levels of learners. Alternatively, community colleges will sometimes have knitting classes in their lifelong learning curriculums.

 

So these are several ideas for you. I'm sure other people can come up with lots more. And good luck!

Edited by HomekeepingGran

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One more thng, I did get an entire hat completed in that time we had together. Used an entire one of those expensive balls of yarn. It was the tiniest amount of yarn I had ever purchased. I kept telling her that there was no way that this tiny ball of yarn (50 g) ball was going to make the hat and sure enough I had a tiny bit left. What I didn't know when looking at the outside of this tiny ball was that the pretty colors I saw on the outside of the ball were NOT what was inside the middle of the ball.

 

Look at these two pictures.

 

The small amount of yarn I had left was what I saw on the outside and the reason I bought it.

 

3144583025_5f50460031_m.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

3145411056_214ec4518a_m.jpg

 

I just don't know why I didn't stick my fingers inside and look at the yarn. I thought it was ALL the colors of the outside which looked lke groupings of blue and fuschia.

 

I'll never do that again. At the top of the hat you see where the blue actually starts.

 

So in one way I kind of felt ripped off. Is this normal with these small balls of yarn to find "surprises" inside of them?

 

Donna

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Well, it's a lovely hat and the colourway is very pretty anyway. May I ask what you paid for a 50g ball? I ask because it's a German yarn and I'm just curious to see how much it costs in the States!

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Well, it's a lovely hat and the colourway is very pretty anyway. May I ask what you paid for a 50g ball? I ask because it's a German yarn and I'm just curious to see how much it costs in the States!

 

First let me tell you the name of the Yarn Store I went to. It was called the "Woolie Ewe" in Plano Texas.

 

Now to your question. You're not going to believe it but I peeled the price tag off so I could see the name of the yarn in the picture and now can't find the price tag. Knowing me it was about $6.50 but could have been more.

 

I also bought some Ironstone Color Changes that are made in italy for $6.50 for a 50 g ball.

 

I bought some Lorna's Shepherds Worsted Superwash Wool for $18.00 for one of those twisted looking skeins. Not sure what you call it when it looks like one large circle of yarn.

 

I think the most I paid for a yarn was $26.00 a skein. Is skein the right term when it looks like a big pretzel shape?

 

Donna

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Beautiful job on the hat...:cheer

I have a LYS near my home and I know there are a few of the ladies and gents who meet at some of the local coffee shops and the LYS also has open WIP day on Sundays.

Keep on working you'll be a pro in no time :D

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Hello Donna,

Thank you for answering - just pure curiosity on my part, that's all! I've long had the suspicion that yarn in the USA is a lot less expensive than over here, certainly the standard acrylics are so cheap compared to what we have. That Linie yarn is about $5.60 a skein here (according to the online currency converter) so what you paid is not terribly expensive when you figure in the cost of customs and transport and everything.

 

I'm so glad you had fun in the yarn shop and well done on your self-control! I would've (and have) left clothes behind to make space for yarn :lol:lol And goodness knows I don't need to: I have three - yes, three - great yarn stores with all kinds of specialty yarns within walking distance of my store. (The only reason I'm not bankrupt is that I avoid them where possible.)

 

My knitting still looks like something a bag of cats fought over, so I think your hat is fabulous!

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Donna, I think your hat is fabulous, too! It doesn't look at all like the beginner you say you are! What a bummer that the colors worked up differently from what you anticipated. I would love to visit the Wooly Ewe sometime but rarely stop in Plano on my way to see grandchildren in Ft. Worth! You make me want to make a trip just for yarn, LOL.

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:manyheart I love your hat! I've never had that happen to me, I can see why you feel ripped off, although it is a lovely color.

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