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Learning To Knit
Advice please
sosoatsewing
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sosoatsewing
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OH USA
Member since 9/22/04
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Date: 3/4/10 9:56 PM

I'd like to learn how to knit. I live right down the street from a knitting shop that has nice yarns and offers lessons.

My question is to learn to knit properly, which would you advise; taking lessons or buying a good knitting book and teaching myself? I am a person who usually can visually learn from books; have taught myself sewing, and hand needlework from books.

Another question I have is about patterns. I have looked at quite a few and while some are marked as beginner/easy, intermediate, etc. others I have seen (and liked) aren't marked at all. How can I recognize a beginner /easy patterns that is not marked with the skill level? Are there certain things I should look for to recognize the differences in skill levels in unmarked patterns?

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Brother CE-500PRW, Singer 347,Singer 413, Singer 66, Singer 404, Singer 4622, Electrogrand,
Kenmore 158.17570, Kenmore 158.10400,
Viking Huskylock 901.... and several others

A seam a day
Keeps the blues away

EleanorSews
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EleanorSews  Friend of PR
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In reply to sosoatsewing


Date: 3/5/10 0:00 AM

First, I am not a super experienced knitter but have done my share of cables, open stitches etc.

For a beginner, my suggestion is lessons so that you learn the proper way to hold the needles and yarn. If you are not doing so properly, your tension can be either too loose or too tight. Also, little things like knowing not to form the stitch on the points of the needles but to be sure the stitch is on the fullest part of the needle to pull it tight is important. IMO, a basic class beats attempting to unlearn bad habits latter in life. Ask me what has led me to this conclusion....

As for how to select a basic or beginner level pattern, keep in mind that all knitting is done one stitch at a time and it will either be a knit or purl stitch. These are varied by how the yarn is placed or by knitting stitches together or adding stitches. So, be not afraid. That said, your first projects probably ought to be primarily done with a stockinette stitch (one row knit, one row purl, etc.) or a simple design where knitting and purling are used. Avoid openwork or lacey looking designs until you have done a bit of knitting. Look at the directions and if you see a lot of yarn overs and pass and slip etc., it probably is something to avoid until you ahve more experience.

Take a class. Your first project, ante up the bucks and buy your pattern and yarn from the shop where you take the lessons or if your lessons are thru a Rec-Ed program, go to a yarn shop and buy supplies from someone who will be able to help you. It really is worth the investment the first time out. After you get a feel for what you are doing, you can buy online and save some $. I can't stress enough how much useful assistance you can get from most yarn shops. If you ahve access to more than one, visit, chat and see who you like best.

HTH

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"We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." Anais Nin

"Attitude is the difference between an adventure and an ordeal." unknown

Katharine in BXL
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Katharine in BXL
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In reply to EleanorSews


Date: 3/5/10 5:56 AM

I second that, Eleanor! A local knitting class would be a wonderful investment. Knitting friends are also very helpful. Tini and several other members showed me how to cast on and knit over PR European Weekend in November, and a girlfriend here in Brussels helped me brush up my technique over a few visits to the café. I kept the book 'Knitty Gritty' (NAYY) on hand to refer to when knitting at home. Good luck!

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DD Jan 2010, DS Aug 2011: busy!
http://eurasianlocation.wordpress.com/

C_M
C_M  Friend of PR
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Date: 3/5/10 7:42 AM

I learned to knit well from books - but not on the first try! I was successful with a Leisure Arts book geared for pre-teens called "Cool Stuff! Teach Me To Knit." Each skill is accompanied by a project, which I worked through in order. I then picked up a booklet of dishcloth patterns, and worked those in order as well, to practice basic skills. With the help of an indispensible handbook called "The Knitters Companion," I was then prepared to tackle any project. I read a lot, so while I was learning to knit I skimmed many of the knitting books at the public library to pick up the technical language and get some other perspectives on the craft.

I cast on with needles two sizes larger than I plan to use for the project. That has solved all my tension problems. Don't neglect to swatch!

How you hold the yarn and needles is very individual. A class might help, but isn't strictly necessary.

Hope that helps - and happy knitting!

threaddy
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Date: 3/6/10 1:56 AM

Yes a lesson is well worthwhile. I would recommend learning the Continental method...not the American...there is a lot less throwing the yarn around. Once you learn a method it is hard to unlearn it. Casting on has many variations as well. I knit everything and am a long time knitter. It is really relaxing. It is an awesome skill to have which will bring you joy for your whole life. Personally I would start with an afghan with various stitches. That way,if your gauge is off, who cares? As you knit your fingers will get used to the motion and you will develop your own gauge in time. At that point you can start on sweaters and such. My favorite sweaters are the ones I've knitted...they are so way far above and beyond the quality of anything I have EVER seen in the stores. Hand knit throws are wonderful to have too. Then there all those neat new scarves and hats!!!! Then you will have a hard time deciding whether to knit or sew!!!PS In the Idiot's Guide to knitting and crocheting on pg.57 they say "Continental knitting is a different type of knitting from what you are learning in this chapter. In continental knitting you catch the yarn using the needle; you don't use your hand to drape the yarn over the needle. Continental knitting is an incredibly fast and efficient way to knit, but it's often hard for a beginner to learn easily." That says it all...if you will be knitting your life long...learn the hard way and enjoy that fabulous click click rhythm and the speed. ( It drives me nuts watching someone knitting the "American" way with all that yarn flying around...but everyone here does it that way) Good luck!

------
"The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem." Theodore Rubin
"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life's about creating yourself." George Bernard Shaw
Dan 9:24-27

Bernina vintage and computerized, Bernina and BL sergers , BLcoverstitch (a stray Pfaff and Viking followed me home too)

threaddy
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Date: 3/6/10 2:12 AM

In additon use circular needles and as you start your needle "stash" look on-line for Addi Turbo's / man do those needles fly!!! Bamboo needles that everyone loves are a bit "sticky" the yarn does not slide off very well which results in less speed and a bigger gauge. Trust me...I haunt the knitting stores and try it all!

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"The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem." Theodore Rubin
"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life's about creating yourself." George Bernard Shaw
Dan 9:24-27

Bernina vintage and computerized, Bernina and BL sergers , BLcoverstitch (a stray Pfaff and Viking followed me home too)

CurlySu717
CurlySu717  Friend of PR
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Date: 3/6/10 9:37 AM

Classes are a good way to go. I have also found YouTube videos extremely helpful and there is an abundance of them. I taught myself how to knit and purl, but I was knitting for several years before I took a class and was told I wasn't knitting but knitting through the back loop...whoops!

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"To love another person is to see the face of God!" ~Les Miserables

www.lillianbettyandsibyl.blogspot.com

Everyday Sewist
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Everyday Sewist
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In reply to threaddy


Date: 3/6/10 9:50 AM

Kristensews quoted Idiot's Guide to Knitting and Crocheting:

Quote:
"Continental knitting is an incredibly fast and efficient way to knit, but it's often hard for a beginner to learn easily."


You know, I've heard this a lot and I've always been baffled by statements like this.

I learned to knit when I was about 6-7 years old. An older relative showed me to knit using the continental method and as far as I knew, that was the only way. It took me maybe 5 minutes to pick it up and knit a few rows.

Fast forward 25 years to the knitting resurgence. A friend of mine offered to show me how to knit (I'd forgotten by then). I turned her down because she wanted to show me using the American method and it seemed so inefficient to me. (Why on earth would you want to move your hands so much?) Unfortunately, this means I still haven't picked up knitting again.

So I honestly don't think one way is more difficult than the other. It's all about what you're used to and how easy it is to find someone to teach you. I'm glad to hear about the YouTube videos because I know that all I need to do is watch someone do a few stitches and copy them just like I did when I was a little girl.
threaddy
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threaddy  Friend of PR
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In reply to Everyday Sewist


Date: 3/6/10 10:36 AM

You are right. It took me no time to learn this method...but since everyone "says" it is more difficult I thought I just was different. Maybe that is just the "myth" that is passed around.

------
"The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem." Theodore Rubin
"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life's about creating yourself." George Bernard Shaw
Dan 9:24-27

Bernina vintage and computerized, Bernina and BL sergers , BLcoverstitch (a stray Pfaff and Viking followed me home too)

sosoatsewing
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sosoatsewing
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OH USA
Member since 9/22/04
Posts: 1249
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Date: 3/6/10 10:52 AM

Thanks for all the good advice. I'm going to stop in the yarn shop down the street from me and sign up for their next beginner's class, just to be sure I get a goood start on this. I'll be sure and ask them what method they teach.

I just looked at their website, and I see they have recently added fabrics and sewing classes as well. Hmm, this could be interesting (and expensive) since this shop is only 1/4 mile from my house!
-- Edited on 3/6/10 10:52 AM --

------
Brother CE-500PRW, Singer 347,Singer 413, Singer 66, Singer 404, Singer 4622, Electrogrand,
Kenmore 158.17570, Kenmore 158.10400,
Viking Huskylock 901.... and several others

A seam a day
Keeps the blues away

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