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What I’ve Learned While Teaching Myself to Knit

March 26, 2010

There are many wonderful resources out there that can teach you how to knit. I don’t want to rehash any of that information. Instead, here is a quick list of things I found helpful. They may be “duh!” comments to those of you who are seasoned knitters, but they weren’t very obvious to me when I began. So here it goes:

  1. Pick a simple yarn to begin. When I picked up knitting needles for the first time, I used a boucle yarn, which is a thin, bumpy, and irregular yarn. I’m sure it’s fun to work with once you know what you’re doing, but it is very easy to split or drop stitches when using it. Pick a smooth yarn in a color you love to begin.
  2. Don’t knit too tightly. This is something I’ve never seen in a book before, but would be mentioned when learning from a teacher. I wrongly assumed that the knitting needed to be tight in order to have small stitches. This caused my progress to be very slow, since it took forever to knit a stitch. Size is determined more by needle gauge than tight stitching.
  3. If you find knitting cumbersome, try the Continental method. I learned how to knit in the English style (with the working yarn in the right hand), which I found tedious. When I discovered the Continental method (yarn in the left hand) everything fell into place. I’m essentially a lazy knitter, and I found the Continental style to be more efficient.
  4. Learn a few techniques at a time. This one seems obvious, but I would look at a complex sweater pattern and think knitting was way too hard. Begin with a simple scarf, where the only techniques you need to learning are casting on/off, knitting, and purling. Learn how to increase/decrease in your next project, then move on to more complex things like lace/cables. Pick quick projects at first, like hats, socks, handwarmers, or tea cozies. Once you know the techniques, then move to bigger projects like sweaters.

Once you get started knitting, it’s so hard to stop! I’ve already completed another project, which I hope to post about soon.

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