Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Learning to knit...

It's been at the back of my mind for a while, I'd like to learn to knit! Well, I can do a mean garter stitch and even a stocking, and maybe a rib, but I have cardigan ambitions! Readicut are putting together a new catalogue and I'm a little inspired, just need to decide what,  which yarn, and importantly, when! Still, it's too hot to think of cardis at the moment. But any advice foe a nearly-new beginner would be gratefully received!


  1. Hi Debbie....knitting is a great stress free hobby, although I do many other crafts, knitting is always my go to craft for relieving stress.
    Knitting clothes is very easy, just break it down into smaller sections like your sewing and then it wont be so daunting. When practicing patterns I like to knit a baby jumper first ��
    Oh and being a fairly new knitter try learning continental because after a while all that throwing the yarn in english knitting makes your arms and shoulders hurt ��
    Good luck and enjoy ��
    Heather x

  2. I've been knitting since I was about 6 years old everyone did in the 1950s. My advice would be to go for something fairly simple. Lots of patterns look more complicated than they are though. DK or chunky knit up fairly quickly. Sleeves are the most boring bit, why not start with a short sleeved cardie? I think I would probably start with a child's one as well.

    I have a book called "900 Stitches Patterns" published by Mon Tricot which I often refer to. It shows pictures of the various stitch patterns and gives very clear instructions how to create them. I often use it to design my own patterns. Its out of print now but you may find one second hand,.

    My Daughter-in-Law is a psychologist working with elderly people and says she has found that knitting does work as a stress reliever and she recommends it.
    Annette x

  3. Hi Debbie

    Wow! My chance to thank you for all your help by passing on some knitting tips as I only started knitting 18 months ago! These tips , if I read you right are for someone like I was, who could do the stitches but then wanted to actually make a useful, wearable piece of clothing. Even if they are a bit beneath you they might help another person.

    I agree with Sew This and That, find a reasonably easy pattern and just go for it! I didn't follow the 'knit scarves' school of learning. Read a couple of easy patterns and get used to referring to a glossary and understanding what it's asking you to do. Then look for something you want to knit. Magazines, yarn manufacturers websites, whether a free pattern or paid for. I used Ravelry.

    Annette is right about its therapeutic quality (like all craft) and not just for mental health and well being. Stuff takes me longer to do but I love to knit and crochet, My hands are becoming arthritic but because I use them I keep them 'oiled'. Plus theres the actual pleasure of achieving something.

    I'm actually looking at some baby patterns at the moment while crocheting a summer top as I have an 8 mnth old niece and my cousins wife is expecting soon. Knitted baby and toddler gifts are quick, good practice and well received. Ironically, I now WANT to knit scarves- a football scarf for my brother and an intricate shawl for my mum.

    I'd agree to learn continental method especially as if you want to knit using many colours it's a lot easier and yes it's less movement. But don't despair if your method doesn't look like what books or youtube say. If you get results and you find it comfortable, go for it. My fingers/ hands don't quite work like other peoples so my technique reflects that but my tension is always accurate.

    Your dressmaking background will help as you understand about fitting, ease, drape, increasing and decreasing are just like darts to help things fit. It's also a sofa sport so you can sit with hubby/ partner/ kids and knit or crochet while watching tv. It doesn't take long before you can concentrate on both!

    If I were you I'd look for a beginner pattern you like in Aran weight, Chunky weight or super chunky weight. Avoid fuzzy yarns as they are harder to unravel if you make a mistake (learners trait I'm afraid), search for "easy ?????? weight cardigan" & look from there. Get a good knitters "bible"- I have 'The Knitters Bible" by Claire Compton which has patterns where you learn a new skill each item, theres definitely a fitted sweater pattern in there.. Great stitch glossary etc and out there at a great price if you search. Stitch markers, row counter, pencil, pad (to note what row you're on when you put down) are essential. If you find a pattern and the yarn suggested costs a fortune, look for alternatives of same weight by comparing the needles used and the number if stitches in a swatch, often listed on a webpage. Always make a swatch before you knit and I find I buy my needles as I need them.

    And my last top tips. Ripping back the stitches and redoing taught me more than any book or video. This is the practice, not a failure (I know of people who gave up because this was too disheartening for them) and always count the stitches on the needle at the end of each row. It's easier to go back half a row than 5 rows!

    Lastly, enjoy the challenge, the chance to learn and the finished garment! Yarn is addictive though (like fabric). You have been warned!!! I now use patterns as a basis rather than a rule, changing sleeve or body legnths, ease etc. The more I learn about sewing it applies to knitting and crochet and vice versa. I think you'll be a natural ;-)

    Phew, big waffling post but not easy to explain in short! Have fun Debbie!!!

    Love WheelyBad xxx

  4. There are only two stitches everything is just a variation on them and just remember it is Knit and Pearl not plain and pearl or when you read the pattern you will get confused with the P's

  5. My tip would be to knit a tension square before you start knitting a garment. If you don't knit to tension, any garment you make will be ruined before you even finish it! Good luck!

  6. The others have given a lot of great advice - all I'd like to add is I do both sleeves at the same time so they end up the same length, and cardigan fronts at the same time too, for the same reason. Good luck!

    Deborah x