View Full Version : Disheartened, any advice?

11-10-2006, 08:18 AM
I am a newbie knitter, so far, i have knitted a baby blanket and 2 baby hats. The 2nd of the baby hats i completed just looks so bad, i had so many problems trying to get the size right (never did really get it right). I don't want to give up on knitting, but i feel like i'm :wall: There are so many things that can make a pattern go wrong, i only own 2 pairs of straight needles for a start, then i can never find a nice pattern (that i'm able to do) because i can only read the simple knitting language. Also i tend to buy some wool that i like, then try to find a pattern, which i'm guessing now is totally the wrong way around?

11-10-2006, 08:52 AM
First, we ALL buy yarn that we like (well, 99.9% of us) and then have to decide what to do with it. That's a normal thing.

Having only 2 pairs of needles limits you, too. In order for the size of the finished object to be the size the pattern says it will be, you need to match your gauge--number of stitches per inch--that the pattern has, and to do this you need the right combination of needles and yarn thickness.

One thing you can always knit no matter what your yarn and needles are scarves. You can practice techniques, use your yarn and needles since gauge isn't critical. They can be a 'sit and knit' project or a learning experience.

Dishcloths are good to mess around with, too, since there are so many that use different techniques.

So hang in there--knitting really IS fun and satisfying (as is yarn collecting :teehee: ).

www.knittingpatterncentral.com has a huge collection of free patterns from all over the net. Take a look at them. I'm sure you'll see something that will strike your fancy.

If you find a pattern that you'd like to make but don't understand the pattern, come here and ask--there's always someone around to help.

11-10-2006, 08:52 AM
As a fellow newbie, all I can say is that you should look at each project as a learning experience and try not to worry about whether it comes out perfect or not. This is what I keep telling myself anyway!

My attitude is that I started knitting last month as a hobby and to relieve stress, so I am going to enjoy the ride, even if it gets bumpy once in a while. And I of course am really looking forward to when I become a proficient enough knitter to knit some of the things that I am dying to try out!

And I went out and bought pretty yarn, and then hunted for an easy pattern to use it with too. I guess that's kind of backwards...but also kind of human. :hug:

Hey, where in Germany do you live, if you don't mind me asking?

11-10-2006, 08:54 AM
We all have projects that don't end up like we'd envisioned them. Especially if skill level and expectations are not on the same wave length. :teehee:

When I was perfecting my craft, I knit alot of small projects to try different stitches, techniques, etc., to find what worked for me. Made lots of dish cloths in the beginning. It's a great way to try things out. There are lots of patterns for them. http://www.jimsyldesign.com/~dishbout/kpatterns/knitting.html

It might be helpful to set aside some money and each pay day get another set of needles. Many people buy yarn and then find a project. IMHO, that's an iffy proposition because one never knows (especially in the beginning) exactly how much one will need and finding more can be a problem, depending on the yarn. I search through pattern lists, find something I'd like to make and then get the supplies.

Knitting like everything else requires practice. We all have loose and dropped stitches in the beginning as well as uneven rows and a million other mistakes. As time goes on we perfect the mechanics of knitting and then can branch out to the more complicated combinations of stitches to create intricate patterns.

Read over patterns to see if you can understand them. When you get to a roadblock, ask for assitance here as to what it means. Read as many posts here as you can so you begin to get a feel for what is being discussed and enhance your knitting vocabulary.

Oh, and get used to frogging your work and starting over. It's a process we all (even seasoned knitters) go through on a regular basis.

Don't be so hard on yourself and don't give up. In a few weeks you'll have jumped over the brick wall and feel more confident.

11-10-2006, 09:09 AM
Hey, where in Germany do you live, if you don't mind me asking?

I'm in Munich. We've lived here for 15 months now. I can get a bit lonely/bored during the day, then my Sis in law recommended knitting to me - she is an ABSOLUTE genius, i've never seen anything so detailed as the baby blanket she has knitted for my baby (who is due in 19 days) ... i will post a pic when i have the blanket here.

I want to thank you all so much for taking your time to reply to me. :muah: My confidence really grew with my first 2 projects...i've been able to knit for years, but not been able to correct my mistakes which made finishing anything nearly impossible. Also, everything tended to be a square as i wasn't sure how to increase/decrease.

I have some wool, and some new needles to try, and the winters here can be REALLY cold, so i think i feel a scarf coming on...

I don't want to have lots of needles i never use though, so which needles do you guys advise getting (like a basic supply to start from)? Only this morning Hubby rang me and told me there is a wool shop fairly local to us too (they aren't so common here as back home) so i will be able to go and browse and figure out what i need before i start my project.

Once again, thanks so much everyone xx :hug:

11-10-2006, 09:21 AM
Listen, I am a knitter who is a newbie and has known how to knit for 40 years. I hate to say it, but the only way to get better is to work at it. The more you increase, the better and easier it is, the more you cast on, the better and more even the stitches start out, etc. One thing I had to learn is PATIENCE! Knitting is one of those things that even experts have tear outs once in awhile. If you have to tear something out, just do it and start over. Scarves can be a great way to practice like they said and a great way to fool around with stitches because you can make all these kooky patterns just by practicing and someone will really be impressed with it when it is all practice stuff! You hang in there and just keep at it. If funds prevent purchasing new, try the used stores and see if they have needles you can buy. I know when I gave it up and got rid of all my stuff several years ago, :shock: I gave Goodwill about 20 prs of needles, a bunch of pattern books, stitch holders, the works. :crying:

11-10-2006, 09:39 AM
Knitting Lingo isn't so hard. I printed the list from this site and then made notes on it that made it easy for me to use. I find the more I knit the less I have to look at that "cheat sheet".

And by the way... :hug: Please don't be discouraged. :hug: Knitting is a beautiful craft, an art, really. It teaches you beautiful things.

The best way I can think to describe it is in the first post I made on my knitting blog:

I have met so many good people since I started this endeavor. Sometimes I think my life so far would be different if I had learned to knit earlier. Oh, well... no point in looking back. You can't frog your past. Look ahead. Look towards the yarn. Design a new pattern for your life. Keep an eye on the big picture, but remember to pay attention to the short rows. Thats where the shaping takes place. Patience, patience, patience. These are the things knitting teaches you.

11-10-2006, 09:59 AM
I'm still very much a beginner, but this site has been so helpful! Yarn recommendations, pattern trial and tribulations, needle recommendations and some of the worst enablers around! :teehee:

I've made a few dishcloths as practice--they make great swiffer covers and dustcloths whether or not they have a dropped stitch or if they are not quite even.

It's really a matter of the more you practice, the more you learn. I try to keep an easy project and a more difficult learning project at all times. I've knit a swatch and made a mistake intentionally so that I could learn to correct it. Still not really great at this, but I don't cry anymore or rip out the entire project when I find a mistake, so I guess I'm improving!

As for the needles, buy one of the interchangable sets so that you always have the size you need. I hate when a pattern will say use a 7 and then I might need a 6 or and 8 to get the correct gauge! I'm starting to collect the Options set. Maybe someone can smuggle a set into Germany for you.

Also...I like the basic hat "recipe" on Crazy Aunt Purl's website. It explains how you can make a hat using any yarn in any size! http://www.crazyauntpurl.com/archives/2005/06/easy_rollbrim_k_1.php

11-10-2006, 11:06 AM
Don't get discouraged. It took me a couple of mistakes to get over myself and just knit for fun and use each piece as a learning experience. I'm a new knitter (started in late Sept) and have made some really nice stuff but have also made some stuff that made me laugh. Keeping a sense of humor helps, let me tell ya'. For instance, just this week I learned the painful truth about checking dye lots as I added another ball of yarn in a completely different shade to my almost completed sweater. Yep, I have a big glob of funky yarn now finishing the top of my sweater. It looks like crap but I'll wear it around the house anyway and the experience taught me to check dye lots on everything now! Once I got over the I have to be perfect attitude, my knitting actually improved alot.

11-10-2006, 12:29 PM
Hi there Kniki

I can't really add anything to what has been said - all of it is great advice - please don't stress out about mistakes - you wouldn't expect perfection from someone else so why expect it from yourself? Besides, you've so much to look forward to at the end of this month!

I find the best place to buy needles is ebay uk - I'm very old-fashioned and have always done English-style knitting with Aero needles. So far, I've bought from three lots UK ebay sellers and they have been wonderful (both the sellers and the needles).

I've got two complete sets in mint condition and last week I bought a few sets of DPNs The price doesn't break the bank and you usually get a really good assortment of sizes. Sending them to Germany won't be a problem.

Getting into a tangle with your knitting isn't always such a bad thing - I ended up developing a new type of stitch marker mainly for lace knitting because I got fed up of making spiders' webs (and they didn't look exactly fetching in pastel shades).

Right now, I'm really battling with those metal DPNs - they go everywhere but where they should and I nearly took out the hubby's eye the other day but I'll get it right sometime (soon???????????????)

Take care of you and little one.

All the Best


11-10-2006, 01:49 PM
Hi Kniki-

I am a newbie as well, and completely understand your feelings. I taught myself to knit, but just didn't seem to "get it." I eventually realized I was being waaaaaaay too much of a perfectionist; any stitch that didn't look perfect resulted in the entire project being undone. After a few times of that, I just about gave up. Recently, though, I started again, and it was literally like having the light go off in your head - major breakthrough!!! I found this site, and watched some of the videos, which made me see what I was doing wrong and how to fix it. I also started experimenting, and found that a lot of things that I thought would just be too hard (cabling, fancy stitches) really weren't - they just required patience! Also, I discovered that I do MUCH better if I am working on a couple of projects at once. That way when I get frustrated with one, I simply pick up the othere, instead of giving up altogether. And finally, I gave myself permission to make the world's lumpiest looking scarf, baby hats that would fit my 6'1" brother, and the tightest ponchos ever. :)

Anyway, the point is that it may sound trite, but if you hang in there it will get better. Oh, and please don't be afraid to ask questions - I think I have asked some of the dumbest ones EVER, and the folks on the board have been super nice!

11-10-2006, 01:53 PM
I really am so glad i found a site with such friendly, helpful, understanding people. Thank you all so much x

Pink Dandelion
11-10-2006, 07:18 PM
Donít give up! Thereís really a big learning curve. The more you knit the better youíll get at understanding the patterns. I would suggest you knit lots of dishcloths! You can never have too many! There are lots of free patterns around for them and the patterns can be fun to work. If you mess up on such a small project it takes much less time to work back to a mistake. Also if you work some dishcloths in simple lace patterns, or a bias knit dishcloth, itíll help you learn basic increases and decreases on something that doesn't matter so much.

I tend to use a US 7 (4.5mm) needle for dishcloths with a cheap worsted weight cotton like Lily's Sugar and Creme or Lion Brands "Lion Cotton" bought when I see it on sale.

I think that Amy has a video on here for how to tink back, thatís the first thing you should learn about fixing mistakes! Once you work back to where the mistake is by unknitting (tinking) a little past the problem, then itís as simple as just re-knitting those rows and carrying on from there! The more you knit the more you'll be able to quickly recognize what went wrong and where.

If you mess something up on a dishcloth, but donít want to undo and fix, it doesnít really matter because itís made for work not show :mrgreen:

As far as the different needle sizes, there are hardly any of the US sizes under a 12 or so that I HAVENíT used for some project or other. Iíve even occasionally used a size 17, 13 and 15 but those were all very rare cases.

What needle sizes you use most, largely depend on what you like to knit most, and these are all just my personal choices (I do use other sizes too these are just the ones with the largest amount of use):

For socks I most often use sizes US 1 (2.25mm), US 1.5 (2.5mm), and US 2 (2.75mm) (with these little sizes the small increments do make a bigger difference than youíd think - especially where socks and sock yarn are concerned.) All of these are Double Point Needles (or DPNs), you can also make socks on 2 circulars or 1 long circular and use the magic loop method

For gloves and other smallish or fine knit items I like a US 3 (3.25mm), also in dpn, if it's knit on striaghts on that small a needle it's usually small enough to fit on a 7" DPN, so I use 2 of the set like straight needles and put point protectors on the unused ends, then I have DPNs for gloves or other items as needed

For scarves, dishcloths, sweaters, and other items knit with worsted weight yarn I like a US 6 (4.0mm), US 7 (4.5mm) and US 9 (5.5mm)
Again I tend to use these all in DPN, the same way I use the 3s, for a larger project that won't fit on such a short needle, remember that you can always use circular needles in place of straights.

And for felting I use a US 10.5 (6.5mm) (these I have as DPNs and circulars because I make a lot of felted bags)

Another option would be to start buying needles as you need to for a specific pattern. Eventually you'll get a colletion of needles probably in the sizes that you personally use most.

OR - order something like Knit Picks Options (http://www.knitpicks.com/needles/Needles_Options.aspx) they don't come in the set any smaller than a 4, so you buy individual DPNs or circs for the smaller sizes. But I don't know what they international shipping is like, if they have any at all, so you'll want to look into that.

11-11-2006, 05:31 AM
Dumb Q - What are Double Pointed needles, and circulars? ...oh and Whats worsted wool?

11-11-2006, 09:20 AM

Double points are just that, they have a point at each end of the needle instead of the little knob at the end. Circular needles have a needle shaft than a skinny tube of plastic attached then another needle shaft. You can "knit in a circle" with the circulars because the stitches slide onto your little plastic shaft and around to the other needle instead of knitting off one needle and on to another. I have double points, one set and have only knit a pair of mittens with them so don't have much experience with them. With circulars, the "longer" the plastic shaft between the needle the bigger the project you can do.

I am including a couple pictures to help you see what they look like. I will let someone else explain worsted wool and what they use their double points for!

Hope this helps!


11-11-2006, 09:24 AM
Oh thats great thanks nonny2t!