View Full Version : AT MY WITS END!!!

01-26-2009, 01:54 PM
I canít knit. :cry: I thought I could and I really tried but Iím never going to be any good at this. Not even simple patterns. Over the weekend I tried out an easy ribbed scarf. I frogged that thing so many times it wasnít funny. If Iíd ever gotten past 10 rows Iíd have put a lifeline in it but Iíd mess up way before that. I kept losing count and putting the wrong stitch in the wrong place. I split that wool so bad Iíll probably have to toss it. I had some gorgeous cotton yarn from Knit Picks and I canít knit with it. Canít find the stitches because itís a boucle and Iím splitting it up to pieces. Worse than that, I just got a pair of Knit Picks Options circulars in the mail. Iíve been dying to try them out because Iíve heard such good things about them. Thank goodness I didnít get the whole set at once. I canít do a thing with them! I hate them! I must be the only person on the planet that canít use them. I can do the knit stitch ok w/them but purling is impossibly difficult (I was knitting flat w/them). My arms and hands hurt SO bad after trying I had to put it down. I get so stressed and tense while trying that I can hardly breathe and my jaw hurts from clenching my teeth. This is not relaxing! Iím going to get an ulcer. Can you tell Iím discouraged? I am doomed to garter stitch scarves and Grandmotherís Favorite Dishcloth on straights forever.

OH BOY did that rant feel good. :blooby: Now to go eat something I shouldn't.

01-26-2009, 02:04 PM
I'm glad the rant helped.

Remember there are plenty of other crafty things you can do - you could spin, or crochet, or weave, or do cross-stitch. Not all crafts are for everyone. Personally, I love quilts. I love the way they look, and I love the weight of them when I snuggle under them. I hate quilting. I keep wondering why anyone would cut up perfectly good cloth just to sew it back together again. I CAN quilt, I just hate it. So (no pun intended), I just do other things.

FWIW - boucle is tough to work with. I prefer straight needles. And when I first started ribbing, I kept ending up with gobs more stitches than should have been there. But if you don't enjoy it - it's just not worth it.

01-26-2009, 02:26 PM
I think you're trying too hard. I don't mean that in a bad way either.

I had that problem with hubby's "Jesse's Flames" sweater, the one I just this month finished and started about 2 years ago...lol...The sweater really was so insanely easy, however, that was the very first sweater I had ever knit and I was trying to concentrate so hard that I kept making mistakes.

I frogged the sleeves I can't even count how many times and got so incredibly discouraged with it. That's really why it took about 2 years to complete. I'd get so upset with it that I wouldn't even look at it for months at a time.

Finally, one day, I just told myself I was going to do it...I didn't care how many times I messed up after that, I was going to conquer that sweater! And, I finally did. I completely organized everything, had my book in place, the copy of my chart so I could cross off rows as I finished them, paid close attention to when I needed to make my increases, and, wasn't lazy with the intarsia (previously I was too lax about it and tried to carry yarn over too much and ended up with huge gaps, or, stitches that were way too tight which caused the sleeve to pucker).

If it's something you really want to do, maybe just try a little break from it. For now, stick with what you're comfortable with until you just have that feeling you're ready to move on and conquer something new.

I also have a little "mantra" going through my head when I do ribbing...If it's 2x2 ribbing, I repeat, in my head, as I'm knitting: knit 2, purl 2...I say the word knit on the first knit stitch, and the word two on the second knit stitch, then, purl on the first purl stitch, and the word two on the second purl stitch. It really comes in handy because I've caught myself in the middle of a purl when I know I should be knitting a stitch and vice versa.

If you notice you're tensing up, set the knitting down and walk around the house for a bit or call a friend or relative, or, if you need to do some dusting or vacuuming, do that and when you're done, sit back down in a relaxed position and try again. You may also want to practice on a yarn that's easier for you to use. Maybe a light colored worsted acrylic until you get used to doing the stitches.

Also, ribbing, to me, looks pretty crappy until you get about 2 inches or so into it and you can really start to see what it will look like. I started another sock last night and the cuff of the sock is rib stitch. I was swearing up and down I had done something wrong (though I've been doing rib stitch for years) because it looked terrible. I thought for sure I had messed up somewhere. However, after about an two inches into it, it looked like it was supposed to.

Jan in CA
01-26-2009, 02:47 PM
When you are learning to knit it's best to stick to plain yarns and many people find it easier to use straight needles at first.

Just take one stitch at a time. Practice the knit stitch till you can do it w/o thinking about it. Then practice purling. THEN try putting them together.

We ALL had a hard time when we were learning. It's not comfortable or relaxing till you get used to it. Your hands and body are tense while you concentrate.

Hang in there. It WILL get easier. :hug:

01-26-2009, 03:07 PM
I agree with Demonica and Jan.

The more expensive the yarn, the increased number of mistakes.

You're putting too much pressure on yourself and you're too tense which is why your arms and hands hurt so bad.

For the yarn splitting, what size needles are you using? generally when the yarn splits it's because the needles are too small or too pointy. I didn't "get" knitting when i first tried it.... my first project i frogged and then crocheted the yarn into granny squares... about a year and a half ago I picked it up again and took my time, and it just clicked. I started with the Weasley sweater from Charmed knits (2 feet of stockingette stitch... dull and boring but I did learn how to do the stockingette stitch very well!).

What about working on something from the warm up america website? you could do the different stitches they have up there for afghan squares and then stitch them together, and have a throw :)

my advice is to put it away for a while, then when you're more relaxed and not so stressed pull it out again.

01-26-2009, 03:14 PM
I think you just took the words out of every beginning knitters mouth!
Really, we all have our own stories of whipping things across the room, frogging until the yarn is unworkable, etc.....
sit down and knit garter stitch for a while. get your confidence back up before you move on. Or just knit garter stitch forever. it's still knitting!:roflhard:

Jan in CA
01-26-2009, 03:58 PM
sit down and knit garter stitch for a while. get your confidence back up before you move on. Or just knit garter stitch forever. it's still knitting!:roflhard:

EXACTLY! And there are lots of garter stitch patterns...everything from scarves to sweaters to afghans!

01-26-2009, 04:15 PM
Here here! I agree with all of the above. Walk away from it for a bit...or start on another project with plainer yarn. Boucle yarn is beautiful, but it is harder to see the stitches. After you do another project or two (or none), you'll come back with renewed interest and energy to get through it. It is as the saying goes, "practice makes perfect." Or in many of our cases, practice makes things easier.

01-26-2009, 05:01 PM
Speaking as a brand new and very slow learner of knitting myself (it took me a whole year to 'get' the purl stitch), I TOTALLY understand what you're going through.

I understand the need to rant about it too. It helps blow off the steam. What I want to know is this: do you, despite how hard it is, want to keep learning to knit? Do you like it even if it is hard? Does it make you happy? If yes, then keep going. If not, don't punish yourself by making yourself do it. The reason I do it because despite what a tough time I'm having learning, I still enjoy it and want to learn more. It's a hobby, a way to unwind, not a way for me to get more stressed out. If you see it the same way, then just take a breath and keep going. Knitting should be a source of joy, not frustration or misery. No one is making you do it. You have no deadlines hanging over your head except those you make for yourself.

I have times when I'm feeling SO frustrated, I want to snap my needles in half. I keep trying to learn the seed stitch lately but all I'm going is making a gigantic tangle of yarn. :( I just put them down and say no more for today, go and read a book or watch tv or cook or make myself some tea, whatever. If you've reached a dead end, quit for a while and get away and come back when you're re-grouped.

Best of luck to you!

01-26-2009, 05:04 PM
Boucle is not a good yarn for a beginner, especially if you are trying to also learn to manipulate circulars.
I picked up a number of boucle and slub yarns years ago because I thought they were pretty. I still have some of them because I don't like knitting with them. Now that I have discovered one piece sweaters I am forcing myself to use them up making tops. I just yesterday finished a top down tee done in stockinette using an acrylic/linen slub yarn and I'm tickled to get it off the needles so I can knit something I'll enjoy.
Find a nice smooth yarn that works with your new needles and try again.

01-26-2009, 05:11 PM
Been there done that! Don't worry you are not alone in your frustration. I agree with all the advice that came before. Just take a break, come back to knitting later, don't be too hard on yourself, take things slow. :wink:

01-26-2009, 05:21 PM
Oooh, and cotton on top of that. :) Cotton can be very difficult to work, because it isn't as springy and stretchy as wool. Add boucle on top of that? Yeeks! ;)

I personally have come to the conclusion that it took me literally 45 years to get knitting to be something I wanted to do badly enough to get past the learning stages is that I am totally a fibre and tool snob -- I only made silk wedding dresses, for instance, because I think everyone ought to wear a totally silk dress at least once in their lives, as it feels like you're wearing clouds. And I've gotten used to buying and using top-quality tools, from scissors and snips to top-of-the-line sewing and embroidery machines, because that was my work and my business. So what did I do when I started learning to knit? Well, I used cheap tools and cheap acrylic yarns.

Now that I look back at that, I can only think...what was I actually thinking?

Don't worry. Just keep going, if it's what you want to do. The only way you won't get there is if you stop trying to get there. :)

01-26-2009, 06:59 PM
Iím quite a bit calmer now than I was before, lol. I took the whole day off to try to get in some quality knitting time so I guess I was kinda angry with myself for wasting a day. In the heat of the moment, I didnít think about putting it down for a time, maybe a day or two, and to come back fresh. It really is the best thing to do. I CAN purl, Iíve done it before on straights. Itís not perfect but at least I can do it. I just canít do it w/the circulars and I shouldnít have pushed myself so much. I know how to put a project down and walk away. Iíve done it enough times in crochet. BTW, the pretty cotton boucle yarn is not a total waste. Iíve found I can crochet with it. :) I will try a nice smooth yarn next. In two days, lol. In the meantime Iíll have a nice funeral for that poor wool that I tore up. ;)
What I want to know is this: do you, despite how hard it is, want to keep learning to knit? Do you like it even if it is hard? Does it make you happy?
YES! Except when I screw up, lol. Iíve wanted to learn to knit for YEARS and now that I can almost do it, Iím losing patience with myself.

Thank you very much all ye with patience. You guys are awesome. See you in 2 days where I will either learn to knit with the @@##&&!! circs or youíll see me post them for sale, ha ha. At least Iím not tempted to throw them out the window anymore. :mrgreen:

01-26-2009, 07:06 PM
What everyone else said. :)

I really agree about getting a smoother yarn. Heck, I've been knitting almost 10 years and I still don't like using boucles and a lot of novelty yarns. Also, get a yarn in a fairly light color--it's hard to see your stitches in black yarn. Another thing to consider is the material your needles are made out of vs. the material your yarn is made out of. If you have slick yarn, use bamboo or wood needles as the stitches won't fall off as easily. If you are using hairy or 'sticky' yarn, metal needles would probably work better.

Some people like really big needles to start with (I learned on size 11s). I actually think that around an 8 or 9 is a good size to start with. I think that using really big needles right away can be as awkward as using the smaller ones.

ETA: I was just going to add that I recently taught a couple of co-workers to knit, and I had them start with a ball of Patons Classic Merino. You can get it for about 5 bucks a ball at Jo-Ann. It's 100% soft merino wool with a lot of yardage (around 220 per skein), and it's nice and smooth and not too splitty. If you are allergic to wool or want to use acrylic, I recommend Caron Simply Soft.

Jan in CA
01-26-2009, 08:33 PM
Knitting and purling with circs is really no different than straights. It just takes practice. I wouldn't sell them. There will come a time when you want to make something in the round and you'll be glad you kept them. ;)

01-26-2009, 08:39 PM
Don't give up. Everyone tenses up at first and has trouble with the stitches. Just relax and enjoy whatever you do. Frogging is a BIG part of the knitting AND learning process, so DON'T give up. We all go there. I do it every time I start a new pattern, even a simple one, such as the February Lady Sweater has been giving me a headache, but I think I'm over the hurdle and I've frogged several times!

So really, don't think it's just you.

Stick to easy yarn to work with, maybe get some cheap acryllic or cotton which doesn't cost much and doesn't split to practice and get comfortable with. Also, use whatever needles you feel comfortable with, put away the KnitPicks for now if you don't and do whatever feels right and fun to you now. Move on later.

Also, do you knit English or Continental? I CAN'T knit English, but Continental is soooooooooo easy for me. So check out the videos here on KH, they will help guide you and help give you confidence and answer some questions too.

Then, there's the great KH group to help any time you need it! ;)

Hang in there!

01-26-2009, 09:07 PM
Even at my ripe old age (57) and knitting since I was about 9yrs old, I am not a fan of cotton because it does not 'slide' like wool does and boucle as well with its lumps and bumps and thicks and thins.....horror!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think Marria has the right idea, some nice wool and knit til you can do it without thinking. A bit like learning to drive, practice until it comes naturally. Then tackle the cottons and boucles and fancy yarns. Good Luck!

01-26-2009, 09:10 PM
Oh no! I feel for you, I really do. Seriously, if knitting is just making you miserable, don't do it! Really, don't let something you were only doing for fun in the first place get you so upset. If you do want to give it another try, I absolutely second (or third, or fourth) the comment about the yarn - start out with a nice, simple dk which lets you see what you're doing and doesn't try quite so hard to thwart you all the time! I've been knitting on and off for a few years and I'm still hesitant about trying anything other than dk (shows how confident I am!). The yarns you have sound lovely, so just put them away and you can look forward to using them when you have a bit more experience and confidence.

I've never used circular needles so I can't really comment but I know some people dislike them (of course, other people swear by them - I suppose it's a matter of personal taste). If you've never tried straights, I suggest you give them a go to see if they suit you better. Again, you might find that once you've got the hang of things, you may go back to your circular needles and love them.

If you want, have a quick look at my last post here http://www.knittinghelp.com/forum/showthread.php?t=88234, where I talk about how I learned to knit (the one about knitting squares). This was something that worked really well for me. It may not appeal to you at all, in which case, obviously, you should ignore it.

Most importantly - remember that this is all supposed to be FUN. The occasional bit of frustration is normal, but if you're not enjoying it at all (and certainly if it's upsetting you), stop - either for an hour or so, or permanently, whatever you think is right. I hope that knitting works out for you but if it doesn't, you will find the right craft for you soon, I'm certain.

Good luck!


01-26-2009, 09:12 PM
Just relax and knit something you enjoy. No one says that you have to knit complicated pieces. ENJOY!

01-26-2009, 11:19 PM
I agree with the others--choose a simpler yarn, such as acrylic. Try a bright color so you can see your stitches more easily. I don't use boucle or novelty yarns or Homespun because I don't like to work with them (not really crazy about the fuzzy yarns anyhow). Also, accept that there is a learning curve for some of us for knitting, people like me who are not naturally gifted at it. It took me weeks to get the hang of even simple stuff--I thought I'd never learn to purl. But I kept trying, and I can do it, not an expert, but competent. You can do this!

01-27-2009, 07:41 AM
You poor thing. Your story sounds similar to mine. I had crocheted for years and wanted to knit so badly I could taste it. While I was learning it wasn't a pretty site. I, too, concentrated so hard my entire body was tense, including my jaw. It was crazy! But I guess I was determined to get it b/c I kept giving up, cooling off and coming back to it. I finally got knitting and purling where it was comfortable, but I swear to you I did nothing but garter stitch scarves and dishcloths for a YEAR! LOL And it took me forEVER to learn to "read" my stitches. When I figured that out, it was like a lightbulb went on. Eventually, I started trying patterns and would learn something from just about every one - still do! After almost 4 years, I knit way more than I crochet and love it!

01-27-2009, 01:43 PM
I was just feeling these same frustrations a couple of days ago. I have a ton of boucle and cotton yarn. I dislike it so much. I am trying to destash and I have been working on some baby stuff with Bernat baby coordinates. I am so fed up that when I finish this hat, I going to donate the rest to Good Will. Maybe you should try a different pattern and yarn. I have a hard time with ribbing. I always seem to mess it up. I've looked at ribbed scarves, but I know i will only get frustrated. I will only rib if it's at the beginning of a hat about 1". And usually I rip it a couple of times.

After I finish my baby stuff (for an expecting mom), I'm going to practice different patterns, by making squares and then maybe I will make them all into a blanket. I believe then I will feel much better about my skills. I'm not giving up. I love knitting. I love seeing the end result. I love it when I give a knitted item to someone and they tell me how much they love it. All this makes the frustration and tears worth while.

I have the options and the harmonies and I love them. I sometimes don't feel so much love for the harmonies, I just prefer the metal. I find that when I try to use straights, I end up putting my project on the circs and using them to knit flat.

I hope you will keep trying, if that's what you want to do. I will be here in my knitting world trying too. We can make this journey together. We are not the 1st to go on a rant and we won't be the last. Good Luck!!!

I would also like to thank all the rest of the knitters that replied to Craw's rant. it helped me, too. That's why I keep coming back to KH, if I'm feeling it, someone else is and i learn form thier posts.

01-27-2009, 03:49 PM
I also feel your pain. I have been a knitter on and off for nearly 30 years. I still am not what I would feel much beyond advanced beginner. I don't seem to have the patience for harder patterns or SOCKS or picky yarns! I stick with smooth yarns, scarves, dishclothes, easy baby/childrens patterns, because they are quicker. A good book for someone who wants to just practice the knit stitch and not get bored, is Sally Melville's Book 1:The Knit Stitch. She also has one out with the Purl stitch. Tons of nice patterns and just reading her text is very encouraging and inspiring.

01-28-2009, 08:32 AM
(((Craw))) I feel for you! My DH laughs at how many times I frog a project....and sometimes I just don't, if it's not "too" bad a mistake lol! But I do love it and keep chugging along! Don't know what part of RI you are in, but there are alot of LYS's in the area. Someone there might be able to help! Are you on Ravelry? Check out some of the local groups - they have knitting nights at different locations (I did that a couple of years ago - they really helped me along when I got stuck - unfortunately, none in my general area now). If you are anywhere near Putnam, CT, the ladies at Woolworks are very friendly and helpful! If you enjoy it, keep at it....it will all come together!

01-28-2009, 12:20 PM
Margaret, where are all the LYSs? I don't know of even one. There used to be a couple by me in Warwick but they've closed down. I think there's one in Providence and one in Pawtucket but I'm not in those areas too often. I am on Ravelry. I will check and see if there's anything in my area. I didn't think of that! Getting together with people who know what they're doing is sure to help. Nobody in my family knits so I've been relying totally on the videos.

knitfan, thanks so much for the book recommendations! I've requested them from my local library. My branch didn't have them but they will send them from another branch. Can't wait!

Back to the drawing board. OTN: This scarf. (http://suzies-yarnie-stuff.blogspot.com/2007/02/my-march-scarf.html) On straights of course. :) The circulars can wait, they're not going anywhere. I've done this pattern before with good results. I'm using variegated yarn so my mistakes won't show up as much, lol. Thanks to everyone for your kind words. :muah: I just knew others had been through this. I guess I thought I was progressing too slowly. I see the fabulous things people knit here and some beginners can pick up the needles and *poof* out comes a scarf and hat set in a couple of days. I probably shouldn't compare my progress to others. I'm going to have to work at my own pace or this won't be fun like it's supposed to. :knitting:

01-28-2009, 12:42 PM
I agree with everyone . I have been knitting for about 6 years now but i was taught when i was a young girl .
I did so many things and frogged them but the worst was that everything i made for about 2 years was wrong but i did not detect it . I thought that the knit stitch was actually a purl and the purl stitch was knit . That was how i was taught by this greek lady when i was about 7. LOL
Well ! when i was looking on Youtube one day at a lady talking about the Knit stitch , i realised that i was doing it all wrong .

Keep at it and it may fall into place when you least expect it . And you do not want to then that is fine also :)

01-28-2009, 01:06 PM
LOL, Rita!!!

I probably shouldn't compare my progress to others.

Very wise, indeed. Just as in knitting, everyone has their own journey and their own things to learn, things no one else can learn but themselves. So in knitting, so in life. ;)

01-28-2009, 02:01 PM
Craw - check out the Ocean Staters group on Ravelry http://www.ravelry.com/groups/ocean-state-crafters- they post SnB's there - one in Cranston at Panera - and also some LYS's. I'm closer to CT/MA, so most of them don't work for me, but I bet one would work for you if you are in the Warwick area! Good luck and feel free to PM me if you have any questions....not too advanced but maybe could help you find some places!

01-29-2009, 12:03 AM
ITA that you shouldn't compare your own knitting progress to someone else's. Particularly not that speed knitter lady on the Knit Pick's site - I swear that woman is bionic or something. Either that or she was knitting in the womb. I have no idea how she does it! Here I've been fighting with the dang purl stitch again and my hand hurts and there she just goes on and on...

I'm glad you're feeling better about this, Craw. And thanks for the link to that scarf. Have you ever tried her condo stitch method?


It looks like a great idea, but I don't have size 35 needles. I'm wondering whether a size 10 and size 17 would get a similar result?

01-29-2009, 01:06 AM
Yep. The original condo patterns were a size 8 and 13 or 15. Those were for sweaters, but for a scarf you can go up a couple sizes.

Here's another wild scarf idea at the bottom of the page - http://www.knitivity.com/patterns.html - the The Magical Pull-It Surprise scarf.

01-29-2009, 08:06 AM
LOL Sue! I knew it had to be a dropped stitch scarf, but the idea of giving it to someone un-dropped as a gift and then letting THEM pull it is priceless! :lol:

01-29-2009, 12:36 PM
Yeah, going from 30-90". What a surprise!

01-29-2009, 02:25 PM
Don't worry it gets better! I think the biggest problem I had learning to knit (I've just started two months ago) was my hands/fingers cramping up. Which of course caused me to really screw up my stitches. As my hands got used to the motion I stopped making tons of mistakes in the stitches.


Flex your fingers and hands often when you're knitting.

Muttering unpleasant words relieves stress. As my husband says "It's not knitting till you're swearing!"

Small projects are good. Once you finish something you get that fun rush that keeps you going.

If a project is too frustrating or you realize you're a bit in over your head put it aside and start something easier. I hated not finishing a project till I realized it's not going anywhere and the end result will be better if I leave it for a later time.

Eventually you'll find things start clicking and you suddenly can't sit for 5 minutes without picking up your knitting. :)

01-29-2009, 03:59 PM
Has anyone knitted the Magical Pull-It Suprise Scarf? I have just printed it off. Looks interesting! Duh... of course people have knitted it, I should have read to the end of page 4. Got so excited about the scarf I forgot to keep reading.