View Full Version : First time scarf - need your insight :)
10-15-2009, 10:26 PM
Tomorrow I'm headed to purchase my first knitting supplies, and have never knitted an inch in my life. I'm interested in creating a scarf as my first project, but have never been attracted to the look of one solid rectangle. http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:om9SLs0y0JDs4M:http://www.happyfew.us/pictures/albums/Knitting/first_scarf.jpg
Is there a way to create something less chunky/solid as a beginner? Or is there a required solid-rectangle-scarf initiation for us all? :)
I hope to one day be able to knit lace, but in the mean time, are there any simple ways to add a little variety to a first-time scarf?
Thank you for reading :)
10-15-2009, 10:55 PM
Have a lot of fun! And I hope you love knitting as much as I do. :)
This was my first knitting project not quite a year ago. (http://www.craftstylish.com/item/30358/how-to-make-a-cable-knit-scarf-in-a-weekend) I'm headed back in to the UK, where the scarf is stored and I'm not sure if I'm looking forward to seeing it (mistakes and all) again or not. :)
10-15-2009, 11:29 PM
I can only say that... for my first scarf I just kept knitting in garter stitch (knit every row) until it was done. It looks god awful, but luckily my partner isn't opposed to wearing it to walk the dogs on cold winter days.
I think the very most important thing is to not have really high expectations for your first knitting adventure. As a good friend told me when I had just started - it's only yarn. Who cares if you end up with 5 feet of hole-y lumpy mess. I personally found it easiest at first to just knit until I got the hang of it and could see the mistakes I was making.
I started just about 2 months ago and I'm working on my first lace-type project... so of it's totally doable!
Maybe one day I'll post the scarft that starts small at one and and doubles in size by the other... holes and lumps and twists and all ;o)
10-16-2009, 08:52 AM
Lots of people try more ambitious things for their first project. You just have to know your own learning style. For myself, I basically just knit up a bit rectangle, using an entire ball of yarn. It ended up not begin big enough for anything...but, I considered it a learning experience, and it was great practice for getting my tension right.
All that to say, I don't recommend doing a "nothing" project, but the advantage of doing something that is mostly garter stitch to begin is that you aren't trying to learn too many things at once.
But lots of people are *good* at learning several things at once!
There are no rules and no knitting police...so go for what you feel comfortable with!
10-16-2009, 09:58 AM
Most people need some practice to figure out how to "read" knitting, that is, know where you are, what you're doing right and wrong, what to look for. There are a few who can jump right in and make it work first time, every time, but that's a rarity.
If I were teaching you to knit, I would suggest getting a pair of US 8 (5mm) 10" straight knitting needles. (Straights are the ones that you think of when you think of knitting needles. The other 2 kinds, which you DON'T want to start with, are Double Pointed Needles, which are 6" - 8" long and have points at both ends and come 4 or 5 to a pack, and circulars, which are 2 needle tips connected by a long cord.)
For the yarn, worsted weight, in something like Lionbrand Woolease, or Patons Canadiana or Classic Wool. There is a little drawing of a skein of yarn on the label, with a number in it, and you want the number "4". I recommend these yarns because they are just smooth, regular yarn, no fancy slubs or tweeds or puffs added. Those are hard to work with when you're just beginning.
I know you'd like something fancier, but if you decide to start with a basic scarf, which I would high recommend, I'd just cast on 20 stitches and then knit every stitch in every row (meaning, no purl stitches. Doing this is called garter stitch.), keep going until it's several feet long, and then cast off. It's a great way to really get comfortable with the knit stitch.
10-16-2009, 10:34 AM
I disagree that you shouldn't start with circular needles. They're actually easier to manuever than straights because the needle part is so much shorter. That's why so many of us quit using straight needles and use circs for most or all of our knitting.
Jan in CA
10-16-2009, 11:46 AM
I agree with Sue, nothing wrong with circular needles. It does take some thought to turn them so you're knitting on the other side, but it's not hard and I find them easier than straights.
10-16-2009, 02:13 PM
Yeah, it's funny -- over a period of about 40 years, I tried to teach myself how to knit. I always bought the cheapest needles and the cheapest yarn and I always tried with a stockinette or garter stitch scarf.
This despite the fact that in a long career working with textiles in one form or another, I knew I was a fabric and tools snob and love things like lace and texture. It wasn't until I tried a cable scarf with huge needles and huge yarn that I realized how much fun knitting was, that it wasn't necessarily as boring as one mind numbing stitch for hours on end, and that the tools didn't have to drive you out of your mind with frustration.
So I'd cast on, knit for about 12 inches, and then it would sit there until I threw out the entire thing from sheer embarassment. (Once I kept a scarf on the needles for about five years before throwing it out.)
If stockinette stitch or garter stitch just isn't what you want to do, don't do it. If it is, great, because doing a good long project of basic stitches can really help you figure out your tension and other issues before moving on. But there's no rules about how you have to learn and knit, and no knitting police, so remember that the important thing is that you enjoy the process, or you won't keep going!
I'd agree with the "use whatever needles you fancy" camp. I have some beautiful Lantern Moon needles that I love but I know I will probably never ever use them unless I go out of my way to do so. I'll probably give them away some day when I can bear the thought. :)