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Artchic528 04-18-2013 04:44 AM

Total Knitting Novice!! (Help Needed!!)
Hello fellow knitters!!

Out of sheer frustration over learning how to knit, I've found and joined this site. Maybe you more experienced knitters can help me. I've been able to cast on easily. I can almost do it without thinking about it now. However, when it comes to knit stitching the first row, I've failed miserably time and time again. I am seriously at wits end. I've literally started over again and again, more times than I care to remember.

I am using 10 US 6.0mm acrylic needles (which I've heard are good for beginners) and some lavender/lilac colored acrylic yarn from Caron. I don't know if its worsted weight or not as the label doesn't say. Probably not. Is this a good yarn to start out with? Its nothing fancy, just a plane medium yarn. Whatever that means.

I am going to watch those "Knitting for Beginners" videos on this site, as they are free and I can use all the help I can get. In the meantime, anyone have any advice to help me from tearing all my hair out? Bald really isn't a good look for me.

salmonmac 04-18-2013 05:54 AM

Sounds like you're starting out with good sized needles and a medium weight yarn should be fine too. The yarn band will have a number in a drawing of a skein of yarn that'll give you an idea of the weight class and also a number of stitches in 4 inches that'll help classify it. Acrylic yarn is a bit less stretchy than wool so it may be slightly more difficult to work with but not a major problem.
What cast on are you using? Some are more difficult to knit into than others. Long tail is a good one to use in general for appearance and ease of cast on plus it's easy to knit the first row. I'd say, keep going even if the first row isn't perfect, even if you create holes or add stitches. The videos are very helpful and you will get it perfectly. Meanwhile, keep your hands on your needles and out of your hair!

Antares 04-18-2013 09:23 AM

Welcome to KH and to the wonderful world of knitting.

Trust me, knitting isn't always going to be this frustrating; otherwise, none of us would do it no matter the end result.

Are you having trouble getting your needle through your cast on stitches? If so, you might try casting on with one size larger needle; then move your stitches to the smaller needles and begin your first row of knitting.

Perhaps you keep dropping the yarn as you try to pull the loop under the needle and through the cast on edge? If so, I can sympathize with that. It took me a long time to figure out how to maneuver the needles to get that yarn where it needs to be (years, actually, because I would pick it up and put it down again with months in between tries). This is all part of the learning curve of knitting, so while it's frustrating as all get-out, you have to realize that it's quite normal. There will come a day when it's a breeze--more practice, though, until then.

And lastly, acrylic needles tend to be very slick, so your yarn will zip around without your permission. You might try bamboo needles, which are more sticky. I believe Clover bamboo needles are readily available at Michaels and Hobby Lobby (at least in the U.S.).

GrumpyGramma 04-18-2013 11:59 AM

The only Caron yarn I can think of that I would never recommend for a beginner is Simply Soft. It is harder to work with IME, will split more easily and frays quickly. Because it is so soft is is just harder to work with. Other than that, watch the videos and try different cast ons. If you can explain a bit more about your trouble in doing the knit stitches we might have some insights. Hang in there! Finally seeing those stitches is like magic and you'll have many hours of enjoyable knitting to look forward to.

Artchic528 04-18-2013 12:51 PM

Firstly, thanks for your help, I can surly use it.

I am using the backwards loop cast on as I've heard its great for beginners and I've found it the easiest to do. I guess what the real problem is, is that the yarn slips around a lot and that I am not keeping the stitches loose enough to work with.

I just now tried it again for the umpteenth time and I think I've got it. :woohoo: I just needed to keep the stitches from getting all twisted and keep them on the bottom of the needle while I am working.

According to the label that was on the skein, it says that its "medium 4" on the skein picture and 16 stitches per row and 20 rows in the 4 by 4 inch square picture.

GrumpyGramma 04-18-2013 01:05 PM

The backward loop cast on is easy to do, hard to knit into. Try the Long Tail Cast On and maybe the Knitting On Cast On. The long tail cast on is easy to work and easy to knit into. With the knitted cast on you're really making knit stitches as you go and will be more familiar with them when you knit your first row. Personally I would do the long tail for now. I think either will make your first row of knitting seem like a breeze compared to what you've been working with. Let us know what you do, which one works for you, and is it easier, OK?

Amy's How to Knit: A Complete Introduction for Beginners Part 1 would also be good to watch.

ETA: Your yarn and needles should be fine together. For now don't worry about your stitches per inch (gauge or tension) and just get comfortable making the stitches.

Jan in CA 04-18-2013 01:14 PM

Backward loop may be easy, but we don't recommend it. It'll only make you frustrated in the end. I use long tail, but the knitted cast on is good, too. Go to the videos and check the cast ons and knitting videos.

Artchic528 04-19-2013 02:12 AM

I've tried and tried my hardest to do the long tail cast on but I am having great difficulty with it. I much prefer to use backwards loop.

salmonmac 04-19-2013 05:03 AM

That's not unusual. If you'd like an easier cast on to work with, try the knit cast on that GG linked to instead of long tail. It has the benefit that it uses the motions of the basic knit stitch to cast on so you're practicing knits even as you're casting on. It's also an easier one to knit into than backwards loop so that first row won't be so difficult.

Dclutterchique 04-19-2013 05:32 AM


Originally Posted by Artchic528 (Post 1375266)
I've tried and tried my hardest to do the long tail cast on but I am having great difficulty with it. I much prefer to use backwards loop.

Have you tried doing the Thumb Method of the Long Tail Cast On? Its way of working is only one step on from the Backwards Loop so you may find it easier to do than the 'sling shot' method where the yarn is laid over the thumb and index finger.

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