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Old 01-03-2008, 12:14 AM   #1
Ribbing the Cuff
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So discouraged... beginner trying to knit scarf.
Hi. Figured I'd post because I thought maybe some of you might have some tips. I'm trying one of the beginner scarfs from the patters on this site. I have size 11 and size 9 needles. Tried them both with several types of yarns (a type of whisker I think is what the patter was using). I never get past the second row... took me forever to get there too. Everything's either too tight, too loose, or just funky in general. I think I'm getting lost in all the crazy yarn. I tried some regular yarn and then I have the problem of everything being too tight.

I used to knit with mom when I was little. About 20 years later, I can't do this at all. It's very frustrating. I had hoped my first real post here would be one of triumph but instead I'm whining.

Grrr... I think I even have a blister on my index finger now. That's going to be fun at the office tomorrow!
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Old 01-03-2008, 12:44 AM   #2
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Never try to learn to knit on fuzzy, floofy yarn. Go find some nice smooth yarn and practice for a while. Use the 11s, they'll be loose with worsted weight yarn, but you won't have tight stitches and it won't matter - you're just practicing. Cast on, knit every row several inches, then add a purl row and alternate with knit a row, purl a row and do that for a few inches. If you want, you can practice decreases and increases (look at the videos here). If you want to venture further, try ribbing, which is using both knit and purl sts on the same row - k4, p4. Above all, if you think you've messed it up, don't rip out, keep going, it will get better and you'll probably figure out how you messed up (you can ask here) and learn how to avoid it. There's nothing more frustrating than doing the same thing over and going nowhere. Your tension will even out with practice, you just have to practice.
sue- knitting heretic

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Old 01-03-2008, 12:47 AM   #3
Ribbing the Cuff
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Don't be discouraged. I'd suggest putting aside the pattern and just getting into the mindset of "fooling around with yarn and needles" for a while. Just make a few squares. Take some cheapo basic yarn and your needles. Practice knitting, purling, garter stitch, stockinette stitch, a basic rib (knit one, purl one or knit two, purl two). When you're pretty solidly refreshed on those basics, keep with the cheapo-yarn and practice the pattern you're going to use. Then, begin the pattern.

Remember that the first few rows are the hardest, and don't be afraid to start over. (But, give it more than a few rows before deciding that you need to start over.)

Also, make sure that you're not knitting on the points. When you push your needle into the loop, push it completely in. If you knit on the points all the time, you're going to get too-tight fabric.

Other than that, remember that we've all been where you are now, and nothing but practice ever got us past that point. You'll be fine. Just remember to relax and that it's supposed to be fun.
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Old 01-03-2008, 01:12 AM   #4
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I agree, styrch. Just relax, and take it slow. Knitting should be fun, not a pain.

Maybe you're trying to learn a different way from what your grandmother taught you. Just try different things, and then it will all come back to you.

Maybe you should start with a smaller project, instead of a scarf.

You can try using different yarns and different needles. You can also try changing colors, or mixing different yarns together. It will be fun!

A headband or a dishcloth would be easier and quicker to make. Or even a small coaster.

Here are some simple patterns to start with:

Headband: Cast on 10 stitches.
Knit every row, until the headband fits around your head.
Bind off and sew the ends together.

Dishcloth: Cast on 40 stitches
Knit every row until it is a square.
Bind off.

Coaster: Cast on 15 stitches
Knit every row until it is a square.
Bind off.

Good luck!
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Old 01-03-2008, 01:45 AM   #5
Ribbing the Cuff
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Originally Posted by Shandeh View Post
Maybe you're trying to learn a different way from what your grandmother taught you. Just try different things, and then it will all come back to you.
OMG, that reminds me! When I tried to teach myself how to knit out of a book a few years ago, I was sooooo frustrated because it just wasn't working. I found another book, discovered and tried the continental method, and everything just "clicked".

I honestly don't even remember learning to knit from my mother or sister (though I do remember working for just a while on a never-finished baby hat for my nephew). But, somehow, something apparently stuck which made continental more "familiar". Sure, I still needed practice, but I could see a light at the end of the tunnel.

My point (oh yeah, that ): have you tried knitting both ways?
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Old 01-03-2008, 02:08 AM   #6
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If the ndls seem too long and unwieldy, you can even try knitting with plain yarn and a couple pencils. Just CO a few sts, work on stitch tension, Ks, Ps, etc. Once you get the basics mastered, shift to the larger ndls.

Keeping to the knitting basics
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Old 01-03-2008, 02:28 AM   #7
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Hi! I'm a fairly new knitter too! I can say that having needles that are too long can be a pain. I actually had to go out and buy myself some shorter needles because the ones I was knitting on were too long and I got frustrated, I'm doing much better now that the needles are 9 inches long instead of 13 inches. So maybe you can try using something shorter? The pair of pencils someone suggested sound like it could work, or maybe some chopsticks? I always wanted to try on some chopsticks, can't find one I'd like to use though :D
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Old 01-03-2008, 01:22 AM   #8
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I agree with everything the others have told you and will add one thing. Do not try to learn to knit with black yarn. Pick a lighter coloured yarn so that you can clearly see the stitches as you are knitting them.

We have all been there. When I was learning, there was no such thing as internet (or not that I know of anyways). I had to keep on trying and messing up, and then trying some more until I got the hang of it. Pick a nice worsted weight yarn or even a chunky yarn to learn on. This way your stitches will be very clear to view and so will the finished part of your fabric.

Forget the pattern for now. Start with a cheap acrylic yarn, that is machine wash and dry, perhaps Bernat Satin or a Bernat Handicrafter Cotton (this is usually the yarn used for knitting dishcloths). Practice knit stitches for a while first, then practice purl stitches for a while.

OR Try this: let's make some squares. Cast on 30 stitches and knit for 30 rows (keep a small pad and pen beside you, write the numbers 1 to 30 on the pad, then each time you finish a row, cross it off on the pad). Bind off. Do this several times.

Next: cast on 30 stitches and purl for 30 rows (again using the pad to keep track of your rows). Bind off.

KEEP THESE DISHCLOTHS! This way you have something to show for your work, and if nothing else, you have a few dishcloths to use, THAT YOU MADE YOURSELF! Also, later once you have become proficient in knitting, you can look back on these first projects and realize how far you have come along with your knitting. It's good for the ego.

Please don't give up! It gets easier the more you knit. Also, don't sit for hours and "fight" with your knitting. Knit a few rows and then get up and walk around for a minute, then go back to it. If it is frustrating you, get up and walk away for a few minutes or do a chore around the house and then come back to your knitting.

Sooner or later, like a puzzle, the pieces will fall into place and you will understand the concept of knitting.

REMEMBER: There are only two stitches to learn, the knit stitch and the purl stitch. Once you have learned and mastered both types of stitches, the rest is just learning new techniques.

Welcome to KH and welcome to the wonderful addiction that is knitting!
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Old 01-03-2008, 01:21 AM   #9
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Hiya styrch n welcome to the party,
Now first things first hun.......take a nice big deep breath......ahhhhh......
K from what I am gathering, it sounds like you are choking your needles and yarn and all that fluff is getting in the way of you seeing what you are doing and making you more frustrated, therefore making you grip your needles n yarn all the tighter. And then you end up throwing the stuff across the room and screaming AAAACCCCKKKKKKK!!!! at the top of yer lungs there.

So here's what we can do, k first thing is to figure out how to hold the yarn in whatever hand you are using for that so that the yarn can flow through easily but not flop around. Same with your needles, just hold on to em gently but firmly, so that you can move the stitches easily back and forth on em without making up new curse words. K, now with our new relaxed state of mind, let's try to knit a coupla stitches.... that's right, just let the yarn flow..... if the stitch seems a little tight, don't fight it, it'll just frustrate you more, just gently work it so that you can fit the needle in, yarn over, n flip it back through off the left n onto the right, now that wasn't so bad was it?
It's all in how you hold the yarn and your needles, the more tense you are the more tense and hard it will be to knit. If it seems too loose don't worry bout that, proper tension comes with experience and being comfortable with your equipment.

Before you know it, you'll be knitting like a zen master.
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Old 01-03-2008, 01:28 AM   #10
Ribbing the Cuff
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Thanks everyone. I think you all confirmed a lot of my suspicions. With things like this I do tend to bite off more than I can chew so all the suggestions about starting smaller are great.

I really should get different yarn. I've been wondering about my needles too. I got long ones (which was what my mom taught me with), but I think I'm finding them just too unwieldy at the moment.

So I'm going to sleep on this... back to the store tomorrow to get different yarn that won't mess with my head. New day, try again.

Choking my yarn... yeah, I think that describes how it seemed perfectly. LOL.
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