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Old 12-05-2007, 11:57 PM   #1
grumbles
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Hey there. Remember me?

I've been trying to practice, but much of my energy has been spent on final projects for school. I finished my first bit of knitting last night - finally casting off/binding.



[I accidentally attached in-progress shots. Oops.]

It was super frustrating at first. I had been viewing videos and thought it all looked so easy... boy was I wrong. Eventually I just didn't worry about my stitches looking odd and just went with it.

So I'll try to remember all of the issues I ran into, and see if perhaps someone has a few suggestions to help me along.

1. During Amy's basic binding video, she mentions knitting the last stitch with the one below to create a tighter, more square edge. I tried to do this, but I think I just got lost in the stitches and wasn't sure if I was grabbing the right things. I ended up knitting it normally and I did experience that loose edge.
Could someone explain this to me in more detail so I can try again?

I suppose that's the only real concern pertaining specifically to that first project. Right now I'm beginning a new project that involves *gasp* purling! Well, really I'm trying to do ribbing by follow the "Simple Ribbed Scarf" pattern from this site: http://alison.knitsmiths.us/pattern_...s_scarves.html
It's a basic knit 2, purl 2 ribbing pattern.

So, concerns involving this new project:

1. I'm using the long-tail casting method. This creates a row of knitted stitches, which my pattern doesn't call for. I don't really want this in a ribbed pattern, do I? Should I use a different method or is it not enough of a problem to notice?

2. On a related note, I've realized that I'm casting tightly. My first row of knitting is always rather difficult. I really don't feel like I'm pulling the yarn much when I cast each stitch, so it seems really odd that they end up so tight.
Are there any tricks to loosening things a bit?

3. When I'm trying to maneuver my stitches while knitting new rows, I find that I really struggle to move the stitches toward the end of the needle. I think this has a lot to do with me perhaps knitting tightly as well. However, I'm wondering if it has more to do with the fact that I'm using bamboo needles - should I maybe use metal instead? I also have issues (especially on that first row) getting the needle into the stitch - metal needles might help with this because they have sharper points, right?

4. During this k2, p2 ribbing pattern, I found myself staring at a random loop while trying to create a new row. I had no idea where this loop came from, or how to fix it, so I just knitted it. This probably wasn't a great idea. Not only do I have a random hole in my knitting (which may or may not be from that random loop), but my pattern is totally off. I find myself beginning rows with k2 and ending with p1 or even p2 - something has definitely shifted.
Since my pattern is off, does that mean none of my stitches are going to line up and I'll essentially create a lumpy knit?
Also, I only casted 36 stitches (if I counted those right) rather than 38. Would that ruin my pattern? I hoped that since it was an even number and/or a multiple of 2 that I'd be okay.

Oh and one last thing. Yarn.
For that first project, I used the typical worsted weight synthetic yarn - it's super frizzy. For this new project, I'm using cotton yarn, though I think it is also partly synthetic - again, rather frizzy.
I feel like all of these frizzy bits are really getting in my way, and it's hard for me to identify my stitches/knitting pattern/etc. Is there a better cheap yarn that I can use that will help me see things more clearly? What would be a good "first timer scarf yarn"?

Okay, I think that's enough questions for now. I hope I'm not flooding you all with too much nonsense!

Thank you for any and all responses!!
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Old 12-06-2007, 12:44 AM   #2
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Quote:
1. I'm using the long-tail casting method. This creates a row of knitted stitches, which my pattern doesn't call for. I don't really want this in a ribbed pattern, do I? Should I use a different method or is it not enough of a problem to notice?
Not a problem at all. Unless a pattern specifically states a particular cast-on this is fine. For a ribbed scarf you won't even notice it.

Quote:
2. On a related note, I've realized that I'm casting tightly. My first row of knitting is always rather difficult. I really don't feel like I'm pulling the yarn much when I cast each stitch, so it seems really odd that they end up so tight.
Are there any tricks to loosening things a bit?
Yep, don't tug the yarn. For a loose cast-on just make loose loops. You can also use a larger needle size to cast on and then slip them over to your working needle.

Quote:
3. When I'm trying to maneuver my stitches while knitting new rows, I find that I really struggle to move the stitches toward the end of the needle. I think this has a lot to do with me perhaps knitting tightly as well. However, I'm wondering if it has more to do with the fact that I'm using bamboo needles - should I maybe use metal instead? I also have issues (especially on that first row) getting the needle into the stitch - metal needles might help with this because they have sharper points, right?
Bamboo is much less slick than metal, but you're likely knitting tight. While knitting don't tug the yarn snug after each stitch. Simply knitting or purling the next stitch will create tension, you don't need to tug them snug. It took me a while to get over that habit.

Quote:
4. During this k2, p2 ribbing pattern, I found myself staring at a random loop while trying to create a new row. I had no idea where this loop came from, or how to fix it, so I just knitted it. This probably wasn't a great idea. Not only do I have a random hole in my knitting (which may or may not be from that random loop), but my pattern is totally off. I find myself beginning rows with k2 and ending with p1 or even p2 - something has definitely shifted.
You've created an extra stitch at some point. It's not hard to do and I did it a lot when I first started. Since you're just learning I'd suggest frogging it and starting over. Pay attention to the stitch count and pattern. K2 P2 all the way across and that shouldn't change.

Quote:
Since my pattern is off, does that mean none of my stitches are going to line up and I'll essentially create a lumpy knit?
Yeah, pretty much. But don't worry, we've all done this while learning.

Quote:
Also, I only casted 36 stitches (if I counted those right) rather than 38. Would that ruin my pattern? I hoped that since it was an even number and/or a multiple of 2 that I'd be okay.
Remember, a K2 P2 is a 4 stitch multiple, not a 2 stitch multiple. The extra two stitches that make 38 are for symmetry so it looks the same on both sides, otherwise it would start on K2 and end on P2.
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Old 12-06-2007, 02:07 AM   #3
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Thanks for the responses Mason.

I ended up scrapping that attempt at ribbing - things were just not working once my pattern was shifted so badly.
I started a new one - this time with 24 stitches. (My tail was too short. :x) This is okay though, right? It won't be symmetrical, but it should still line up. I think so far I'm getting K2 rows ending in P2 and vice versa - this seems correct.
However, I've yet to notice any ribbing. It really just looks messy. I'm not sure if it's the yarn I'm using, or the fact that my stitches are inconsistently tight.

I think I may be inadvertently tugging my stitches when I am repositioning my right needle to get into the next stitch.
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Old 12-06-2007, 06:57 AM   #4
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Ribbing does look messy for the first few rows. I had to explain this to my daughter while teaching her to knit. Give it some more time and the pattern will appear. I promise.

The random loop probably came during a switch from knit to purl or vice versa, you may not have moved the yarn to the front or back of the work before starting the knit or purl stitch (respectively). It's common. In time, it won't happen....or so I keep telling myself.

I too cast on tightly. No matter what I do, or how loose I try to go, I still cast on tightly.

You know, I've tried bamboo needles and they just don't work for me. I know some swear by them, but unless I'm doing socks on tiny dpns, I prefer metal needles. I'm still too new of a knitter and need that slipperiness that the metal gives to me.

Hmmm, yarn recommendations huh? How do you feel about wool, or is it just a financial issue in particular? Paton's has a nice 100% merino wool that you can get at Michael's for a decent price. Also, Bernat has a very wide selection of different yarns, both synthetic and natural. If you're really wanting to go cheap and synthetic to practice on though, I'd go with Red Heart soft touch. I say the soft touch stuff because frankly, the regular itches the hell out of my hands. Again, though this is personal preference.....and there's nothing wrong with adding to your stash in the name of science.
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Old 12-06-2007, 10:05 AM   #5
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For casting on, here's another trick-- hold both needles together, as if they were one, and cast on to them. When you're done casting on, pull one out. It will be a pretty loose cast-on, but once you've knit a few rows, it'll look fine.

I am not a fan of bamboo in general, but especially for beginners. It's funny-- I think metal is best for beginners and for the very advanced, both for its slipperyness!

And that top picture looks great!-- the stitches look quite even for a beginner. You're doing really well!
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Old 12-06-2007, 10:09 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by grumbles View Post
During this k2, p2 ribbing pattern, I found myself staring at a random loop while trying to create a new row. I had no idea where this loop came from, or how to fix it...
I remember having this problem as a beginning knitter. I could knit and I could purl, but combining them into a rib stitch was creating new random stitches from who knows where!

The problem turned out to be my purl stitch technique.
Here's a link to Amy's purl stitch videos:
http://www.knittinghelp.com/videos/purl-stitch

If you look carefully and perhaps pause the video when she inserts the right needle into the stitch, you will notice that the working yarn is in *front* of the right needle when she inserts it into the stitch on the left needle. If you accidentally leave the working yarn *behind* the right needle at insertion, you will accidentally create a new stitch.

Congratulations on your perseverance!! We've all been where you are!
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Old 12-06-2007, 10:17 AM   #7
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Your pictured work is much nicer than my first work.

Personally I think the K2 P2 is an excellent way to get going on getting your sts right and after a few washing the yarn will even itself out a bit so the sts will look more even.

It takes me about 4 inches before the ribbing shows. Something about it needing length to pull itself together and it being close to the knitting needle doesn't allow it the freedom to pull together.

Also... the 24 sts. What might end up happening is that after the knitting finally shows you what it will look like you may find the scarf too skinny.

Which... Skinny long scarfs seem to be popular so... are you in for going with the trend ?
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Old 12-06-2007, 10:17 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by alleusion View Post
Ribbing does look messy for the first few rows.

Very true. The actual ribbing look doesn't start showing up so that you can see it until you've knit several rows, and then like magic you can start seeing it.
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Old 12-06-2007, 11:42 AM   #9
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Quote:
4. During this k2, p2 ribbing pattern, I found myself staring at a random loop while trying to create a new row. I had no idea where this loop came from, or how to fix it, so I just knitted it. This probably wasn't a great idea. Not only do I have a random hole in my knitting (which may or may not be from that random loop), but my pattern is totally off. I find myself beginning rows with k2 and ending with p1 or even p2 - something has definitely shifted.
It's possible that in switching the yarn from back to front, or front to back you took it over the needle instead of between the tips. It's very common to do that. The cast on doesn't matter; longtail doesn't actually make a `row' of knit stitches, they just look like it. After you get experienced you can try doing a ribbed caston, but I've never learned it in 40 some years of knitting, so it's not necessary. For a k2,p2 rib you need sts that divide by 4 because there's 4 total in that st pattern, so you lucked out there by using 24 and 36. And I agree with all the suggestions the others gave you.
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Old 12-07-2007, 02:05 PM   #10
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As for yarn for learning, I started with Sugar'n Cream cotton. It's a smooth cotton yarn that I worked up into a dishcloth. I cast on something like 45 and just knit until I felt comfortable, then purled, then played with different patterns of knit/purl to see what appeared. By the time I finished a roughly square dishcloth, I seemed to be doing okay. The yarn I used is variegated so it had some visual interest, but it's still plain enough that I can see stitch definition and see where I went wrong.

As for your loose edging, rather than trying to knit with the loop below, just slip the last stitch on a row. If you're knitting, slip knitwise (insert the R needle just like you're going to knit, and slide the stitch off the L), if you're purling, slip purlwise. When you turn you immediately knit or purl that stitch, but this gives you nice clean edges without loose stitches, and a bonus is that it creates easy stitches to pick up if you want to add a crochet edging later.

As for casting on too tightly, I was doing this too. The way I "fixed" myself of this was to cast on, realize it's too tight, frog it, try casting on again, if it's still too tight, frog it again, and keep re-doing it until it was loose enough. It sounds tedious, but it only took a couple times until I got the feel of it. Don't try this with a yarn that will felt though.

Also, when I first started (all those weeks ago ), I had a tendency to choke up on the needles, keeping all the stitches right at the tip, and not pulling the needles apart. This contributes to too tight stitches. Slide the work down so it's on the widest part of the needles and when you slide the stitch off the L needle, pull the R needle away at least an inch, sliding the new stitch down to the widest part of the needle. Doing this consistently has loosened up my knitting considerably.

HTH
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