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Old 02-01-2009, 03:46 PM   #1
TooCircular
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Teaching a beginner to knit~ need tips/advice
It's probably a dumb question, but are there any tips out there as far as teaching a beginner to knit? Seems it would be more difficult teaching the continental method to someone new to knitting. I
prefer the continental method myself, but know how to do the other way too. Any theories/suggestions? Also, is there a certain needle size and yarn type I should stick with?

Thanks a bunch,

Jan
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Old 02-01-2009, 04:16 PM   #2
Marria
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That's an interesting question, because I just recently taught a co-worker to knit. I can knit continental, but I taught her the "throw" method because that's what I do better, and I can't purl continental to save my life. Here's what I learned from the experience:

Tell your learner that it's OK if their knitting doesn't look perfect right away. I told my co-worker over and over that tension is one of the hardest things to get and that she will get better in time.

Teach one thing at a time. I taught her to cast-on and let her practice that several times and then taught her the knit stitch. That was one lesson. I then let her practice just knitting for quite awhile so she could really get it down.

The second lesson was purling. She then practiced doing stockinette for a while. I explained to her about the nature of stockinette to roll and showed her how to use stitch markers to delineate a garter stitch border. She made a scarf and I showed her how to bind off.

I also got her to sign up on Ravelry, and showed her Knitting Help which she tells me she has used quite a bit.

She has now gone on to make a scarf without my help that includes increases and decreases. It's this one. She's really taken to it. But that doesn't mean everyone will. I taught another person to knit who ended up just hating it and that's OK.

I think the two most important things are to make sure you keep encouraging your student, and to make sure that you try to leave the needles in her (or his) hands as much as possible. People learn by doing, not by watching, and so when I was showing my learner how to knit, I sat next to her with my own needles and yarn and had her watch and repeat the motions at the same time, instead of just asking her to watch me and then having her do it. I think that made the biggest difference.

Good luck to you! I hope you have a wonderful experience teaching your friend to knit.

ETA: I forgot to talk about needle and yarn type! I loaned her a pair of straight size 8s and had her get some light colored, smooth worsted weight wool to start with. I brought in a pair of metal Boye needles and some bamboos so she could decide for herself which she preferred. She liked the Boyes better. I think the most important thing is to have smooth and light colored yarn--it's easier to tink and it it's easier to see your stitches. It lets you get the motions of knitting down without getting caught up in fuzzy tangliness.
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Old 02-01-2009, 04:23 PM   #3
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I think using larger needles are a good thing, such as size 13 or 15 and a bulky yarn. In kindergarten we used large crayons and large pencils because we were clumsy and first learning. I think this idea can be applied to learning to knit too.
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Old 02-01-2009, 04:25 PM   #4
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I think you could try that, but you might want to have smaller needles on hand too. I've been knitting for quite awhile and I find any needles larger than size 11 to be extremely awkward and hard to knit with. But that's me...it may be easier for your new knitter. I think around a 9 is a good size to start with.
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Old 02-01-2009, 05:29 PM   #5
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Great suggestions Marria and Kellycat~ practical, down-to-earth and all very useful. Thanks! I didn't think about each of us having our own set of needles and yarn, then having her repeat my motions at the same time with the light colored yarn. Thanks for sharing the tips!

You guys ready for the super bowl? I just watch for the commercials (teehee.)

Thanks again,

Jan
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Old 02-01-2009, 05:34 PM   #6
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Heh, I think I'm about one of the 7 people in the US that isn't watching it. I have a TV, but no cable and no reception, so we just use it for watching movies. I'm not really a big football fan, but I'll have my online MLB account in time for spring training.
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Old 02-01-2009, 05:35 PM   #7
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We don't watch and my sweetie makes a game of seeing how long it takes him to find out who wins. Sometimes he can go a day or two...
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Old 02-01-2009, 06:02 PM   #8
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Marria, here's something that might make you laugh~~ I had to ask my hubby was MLB was.
Ha!

You guys are great.

Jan
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Old 02-01-2009, 07:06 PM   #9
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Learning to knit...
Hi, Jan!

This is probably the best continental knitting video I've ever seen. It cleared up some misunderstandings I had and as a result my knitting got much smoother. I think this would probably work very well in helping someone new learn to knit.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuRLF...eature=related

Good luck and let us know how it goes!

Happy knitting,
Ruthie
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Old 02-01-2009, 07:50 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by TooCircular View Post
It's probably a dumb question, but are there any tips out there as far as teaching a beginner to knit? Seems it would be more difficult teaching the continental method to someone new to knitting. I
prefer the continental method myself, but know how to do the other way too. Any theories/suggestions? Also, is there a certain needle size and yarn type I should stick with?

Thanks a bunch,

Jan
All the suggestions by the others are really good, but as a fairly new knitter who remembers learning how to by trial and error not so long ago, I would suggest that you teach her how to pick up dropped stitches fairly soon. That was the most frustrating thing for me to learn how to do...can still remember how panicked I was when faced with a dropped stitch. I also found metal needles to be too slippery and still prefer using plastic with less stitch dropping. Also, any time that I attempt something new that I am uncertain I can do without ripping back, I put in a lifeline...that has saved me from much frustration.
Good luck to you and your friend...
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