Sunday, December 30, 2012

I'm learning to knit

Long ago, way before I started to sew bags, I tried to learn to knit once. Unfortunately I did not know where to go to learn professionally and in those days, youtube did not exist. So I learnt the only way I knew how back then. Via a book.

I guess in the end I learnt nothing because a couple of days ago, I decided to knit something and I had no idea how to hold the knitting needles!

I found this unfinished pouch in my storeroom. It is possibly my second knitted project. I'm pretty sure the first would have been a simple scarf. I can see some mistakes in the pouch. Aren't you amazed I managed to make this? I'm pretty impressed!

Anyway, I had a bit of free time before I start work on new bags in 2013. So I thought it would be a great idea to pick up a new skill before I got swept into the whole bag-making frenzy once again. So I signed up for a Craftsy class - Knit Lab (a video class). It sounded like a perfect fit for me as it's for beginners.

I've gone through 5 lessons already and I'm sad to say this class did not fit me as perfectly as I envisioned. I think it's more suitable for someone who already has some basic knowledge of knitting. One of the problems with this class for a beginner is the camera does not zoom in enough when the teacher is showing how to create the stitch. If it does zoom in, sometimes it changes orientation so you once again lose track of where the needle should go. I am spatially challenged. Otherwise, I think the teacher does tell you a lot of stuff learning knitters would be keen to know.

For my first project, I'm knitting a scarf. (what else?) The teacher knits the continental way - which really means you use your left hand a lot. For a right hander like me, is it really the best way to knit? In my daily life, my left hand just lays there most of the time. The English way requires throwing of yarn. As I age, I start to be wary of using repetitive movements and since the English way requires me to use my right hand to throw, I decided it's best to learn the continental way. In any case, if I'm following the Craftsy class, I have to follow the continental way.

With that out of the way, I proceeded to cast on 20 stitches the long-tail way. The Craftsy teacher teaches the slip knot method. I did that without problems. Then I decided to check out youtube and there is another way to do a long-tail cast on. Video is found here as well. I love this non slip knot way of doing the long-tail cast on. It will always be the way I do it from now on.

Just for the hell of it, I undid my stitches and did the long-tail cast on without the slip knot over and over again and now I can do it in my sleep.

The next part I found really, really hard. I have to knit the first stitch. Oh boy. Here's where the camera man/woman failed me. No matter how hard I tried I had no idea where to insert my needle. I watched the lesson over and over again. Not a clue. And Craftsy videos stall a lot. I use Chrome as recommended but it took me 1 hour to watch the first knit stitch. Finally I decided to go to this video and I finally figured it out.

All these videos I've referred to all come from one site: I love this site.

Thus far, I've managed to knit many rows and I'm getting the hang of it. Very soon I'll have to purl. I noticed that for purling, you have to hold the needles a little differently. That I didn't like. So I dug around youtube some more and I discovered this shaky video. In it a teacher demonstrates how you can hold your needle such that you make only subtle changes between knitting and purling. I like this a lot but holding the needle this way is a real bitch. My left hand just keeps disobeying me. But I see the virtue of this method and I'm going to keep working at it.

Also, I noticed that knitting the first stitch always feels harder than knitting the rest of the stitches. All this while I had thought it was just me. Then I saw this video that acknowledged that pesky first stitch. It seems you could skip knitting it! Anyway, the video shows how you can just slip it off!

I'm not planning to become an expert knitter. Just the basic knit and purl will do. I foresee a couple of scarves for my dolls.


Kandi said...

You are doing really well, and I love the yarn you have used too. My mission this coming year is to be a better knitter. I can do the basics quite well but I am keen to knit a sweater and hats and stuff and my basic knit a scarf skills are not good enough. Your yellow square is great, so the skill is clearly there with you. Look forward to seeing your knitty makes x

Wendy said...

Hey well done! You will become expert in it, you could do some lace knitting as it's basically knitting and purling

Little Blue Mouse said...

The first thing I ever knit when I was a child was a scarf for a toy giraffe - that long neck needed keeping warm!

It's good you're looking for the best methods while you're learning - I hold my needles really awkwardly and because of that and knitting too tightly, I'm really slow, but I'm sure you'll be speeding along in no time.

Jenny said...

Love reading your blog Jane, happy 2013

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