Failing at knitting--Questions - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 13 Old 12-10-2009, 04:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am taking a knitting class and it is not going well. For one, I'm a really bad beginner. As in, if knitting was an IQ test, I would fail.

My teacher I don't think it accustomed to such bad beginners.

I know how to cast on. I think it's called the English cast. She said we were to do 4 cast ons and then knit for a 7" length.

The knitting is not going well. I've been experimenting and have knitted some things but I keep getting more loops which result in a pyramid shape. I thought I was supposed to only ever have 4 from the original cast on.

I thought she told us when we transfer to the second needle to just slip it up and over and then knit in another thread on the second loop. I've tried doing that. I've tried not doing that and I still get more loops.

I also have trouble with my needles falling off and I don't know how to find my place again. I think I've tried 20xs to knit this 7" and the closest I've gotten is a 1" pyramid.

Any advice????

V

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#2 of 13 Old 12-10-2009, 07:12 PM
 
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Go to knittinghelp.com and watch their videos on how to knit. It's a lot easier to watch the video IMO than for me to try to explain it.

You're getting a triangle and holes because you're doing inadvertent yarn overs. It happens at the beginning. You'll learn how to avoid it in time.

I suggest rather than making nothing just to learn, start with something simple like a washcloth. If you make mistakes, it's not a big deal.

And your stitches are slipping off because you're not sliding them back far enough away from the tip, or you're not making them tight enough. Again, these are things you'll learn with practice.

And if you're having trouble with English, you might want to try Continental style. It might flow easier for you.

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#3 of 13 Old 12-10-2009, 07:21 PM
 
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It does take a little while to get the hang of it.

I teach people the little rhyme:

The rabit goes through the hole
around the tree
peak back out
and off we leap.

When you get extra stitches you are forgetting to leap off.

or you can do:

In through the front door
Around the back
Out through the window
And off jumps jack.

There was a lady on my knit list who made-up something for boys, it went something like. It was funny and graphic and went something like:

Stab him in the chest
hang him by a rope
drag him out back and
push him off.

I can't really remember it - but anything new should be taught with a lot of humor and lot of encouragement. Keep it up!

Also, nice wooden needles will give you some friction and make it easier for the loops to stay on. I think it's hard to knit with just 4 stitches. They do tend to slip out. I would try 10 stitches and then knit a bit.

Have you just taken one lesson so far? Really, it's too early to say you are "failing" at knitting. You are just LEARNING knitting.

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#4 of 13 Old 12-10-2009, 11:32 PM
 
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I second knittinhelp.com, that's how I learned how to knit! Pick up a few books at the library and see which one "speaks" to you, sit down with knittinghelp.com videos, your needles, and some yarn and plan to spend a few hours doing it. Eventually you'll get it, really, I promise!!! I just learned to knit about two years ago and now I would consider myself intermediate to advanced. It's sort of like riding a bike ;-)
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#5 of 13 Old 12-10-2009, 11:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the input. I haven't found any troubleshooting videos. The basics are fine. I do them correctly but somehow when I knit they get all messed up.

Today I knitted a 'bell' shape. I had to abandon it when I had a loop show up and I didn't know what to do with it or how to knit around it.

I'm supposed to have 7" by tomorrow. I've been working all week and have nothing.

I'm learning to crochet too, at least that is going better than knitting.

V

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#6 of 13 Old 12-11-2009, 12:16 AM
 
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I also agree that watching the videos several times so you get more familiar with the technique. It will likely eventually begin to make sense.

There are also videos on youtube that you might find helpful.

And practice. It can be frustrating in the beginning, but it becomes much more second nature soon enough.

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#7 of 13 Old 12-11-2009, 12:32 AM
 
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It sounds like you're slipping one, making one. Which is you slip a loop from one needle to the other, then you knit in the space between the stitches. What that will do is nearly double the size of your work every row, and create huge gaps.

What your teacher wants is 7" worth of just knit stitch, yes? So you get very very very comfortable with doing knit stitch?

I have to say I'm a bit surprised that she's having you do it only 4 stitches wide. What that means is that you'll be doing a lot of turning your work, and it's going to be a lot easier for the work to slip off your needles because there aren't other stitches to help hold the stitches back. I'm much more likely to drop the first or last two stitches in a row, and that's all you have! Plus the first and last stitch of each row (so half your stitches) are frequently a bit funny looking.

Definitely try a washcloth, like 20 stitches by 20 rows. That'll get you more comfortable with how the stitches are actually formed into row after row of loops.

And I'd use continental. Since you're also learning crochet it'll be a lot easier for you since you're already getting used to holding your yarn constantly in your left hand. Plus, English knitting is soooo slow. The only people have any speed with English-style knitting are those who've been using it for years and they'd be faster than you anyway.

www.knittinghelp.com as recommended above. Specifically after you've done your cast-on, watch the "knit" video. Pay attention to where she's holding her yarn before the stitch, and where she's placing her needle to make the stitch, and the point where the loop from the previous row leaves the non-working needle.
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#8 of 13 Old 12-11-2009, 01:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you. I should clarify, I've watched several videos and am not finding the 'a ha' moment.

I think I will suggest to the instructor that I do a wash rag/pot holder/doll blanket. The class is supposed to do a hat and get into other stitches--I don't think I'm ready.

I will also ask her about the continental style.

And I think I will maybe focus on crochet after this class and look for a different knitting instructor. This teacher tends to take over and do it for me and I'm supposed to 'get it' by watching not doing, which isn't working so well for me.

I think too, it took me soooooooo long to learn to cast that I didn't get enough instruction on the actual knitting.

V

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#9 of 13 Old 12-11-2009, 12:28 PM
 
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You might find you have better luck with diagrams than videos. For a long time I thought that videos were how I learned best, and for some people they are, However recently when I decided to learn naalbinding I discovered that I really learn better from diagrams where I can clearly see where the yarn needs to go at each step and the path it follows to get there.

Something like this might help

http://www.bhkc.co.uk/data/How2knit.htm

Or diagrams in a good basic book from your library.

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#10 of 13 Old 12-11-2009, 02:42 PM
 
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OK. First of all, go and change your signature and take the words "craft-impaired" out of it. Just for now. You're jinxing yourself. (Adding a knitter smiley may help too.)

Second, stop, and breathe. You're overthinking this.

What I want you to do is to knit a row. At the end of the row, drop your working yarn entirely. Now look at that stitch. It looks looser than the other stitches on the row, right? Turn your needle around and look at the back of your stitch. NOW pick your yarn up again and take it to the back ready to knit. Can you see how that movement makes the single stitch YOU created a minute ago look like two? So you put your yarn down again, insert your needle and slip the stitch straight off the needle. Pick your working yarn up again and knit the next three stitches.

Do you want troubleshooting tips for when you've got more or less than three stitches left on your needles as well?

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#11 of 13 Old 12-11-2009, 02:44 PM
 
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Oh, if this doesn't work I have another half a dozen ideas. Do NOT give up. Seriously. Do NOT give up.

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#12 of 13 Old 12-11-2009, 05:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flapjack View Post
Do NOT give up.
This. I taught myself to knit and it was AWFUL. At one point I, in a fit of rage, threw the needles and kind-of attached yarn across the room and they sat there, in the corner, for a week. I would periodically glare at them and think horrible thoughts about them.

I eventually figured it out. Once you find your rhythm, it's great. It sounds like your teacher just hasn't yet taught it in a way that is what you need.

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#13 of 13 Old 12-12-2009, 04:10 AM
 
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I REALLY stunk at knitting when I 1st started.
It was horrible and ugly and I made all the mistakes you're talking about.

It gets better
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