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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have wanted to learn how to knit for a long time. I love those knitted cotton dishrags and would like to make a bunch of them. A lot of midwives knit at births and rave about it. And I'd like to have a quiet productive hobby besides reading, because sometimes I get tired of reading.<br><br>
For my birthday my grandmother-in-law got me a needle (two needles attached with a nylon cord really) and yarn and she's trying to teach me. I feel like such a complete moron. I sit beside her and try to copy her exactly as she goes soooooo slow, and I still can't seem to manage to hold things right. I felt like I was frustrating her after a while so I went online and tried to learn from pictures, videos, etc. That didn't go any better. I know I'm not strong in the type of intelligence it takes to do things like this (never could french braid hair or make friendship bracelets and still can't tell a square knot from a granny), but my rational brain tells me that if I can graduate college and midwifery school I should be capable of eventually knitting a dishrag, which is my greatest knitting goal.<br><br>
So far I have struggled with: remembering how to cast on (if I get on a roll, I can do it, but then I don't remember what to do if I stop), knitting too tight so I can't get the other needle in, maintaining any kind of consistent tension, keeping my knots in the right place, not tangling my yarn up all over the nylon cord attaching my needles, remembering which hand is supposed to be doing what, and figuring out which loop of yarn I should be messing with at any given moment.<br><br>
So, did knitting come naturally to all of you? Or can anyone tell me a really dramatic tale of overcoming great obstacles to victoriously knit? Any advice for knitting 101 for someone who is really slow at it? How long should I give it before I throw in the towel?
 

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My tale is not dramatic, but I have always been somewhat ashamed of my frustrations with learning.<br><br>
It took me 48 hours straight of struggle and cursing and walking away and coming right back to the needles to learn how to cast on, knit and purl. Once I learned to do these three things, it still took me a number of weeks to be anything other than a turtle when it came to actually knitting something. By month four I was knitting my first sock. Now I;m in the fourth year of knitting and LOVE LOVE LOVE it. my next project is the <a href="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2072/2427775722_8161bd71e4.jpg?v=0" target="_blank">peony sweater</a> (not my sleeve, but isnt it pretty?)<br><br>
Try it again and again and again and again. I didn;t have a teacher and people ooohhh and aaahhh about that, but frankly, having a teacher while learning soemthing brand new is harder for me because I am very nervous when trying to learn something and don't like people to watch.<br><br>
You CAN do this. It takes an especially ornery person (thankfully that would be me) if there isn't an innate talent, but it can definitely be done. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/knit.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="knit">
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Oh, wow, that sweater is amazing! Good for you!<br><br>
What is a turtle? Is that knitting lingo or what? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"><br><br>
And how did you learn without a teacher? Did you use a book? Website? My grandmother-in-law isn't the best teacher, and ehow.com wasn't doing it for me. I don't want to go to a knitting class because I am sure it will end up like this one suturing workshop that I went to and I ended up in tears over trying to tie a one-handed knot. (Something that no midwife I know actually ever does, but still.)<br><br>
Thanks for the encouragement!!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Get yourself over to knittinghelp.com. I find being able to watch a closeup of her hands and listening to her say what she's doing and then watching it again and again and again made a world of difference for me. I say this after taking a 6 hour class where I don't think I learned a thing. I've learned more from books from the library and knitting help than anything else.
 

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look for a childrens book on knitting (klutz makes a nice one). they have really basic instructions with great pictures.<br><br>
get some streight needles in a size 8 (these will come with the klutz book if you buy it). I like bamboo for starting.<br><br>
and some cotton yarn.<br><br>
do your first discloth (these are excellent to start on) in garter stitch (knit every row). after that you can move on to something more complicated.<br><br>
do you have a local yarn shop. ours will cast on for you and sit and help you go. they are highly invested in people learning to knit and will usually teach the basics for free.
 

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Are there any yarn shops in your area that offer beginner classes? That's how I learned to knit 15 years ago. It's a wonderful hobby. My family and friends love all the hand made gifts.<br>
My interest waxes and wanes. Sometimes I go months without picking up my needles; other times (like now) I get into a knitting frenzy and have several projects going at once.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Great suggestions! I ordered the Klutz book from Amazon. Can't wait to get it.<br><br>
I tried knittinghelp and she lost me pretty quick. I was watching the long tail cast on video on the front page, and I could follow her until she said, "And pull it through." Pull what through what? She was very explicit until that moment. I watched it about 20 times and still got hung up at that exact point every time. Maybe if I can get the very basic idea from the book her videos will be of more help.<br><br>
There is a local yarn store and they do have classes, but I'm nervous to go to one. I just know that I will slow the class down, and then out of guilt I'll just let them get ahead of me. <flashbacks to suture workshop, shudder> Eventually I might try a beginner class. Once I have a prayer of keeping up.
 

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When it gets too bad, walk away. Then when you want to, walk back. I took a , oh, about 20 year break between casting on my first piece and casting off my first piece and in the end that was OK: by the time I cast off the second of my first FOs (a pair of baby bootees) I'd found this forum and was addicted.<br>
It'll come. Once it clicks (and it will) it's like riding a bike, you'll never fall off. Until then, look for knitting everywhere. Follow the line of the yarn in your sweater and trace it along with your eyes. Look at the way things are constructed: all of that will bring understanding, which will help the "click".
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Using the straight, larger needles really helped!<br><br>
I don't have the book yet, but my mil gave me some tips (and showed me the "pull it through" thing I was hung up on) and long story short:<br><br><a href="http://extremeleigh.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">http://extremeleigh.blogspot.com/</a>
 

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Don't use cabled needles to learn. Just don't. As you've pointed out, you get tangled up and that's not really conducive to learning to knit.<br><br>
Go and get yourself a pair of Boyle size 8 straight needles, no longer than 14" and some Sugar'n Cream cotton yarn at Joann's or Michaels or Hobby Lobby and learn using that.<br><br>
and if you are all thumbs, I recommend the Continental style of knitting (hold the yarn in your right hand, and your working needle in the left - reverse that if you are left-handed)
 

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I also highly recommend Continental style. It is far more efficient of motion, when I see people knitting English style I just think "wow, what a hassle".<br><br>
I had a huge problem learning to knit also. Then I found a book called The Learn To Knit Afghan Book by Barbara Walker. I couldn't believe how easily I clicked when following this book- it was like magic! Truly.<br><br>
ETA: I couldn't follow knittinghelp.com for the life of me. It did NOT help me learn to knit, which just made me even more frustrated <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
It's great now though, now that I know how to do it I can follow just fine to learn new techniques etc.
 
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