Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Are you learning to knit?

Knitting did not come easy for me. It's something I've wanted to do for as many years as I can remember. My mom was a crocheter. I dabbled at crochet, learning enough to keep myself in more potholders than I'll ever use in this millenium. I've never cared as much for the look of crocheted garments, preferring the look of knit. Items which have been hand knit look smoother and less bulky, and more like fabric. At least that's my opinion.

I was always on the lookout for someone who could teach me to knit. My sis-in-law had knit years earlier and tried to get me started, but I found it difficult to catch on while watching her; plus, at the same time that she was trying to teach me, she was also trying to remember herself how to do it.

Will you feel sorry for me and teach me to knit?

I live in a small town, which back when I was learning to knit had no craft stores or yarn shops. To show you how pathetic I can be, I would go to the yarn section of Wal-Mart and just 'hang around' in hopes that a real live knitter would come there to buy yarn, notice my pitiful yearning look, ask me if I knit, and if not, would I like her to teach me to knit. Like I said, pathetic.

After many wasted hours in Wal-Mart's craft department, and them finally telling me to either get a job there or hit the road (no, not really), I moved on to the internet. That's when I discovered the Knitting Help website, and it soon became a regular hangout for me. I watched the free knitting videos there over and over and over again. I actually begin to knit a little. As time went by, I noticed other knitters there who'd just learned to knit that were making fabulous looking items, while I was still puttering away on scarves, and taking an inordinate amount of time to complete even them! I felt so jealous and well...dumb. It's sheer perseverance which has kept me going as it still doesn't come easily for me, though I trust in time that it will. Please don't let my struggle deter you, though. I'm not atypical!

As I began my knitting journey, I spent countless hours scouring the internet for free patterns, patterns that I could understand. I am very much a visual learner. I learn by seeing rather than by reading. If you are learning to knit or wanting to learn to knit, and if you are like me that you need to see things done, I would recommend the following two resources:

You can view the free video tutorials over and over again, pausing when necessary. Along with the free videos are the message board forums. There is even a forum for newbies to ask questions, get help with patterns, or help with understanding pattern instructions. There's a wealth of experience represented there, and they're happy to help you across the humps. There are also free patterns on the site!

Knitting Made Easy CD-Rom
The other tool I found to be quite valuable was the Coats & Clark "Knitting made easy" cd-rom. I purchased mine off eBay for about the same price which I later discovered it in some of the big craft stores. It's cheap and well worth the money spent. I think I paid about $7 for mine. The videotaping is more professionally done than those at KnittingHelp, but Amy at KnittingHelp does offer her's for free use on her website.
I stumbled upon a link to Judy Graham's website at youtube when I saw a video by her. She has excellent quality video tutorials (on her website) for learning basic knitting. I wish I'd known about her when I was first learning, though I'm not sure she even had a website then.

She knits many of the garments you see worn by stars in movies, as well as for stars themselves. Her website is very interesting, plus she even has a couple of free patterns listed. If you're needing help getting started knitting, you'll love her videos!

If you are a beginning knitter, bookmark this site Knitting Pattern Central . It will become your very close friend. It's chock full of free knitting patterns divided into separate categories. They even have a link to new patterns that have been added each week! I believe the girl's name is Rachel who maintains the list. I can't imagine how much work she must put into it, but I thank her from the bottom of my heart. ;-)

Keep Notes!
One bad habit I've had in the past with my knitting is not writing down the pattern I used. Later, I'd want to reknit a same item and have no clue what pattern it was. On future projects, I'm going to force myself to keep a notebook while knitting. I'll include pertinent details such as the pattern, needle size, and yarn used.
I'll try and post pics of some of my finished objects (FO's in kniteze), as well as some UFO's (unfinished objects) in a day or so.


Wool Winder said...

I think you're doing a great job with your knitting! I also taught myself to knit. I started with scarves and hats and then found that I enjoyed making dishcloths, because they were small and I could try out lots of different stitches.

Renna said...

Woolwinder, thank you for you kind words. :-)

I have recently discovered the advantage in knitting dishcloths, in that I can try different stitches and yet get quick gratification!

Marilyn@Mixed Bouquet said...

I love the pic! So now I'm wondering if my attempt at potholders in 1977, yeah, the ones that kicked my rear, were actually crocheting. I can't remember.

I'll email you some questions later about dishcloths.