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Arts & crafts

learning to knit

(24 Posts)
EthelJ Thu 10-May-18 16:49:00

I can't say I have ever been very good at crafty things I was hopeless at needlework at school- it took me a full year to make an apron and another to make a nightdress and neither of them were very good.
I have tried knitting several times but never managed to finish an item and always had great problems casting on-my stitches somehow always ended up too tight. However I would love to be creative and to actually make something. Does anyone have any tips?
What is the best way to learn how to knit?, Are there any books I should/could get that would help?
What is a good item to start with that won't take too long or be too expensive?
Has anyone else learnt later in life and been successful?
thank you.

J52 Thu 10-May-18 16:59:37

I would have a look at the YouTube videos that teach knitting. You can pause them, knit your stitches and then re run, if you need to.
Over the years I’ve knitted many garments, but now just enjoy knitting for charity. Blankets for premature babies are simple to make and very satisfying. Especially appropriate if you’re a Gran, helping less fortunate babies.

EthelJ Thu 10-May-18 17:14:10

Ooh thank you I'll give you tube a go. Didn't realise there were teach yourself to knit videos on there. My mother tried to teach me many times and although I did master purl and knit so can do rib and Stocking stitch etc I have never been able to cast on!

mumofmadboys Thu 10-May-18 17:27:44

Knitting a scarf is good practice. I learnt to cable last tear watching a You tube on line. Good luck!

Welshwife Thu 10-May-18 17:42:39

It may show you this on U tube but a way to get a more stretchy cast on row is to make the first loop and the second stitch and then make the subsequent stitches by putting the needle between the last two made stitches and make the next stitch and transfer as normal. Gives a nice neat edge which is not tight.

JoyBrooks123 Thu 10-May-18 18:07:50

Using a one whole size larger needle to cast on can help with the tight stitches. Once you have cast on go back to whatever size needle the pattern asks for or the size you need to get the right tension.

This is going to sound advanced for a beginner but worth trying and may be useful for anyone else viewing this thread. There are many different ways ways to cast on. My favourite is the German Twisted Cast On. Take a look on You Tube. It looks fiddly but easy to pick up with a bit of practice. It's a great cast on for stretchy ribs on jumpers, hats and socks.

It's important to pick a first project that is going to hold your interest. Scarves are easy but can get very boring. Maybe try some squares in different colours and textures that can be sewn together to make a baby blanket or an adult lap blanket or a cushion cover.

There are many books containing stitch libraries or newstitchaday on the internet is a good resource. As your confidence increases you can try more complicated patterns or just use the most basic stitch garter stitch and let colour do the work.

Stylecraft Special DK is a good, readily available budget yarn to use. £1.99 in shops, cheaper online and even cheaper in markets. It comes in fantastic range of colours. Its a real workhorse and washed and tumble dries well. Use a size 3.25mm or 4mm needle for that and maybe a 5mm for that looser cast on.

Good luck.

travelsafar Thu 10-May-18 18:19:10

Join a knit and natter group if there is one local to you, they are great.Someone at the one I go to taught me how to crochet and there is always someone who will help when you get stuck on a knitting patter.

Jalima1108 Thu 10-May-18 18:22:05

Ask around locally too, EthelJ. A new yarn shop has opened in our town and apparently the woman who opened it has been giving crochet lessons for over two years at another premises - she is going to start a knitting class too.

I am wondering whether I should go as I have never managed to crochet anything beyond a square which looked like a trapezoid.

EthelJ Thu 10-May-18 20:01:50

Thank you all. There is some really helpful advice here. I now need to buy some wool and needles and give it a go.
Jalima I crocheted a poncho using scraps of wool when I was a teenager. It was a bit of a fad at my school in the 70s and everyone was making them. It was the only thing I made I actually liked. I can't remember how I did it though .

Jalima1108 Thu 10-May-18 20:07:20

I use the thumb method for casting on knitting - which is the way my mother taught me when I was about 6!

although I wrap the yarn right the other way I think (and twice)

Jalima1108 Thu 10-May-18 20:08:00

sorry - round not right

Feelingmyage55 Thu 10-May-18 20:38:36

Use bamboo needles rather than metal, kinder to the hands and seem to stop holder knitting too tightly.

Glitterknitbaby Thu 10-May-18 21:15:54

Use a picture book meant to teach a child how to knit, you could even begin on some child size knitting pins and always remember that however complicated a knitted garment is it is only made up from two stitches plain and purl, as will be everything you ever knit. So just take your time and master those two stitches and the knitting world is your oyster. I have been knitting for nearly sixty five years now as my Mother taught me when I was a child and it’s bought me a lifetime of pleasure.

EthelJ Fri 11-May-18 20:54:45

thank you everyone some great advice and confidence boosters from you all, I will definitely try the casting on ideas and get big needles (bamboo if I can)

Coolgran65 Fri 11-May-18 23:26:55

I knitted for most of my life and used to do a lot of aran knitting. I now knowfind those garments a bit heavy to work with, they hurt my hands and arms.

But I am loving it at present making a blanket/throw.. If you can do garter stitch and a basic seed stitch, then using those create all sorts of permutations. Double knitting wool. 7 toning shades. I'm doing 8" squares. Cast on 46 stitches and knit for 8" . Some are one solid colour, some are striped. Some are garter stitch with a central square of moss stitch now have 48 squares but will need at least double that number.

Jangran99 Fri 11-May-18 23:30:14

Alzheimer's society,care homes etc are.... always pleased to receive
twiddle muffs for patients with dementia.
No more difficult than a scarf but so much more worthwhile.Plenty of ideas on line.

Grannyknot Sat 12-May-18 07:33:53

EthelJ I took up knitting again in my 50s not having knitted since I was a child and it has been such a pleasure. I started with a straight scarf but quickly progressed. There are some easy patterns on Ravelry, you can select patterns on there via filters, to suit your level of expertise.

Just don't do what one of the novice knitters did in a group I went to for a while - she had knitted a beautiful scarf in blocks of different stitches (to practise them) - and then she jolly well ruined the whole thing by pressing it with a damp cloth "to make it lie flat" - I felt so sorry for her, no one had told her that you never iron or press knitting. So a couple of tips for finishing:

When I've finished knitting something, I squish it in wool wash by hand, take it out and squeeze to get most of the water out, and then I lay it out on a towel and roll the towel up and walk on the roll of towel smile after which I unroll it and put the garment or scarf or blanket or whatever it is on a drying rack, lying flat.

I have a friend who is an expert knitter and once whatever she is knitting is finished, she carefully rolls the knitted object up, evening out any curled up edges, and leaves it over night.

Good luck and enjoy.

Glitterknitbaby Sat 12-May-18 12:23:11

Three cheers for you Grannyknot, I have seen so many beautiful garments ruined by ironing,especially as so much yarn is acrylic these days. I’ve never ironed any knitted garment all my children’s baby cardigans and school jumpers. I use the same method as you suggest. Jalima1108 I think you would be much better joining a Knit and Natter group instead of paying out a lot to learn at a shop, the Knit and Natter that I go to is fantastic, people of all levels who help each other in lots of ways.

Jalima1108 Sat 12-May-18 12:52:12

I haven't joined it Glitterknitbaby - I can knit but can't crochet so wondered whether to join her group at £2 per session. I already belong to a U3A craft group.
It was just a suggestion to Ethel who wants to learn - someknit and natter groups do just that, but Ethel wants to learn.

put the garment or scarf or blanket or whatever it is on a drying rack, lying flat.
I have a blocking board and pin the garment on to it when it's damp, pin it out to size and shape and leave to dry. Or you can pin the pieces out first which apparently makes it easier to sew together but I've never done that.

EthelJ Sat 12-May-18 16:22:43

ThanksJalima and glitterknitbaby. I wouldn't have the confidence to go to a knit and natter group yet. There is a wool shop fairly close to me though that I plan to go to next week to buy supplies, I will ask in there if they know about any start up groups for beginners.

Jalima1108 Sun 13-May-18 15:15:58

Good luck

I would try to explain my casting on method but that would confuse you - it doesn't seem anything like the ones on YouTube.

EthelJ Tue 15-May-18 11:48:25

Just to let all you lovely people know that I went to the little wool shop and spoke to the very friendly owner who gave advice on wool. Needles and what to start knitting. And she even started to cast on for me. I bought some bamboo needles, fairly thick wool and I have started to knit a scarf. Which has plain knit border and sticking stitch in the middle. I made a mistake early on by knitting a row I should have been purling but I incorporated it into the design so now the scarf will be sort of stripey.
Once I finish I hope to go onto more interesting items. Maybe even knitting for my small GCs
premature babies or something similar.

Thank you all again for being so helpful. I don't think I would have given it a go without your advice.

Glitterknitbaby Tue 15-May-18 17:46:28

That’s great news EthelJ so glad to hear that you went to the wool shop and met a lady who helped you, it makes it all so much more easy and interesting for you

Jalima1108 Tue 15-May-18 19:54:54

Well done EthelJ

I hope you enjoy many absorbing hours and I'm sure the wool shop owner will be more than happy to help you in future if you get stuck!