Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Look Mom, I'm Knitting!

I feel like a little kid, smile beaming proudly, as I show my mom an ugly project I made at school. This weekend I made my first few knitting stitches and you would have thought I had cured cancer. I was SO excited, I showed it off to anyone who would look at it. Of course, that only included my husband, dog, two cats and Alea, but it didn't make me any less proud!

Now, if you don't laugh, I will share my first swatch. I AM calling it my first, despite starting another before it with Vanna's Choice that split like no other. It was so frustrating I almost threw my needles across the room. Instead, I decided to switch to another cheap yarn in my stash, TLC Essentials in Surf and Turf. Let me tell you, it was a smart move. This is the first time I've used TLC, which I got on sale on the big Labor Day sale Michaels and Joann's was having. It's a perfect practice yarn! As far as needles, I started on size 10 Clover bamboo needles when I was working with the Vanna's Choice, but when I switched to the TLC, I used size 8 Clover bamboo needles. I like the feel of the size 8 better I think.

I just noticed there is some crazy pooling going on with this yarn! It doesn't look as bad in person.

As you can see, I made an error, dropping a stitch (at least I think that's what happened), but instead of worrying about it, I decided to move on and just learn from my mistake. Other than that little booboo that resulted in a nice hole in my swatch, I think it looks pretty good. The last few rows I did were starting purl, so like 99% of the swatch is the knit stitch.

I love the differences between crochet and knitting. They are so different, it's like night and day. I'm left handed, crochet left handed but decided to learn to knit as a rightie. I'm one of those weird people that uses their opposite hand a lot. In fact, when playing baseball, I bat left handed, but can only throw accurately with my right. Same with hockey. I shoot right handed, but I play goalie left handed. Odd, I know, but I decided to do the same with crochet/knitting. So far, my choice was a good one, as there is less tutorials of left handed knittng as there is for the south paw crocheters.

I started with a few different videos, watching each technique for casting on (the Knitpicks video seemed the easiest for me) before choosing my poison. I know that different patterns need certain casting on (or I think), but right now I wanted the most simple. I then moved onto the Knit stitch, working on the garter stitch for this swatch, before moving onto Purl stitch Monday night.

Between Knit and Purl, I have to say, I like knit stitch MUCH better. Purl seems/feels so unnatural for some reason, but this may be because I just started it. I hope it comes a little easier to me. I was at Borders yesterday and saw a great book, The Harmony Guides: Knit and Purl: 250 Stitches to Knit (or it seemed great, I didn't buy it) that really opened my eyes to the K & P stitch. I didn't realize that you could do a ton of different stitches just with knowing these very basic things.

I did buy this book, Chicks with Sticks: Guide to Knitting, which so far is a great way to learn and have patterns based on my very beginning level. Each "lesson" they teach you a new stitch, which then leads to a pattern using it, so it builds on what you know from the previous one.

I'm SO excited to learn more, and I love how different it is from crocheting. I can't wait to start making things, instead of swatches.

I'd love to have a few books, patterns or videos recommended, so if you have any, please be sure to comment!


  1. YAY!!!!!!! So glad you are enjoying knitting! And you are right, different situations use different cast ons.

  2. I'm glad you are enjoying learning your new skill. One you van purl and knit everything else comes easily. I found http://www.knittinghelp.com/ very helpful while learning as it has tons of great video tutorials. I look forward to seeing what comes next.

  3. It looks great! I'm going to put in another vote for www.knittinghelp.com for fantastic, clear videos. I hate purling too, I'm just not as fast at purling as at knitting but once you get going you can learn to knit in the round and avoid purl most of the time that way!

    Enjoy your new craft.

  4. I'm so envious. I tried knitting with a make your own scarf kit, failed abysmally and decided crochet was easier. My logic was one hook vs two needles lol. I hope to try knitting again at some point in the future once I've mastered crochet.

  5. Alea, thanks! You've been a big help and patient with my stupid questions. LOL

    CraftyCripple, thank you for the tip! I'm going to check them out right now!

    Halfpint, thank you! It has some mistakes, but not too bad...well, despite the big hole. LOL

    Northern Monkey, wow, two votes! I'm really going to have to check it out now! Good to know I'm not the only hater of the purl stitch. It just feels so...wrong and awkward! Good to know you don't use purl much in the round!

    Kezz, I've been crocheting since December/January so about 10-11 months, so not too long. I think you should give it another shot and watch some videos first. There are some great ones out there that show everything very clearly and slowly so it's easy to comprehend. As I mentioned, the yarn you use can make a huge difference, at least in my experience.

  6. Look at you with your knitted up swatch! Nice work, Tami! I think it took me 3 or 4 days of knitting 2 rows and ripping it out because it looked weird before I finally got the hang of it.

    Purling will get tons easier, but won't ever be as fast/natural as knitting. It'll end up being no big deal, though. Also, if you knit in the round (like hats and socks), no purling required. Bonus!

  7. Pretty pretty knitting!! You're right about purl. it's certainly not as intuitive a stitch as knit.

    I'm left handed too :)

  8. Thanks, Paula! I'm so stupidly proud. LOL Good to know that purling becomes a little easier!

    elephantJuice, thanks! I know it's not much, especially to those of you who knit whole sweaters, but I'm happy with it. LOL Do you kniw left handed or right?

  9. Congrats on learning knitting and your first swatches. Splitty yarn is no good to learn on, glad you found something that works better.

    I hold my yarn in my left hand because I learned to crochet first. Except for my DD all the people I have taught to knit were left handed, so I learned how to do it both ways. It's a handy skill for short rows when you don't feel like turning every few stitches.

  10. Very well done! This post made me giggle because when I teach my girlfriends to knit they all say the same thing: Can't I just Knit and not Purl?!

    I look forward to seeing your first completed knitting project.

  11. Thanks, Denise. Yeah, the splitty yarn was TERRIBLE. I was so frustrated. Wow, that's interesting about knitting both right and left! That's impressive.

    danielleathome, thank you! Seriously, at least purl isn't too hard, it's just so unnatural feeling and awkward. I drop my needles when wrapping the yarn a lot. LOL

  12. Congratulations and welcome to the knit side! mwahaha...

    I was just commenting on Twitter/facebook the other day how I hate purling because I'm so much slower at it. I do love that most everything in knitting is based on knit and purl stitches, it's just how you combine them.

  13. HA! Thanks Gabriela. It feels good. I keep adding great knitting patterns to my Ravelry queue even though I won't be able to do them for months if not years due to difficulty! There are so many great patterns out there!

  14. Knittinghelp.com is very helpful indeed. I learned from the Stitch n Bitch book as well. I am backwards from you and went from knitting to crocheting. I don't think I'll ever go back. With knitting, you need too many different types of techniques and equipment. Crocheting is simple and fast as heck. But, it's good to know both. If you're ever bored, you have something else to amuse you.

  15. Thanks, mutantsupermodel! That's funny that you went from knitting to crochet instead of the other way around. I think with knitting, the thing that is appealing is everything looks more "store bought". I'll be happy when I learn both to be able to make whatever I wish. Maybe some day!