Monday, July 18, 2011

Becoming a Knitter

I've been asked a few times about knitting- how to get started, how to learn new techniques, how to learn to knit lace- and I thought I'd tell you a little about how I got started.

I've been knitting since the fall of 2008. I kind of tried it out once or twice before that but because it didn't work right the very first time I tried it I abandoned it. Maybe I should admit here that I'm a recovering perfectionist. I've been known to be a habitual hobby starter and not so much a hobby stick-with-it-er due to that darned perfectionism, but when I tried again in 2008 I was determined to really learn.

I started with Knitting for Dummies and decided that I didn't want to "make" anything- that set my expectations too high for something I was just learning. So I cast on a certain amount of stitches (maybe 40 or 50) and went for it, knitting row after row after row until it felt automatic.

Then came the endless purling- which I was convinced I would never be good at.

After that I tried a couple of dishcloths- a knitting friend recommended that I try that next and while it was good to learn the yo (yarn-over), I wouldn't recommend using cotton yarn that soon. Your materials really do matter while you're learning and cotton isn't very forgiving. I also turned out a few patterned dishcloths that required knitting AND purling on the SAME ROW and I thought I'd die before finishing one properly.

It was at this stage that my husband said, "Aren't hobbies supposed to be relaxing?" as I muttered to myself and ripped out mistakes only to re-knit and have to re-rip...

But I was determined, so I went forward.

I made a few little baby things, a few projects here and there, and then I read my first Elizabeth Zimmermann book (Knitting Without Tears) and felt like a light really went on. I can't explain it fully, but it changed the way I was thinking about knitting in general:

You can always take it back out if you make a mistake.

If it doesn't work you can just try again.

What a relief! This informs my attitude on pretty much everything crafty now.

So I went for it- mittens, cardigans, sweaters, shawls, scarves- and I know that somehow I'll sort out what I need to know as I learn more about knitting. There have been certain projects that have really stretched me as a knitter and helped move me in a certain direction, but I certainly want you all to know before I start waxing poetic about my knitting knowledge- I've learned everything I know from books, ravelry, youtube videos and the videos on I'm soooo not an expert, just a girl who seriously loves to knit and doesn't mind feeling a little dumb while I learn something new.

So I'm planning to answer some of those knitting questions I've been asked later in the week. If you want to ask something please comment with your question so I can include it in that post!

For more on becoming a knitter:

Getting Started (Part 1)
Getting Started (Part 2)


  1. I had to laugh when you talked about how your husband said hobbies are suppose to be relaxing. I have been knitting now for a whole year and wondered if I would ever find it relaxing...he answer is yes and I love it. I have knit every single day for a year and hope to continue for many, many more.

  2. Ok. This is what I needed. I just went and took all my knitted needles out of the garage sale. My yarn was destroyed when a pipe burst and I took that as a sign I wasn't supposed to be doing craftiness like that, but I still have a desire to be one of those women who has afghans wrapped around her family on cold winter days that she made herself. I'm going to look into those books... my goal is to start (and finish) a quilt for my bed this year and after that I can re-start the knitting/crocheting.

  3. YAY- a future knitter saved! Laura, it really is worth sticking with. Check out and you can't help but be inspired to become a serious knitter!

  4. I cannot imagine my life without knitting!! So glad you are staying a knitter :)


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