Lots of resources and my first swatch!
A Crocheter's Tale of Learning to Knit
(Or, When a Hooker Turns to the Needle[s])
(I'm sorry about the bad sub-title, but I just couldn't resist - I blame reality TV!)
I always wanted to knit. But, I decided to learn how to crochet instead because it seemed easier to learn how to maneuver one hook instead of two needles. I think I was right, because I took to it like a fish to water and I haven't looked back. That is until now.
So what happened? What is the catalyst that drove me to set aside my trusty hook and pick up pair of knitting needles? A book of course. What else would it be?!
Look at all those beautiful patterns!
Although the book contains enough information to get a beginner like me started, I checked out a hand full of knitting titles from the library. The more information the better as far as I'm concerned! I paged through each of them, studying the illustrations, mulling over the vocabulary and generally getting a feel for the craft.
Lots of it was familiar - the way the patterns are written, how garments are constructed. Increasing, decreasing, tension, blocking and seeming are all basically the same. But reading only gives you so much. Eventually you have to throw caution to the wind and give it a try.
I was ready to cast on. In crochet you make a starting chain as the base for your project and in knitting you cast stitches on to a needle. In crochet there is the standard starting chain and only one common variation - the foundation single crochet (when you work the starting chain and the first row of single crochet at the same time). In knitting there are several different ways to cast on. Probably more than I even known about yet. So far I've learned about: the thumb method or single cast on (my husband say's it's a knot called a half-hitch), the long-tail cast on or double cast on, and the knit on cast on. I also saw something that mentions a crocheted cast on, and starting with pearl stitch instead of a knit stitch! It's confusing to a beginner because all of the books have different names for what seems to be the same thing. What I gathered is you can use whichever method you prefer unless the pattern directs otherwise. For the sake of simplicity I went with the single cast on thumb method to start. I had a hard time with my tension, and my stitches were really tight. One of the books recommended casting onto two needles at the same time and them sliding one out. I found this helped a great deal.
Once I get the basics, this will be my first project.
Another challenge was figuring out the difference between the English and Continental styles. I think that this means if you hold the yarn in your right hand or left hand. As a crocheter I am most comfortable with the yarn in my left hand, which I guess means that I use the Continental style. I wonder what it's called when you hold yarn in both hands for colorwork?
And so I set to knitting. It felt really awkward and the needles seemed to have a mind of their own flailing this way and that. In time I found a tentative rhythm and before long my first swatch was born! I didn't know it at the time, but I was knitting every row which I now recognize as the garter stitch. A little help from the knitting guru at the library set me straight on purling and soon I was able to tell the difference between the two. More practice led to a stockinette swatch and my first attempt at binding off.
I had a bit of trouble sliding the stitches over each other and my tension was inconsistent, but I got it done.
I only have a limited amount of patience for swatching - I like to make things! Beth from the library kitting group was working on a pair of wrist warmers that seemed to be a perfect first project. But that's a story for another day!
It's been three weeks since I picked up the needles and I'm absolutely enamored. Everyday I learn something new and my work goes a little quicker and looks a little better. I have so much to tell you about already! I've been taking pictures and writing notes so that I remember all those first time experiences. I won't be long before I'm comfortable enough with the basics to start moving into the world of color and Fair Isle. I'm so thankful to St. Martin's for sending me this terrific book that motivated me to finally learn to knit. If you are looking for a comprehensive guide to Fair Isle I recommend that add this one to your collection. It just went on sale at the beginning of the month and you can buy it here, or through your favorite book seller. Sorry I won't be giving this one away - I'm keeping it as the first knitting book in my library where I'm sure it will get plenty of use!
Speaking of giveaways, the raffle for 75 Floral Blocks to Knit will be ending at midnight on Saturday. If you haven't entered yet go ahead and click over while you still can. It's a great book filled with lovely patterns that you can use to make all kinds of different projects.
And so my journey into the land of knitting has begun. It's a whole new world isn't it? I can't wait to see what happens next!
Thanks for stopping by and spending a bit of your day with me.
Until next time,
Be blessed and stitch & read with love!
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My name is Robin. I am a wife, mother and strong believer in the power of faith. I'm a maker, a crafter and an artist. I love exploring new mediums and sharing my adventures with you.
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Stitch & Read with Love!