to Learn how to knit is not as difficult as you might think. But you need someone to explain the basics. And Don’t give up after your first project. Keep reading to see why!
So while trying to learn how to knit may not be as difficult as you first think, it’s super important that you don’t give up after your first project. And you need to find someone to explain the basics in a way that you understand. We all process information differently and learn at different paces. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s part of being human.
It’s easy to feel defeated before you even start when looking at the array of fabulous projects people post online. But you want to know a secret? Everyone starts in the same place.
Once I was a terrible knitter. To be perfectly honest with you, some days I still make stuff that looks like crap. Making stitches by hand is a process that requires patience and practice. In this hurry it up world we’re in, people forget this. Even I forget on occasion.
Today I’m showing you my first knit. It was supposed to be a scarf, but I use that term loosely. Only a handful of people have ever seen this, and now I’m posting it on the internet.
Oh my. I almost threw it away several times, but then I remember the voice of my knitting teacher in my head who said this.
Always treasure your first finished project. It serves as a reminder of how far you’ve come.
I think we forget to stop and take stock of our accomplishments and out progress. Keeping your first project is a wonderful way to see just how far you’ve come.
The yarn was some lovely stuff from Peru. I remember that. I wish I knew what exactly, because it’s extremely nice and I’d love to have some more of it. I still adore my first knitting needles that I bought with the skein of yarn to make this. They are size 10.5 US Knit Picks in Harmony. Beautiful needles, and I still love to knit on straight wooden knitting needles. They are my favorite to this day.
Looking at this “scarf” I can see where I started out in Garter Stitch and knit maybe 6 rows in all knit stitch. I completed maybe 20 rows in 3 hours of sitting in the yarn shop on the Downtown Mall of Charlottesville, VA. Then I had to do my grocery shopping, and drive home. Several hours passed before I was able to get home and pick up the scarf again.
By the time I picked my project back up, I couldn’t remember what to do. I was living in the middle of nowhere at the time, and the knitting store was 65 miles away ONE WAY. I could only drive there once a week. I was in a Learn to Knit class, so I had to wait a whole week until the following Saturday to go back. I had no idea about the existence of youtube at that time. Bluprint (formerly Craftsy) was literally just getting started.
So I just kept knitting the best that I could.
I still remember the look on my knitting teacher’s face when I returned to class and PROUDLY pulled out my project. I’ve never seen anyone’s eyes get so wide! But Mimi was a true class act, and never showed me anything but kindness. In fact, everyone around that knitting table, showed me nothing but kindness. I will always remember that.
She was amazed at the depth of my knitting screw up, and proclaimed, “You are really a determined knitter! Some of these stitches aren’t knitted at all, just wrapped and looped. I’m not even sure how you did this!”
And then she said what I still carry with me to this day.
You are someone who Knits Without Fear. You just keep going. And that is AMAZING.
I will always remember that. It made me feel good in spite of my hot mess of a scarf. I shudder to think what would have happened had I encountered the very unpleasant knitter I told you about in this post. I am quite sure I would not be here today telling you any of this, because very likely, I would have quit knitting.
I kept going back to the knitting shop. Every week like clockwork on a Saturday. This project took me the whole month to complete. It was sheer dedication, because I had to be ON THE ROAD at 730AM to make to Charlottesville by 9 for class. And I’m not exactly a morning person.
that class was a bright spot in my life, and I looked forward to it all week long.
When the project was finally finished and I bound off my last stitch, they helped me weave in my ends. Though I’m not sure why that matters on something as grotesque as this thing. But they never made me feel bad about my knitting.
Mimi told me that you can learn a lot about a person by the way they knit. And she said she could tell by my project I was not someone who could not be put in a corner and made to sit still.
I was determined to learn how to knit, and it didn’t matter to me if I made a mess of it while I learned.
I remember how it feels to be frustrated and not understand what’s going on. It’s so simple once you get it, but until it clicks it is literally a foreign language. Understanding this frustration is why I started making videos and writing knitting patterns for beginners. I remembered how it felt to want to do it so much and to be so frustrated over not understanding.
Mimi told me that most people will quit their knitting practice before they ever get as far along as I did. She said they will be so mired down by the imperfection of those first projects, those first stitches even, that they will never allow themselves to go any farther. They just quit on the spot and never try again.
That makes me so sad. And it’s why I think I’m uniquely qualified to help people learn about this wonderful yarn craft.
You see, often people who have been knitting for decades (many since they were small children) forget how hard it is for a brand new person. BUt I remember how it feels to be that confused beginner.
So as soon as that last end was woven in, we picked out yarn for my next project. It was a Rowan Wool. I remember that. We also decided that maybe I should just do knit stitch for a while, and get the hang of that before adding something else. (Which is why to this day I insist my students make a couple of variations on Garter Stitch scarves before moving on to purl stitches and shaping)
And that’s how I came to make this.
My second scarf.
What a difference! If I had quit after that first disaster of a project, I never would have made that purple scarf. The teaching assistant in the yarn shop crocheted the ends on for me with the contrasting color. I was mesmerized by what she was doing, and I still want to learn crochet embellishments for my knitting.
don’t get discouraged if your first project isn’t perfect. Don’t quit because it takes a few weeks to get the hang of knitting.
You have to allow yourself some space and compassion to make a wee bit of mess.
Because out of that chaos, you will learn order.
Enjoy this video I made about my first project. It’s one of my first youtube videos, so overlook some of the obvious issues….We all have to start somewhere.
Many thanks to the very lovely and immensely kind Mimi Hyde of The Needle Lady in Charlottesville. Because of her, I still knit to this day. Now I’m showing people how to get started with their own knitting practice. I’m uniquely qualified to do so, because I remember so vividly what my first experience was like. Above all I learned to be kind and to be supportive. Those first stitches might actually be the most important you’ll ever make. If you are ready to start your own knitting practice, start here and let’s get started!
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