Learning how to knit. It’s not as difficult as you might think. But you need someone to explain the basics. Don’t give up after your first project.
So while learning 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.
Today I’m showing you a Skeleton from my closet. Not literally.
Today, I’m coming clean and sharing probably my biggest secret. Ready? I was a terrible knitter.
I’m showing you my first knit. It was supposed to be a scarf, but who knows what to call this hot mess of a project? Only a handful of people have ever seen this, and now I’m baring my soul to the world. Ready? Here it is.
Oh my. What a mess! I almost threw it away several times, but I remember the voice of my knitting teacher in my head. She said this.
Always treasure your first finished project. It serves as a reminder of how far you’ve come.
Boy is that the truth! This thing is so bad, I’ve never seen anything that comes close to being its rival! Look at the edges. Look at all those unintentional holes. Wow. That thing is the worst knit I’ve ever seen.
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. Lovely needles. What a shame I subjected them to this awful thing.
Looking at this “scarf” I can see where I started out in Garter Stitch and knit maybe 6 rows in all knit stitch. Then they decided I should purl and had me doing purl stitch on my 7th row. It seems I was getting it, and turned out a nice bit of stockinette. I got in maybe 20 rows in 3 hours of sitting in the knitting 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.
So I just kept knitting. I use the term loosely.
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 is a true class act, and never showed me anything but kindness. In fact, everyone around that knitting table who met under the chandelier and nibbled fresh baked scones and sipped hot brewed tea, pinkies extended, showed me nothing but kindness. I will always remember that.
So, Mimi took my project and helped me to get restarted. She ripped out several inches (about 24″ to be exact) of my work to help me start fresh. It was then she figured out that maybe asking me to purl right away was a bit too much.
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 bitchy knitter I told you about in my post from a few weeks back. I am quite sure I would not be here today telling you any of this, because very likely, this scarf would have been my first and last project.
I kept going back to the knitting shop. Every week like clockwork on a Saturday. This scarf 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. I liked to get my fancy coffee in the real coffee shop (not Starbucks) and browse the glorious yarn before the class started.
I turned my knitting class into an event, and I looked forward to it all week long.
When it was finally finished and I BO 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 project.
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.
Nobody puts Baby in a corner.
She could tell I was extremely determined and that I went after what I wanted in life.
And you know what? She was right.
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.
Isn’t that a shame?
So, we decided after this that maybe asking me to purl right away was asking just little too much.
You see, often people who have been knitting for many years (many since they were small children) forget how hard it is for a brand new person.
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.
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.
So, don’t get discouraged if your first project isn’t perfect. Don’t just quit because it takes a few weeks to get the hang of knitting. That’s all normal!
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. The main thing is to not quit. Keep going and work on being better and better each time.
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.