Saturday, June 07, 2008

My Progress with Knitting

I thought I'd give an update on my knitting.

I chose one color of wool yarn, given to me by a friend I met through the local homeschooling chat group and who also is a reader of my blog. Using the gifted metal knitting needles (#8 I think), I started to make a rectangle. The idea was to make a felted little bag without even using a pattern. I figured the felting process would hide any errors I made.

I really struggled because I was knitting very tightly. I am trying to understand
'the right tension'. I have loosened up.

Using logic I did increases to make it wider then decreases to make it narrower at other points.

I did some shopping for books on knitting and could not find any in local stores that seemed like they could teach me the things I needed to know. It seemed so many were too sparse on directions and techniques but heavy on projects. In one tempting book they used nearly every size knitting needle and all different kinds of yarn. For some simple looking projects I would need several different sets of needles. I wanted something to do with just one set of knitting needles and maybe one skein of yarn!

Just a couple of days ago I found a book at A.C. Moore and bought it using a 50% off coupon. What I was looking for was a book with very clear diagrams of how to do the stiches and various techniques like changing the color of the yarn. I finally found the right book for me. It is called "A-Z of Knitting: The Ultimate Guide for Beginner to Advanced Knitter" by Sue Gardner. The whole book is on technique and stiches. There are NO patterns or projects. Each technique has full color photographs in many steps to clearly show what is going on. The written instructions are clear too. This is just what I wanted.

Note also I had trouble shopping for a book about knitting on Amazon becuase I couldn't see the inside of the book to check the diagrams.

Using the book I taught myself to bind off. I did that to finish the piece that is going to be the little bag. I need to get a needle that will take yarn, because I don't think I own one, I know I didn't buy one, and after that I will sew up the sides and then the little bag will be felted in my washing machine.

The book I am using for felting information about washing machine felting, and directions on how to do it is: "Not Your Mama's Felting" by Amy Swenson.

At the same time I began a second project. Using size 13 bamboo needles I cast on 100 stitches of a very thick wool yarn. This will be a larger bag of some kind.

I am just doing the knit stitch for both projects. I figure, one thing at a time.

I keep having the feeling that I am doing something wrong. According to the new book, I was doing one step backwards. I am having trouble moving the needle in the opposite way to do it like the book says. The weird thing is that the finished stitches look identical when done with either method. Next up I think I'll see if I can find a You Tube video of the Continental knit stitch to see what others say about how to do this correctly.

I have been knitting mostly in bed at night. I take it with me when I know I have to sit and wait, like in the doctor's waiting room, while sitting vigil with my dying grandmother or waiting for a carpool.

At this point I am enjoying this. I still feel very much like a beginner. The idea of following a pattern scares me to death.

I have a new appreciation for hand knit sweaters and complicated projects. I am feeling that so many of the usable items are very difficult to do. I am not rushing to push myself to do harder projects right now. Slow and steady is my pace for knitting.

My older son is begging for me to make him a blanket but honestly that may take me a full year!

I also tried to teach him to knit but it got frustrating and I gave up. One problem with that is that I don't know enough about the right way to knit to know if he is doing it right. I don't know enough about fixing errors if he makes a mistake.

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