Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My Current Knitting Project

One old skill that I have a head start on is knitting.  In October 2009 I signed up for a 3 night workshop through our community college to learn beginning knitting.  Now, doing this was way outside my comfort zone, because I'm really shy.  Truly!  Walking into a room full of strangers is on par with getting teeth pulled for me....but whatever it was that prompted me to sign up for the class, I'm grateful for now.  I got past my anxiety and learned how to cast on and do the knit stitch.....and that's about it.

From there I turned to YouTube and found lots of video tutorials on how to do other things like purl, yarn overs, join new colors, etc.  I also bought myself a beginning knitting book and tried a couple of the projects in it, such as the obligatory dishrag.

Seriously, once you learn the basic cast on and knit and purl stitch, you can pretty much teach yourself the rest from there.  I'm hoping anyway, I haven't tried anything really complicated yet.

Only, I haven't been as diligent about working on it as I should have.  In 2010 I've only made two things.....a placemat, and the project I'm currently working on (and have been since June!):  a Minnesota Vikings scarf for my husband.  He's been a huge fan since he was a kid living in Minnesota, and even though they've had a terrible season this year, he's still gung ho over them.....but I digress.

I based it on this pattern here for a Chicago Bear's scarf.  From there I just changed the colors to Vikings purple and yellow and got started.

This was taken under a lamp with a compact fluorescent bulb so the lighting is a little funny

As I said, I started on this in June.  I was hoping to have it done before cold weather set in but here it is the end of December and I'm still not done.  This is where I'm at as of today:

If I'm following the pattern explicitly, the end product will be 87 inches long.  It's currently at 47 inches.  I'm not sure I want it to be 87 inches in length, so I'm not sure how much longer I'll make it.  I want hubby to be able to wear it at least for a little while this winter!  

I know I've picked up some bad knitting habits along the way, doing this totally on my own.  For instance, I know I'm holding the needles incorrectly (English, not Continental style), which is probably why I'm such a slow knitter.  I don't wrap the working yarn through my right fingers at all, I just let it hang loose and grab onto it with my right hand palm down.  

One thing, however, that made all the difference to me was learning how to read my stitches.  This scarf is done entirely in single ribbing (knit, purl, knit, purl, repeat) and at first I was trying to keep track in my head which stitch I had just done so that I wouldn't repeat it.  I had no clue how to recognize my stitches.  I was literally counting stitches in my head and had to rip out rows several times when I saw that I had repeated a stitch.  I was ready to quit knitting altogether, I was so frustrated.

But then, via knittinghelp.com  I learned how to "knit the knits and purl the purls."  In ribbing, once you complete a row and switch to the other side, you knit the stitch that looks like a knit (even though on the other side it was a purl stitch) then you purl the next stitch that looks like a purl (even though on the other side it was a knit stitch).  I read that tutorial over and over again trying to make sense of it, but then it finally clicked and I understood.  It also forced me to learn to recognize my stitches.  Now while I'm knitting all I have to do is read the stitches to know what comes next without having to keep track of it in my head or on a notebook.

I think the next knitting learning curve I'll tackle once I'm done with this scarf is to learn circular knitting, either on circular needles or on double pointed ones.  I want to learn how to make socks, mittens, sweaters, etc. and to do that requires learning how to make round openings.  Just thinking about it makes me tremble in fear (ha ha) but I'm confident I'll be able to learn it.  :)

If you knit, what projects are you currently working on?


  1. I knit the same way you do, I have tried to hold the needles correctly and the yarn too, but I can't. It is too awkward for me.
    I always have multiple projects going that don't get finished...a vintage summer sweater for me, a scarf for my son etc. Your work looks really nice.
    My one mistake I used to make was inserting my needle wrong on the knit stitch. My knitting looks a lot smoother now that I don't do that wrong!

  2. Naomi, that's a great compliment coming from such an expert needleworker as yourself! Thank you!

  3. I am currently knitting a skirt using circular knitting needles (I have tried double pointed needles but I just can't seem to get the hang of them).
    That scarf looks really good by the way!


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