Monday, December 3, 2012

What's Next

With the amount of time that it took, I did the unthinkable. I have finally completed my first project and I am ready to move forward with my next. I accepted a challenge to create a Gingerbread Icing Scarf, a free pattern I found on Ravelry and can be downloaded at the following site. This scarf will incorporate cable knitting and alternation between two colors, which I know will give me a run for my money. But there is no other way to maximize your learning experience than to attempt a project that seems beyond your league.

For this project, I do not want to deviate from the instructions of the pattern, just to be on the safe side. The pattern calls for four skeins (balls) of yarn, two skeins for each color that I haven't fully decided on yet. I already have my size US 8 (5mm) needles, my crochet hook, which is beneficial when mistakes occur while working, and scissors for absolute emergencies. As soon as the storm of final exams is over, I will be headed to the craft store to select my yarn and start my second project. However, in the few minutes I can spare, I will be practicing the cable knit with yarn that I bought a few months ago to familiarize myself with the technique.

By the way, I have a small favor to ask of you all. If there is a pattern that you have seen and would like to try, I say go for it. We are all learning and growing so, if you do decide to go out on a limb with me, I would love to hear your experiences and the pattern you have chosen. Stay encouraged and try the unimaginable!

[Knit to your heart's content!]

Is this Goodbye?

Image A
I have dedicated a great part of this semester focusing on learning the craft of knitting and it is now coming to an end. Indeed this journey has been a learning experience! I have learned to cast on, knit, purl, bind off, and I've carried these techniques over to completing my first project that I am proud to present. Where do I go from here? To knit or not to knit? After some careful thought and consideration, I am afraid to inform you all that I.....will continue babbling about my newfound hobby.

Image B
I cannot throw in my needles so soon, I have only just begun. There are many projects and patterns needed to be tackled and I am ready for the battle. Not only did I enjoy this knitting adventure, I am getting the hang of blogging. Strangely, it has been the best way for me to follow through with knitting, help other beginners, and receive assistance from the knitting community. 

Image C

I would like to thank you all for your feedback, comments, suggestions, and support. You all have assisted in fueling my desire to continue knitting and I am appreciative and grateful for the encouragement. To show you all my current progress, I have included several photos that track my knitting from the beginning, in Image A, down to completion of my first project in the last three photos. Please keep your replies flowing because there is more to come. Stay tuned!

[More to Come. Keep Knitting]

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


As you can imagine my life is a neverending whirlwind of events. Sorry for the long hiatus everyone but I did not come empty handed, I have great news. Drum roll please. I have completed my first project! Although it has been a prolonged project, I am very pleased with the outcome.

I actually finished my beginner's reversible scarf a week ago but I had a little problem binding off. Using Knitting Help's video of binding off in pattern, I was able to close my stitches but towards the end I could not properly secure the bind off. I am still working on stopping the yarn from unloosing.

The problem with my binding off, I think, stems from how much yarn I had left to work with. I decided to use my entire skein of yarn, which was Red Heart Shaded Dusk Ombré worsted weight that measured 244 yards. I did not understand what the gauge was or how I should use it in my projects but it allows a knitter to determine the correct measurement for the project. Using a gauge would have probably helped.

After I initially binded off, I washed my scarf to make it less stiff and it is able to stretch. When I started knitting, a fellow knitter informed me that washing a project will even out the stitches. It is actually ready to use and I am waiting for the perfect time to wear it.

[Accomplished Knitter]

Macho Knitters?

Can you imagine a 6-foot-tall, tattoo clad, bald truck driver walking up to you with knitting needles in hand and a blanket. Would you run or just stand there in amazement? Believe it or not, in Walcott, Iowa, truck drivers are taking up not only knitting but quilting as well. This idle pastime that they have adapted makes me look at knitting and men, who are seen as the rough guys on the road, in a whole new light.

The article, Idle Pastime: In Off Hours, Truckers Pick Up Stitching, written by Jennifer Levitz, brings the lives of three truck drivers who began knitting to pass the time in between their deliveries. As the amount of hauls for truck drivers declined the time between their deliveries ranged from just a few hours to a few days. With all the downtime that they had, these truckers found a craft that would constructively help fill the time.

An ex-Air Force mechanic, Dave White started quilting and actually loves it so much that it consumes his thoughts. White even creatively names his pieces; one of his pieces is called "Meet Me In Paris". Kevin Abraham-Banks knits to during the stalls between his deliveries and seems to be an accomplished knitter having completed a scarf, socks and a sweater. A grandfather and husband, Thomas McConnaughy, picked up quilting from his wife and has placed a sewing machine in his sleeper cabin. The excitement with which these men have found in the crafts is amazing and I commend them for it. Not all truckers feel the same way as these men but the fact that it is even possible shows progression.

I wanted to share this information because I know for some people it is hard to believe that male knitters exist and I am also fascinated with the subject myself. These gentlemen, who are married and have families, has found an unlikely hobby for their occupation and sex, in general. I can only imagine the amount of time they spend away from home and they have found something that makes them relax while on the road. The most surprising detail from this article is that an Iowa-based trucking corporation started a club for sewers and allows truckers to present their work.

[Making Headway In Knitting]

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Facing the Worst Part...

It Kept Going...
I came head to head with the worst problem yet, fixable, but one I NEVER want to encounter again. As I was continuing my project, I reached a point where my skein of yarn became tangled. It literally took me several hours to untangle the mess. Once I was able to straighten out one section another part became even more tangled, no matter how much I tried to create some type of organization.  A cycle I thought would never end.

...And Going...

I had to try different ways to stop the straightened yarn from tangling and I tried EVERYTHING! Wrapping the yarn around my forearm (my elbow and the palm of my hand), between the handles of an armoire, and across the entire floor of my bedroom. There were no successes with these ideas until I found a video that allowed me to roll the yarn into a ball. My frustration was skyrocket high at this point but with an ounce of patience, I was able to carefully take out the knots and tangles.

...And Going.
Although this was a setback in my progress, I think it is a necessary issue for any beginner to come across. For future projects, it is best to be aware of possible tangling issues when yarn begins to come out in clumps or becomes stuck while pulling from the skein. My fellow ravelers provided some tips to prevent yarn tangling:
  1. Wind the yarn into a cake or ball before starting a project.
  2. Pull the yarn from the middle of the skein.
  3. Keeping the yarn in a vase for a rowdy skein
  4. Put slippery skeins into a ziplock bag with a hole in the corner
My tip, if you do face yarn tangling, is to stay calm, be patient, and be careful. I am glad to share this woe with my fellow beginners. Learn from my mistakes!
[Stay calm, cool, and collected. Keep knitting!]

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

It's Coming Along!

My first knitting project is still underway guys. I am extremely excited to see my own progress and the end is in my sights. I have received a lot of positive feedback and ideas for other projects that I am becoming a little impatient with this project. Anxious to advance in my knitting, I am ready to start making sweaters, vests, and hats, any pattern I can get my hands on. I do think that the prolonged amount of time I am spending may be the cause for these feelings.


Don't get me wrong I am learning tremendously from this project and I know I have to take baby steps before I can run. I have realized that I do have a ways to go before I can  jump the gun into sweaters. Like an addiction, this first project is just the gateway. I hope to be finished and on to the next project by next week so, stay tuned!
[Keep the projects coming!]

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My Apologies

Societal "norms" is downright UNFAIR! Based on society's view of what normal is and the behaviors that must encompass males and females, we have destroyed individual creativity. I have to extend an apology to male knitters because they have been the butt of constant jokes about their sexual orientation for their interest in knitting. I thought I should raise this issue because I have yet to see a male knitter in person and before I began knitting, I never thought men knit; it's a female thing. Little did I know my perception of knitting and who should knit were based on contemporary society's normalities.
Historically speaking, knitting was actually popular in Europe as a guild that was dominated by men. According to Knit Be Nimble the guild ended, unfortunately, with the invention of machinery and men moving over to the sector of industry. In America, however, knitting has always been a woman's craft. I recently read Anne L. Macdonald's No Idle Hands: The Social History of American Knitting, which enlightened me on how knitting became so important in American history but also outlined why women took over the craft. To briefly summarize, the mood of knitting being associated mainly with women in America stemmed from the European settlers  and the roles they had established for men and women. Women were the housewives that cared for her family and the upkeep of the house while men were the breadwinners. Schooling became separated into the boys engaging in academics and the girls learning the crafts. Knitting gradually became a woman's pastime.
From this history, I believe lies the problem of gender specificity in the knitting world. However, I do not feel it has to continue to be this way. Men should be able to enjoy the soothing powers of knitting without society's boundaries of activities that are considered manly or wimpy. The men who are knitters and open about their love for knitting, hats off to you because you're expressing yourselves despite the labels society has put on you. Again, I apologize for society's close-mindedness. I encourage more male knitters to not be afraid to knit your WIPs in public; it is not something you should be ashamed of!

[To my knitting men: Knit to your heart's content]

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Have I been working hard or hardly working, hmm? A week has past and my first project, the beginner's reversible scarf, is underway. I have been addicted to completing a stitch or a row whenever I have a moment to spare, which includes me carrying my WIP (work in progress) EVERYWHERE I go. So far, it has been a great experience. I am finding my rhythm and seeing my yarn blossom into the scarf that is better than I had in mind. I just wanted to update you all on my progress by providing a few pictures.
I am especially excited about this scarf because surprisingly my shaded dusk ombre yarn creates a pattern of light and dark blues as shown in the images. I will definitely continue with the updates of my discoveries. And keep in mind, the finishing product is only half the accomplishment, learning from the journey is the true triumph. Stay encouraged!
[Excitement in the adventure!]

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The [Official] Beginning to an Obsession

My housekeeping has been completed! It's time to start my very first knitting project. I have had a lot of practice with the garter stitch, so to switch it up; I wanted to use a pattern that incorporated both the knit stitch and the purl stitch together. So, as my first project...drum roll please...I will be doing the BEGINNER'S REVERSIBLE SCARFRavelry offered this free pattern that I found and thought it would be a great piece to start on since the winter is approaching. Scarves and dishcloths are among the most common beginner projects, but choose whatever project floats your boat and that you can handle with the knitting knowledge that you have.

I am using size US 10 (6mm) needles 14 inches in length and the yarn that I am using Red Heart Super Saver Multis (ombres) Shaded Dusk. I modified this project by using worsted weight yarn and I will use the long tail cast-on but there are others you may use. This pattern calls for 28 cast-on stitches and each row is repetition of knitting two purling one.
I apologize for how dark the yarn is but I fell in love with it when I saw it. The "V" that you are seeing in the pattern is the knit stitch and in between them are the ribbing created by the purl stitch. I am working on the tension of my yarn and understanding the gauge which will help in making sure the garment fits and is precise. Since I am making scarf, the gauge is not necessary and I am not too worried about my tension. I am hoping that as I work through this project, the tension will become natural.

This is how far I have gotten since I have started this project but being that I am making a scarf, I have a LONG way to go. Bear with me as I continue with my project and I will keep you all updated. Stay Encouraged!

[Loving Every Moment! Just Keep Knitting.]

Ready to Begin

The moment of realization has come. Today has marked one month and a week since I have started my knitting journey. In the past month I have learned the slip knot, cast on, knit stitch, and purl stitch while sharing with you guys all of my ups and downs. With all the practice that I have done since I have started, I thought I had a good gist of all that knitting entails, but it never fails, there is a lot more information out there to learn and make sense of.  

Image A (Front)
In this image, I started out practicing the purl stitch continuously and then I switched over to the knit stitch. Posting my questions to the knitting community, I found out that focusing on one technique, either knit or purl stitch, for every row is called a garter stitch. And the garter stitch can, in fact, be a pattern for a project and is recommended as the first project for beginners.

Image A (Back)

The garter stitch is also the reason why the stitches are parallel to the needle. Watching videos and looking at pictures, I realized that their rows were perpendicular to the needle and I questioned if I was doing something wrong. Fortunately, it is a normal stitching. And I want to point out in Image A (front), the transition from the purl stitch to the knit stitch produces a stockinette stitch (I had no idea). The stockinette stitch can be used as a pattern in which you repeat one row of knits and one row of purls in a project. It's a lot to digest but do not fret, if you're a visual learner like myself, this video will provide some clarification. 

Image B (front)

From a forum in Knitting Help, I read a thread called Knitting the Knits and Purling the Purls. Confusion at its max! But a fellow knitter explained that when you knit a row, the back of it is a purl stitch (and vice versa), when you flip the work (to start another row) you are now seeing a purl row. For the next row you would then have to purl stitch. It sounds complicated but in actuality, it is not. Identifying the knit and purl stitches will help you know what stitches to knit and which ones to purl.

Image B (Back)

I tried knitting the knits and purling the purls by alternating between knit stitching and purling in each row. As you can see from Image B, it did not work as well as I thought it would. There seems to be more stitches on one end of the row than the other but I won't give up and for my beginners, you don't either. I am learning as I go and I am itching to work on my first project. Soo, I think I know the basics enough to move to the next step of my journey and attempt my first project. Stay tuned, stay encouraged, and continue knitting!

[Keep Moving Forward!]

Monday, October 15, 2012

I'm Purling It!

The guilt is killing me and I must share the secret of my shame. I have been neglecting my darling babes, knitting and this blog, of course. I was losing sight of my focus a bit in the past couple of weeks but fear not, I have a few updates on my progress.

I have started purling everyone with the help of Knitting Help's video the purl stitch. The purl stitch is the knitting technique that is the reverse of the knit stitch and I surprisingly caught on to it very quickly. It seemed a bit easier than the knit stitch for me except that my needle would constantly slip before I could get the stitch on the opposite needle. With more practice throughout the weekend, I was able to find my rhythm not only with the purl stitch but also with the knit stitch.

This is not yet a real project but a practice of the basic knitting techniques in which I started off with twenty cast-ons. I decided to begin with the knit stitch here to find my rhythm before I began my purl stitch. I do not know why my knit stitches have not been able to come out a little bit neater. There are a few places that I missed a couple of stitches which I think is due to not paying close enough attention and the constant unraveling of my yarn. But it's nothing to it, just a little more practice.

I then switched to the purl stitch after several rows of knit stitching. This was my very first time attempting the purl stitch and I am still not quite sure yet why there was a large gap between the stitches. This image shows my knit stitches and then the first two rows of my purl stitch.

At this point into the purl stitch, I stopped because I added a stitch while purling. The one thing to be aware of is actually getting into the stitch properly. Because the purl stitch involves the working yarn being in the front of the needles instead of the back (like in the knit stitch), there is a chance of stitching into the previous row and getting confused with the stitches.

So, when in doubt, I just started over with the same twenty cast-ons. This time, however, I did not begin with the knit stitch and went right into the purl stitches. I have to say that I, personally, was impressed and proud with the outcome of my first attempts purl stitching.

This last image just shows my continuation of the purl stitch. It looks pretty neat and even, and I focused more with my rhythm rather than getting it perfect. I don't know if it makes a difference, but I realized that my stitches are parallel to the needle and some videos I have seen shows the stitches perpendicular.  Also, knowing what stitch to use for certain projects would help propel me into the next phase of my adventure, starting my first project! I'm hoping I will clear up these inquiries and continue to update you all.
Stay encouraged! 

[We, ourselves, are works in progress. Keep knitting.]

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mentally Soothing vs. Physically Painful

What if someone told you that the very thing you LOVE will also be the very thing that threatens your livelihood? The moment we get our hands on a pair of needles and a skein of yarn, a knitter is totally engulfed in the current project and under a state of relaxation. Nothing else can penetrate our thoughts. But in the back of my mind, I can't help but think about how often arthritis is associated with knitting. A little light was shed on this by the article Knitting Health-How to Keep on Knittin' and Feel Great on the Blue Castle Fiber Arts webpage.

The article highlights that 'knititation', a combination of knitting and meditation, relieves stress and provides a sense of calm for knitters. The reason for the peaceful state of knitting is due to the repeating motions of the craft that is also found in the same brain wave forms of meditation.

But the reading also mentions that knitting is NOT the cause of arthritis or joint pain. Whew. You can pick up your needles off the floor now. Although it is not the actual cause, which happens to be diet, knitting adds to these conditions when a great amount of time is spent. The article gives the following tips for knitters with conditions such as arthritis:

          "1. Don't overdo knitting if you are in a lot of joint pain but don't
           stop altogether either. Many knitters find that doing some knitting
           actually improves flexibility and mobility of the joints. Also take
           breaks to stretch your fingers.

           2. Try different types of needles. Generally materials with a bit of

           flexibility are better such as wood, bamboo and casein but not metal."
In fact,  Dr. Hibberd from NewsMax Health supports the claims made by the article. He suggests that knitting prevents the advancement of arthritis with a few modifications.

           "...some tips that have been suggested are to try alternatives to metal 
           needles, such as birch or bamboo needles, which are lightweight and
           warmer to the touch. Try sticking to knitting with wool or wool blends,
           as wool is elastic and more forgiving than cotton and other fibers, which
           makes them easier to manipulate. Also try knitting flat on a circular needle.
           Even if you do not need to make a tube, the circular shape allows the
           weight of the sweater to fall in your lap, not off your wrist. Do not knit
           continuously, and take frequent breaks."

I thought I would share this piece of information because it is better to be aware of possible complications that may arise from what we spend hours upon hours doing. This post is not just for knitters who may have these conditions but it extends to all ages and spectrums in the knitting world. I, a new knitter, experienced a bit of stiffness when I first started knitting but I figured it was because of my tight hold. Now I realize a looser grip and a break here and there wouldn't hurt.

Awareness is greater than being clueless. Fortunately, it is possible for knitters to enjoy the wonderful amenities of the mentally soothing abilities of knitting without having to bear physical pain. So, don't be afraid, pick up your WIPs and continue while keeping in mind the previous tips.

[The best of both worlds is possible. Happy Knitting!]

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Oh Dear!

One week, seven days, 168 hours, 10,080 minutes, 604,800 seconds and what do I have to show for it? A mentally stressed, physically tired, with no relaxation college student. Typical, right? As the week flashed by, I find myself asking: Where exactly has time been flying? The days have been running into each other and time seems to be slipping through my grasps. The worst part of it all is that I haven't been able to enjoy doing what I WANT to do, knit. So, here is where the fight against time begins.

I have decided to be more proactive about MAKING time for knitting and finally finish my housekeeping so that I can begin a project. In my progress, I have only reached as far as the knit stitch. And boy, have I been working hard on getting it right. But from the advice of my fellow knitters in the knitting community, as a beginner, I should focus more on my rhythm rather than the outcome. In order to develop a secure rhythm, there obviously has to be some level of consistency and time well spent.

For my beginners, we need to loosen up, not only with our stitches but the learning aspect as well. A veteran knitter recently explained to me that as new knitters, we tend to knit tightly so that we get the stitches we see in the pictures (exactly what I thought), but those stitches happen after the project is washed and not while you knit. Fair enough. In the end, it all comes down to less perfection and more rhythm and allowing time for practice.

Most importantly, knitting should be RELAXING and FUN! I'm also speaking to myself when I say this, do not let the frustrations (and they will come) beat us out of the excitement of such a beautiful craft. Take every woe in stride, and continue with positivity in mind.

Perhaps making goals of what you would like to accomplish and seeing what you need to work on may be beneficial for progress. Goals seem to put things into perspective for me and hopefully it will help me counteract the fleeting of time. So, my goals this week is to spend an ABSOLUTE MINIMUM of two hours a day practicing the knit stitch and starting on the purl stitch. Ultimately, finding my rhythm and overcoming time like a champ.

[Stay Encouraged. And find your Rhythm]

Monday, October 1, 2012

Knitting Solace

Hello there! On another one of my random internet searches, I came across an interesting subjective view of the art of knitting. In the article, the author, Kat Welsh, states that knitting provides an escape from worries. The reason for this ease is described by the ability for the knitter to concentrate on the task at hand and alter the yarn to create a piece of cloth that is useful and meaningful in its own right. As Welsh implies, knitting is a metaphorical example for the way people are to approach life and can be used as a process of healing. Ultimately, the article points out that knitting provide an overall positive solace conducive to transforming one's outlook on happiness, expression and discovering "self-actualization." 

I wholeheartedly endorse Welsh's reference to knitting as a release. One of the first things that I heard about knitting was the relaxing nature of the craft and I can attest to this fact. Even as a new knitter, once I pick up those aqua blue needles, my only focus becomes the working of my hands to produce my knit stitches (so far). A sense of calm envelopes my atmosphere, and once the rhythm is picked up, my mind drifts to other thoughts. At that moment, my previous angst over anything is practically nonexistent and I can peacefully think of solutions. Knitting truly places me in a more positive mood than I was in before.

Although I agree with Welsh that knitting provides a "lasting effect", I do not think that knitting is the only hobby that can have such effect. Whatever allows someone to have peace can create that lasting impression. So, for my readers, I challenge you to spend some time doing what gives you relief from life's problems and see the change in your demeanor.  

[Keep knitting. Think Positive. Stay Encouraged]

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Some Solutions

When you have stumbled on to a glitch in progress, in which direction do you run? In my previous post, I documented some concerns that I was having while knit stitching. Deciding to turn to the knitting community, Ravelry, there have been many people who have offered useful solutions and answers to my beginner's problems. The problem that I was facing when I was knitting was my yarn unraveling or loosening on several occasions:
  1. Inserting the needle into the stitch and snagging a ply
  2. Going into the stitch and pulling plies into the loop instead of the entire working yarn
  3. After creating the stitch onto the right needle
The solutions that were given by fellow knitters:
  1. Pushing the work far enough on the needle so that it does not fall off and attaching a clothespin to the end of the needle while allowing the work to dangle will allow for the yarn to twist itself back.
  2. Flipping the work in a different direction each time after completing each row
  3. Using a blunter needle or different size needle
  4. Using different brands of yarn
  5. Not gripping the yarn too tight
  6. Focus on putting the needle into the stitch and not the yarn
  7. More Practice
All of these answers were very insightful and helpful. The tips from the community reinforced the idea that knitting is a trial and error process and also requires patience and time.

[Keep moving forward. Stay Encouraged]

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Working Out the Kinks

 Good Day People! I have been on a mission this week and I am so proud of my progress. In my last post I commented on my feelings of not being where I wanted to be in my knitting and I promised that this week was going to be very productive. Indeed, it has been. Part of my frustration last week was not seeing the pattern of the knit stitch, not being sure that I was doing the technique correctly and the tightness of my stitches on the needle. After watching Knitting Help's video, The Knit Stitch, continuously and knitting along with the clip, I learned the gist of the technique. I have somewhat found my comfort zone doing the knit stitch although, I do have to refine my stitching and continue practicing. 

This photo is of my very first attempt at the knit stitch. I stopped at this point because the pattern was not clearly defined to me and my stitches were just too tight.

This was the next attempt at the knit stitch during my first week of knitting. The pattern in this photo was more noticeable than my first try but again my stitching was too tight and I was unsure of how the results should look.

 In my "productive week", I decided to start from scratch once again and kept going (and still going) despite my thoughts on how it looked in the beginning. While doing this, I developed a rhythm and fell into the swing of knitting. At last! There are inconsistencies in the rows such as the various parts that are slack and unevenness. Another challenge was the unraveling of the yarn, which makes the stitches look messy and can be difficult while knitting, but these are the quirks that I hope to work out in the coming posts. And moving on from the knit stitch, I intend to take on purling with the same level of determination.

Continuations of my knit stitching.

Note: The Knit Stitch video that I used as a guide involves the Continental Method, which is the technique of holding the working yarn in your left hand while knit stitching. There is another method known as the English Method in which the working yarn is held in your right hand during the knit stitch process. Either method is fine, but it is whichever one is comfortable for YOU.

[Stay Encouraged! Just keep Knitting. Just Keep Knitting] 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Practice! Pratice! Practice!

Hello out there! This weekend I felt like I have been having a setback. I know I'm only a week into knitting but I don't think I have truly gotten the feel for it yet. My knit stitch is not as neat and distinct as I want it to be and I have not found my comfort zone. Of course, this only means one thing! Practice! Practice! Practice! This week I am going to work diligently on perfecting my knit stitch and I am going to begin my purl stitching. I THOUGHT I was ready to challenge myself and start a project but I have to do my housekeeping first. I definitely underestimated the time that I needed to set aside for this craft. So, now it's time to really get my hands dirty. I will keep you all updated on every moment and I hope the next few posts will look a little BRIGHTER for my knitastic adventure.

Oh, and by the way, I love the knitting community! They are very welcoming and encouraging. Their experiences will definitely help me when I get into a rut like this.

[Staying Encouraged! You all do the same.]

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Part #2: There's a First for EVERYTHING!

Hey! Hey! Hey Everyone! So I'm back with part two of 'There's a First for Everything' and I will continue you to tell you the juicy firsts of my knitting experience. This past week labeled the beginning of my journey. I used the eBook How to Knit for Beginners from Knitting Daily to get my supplies and I am also using it to assist me in getting a firm beginning on knitting. 

Slip Knot

Slip Knot

The slip knot is the start to knitting projects, not necessary but recommended! To make the slip knot you wrap the yarn around your index and middle finger, with the end of the yarn in your palm, wrapping with the working yarn (knitting lingo for the end of the yarn still attached to the ball) around until you get to the back of your hand. Pull the working yarn through your fingers, release your fingers, and tighten by pulling the end of the yarn. Slip the needle through the loop you have just made and pull the working yarn end until you have tightened the knot on the needle. Voila!

Casting On
Casting On

Casting on allows you make the first row of stitching for your projects and each project may require a different amount of stitches to start with. After I tried the slip knot several times to get the hang of it, the How to Knit for Beginners eBook suggested trying 20 Long Tail Cast-On. I kept casting on the needle and undoing it because I just wasn't entirely sure I was doing it the right way. I must confess I am a perfectionist! So, stopping at nothing to perfect this very basic component of knitting was a must. Trying to make the cast ons even with just the right tightness (not too tight but not too loose)  on the needle created some problems for me. But practice makes perfect and I'm still working on it!

Knit Stitch
Knit Stitch: 1st and 2nd
The slip knot and the casting on was seemingly easy for me but when it came to the knit stitch, the basis of which knitting is named, I could not get it the first million tries. I was at this for 3-4 hours and not being able to understand the knit stitch increased my frustration. I huffed and puffed, but I didn't blow the house down, instead I kept trying. There were times I had to put everything down and regroup. The moral of the story: whatever you do, DO NOT GIVE UP! Embrace the frustration because it will not be the last experience. As a visual learner, videos are always beneficial and Knitting Help has a great video for Knit Stitching (Continental Method). Completing each step, the slip knot, the cast on, the knit stitch, made me feel like a champion knitter. Small victories for me, and a giant leap in my journey.

Disclaimer: I must warn you that in knitting there are various ways to do almost every technique. It is up to you to find what techniques you feel most comfortable with. The best way to figure it out is to try EVERYTHING!

[It's only the beginning, there's so much more. Stay Encouraged]

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

In Response!

Hello Everyone! I stumbled upon a knitting blog, Knitting to Stay Sane authored by Glenna, the crazy knitting lady, who is a very decorated lieutenant in the knitting world. The post that I read Embarking on knitting adventures gave encouraging tips for knitting beginners. Glenna starts off with a snippet of what she has been into lately and transitions into the blog itself. She touches on the fact that she receives plenty of comments from knitters who are just starting, like myself. The five tips that she gives is to not be overwhelmed by how many projects there are to try, embrace the frustrations that come along with learning, explore new ideas and projects, sometimes take on a knitting project that may be out of your league, and be as free and creative as you want to be with your projects.

Although it is almost a year old, I found it to be relevant in my case and situation as a knitting beginner. She introduces these basic hints and I would have to say that they are great optimistic views that can help any beginner. It is really a weight on a beginner's shoulders looking at blogs and they are way more advanced than you ever think you can achieve. But Glenna gives hope that with these characteristics on your belt you can go as far and wide as you want! For my beginners, Glenna says it best in these couple of sentences:
       "If it brings you pleasure to knit it, then knit it. Everyone else can do as they please."
[Stay encouraged! We're all on the same page]

Monday, September 17, 2012

Part #1: There's a First for EVERYTHING!

Hey guys! I went shopping on Friday (9/14/12) and was extremely excited! As seen in the picture below, I picked up my first pair of (blue) 6 mm knitting needles, my (blue) 3.5 mm crochet hook, and my aruba sea and gold worsted yarn. The yarn colors doesn't have any significance except that I just loved the colors. Anyway, in this post I am going to talk about the shopping experience I had and the new information I learned about the items I purchased.

These items were the very first supplies I selected because as a member of the knitting community Knitting Daily, one of the gifts for signing up was an eBook titled "How to Knit for Beginners." The eBook outlined the basic suplies needed to get started which included yarn, needles (that correlate with the size yarn), measuring tape (which I did not buy), the crochet hook for correcting any mistakes, pen and paper for documenting progress, and a bag to hold the supplies.
Walking into the store to retrieve these items, my thoughts were to get some yarn, a pair of knitting needles, the crochet hook and be on my merry way. That idea was VERY wrong! I had no idea there was a correlation between the yarn and the needle size until after I REALLY took a look at the "How to Knit for Beginners" eBook. I slid by this time because surprisingly, the needles that I chose were almost the correct size for the yarn I picked up. The key concept here is that reading is very fundamental.

From my first experience at the store, I realized that paying attention to the labels on the yarn, on the knitting needles, anything I am buying for that matter is imperative when starting a knitting project. The loads of information on the labels are very important when it comes down to it. In the picture collage to the above right, the top picture shows the label that was on the yarn, the picture below shows the label that was on the knitting needles and the third strip shows the label located on the crochet hook. In the top strip, the symbol of the yarn with the 4 on it refers to the yarn weight, medium, and the category, 4, that it is found in. The "How to Knit for Beginners" eBook actually has a chart that breaks down what is recommended for each category of yarn, such as what can be made and the size needle that should be used. In the same top strip, the symbol in the middle indicates the knitting information such as the size needle that should be used, 5 mm (US 8), the number of stitches, 17 and rows, 23, to make a 4x4 in square or a 10x10 cm square. And the third box in the top strip is the crocheting information which I am not going to go into detail about because our focus is knitting. The middle strip shows the measurements for the knitting needles I bought which is 6 mm or US 10, the size range that the United States go by, and 14 inches in length. Now, for the last strip shows the size of the crochet hook which is 3.5 mm or the US standard E. Again, I am not too focused on the crochet hook at this point in my journey.

As you can tell, I am learning so much already about knitting just from my very first experience and there is so much more to be learned. This is ONLY the beginning and in part two of this post, I will be telling you about my first slipknot, my first few cast ons, and my first few rows of knit stitches! I cannot wait to give you the details of that rollercoaster ride. Stay tuned and stay encouraged! 

[Until we meet again]

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Greetings Everyone! I will be your tour guide and host for this blog, so I would like to welcome you all to Sknitten Mittens! Don't be afraid it will be a lot easier to follow than it is to say. I will be blogging about my experiences on the knitting scene. I have never picked up a pair of knitting needles in my life but I am ready to start. I decided to go with the knitting blog because I have always had an interest in it that I never explored. Why not document my every move and help other beginners along the way? This blog became my perfect opportunity and here begins my journey! As a first-timer, I will start from the ground up with the more simpler projects and every week after tackle the more challenging projects and patterns. There will be loads of pictures to update you all on what I am working on and many posts that will document my woes and successes. I am extremely excited and I hope you enjoy reading as much I will enjoy the knitting. Welcome! Welcome! Welcome!

[Don't Be Timid, Welcome to Sknitten Mittens]