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]