To all the Knitters

Last weekend, at some point, I decided to learn how to knit. It’s not my first go-round with this because when I first learned I would be an aunt, I signed up for a knitting class. I went, thinking I’d make darling booties and sweaters for my nephew or niece (turned out to be a nephew, who is now — gasp — 23 years old). The ladies were kind of mean and a little discouraging to my 15-year-old self so I gave up with nary a bootie to show for it.

Truth be told I was probably not as committed as they would have liked; not serious enough about the pursuit, and so knitting went the way of my ice-skating phase, my basketball career, my pottery stage and countless other activities I’ve engaged in at one time or another.

I realize I’m late to this party — Amanda took it up and made me mildly interested about seven years ago. Robin knits. So does Angela. It seems like most people pick it up at one time or another and finally, I think I’m interested too.

I went to the fabric store on a Saturday morning and purchased needles, yarn and a how-to book. I ran into Jen, who also knits, who approved the contents of my shopping bag and wished me luck. I began my attempts that evening.

It’s now a week later and I have very little to show for my efforts. I have started over about six times. The photo of the smug, smiling lady on the cover of my book proclaiming, “I can’t believe I’m knitting!” enrages me. I want to cram her needles into her ear canals until she wipes that sappy grin off her face.

Knitting begets violence, apparently.

The book was no help, really. So I went to YouTube for help and got it. I should have gone there in the first place. (Note to Waldo; if you’re over your illness, grab those needles and head to YouTube — skip the book.) However, AND HERE’S WHERE YOU COME IN, you, knitters of Charlottesville and St. Louis — YOU, within the reach of this blog who knit and can tell me WHAT THE KNIT?! Seriously; if you have any tips or advice, please share them in the comments or shoot me an email.

My husband, observing Try Number Five last night said, “Oh honey, look at that! You knitted a birds’ nest. Good for you!”


About marijean

I'm a public relations professional, social media consultant and work-at-home-mom living and working in Charlottesville, Va. I'm Marijean Jaggers and this is my blog.
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12 Responses to To all the Knitters

  1. My tip is this — keep trying. Take specific problems to your knitting friends or to the yarn store. Keep looking at videos. Check books out of the library.

    A lot of times, the thing that’s messing you up on a particular project has a very simple but non-obvious correction.

    It took me many, many attempts to get the hang of knitting, but once I did, I was able to do about anything I wanted.

  2. Patience says:

    I think your first project should be a pair of booties for your 23 year old nephew. 🙂

    No, seriously, get thee to a library and browse among the knitting patterns. You want something small, and without a complicated shape. There are all sorts of fun patterns for ipod cozies, cell phone cases, or tiny purses that are small, rectangular and cute.

  3. Kathy says:

    Many, many times I’ve tried to knit, and I’ve decided that my hands simply cannot make pretty things. I think it’s something, for me anyway, that’s too hard to learn from a book. I’ve had an easier time crocheting. (I can clothe a cat or a barbie doll with my creations. People? Not so much.)

  4. Jeff Uphoff says:

    My wife, a “compulsive knitter”[1], recommends the classes at “The Needle Lady” on the Downtown Mall here in Charlottesville.

    She also recommends the book, “Kids’ Knits” [that might not be the exact title], by Melanie Falick, stating that it’s a good book for any beginner.

    [1] Her own words! To quote her, “I have a knitting problem.”

  5. I recommend either a kids’ knitting book (you can borrow ours) or “Knitting for Dummies.”

    I also recommend starting off with something simple, like a scarf, so that you can simply master the knit stitch.

    I have LOADS of yarn I can share, so why don’t we get together at C’ville Coffee or some other place and knit together? That way, I can look over your shoulder while you cast on and get those first rows going.

  6. Ma Jaggers says:

    Keep at it! Did I tell you how many times I had to take out rows on the boys afghan? If you get real good then you can help me on my projects. Look forward to your visit in a few weeks.



  7. MamaMarathon says:

    I’ve been an avid knitter since childhood. I had this awesome Learn to Knit book that is now out of print, and that I foolishly loaned out and never got back. I was crushed, as I still used it for a reference even 20+ years later. But I have found Stitch and Bitch to be very helpful as well – the diagrams are great, even if you have no intention of ever making the knitted bikini.

    Also, I’d recommend a beginners’ class at the Needle Lady. And if you’re having trouble, just show up and ask for help.

    I second the recommendation for something very, very simple and rather small, like a scarf, just to get the hang of the knit stitch. Next step should be a scarf in stockinette stitch, which is knit on one row, and purled on the next. Once you know knit and purl, the sky’s the limit!

    I find knitting to be a lot like cooking – you need to know a couple of basic things, but once you have a few good “recipes” you can just follow those.

  8. Cindy says:

    I love knitting…but don’t try and do it on your own…You really need someone who can sit with you and help til you get the hang of it….Someone who can also can take out the mishaps when they occur….bird nests as your husband calls them!
    I am still doing prayer shawls with just straight knitting….and it is so relaxing.

  9. Jacque says:

    My first atempt at knitting was a Cable Knit sweater for my boyfriend. Thank God for Granny Pop who was teaching me. It took months and was torn apart many many time. But it did turn out very nice.

    If you don’t have someone like her to sit there and fix all of your mistakes then start with a scarf. At least when you are done you have something to add to your wardrobe that will make you feel good or make one for your nephew.

    My second attempt was making golf club covers for my husband for Christmas. He was very proud of them and put them on his clubs. BUT when he went golfing he got them all muddy and so he thought he would wash them before I saw them. Not knowing any better I made them out of yarn with wool in it. Needless to say he ended up with booties. So choose your yarn carefully.
    Have fun!!

  10. Beth says:

    I have a knit in the past and still have an ongoing project I pull out once and a while. I found out that it is not automatic. I hate to redo stuff but I found out that’s the only way to do it. Problem is, I’m also a utilitarian and I hate for something to go unused. I’m in a house of men, non of whom will touch my projects. Good luck.

  11. Susan says:

    I’m in total agreement with poster that said that it helps immensely to have a seasoned knitter show you the ropes and help bail you out when you get in a bind. My co-worker showed me and while I’m an on again, off again knitter, once you get the hang of it, it really is a rewarding and relaxing hobby. I only have scarves and dish clothes under my belt but my one day I’ll venture onto sweaters and socks. Keep at it MJ!

  12. Nice article, i was thinking about you the other day. What you wrote is great advice any way that you look at it.

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