Last night I started teaching myself how to knit, with a book my Mom bought for me last weekend called “Teach Yourself Visually: Knitting.” The book has proven to be quite easy to follow, at least for me so far. Last night I cast on with an easy, loop-de-loop method, then learned the knit and purl stitches.
The biggest problem I’m having so far is holding the yarn and getting the right tension. I was going too tight last night but was having trouble keeping things loose, even when I was focusing on that. I think this is a symptom of crocheting, for which you need to keep the yarn held tighter. I also think the problem is that I’m holding the yarn with my right hand instead of my left. You’d think that this would be good, since I’m right-handed, but I think it’s backfiring a bit. For crochet, I hold the yarn in my left hand and I think the lower level of fine motor skills on that hand helps. I tried holding the yarn with my left hand for knitting (continental method) but that was a mess. I don’t have enough fine motor skills in that hand to wrap the yarn around the needle. Also I was very tired by the time I was having the massive tension problems, so perhaps that contributed.
Anyway, I am sure I will work this out eventually. Today I will work on some stitch patterns to see what I can come up with. I’m excited about how fast I’m learning this, even if the knit & purl swatch I made last night has some weird issues (and some random increasing in the first few rows!) I might felt it into a potholder before I leave home (since the washer here does not cost me $1 a pop I feel OK about using it for five minutes).
I say “knitting is dangerous” because the chances of losing the whole darn project by a slip of your hand are much greater than with crochet. With crochet, you only have one working stitch at a time. With knitting, you have many, many working stitches at a time. For example, say you are working on a scart that is 30 stitches wide. In knitting, all 30 stitches are on your needles, most of them very close to the tips (perhaps a symptom of being a new knitter with too-tight tension), thus you can easily drop a third of your project if you are not paying attention, or you are jostled or something. In crochet, only one stitch is on your hook at any given time.
Anyway, I am enjoying it and look forward to working on a project. I think I’ll knit the legwarmers I want to make for myself after I master whatever stitches are needed for the pattern I like (in “Last Minute Knitted Gifts,” a fantastitc pattern book which will be the first knitting book I buy for myself).