A year ago today I took some scrap yarn and knitting needles and knit my first sample of garter stitch. Fast forward to now and I’m still knitting. I think it’s really amazing, considering how intimidated I felt and how I thought it would take me much longer to knit a garment.
My first “teacher” was the book “Knitty Gritty: Knitting for the Absolute Beginner” by Aneeta Patel. I chose it because the reviews said that it was one of few books out there for real beginners. You know, where the author doesn’t assume you already know some basic techniques and so everything is explained sufficiently and with good pictures. This book guides aspiring knitters step by step through all the basics of knitting, but it’s also not afraid to challenge them to get out of the comfort zone and for instance knit a beginners baby cardigan in the 5th lesson. For me it’s the best approach, I’d get discouraged very fast if I had to knit endless scarfs in the first months without any hope for a change.
For a while though I was really worried that I wouldn’t get anywhere with my knitting. My stocking stitch was awful and uneven and I could only make it look nice when knitting in rounds. I felt quite discouraged! I also struggled hard trying to force myself to knit the English style (because that’s what the book taught me, plus I thought it could be good for a crocheter to use another hand), holding the yarn in my right hand. Deciding to knit continental was a first breakthrough for me. For me, the comfort of knitting this way is great, and the speed is incomparable with the English style, it seems so much more ergonomic. I think it also has a psychological effect in my case, I’ve just never seen anyone knitting the English style in my country, when I watched my grandmothers knitting, and the feeling that something was not right was just too strong in my head!
The second breakthrough – and a very important one – was when I discovered combined knitting, known also Eastern uncrossed method, when, simply speaking, the needle is inserted in the back loop instead of the front loop. There’s a whole “science” behind how the stitches are mounted on the needle, which leg of the stitch is leading, how the stitches twist (or don’t twist) – it’s actually quite fascinating! I try to learn as much as possible about it and the more I know, the more confident I feel in my knitting, as I start to understand better how the stitches are created and what happens with yarn in the process. This method allowed me to knit with more confidence and finally be able to use stocking stitch in flat knitted projects. Soon after, I made my first real, wearable item: a scarf that also taught me how to make wrap and turn short rows!
Since then, there were other, small milestones in my knitting adventure: first cables, lace, socks, cardigan, dress, tops, seaming… and there is still so much more to learn – I’ve barely scratched the surface and I love how much there is to knitting and how versatile it is. That was the main reason why I wanted to learn knitting: I felt that I had nowhere else to go with crochet. I tried all types of projects that I wanted to, and how many blankets (by the way, I need to write a post about baby blankets one day, it’s been on my mind for a while now!) and pillows can one make? I needed something more, and knitting gave it to me 🙂 Today I feel that I’m lucky to both crochet and knit, I feel these are very complimentary crafts and I mostly find different uses for them. I mean, they can be used for the same reasons of course but with some exceptions, I definitely prefer crochet for home and knitting for people.
So here’s to another year!