Saturday 24 January 2009

Z isn't born to be a knitter

I've knitted a yard of scarf and now all I have to do is find out how to cast off. It's all right, I have a Library Book and can look it up. However, I also have a ball of wool left and am contemplating making a hat to go with the scarf to keep me from getting frostbite on my ears when I'm cycling. The recipe I looked up on the internet says it'll be very easy but I need circular needles. Oh. And there seem to be a lot of techniques.

Techniques: (I quote)
- casting on
- the knit stitch
- the purl stitch
- stockinette stitch (alternating knit one row, purl one row - but when knitting in the round, knit all rounds)
- 2 x 2 ribbing (*knit 2 stitches, purl 2 stitches* repeated across entire row/round)
- knitting in the round (using circular needles and double-pointed needles to create a round piece of knitting)
- decreasing (knitting 2 stitches together to make knitted piece smaller)
- seaming
- weaving in ends

Maybe I need an easier recipe.

Actually, having read several sets of instructions, I feel depressed and timorous and I think I'll just make my scarf longer, which has the added advantage of giving me a few more days before I have to learn to cast off.


Anonymous said...

Casting off is the easy bit, I always enjoyed that bit. Knit two stitches, take the loop of the first stitch knitted and slide it over the second one and off the end of the needle. Then knit another stitch and repeat - ie take the loop of the one you had left over and slide it over the new one and off the end of the needle.

You will end up with one stitch left over, and can cut the wool and pull it through the stitch.

Most of those techniques are much simpler in practice than they sound on paper - though I have never tried knitting in the round.

In fact, I haven't knitted for about 10 years - once the girls got big enough to say 'I'm not wearing THAT' I gave up. I might have to think of starting again in these credit crunched days.

Z said...

Oh, okay, that makes sense. Thank you.

I, Like The View said...

oh! I'm hugely into knitting (and have the stash to prove it)

Alienne has given you the perfect instructions

I'd just add to make sure your tension is not too tight, otherwise one end of the scarf will be looser than the other

(tension was always a problem for me - if I was feeling tense, I took it out on the stitches!)

hope it goes well

(I have a great hat pattern, if you have enough yarn!)


Anonymous said...

Videos, Z. There is an entire library of them here:

They are provided both for English style and continental style.

Knitty is an online knitting magazine, that provides lots of free patterns. Check out their archives here:


Dave said...

I have no advice to offer.

Z said...

It seems to be the same width at both ends, thank you. I have the advantage, with a scarf, of not having had to follow a pattern. It's patterns that scare me.

I have a ball of wool that apparently is 90 metres long. That's what the label says, I haven't measured it. Is that enough for your hat?

Imp, one knits differently on the Continent? I feel anxious and out of my depth.

Z said...

Dave, maybe you could provide ice-packs to cool my heated and wrinkled brow?

Dave said...

If your brow is heated you don't need to bother to knit a hat. Just some ear-muffs perhaps.

Anonymous said...

**one knits differently on the Continent?**

It depends on the hand in which one holds the working yarn. I hold it in my right hand. I believe that's called English (also called "throwing" the yarn). If you hold it in your left hand, then you are "picking" and that's Continental.

Don't worry. Whatever style you use, as long as you're comfortable with it, is good.

Also, patterns take the stress out of the entire affair for me -- I don't have to *think* about what I should be doing next, I just follow what the code says (or the grid pattern, whichever you prefer).

Anonymous said...

If you do decide to make a hat and need to get a circular needle, make sure it's a 40cm one and no longer. Or else the stitches won't go round. And you'll need 4 double pointed needles to finish it off (when there are fewer stitches).

But, if you've not done it before, I think you really need someone to show you circular needle knitting. There are some wonderful tricks which are easy if you're shown and impossible if you read them.

If you can't find anyone else who can teach you, wait until I'm back from not being here (I haven't gone yet) and I'll show you. I need a trip over your way for a couple of different reasons. I'll teach you the tricks I learnt last Monday too. I wish I'd known them 40 years ago!

luckyzmom said...

Just last night I cast off the neck warmer I knit(k1,p1)
on a 16"(40.50cm)#5(3.75mm)circular knitting needle (Susan Bates, Quicksilver. Very nice smooth and creamy needles.I have also reserved several knitting books at the library for kids sizes so I can knit something for my granddaughter. I'm going to follow the links also. And I too suggest that you need to cast off loosely.

The reason I am here though is to let you know that I have posted my favorite things beginning with the letter S. Thanks for giving me such a great letter.

Z said...

I hold it in my right hand too. I have one circular needle (in Dilly's Granny's needle box), but it's 60 cm which I could see was too long. I have a dainty little head. There are double pointed needles, but I don't know what they are for, so this is all very interesting. I shall enquire around and report back.

Thanks, LZM, I shall be by tomorrow. Having wined and dined with good cheer, I think I'm ready for bed!

Anonymous said...

It's all making my head spin. I am currently knitting 'dishcloths' in a lovely waffle weave pattern in an attempt to calm myself. It's easy so it works.

Last winter I knitted a pair of fingerless gloves...with thumbs! Eeek! It put me off a bit...I kept having to refer to my (rather wonderful) knitting book. I've contemplated the 'hat in the round' but I am fearful.

I'll just send you positive knitting's all I can offer.

Anonymous said...

Z, I admire your knitting education and determination. Knitting intimidates me, the patterns sound rather like something the Enigma machine would decode.

Z said...

Oh, and Dave --- oh, forget it. You're too smart for me.

To me too, Martina. I really want to learn to knit gloves and socks, which is pretty stoopid of me, why can't I be content with more straightforward things?

I, Like The View said...

I tried to knit socks once - lovely yarn, simple pattern, really wanted the socks. . . but I didn't find it as satisfying as knitting baby things on tiny needles with tiny stitches, or big chunky scarves on big needles with bonkers yarn, so gave up just before I was about to knit the toe

my hat recipe (did I write recipe? I think I meant pattern) is for a flattish piece of knitting, which you them sew up. . . it's foolproof

(which is why I can do it)

the only things I used to knit in the round were bags, with a fantastic Japanese wool which changed colour gradually, creating stripes - you then felted the bag to make it more robust and the stripes more solid: fabulous

I had a great pattern for two rectangles which you sew together to create a poncho (basically, you just knit two rectangles, of any size or dimension, then sew them together and you have a poncho! again, totally foolproof)

crikey - you've made me want to dig out my needles and cast on!


I, Like The View said...

(ooops: sorry! not the toe of the sock, the heel, took me ages to get the toe right and then knit up and along the foot and then I gave up at the heel - but sometimes it's only by trying something we thought we wanted to do that we realise we don't really want to do it after all, eh)

Z said...

It's my fault, I said 'recipe' - it was not done on purpose in the first instance, but then I left it because I was feeling a bit fed up and sarcastic. I have come up with a hat pattern which is knitted flat and sewn, but it has a funny floppy piece at the top which I don't quite like, but I suppose I can improvise a bit by tucking it in and sewing it over and pretending it isn't there. After all, I'm only wanting to wear it when it's so cold I don't care what I look like.

Your last half-sentence is extremely wise and profound. I should sit at your feet and learn.