One summer when I was in high school, I knitted a little cotton vest to use in a yarn shop display. To complete it, I had to pick up stitches and work the edging in a contrasting color. I wasn’t very familiar with picking up stitches, but I understood the basic concept.
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When I first started knitting, I made only scarves and I never used a pattern. In an effort to expand my knitting horizons, my mom bought me a pattern for a hat, along with the recommended yarn. It was a pretty simple pattern so it wasn’t too hard to decipher, until I got to the last part:
Back when I was still a new knitter, I came across a gorgeous hank of alpaca in a really pretty color. I knew it would make a beautiful sweater, but there was only one hank of the color I liked on the yarn shop’s shelf. When I took it up to the counter to ask if there were any more hanks hiding somewhere in storage, it turned out to be the last one. Luckily, the shop owner offered to order another bag of that color for me. I happily placed the order, but I couldn’t wait to start knitting with that yarn, so I decided to buy the single hank and start swatching right away. Of course, the shop owner pointed out that the dye lot of the new yarn probably wouldn’t match the dye lot of the single hank, but I didn’t think much of it.
One of my first design projects was a tank top knit with a beautiful blue bamboo yarn. I happily planned out the design, then knitted it. Once it was finally finished, I could hardly wait to try it on, but when I took a look in the mirror, I noticed that the armholes went down almost to my waist!
Counting rows in knitting can be a tricky business. I had a lot of trouble learning to do it accurately – I’d routinely count the number of rows over and over, ending up with different numbers every time! Learning to count rows will make any knitting project easier (Hami, the tank top pictured at the left, is a perfect example).
Remember what it was like before you learned how to read? Every time I wanted to know what something said, I’d have to ask my mom or dad. Letters looked like weird scribbles, and I was always in awe of older kids and their almost magical ability to decipher writing.
During college I worked part-time at a yarn shop. One day a customer came in clutching a big black trash bag, which was kind of unusual. As I approached her, she opened the bag to reveal the most gigantic hank of yarn I have ever seen in my life. This thing was monstrous – it was big enough for my 5-year-old cousin to use as a beanbag chair. With a look of desperation in her eyes, she asked a question that still cracks me up to this day: “Can I use your ballwinder for a minute?”
When I was a teenager, I decided to teach a learn-to-knit class for kids at one of the yarn shops in my hometown. One of the girls seemed to catch on especially fast, so I let her do her thing and spent more time helping another student get started. When I looked up again, the speedy girl was still busily clicking her needles, but I was shocked to see that her knitting was getting wider instead of longer! Read more
As a beginner knitter, I found slipped stitches (or slip stitches, as they’re also written) to be some of the most vague directions when following a pattern (the photo on the left shows off the beautiful stitch texture of Tracery from NGV12, which combines slipped stitches with lace).
When you’re knitting something large enough to require more than one ball of yarn, your first ball will eventually run out and it will be time to change to a new one.