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Wednesday, 21 November 2012

A Note on Needles

A quick post about needles. Now you probably have some cheep crappy plastic needles that came with a kit or were a present. I ask you to step away from the plastic!

They are honestly the hardest needles to knit with. They make your hands a bit sweaty and they cause static and they are just not very slidey!

Metal needles are better and not too expensive. I prefer wooden needles myself and bamboo ones are also quite reasonable.

Recently however I found the most beautiful and lovely to use needles ever!
 
 
 
These are Lantern Moon needles. They come in rosewood ( i just bought a size 10mm and 5mm) ebony and blonde wood. They glide so effortlessly they are a joy to work with! Of course they are also the most expensive needles I've ever seen!

If you become serious about Knitting I recommend these as a treat :)

They can be bought here:




Sunday, 18 November 2012

My Very First Attempts at Knitting

When I first picked up some knitting needles I thought "well scarfs look easy, I'll make a scarf" Anyone can knit a simple boring scarf, right? Well apparently I can't. What I didn't realise at this time was when you first start knitting, the stitches will NOT be all even and pretty. They will look pretty crap. I ended up, after getting my mum to do a cast on for me (i had not mastered that yet either), with gaping holes, more stitches than I started with and overall the stitches were too tight. This made knitting almost impossible. Just sliding the stitch off the needle was difficult as I had made the tension far far too TIGHT.  I had to unravel everything and start over. The same issues came up and I decided i'm crap! I am giving up! Lucky, a few days later I changed my mind and picked up the needles. Don't be surprised when you first start if you forget everything every time you pick up the needles! I had to keep going to my mum to remind me. As soon as she showed me, I remembered and could carry on. At this point thou I thought I was starting too big. So I downgraded my ambition to sample squares. Yes how incredibly ................ DULL. The posh wool I bought? On hold. The nice patterns in the fancy book? On hold. The little pure white soft booties knitted from bamboo wool for a friend? On hold.

So piece of advice number one, don't start thinking you will made something wearable/ usable straight away. Unless you don't mind super ugly stitches and holes in your scarf! But don't give up :)

Here are a few of my sample squares. (Please excuse the photos, the light in my flat is terrible and i need a macro lens!)




So you can see the blue knitting is very messy! All uneven and to this day i'm not even sure what went wrong most of the time. I did a few others that i unraveled and did not photograph, where I just did straight knitting. Straight knitting (knitting on every row) is called Garter Stitch or GS in patterns and is the easiest to learn and do. Repetition was the key for me, and the more I did the action of knitting the better it got. Knitting is certainly something you can only learn by doing and practicing!

By the time I got to the red squares you can see I had vastly improved. The little square is Garter Stitch (GS) My tension is better and the stitches were sliding of the needle by this point! Finally, yay! The big piece shows garter stitch and some Stocking stitch (SS in patterns)

Here is a really good video of casting on with needles from knittingtipsbyjudy. Casting on with your fingers, (called a finger loop cast on) I found to be too uneven and messy for beginners.


So give casting on a go! The more you repeat the action the easier it becomes and you will remember it. I recommend smallish needles of about 4mm and some cheap double knit yarn (DK yarn) I tried big needles and wool to start as someone said it is easier for beginners. I did not find this to be the case. The needles were too hard to handle and I found the big chunky wool covered mistakes so i could never quite tell if i was doing right or wrong!

p.s My mum taught me to cast on slightly differently to Judy from knittingtipsbyjudy. It gives a very even cast on. Great for a total wally like me! If you would like me to make a video please ask :)

Happy Knitting!

The Knaff Knitter