Learning how to knitLearning to knit

In a recent interview with the awesome Confessions of a Refashionista, I mentioned that I’ve challenged myself to make a knitwear jumper from scratch. This might not sound too impressive, but let me clarify: I’ve never knitted before in my life. Not even close. I’m a badass with an ordinary needle and thread, or a sewing machine (yes, I said badass). But knitting? No no no, I’m a complete rookie.

Learning to knit

To be totally honest, to learn to knit has never appealed to me. Despite my complete obsession with DIY and crafts, I saw knitting more as a feminine craft. It’s not something I’d normally talk about on my blog, which is mostly dedicated to mens DIY tutorials. However, the thought of being able to make my own supply of jumpers, cardigans, scarves etc was just too irresistible, so I bit the bullet and gave it a go. And you know what? I’m so happy I did! Here’s the story of my first foray into the world of knitting…

To get my knitting supplies, I drove to my local haberdashery and chose some 6mm bamboo needles and a basic yarn in a speckled beige colour. I’d read online that this size of needle is a good one to achieve a fairly tight knit, without being too tricky for beginners. (I chose bamboo because it looks cooler than the plastic ones…). Whilst there, I got talking to a sales assistant who had some great advice about where to start. This was a stroke of luck – I had been planning on relying solely on YouTube, so this saved me a few inevitable hours of frustration!

Learning to knit

When I got home, I had a few pretty dire attempts at casting on. I kept dropping a stitch, I didn’t know how to hold the needles and I kept getting the yarn tangled up. I soon realised that the sales assistant had made it look crazy easy! However, with a bit of perseverance I finally got the hang of it. Pretty soon I’d cast on an whopping 40 stitches, go me! Now all I had to do was the actual knitting part…

Learning to knitTo start with, I focused my attempts on the basic knit stitch. It seemed a good imagineear.com/pharmacy/ place to start and didn’t look too difficult. Well, looks can be deceiving – it was blooming tricky at first! Ensuring even tension and spacing, whilst remembering how to hold your hands and position your fingers, making sure you move the needles correctly and loop the correct bits… it was fiddly, to say the least. But I actually got the hang of it pretty quickly and was soon whizzing through the yarn! It soon became a mild addiction, I was knitting with every free minute I had. Seeing the pattern build up was like a fix, I wanted more!

Learning to knit

As I became more comfortable with the knit stitch, I found I could even knit whilst watching TV or having a conversation – it no longer demanded my undivided concentration! Win. But whoops, I got a bit over confident. I slipped a few stitches and missed a stitch smack bang in the middle… not ideal. You can see these mistakes in the photos. I hope you appreciate my honesty, it’s coming at the expense of my crafty reputation!

Learning to knit

You can see where I’ve missed a stitch, up near the top of this photo.

Learning to knit

I slipped a stitch or two on the final rows of this piece of knitwear, whoops!

On the whole, however, I’m pretty darn pleased with my first attempt at knitting. Aside from these few mistakes, the pattern is pretty neat and regular. I plan to finish this piece off and turn it into a simple cushion cover (or maybe a scarf, I haven’t decided). I’m then going to master the purl stitch, with the hope of knitting a simple basket weave jumper in the not-too-distant future… watch this space! If you’re just starting out on a new crafty adventure, get in touch – I’d love to hear from you (I might even feature you in an upcoming post!). Equally so, if you can knit, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. What do you think of my first attempts at knitting? Do you have any top tips or advice?

UPDATE: I’ve posted part 2 of this challenge, click here to read how it went!

Learning to knit