Have I bitten off more than I can chew?

Greetings, Gentlemen.

I don't know if you can count me as a knitter as of yet, but I'm certainly giving it a shot...although, I'm not sure I've gotten myself into more than I can handle.

Briefly, I've been fascinated by knitting for some time, but never actually done anything about it, as I don't know anyone who I can ask for advice. However, at the end of this month, my wife is leaving town for a week, and I thought I might try to get this figured out, and surprise her with a gift when she comes back.

Over the past couple of weeks, I've been downloading online instructions as to how to knit, I checked a copy of "Knitting with Balls" out of the library, and been browsing through websites such as this one. I've went and bought a pair of Size 8 needles, and a ball of worsted weight yarn (as suggested by one site I found), and figured I'd take the next couple of weeks and work out the kinks of how this is done, and I'd be set for whatever project I come up with.

I have now spent the last hour just trying to cast on, and have had no luck at all getting either the yarn or my fingers or both to do what it looks like is called for in any of the illustrations I've seen.

Now, I'm not giving up on this yet, but how long does it take to get the hang of this? Have I set too high a goal for myself in hoping to have a handle of knitting basics in three weeks?

I suppose I'm just looking for some moral support (please, tell me I'm okay!). Perhaps I was thinking too far ahead by looking at all the pictures of fun and interesting patterns, and assumed I'd get the hang of things right off the bat.

Anyway, any tips or support anyone might be able to provide would be greatly appreciated. Hopefully, I'll get past this soon, and have more interesting things to discuss.

Buck Strong's picture

Check out the videos at Knittinghelp.com. They are great.


To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring-it was peace.
~Milan Kundera

I second that...and welcome to the site!

JDM511's picture

When I first started, I had lots of problems getting my hands to work the yarn for a long tail cast on. Once you get it down, you just do it without even thinking. I really did not grasp the concept of how to work my hands, until a friend took my hands in hers and made them do the steps.

Knitting is not hard at all, but it sure is frustrating when you first start. Hang in there, it does get easier. You will find that on your first project you will cast on ten stitches and before you know it you will have 15 to 20 stitches on the needles. Don't worry it is part of the learning. I heard someone make the suggestion that you work on your practice project until you feel comfortable and then just throw it out will all of the mistakes.

Hope you enjoy it. Don't give up!

Best of luck


ksmarguy's picture

Yup, definitely knittinghelp.com. I had no idea what to do and no one to ask, just like you. I had not found the awesome guys at MWK yet and through many searches and trying and trying to get it from pictures it just was not coming together. Then Finally, during a search, I found the videos on knittinghelp...she is awesome, VIDEO! that is what is needed, it was like watching someone in front of me, I just had to follow what they did. she goes slow, then faster, watch it over and over and you will soon get the hang of it. And don't get discouraged. Last night I just found my first practice piece from my very first caston that I did last January. It looks awful, I laughed and laughed when I saw it. It was about 6 inches by 6 inches and everything was uneven. I remember how frustrated I was. Well, (and mind you, I am not 1/1000th as good as the guys here) I have made several scarves, worked out cables, started a sweater, and last night taught myself double knitting with two colors (It's so much fun!)

So hang in there, it will come, don't give up. It will all of a sudden just click and you will feel right. And remember, you found this site at the beginning, these guys are awesome. Also, if a slub like me can make a sweater after 2 months of knitting, you can do it too :)

Happy knitting!


MMario's picture

this will sound like heresy to some --- but you can always do a "backward's 'E' cast on, or (my favorite) the knit cast on....there are disadvanteges and advantages to most of the many ways to cast on. but the ADVANTAGE of the knit cast on is that it is very, very quick and easy to learn.
MMario - ambiguity is cultivated, it doesn't happen in a vacuum!

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

PhilNmtl's picture

Hi Blake:
You are in the right site and the advice you are being given is solid and the woman at knittinghelp.com is a godsend. I wish that she had been around when I was trying to teach myself to knit from a really annoying book. Even if you have to sit in front of the computer with needles and yarn and do it again and again from the screen -it is worth it. The downside is that you will get hooked - like the rest of us. But then no one has even been locked up because they had a wool stash!
Welcome!! -Phil

purlyman's picture

Hi Blake,

Welcome! It's like most anything... at first you will think "now how in the heck do I get my fingers to do this?" But it's like riding a bike... with practice, somehow your hands and your brain just train themselves and soon you can do the basics in your sleep and everything builds on what you've learned before. You will get hooked, believe me!! Now... one thing you might try is a LYS nearby. Looks like you're just outside Chattanooga? Just googling, I'm come across Genuine Purl http://www.genuinepurl.com/. If they're a good LYS, they'll help you. We've all felt a bit nervous about going into a local yarn shop, but they're a business and they should be more than happy to help you out.

Good luck!!


MasonM's picture

I'll also toss in a suggestion to view videos at knitting help.com. They really do help a lot.


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scottly's picture

In an hour someone can show you the basics and get you started. Most good yarn stores offer private lessons at minimal cost - mine charges 15.00. Then you've developed a relationship for future questions. Believe me it's so much less frustrating to have someone show you what to do.


Thanks to everyone for your suggestions and support. After staring at the video for what seemed like hours, it finally clicked, and I think I've got the cast on down. Now on to the knit stitch!