Knittings Woes

Tonight I decided to sit down and knit one of the patterns that J Edwards had knitted. I was all set. My tummy was full, I had showered, I put a movie in the DVD player and settled down with Bear and Banjo Lee Jones and begin to knit.

I hadn't even finished row one and I was frustrated. I know that knitting on four needles is a pain but that first row is a bummer. I finally gave up. I am sure that there is some sort of trick that makes constructing that first row or two easier (or maybe there is not). If any one has any clue for beginning a doily let me know.

Anyway, I put down the doily and continued work on my scarf until I hear from someone or get the nerves and the patience to try it again.


ronhuber's picture

Elizabeth Zimmermann in one of her books suggests that you might knit the first few rows (maybe 3) back and forth and then join them in the round and when finished run the starting thread through the join to make a circle. My mother and all her sisters did this and it is very difficult to see that they were not started out on a chain of some sort. Some people swear by wooden needles. Sometimes I fight with those few stitches before they do what I want them to. I really think it depends on the whims of the knitting gods. Just keep trying and good luck.

YarnGuy716's picture

I took a lace shawl series last year and could not wrap my brain around the Emily Ocher cast on. Crochet just doesn't click in my brain. So the instructor showed me what she called "The Belly-Button Cast-On" You cast on the number of stitches you will need in a smooth contrast yarn, then knit every row for 4 or 6 rows. Work the next row on DPNs and join in the round. Work another 2 rounds in contrast yarn then switch to your working yarn. You have this little tab hanging off the middle of your work, like a belly button... outie of course. When you are done, remove the waste yarn tab, run the yarn through the live stitches with a darning needle and pull snuggly. It worked for me.

The 'belly button' method worked for me, too, after much frustration and frogging.

justONEmoreROW's picture

I haven't made a doiley yet. I've only made a few simple things like a scarf, 2 hats, a mitten in the works, and I've started a sock. I was going to suggest when casting on stitches, use a bigger size needle-that helped me lots.
The first few rows are DEFINATELY the hardest-because it looks like a big mess. Just remember when working in the'll be knitting counter-clockwise And your rows should be between you and your needles.
That was my biggest hurdle-I kept thinking the needles should be facing me. Wrong-the needles should be facing AWAY from you. With your worked rows coming toward you. Well actually with gravity they don't actually come toard you-but you get the
My gripe at the moment is working with size 3 double pointed needles-the last 2 or 3 stitches to be knitted/purled on my lefthand needle wanna slip off the needle before I have a chance to knit/purl them.
Oh well. Like I said, I've haven't attempted a dioley yet, so if none of the hints above are relevant-just ignore

I must have been doing something drastically wrong for all these years - I knit clockwise on dpns.

Have you tried using the magic loop method? I tend to use that for most if not all my circlar knitting.

MMario's picture

Another possibility is the "foldover" - Cast on the number you need, on a single needle, move half to a second needle and bend in the middle so first stitch is next to last stitch. Now knit around on the two needles for a couple of rows, until you have enough stitches to transfer to more needles or to two circs or magic loop or whatever.

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

scenter's picture

FWIW That's the method I use. I find it much easier than the 6 stitches on 3 DPNs, or 8 stitches on 4, or even the Magic Loop at this stage. The other method I have used is CO to 2 circs, but that method is basically the same as the 2 DPN one, the circs are functioning as floppy DPNs.

The Summer heat is getting to my sensibility...I have started 4 circular projects recently - I have an almost complete Alita Doily, 2 summer KALs (Goddess Knits Anniversary Mystery Shawl - Mandala, Niebling's Birch Catkins Doily), and, my Lyra pattern arrived last Saturday from Lacis...hehe kid in a candy shop....of course I had to play with the Nieblings, even though I have enough other things going on. Then Last night a LYS had Jojoland Melody and their Spiral Shawl pattern kitted up.

MMario's picture


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

scenter's picture

No, at The Whole Nine Yarns in Woodstock, and they ran out fast. I'm glad I arrived early last night.

jwhassjr's picture

I saw a designer on DIY Network's Knitty Gritty once who had a very clever and seemingly easy solution for this. She took the yarn and looped it around a couple of her fingers to make an open circle, and then with a crochet hook, she single crocheted the required number of stitches for the the cast on around the open circle of yarn. She then picked up her knit stitches with DPN's. After this was done, she pulled the tail of the yarn and closed the loop/circle (like a draw string) and voila, she had her stitches on her needles and was ready to knit. This also solved the probelm of having an open hole in the center of her project. It was a neat and very practical technique. I went on but was not able to locate the project where this technique was used, but you may be able to get the overall idea from my description above.

Getting started on DPN's can be troublesome at best, but keep at it and you'll become a pro in no time.

hsfg's picture

I use all the circular cast ons mentioned above at one time or another....I just start this stuff when sitting at a table... I use the flat surface to keep the needles at bay ! It kind-a keeps the needles from slipping away ! After a couple of rows later I go to my fave chair.....continue knitting...... Try it , it works.......!