Thursday, September 8, 2011

Knitting - What Do I Do Wrong?

So I finished my hat and in the end the yarn I used was fantabulous.
  Best yarn ever. 
Unfortunately totally out of my price range for anything larger than a hat.  I am VERY pleased with the way it turned out and the fact that this pattern came out of my head. I added a little crochet trim to fancy it up abit.   I've worn it round the house the last two nights looking like a complete loon - it's hardly hat weather here. 
This hat really got my knitting courage up.  Possibly a little too high.  In fact, so high I thought I'd take a stab at a cardi.  Which I've already started.  And which I've already shed tears over.
Yes, bit too ambitious eh? 
Here's my problem. 
I'm really hoping you experienced knitters out there can help me.  You see, my stitches are too tight. I remember  my Mum telling me they were too tight when I was a little girl learning to knit.  I try really hard to be more relaxed, but I am terrified of dropping stitches.  But here lies the problem, if I do drop a stitch, its gone. Poof.  Gone. It's almost impossible to pick them back up. If I realized I've flubbed even one stitch on the pattern I am far too terrified to unravel and pick up the stitches as they seem to vanish.
 I also can't figure out how to not drop my right needle to wrap the yarn.  Everything I read says don't drop your right needle.  My books show all the fandangled ways of wrapping the yarn around  your fingers so you don't have to drop the right needle.  I just end up tying all my fingers together!  But I think this might be why my stitches are so tight.

I really really want to knit something other than a hat and at this point it seems all I can manage.  At the rate I've knitted hats this last year, I could grow three more heads and still be able to cover them on a chilly day!
I've bought dozens of books and Youtubed myself to death.  I don't know anyone locally who knits and I fear I may have to overcome my fear of the snobby ladies at the LYS and join one of their expensive classes.

Please, does anyone have any useful tips for me? 
I do hope I'm not alone in this boat.

Well I must be off.  I'm off to do some crochet, try and put my knitting in the too hard basket out of sight for a bit as I've run out of tissues and bad words.

Toodles....L x


Debi Y. said...

I can't help you with the knitting (sorry) - I just wanted to let you know that your hat came out very nice. :)

Regula said...

Good morning Louise

Your hat is very nice.
What pattern do you use for your cardigan? I would recommend you the same like for you hat. Just knit and purl for the moment. In order to get a nice pattern pick an interesting yarn.

If students knit to tight, I tell them to wash their hands often. But be aware, that they have to be completely dry before you knit again. Wash your knitting needles with soap from time to time.
Than, I have noticed that English people (Italian and Spanish also) wrap the yarn around the right hand. I think that could be a problem. What Here some questions:
Where does the yarn go? Inside your hand or on the outside of your hand? If it is inside, this might be the problem because it does not slip so easily. I recommend students to wrap the yarn around the hand so it is on the outside. Maybe you can try.
Another question: Where do you sit when you knit? It is important to sit with your arms loose. Don't sit at a table. You need room for your arms in all directions and your shoulder should be relaxed.
Take thicker needles. Than at least the completed stitches, are looser and you can pick them up easier. Take a thinner needle to pick up the stitches after unravelling.
Or if it is only one you've lost and that is fallen down some rows, take a hook to "crochet" it back (I'm sure you can find a tutorial on youtube about this topic). Anyway, what ever you have to do, it is easier if the texture isn't that tight.

Maybe use a yarn with cotton in it or any yarn that does not feel "sticky" and makes a clearly visible stich.

Wish you luck with your cardigan.

marigold jam said...

Well done with that little hat. Have you tired using larger needles thatn the pattern says if you knit too tight? It doesn't matter if you let go of the needle with your right hand if you find it easier - I know of several knitters who do this and manange nicely so just do whatever feels right for you. For your cardigan choose a very simple pattern and tell yourself that if you can knit a hat you can knit a cardi too like all great journeys it begins with a single step followed by another and another and so on. Good luck and I so wish I could pop round and give you a hand with it as like riding a bike it's so easy when you know how!!!

Baa-Me Kniits said...

I just had to go and find my needles to see if I dropped the needle as well and yes I do ( i was sure i did ) I seem to grab the needle with my thumb of my left hand that is holding the rest of the stitches and throw the wool around for me and I have tried to do all sorts of other ways but this is me and my way. The Yarn Harlot watches lots of people knit and she says no two people knit the same so just keep going how you are. Your hat looks great and the tension looks fine so give the cardi a try. Maybe larger needles if it feels to tight...did you do a swatch? they are a pain but they really help. That tip to pick up the dropped stitch with a crochet hook is a good one, thats what I do and sometimes I don't notice the dropped stitch for ages....its easy to crochet it back up the line. Have fun and keep going one day you will look back and realise your knitting is as easy as your crochet :-)

Louise said...

Ooo excellent advice. My right needle is firmly wedged in my arm pit. Nice! Its just the way Mum taught me. I know what you mean Louise, everything I knit has to be perfect because I am still clueless when it comes to what to do with a dropped stitch. One book recommended using a crochet hook to pick them up. Hey I am not one to dish out the advice I would not have had a clue where to start on a patternless hat. Its lovely by the way. Keep going you are doing so well.

mspremiseconclusion said...

Your hat is really adorable! My knitting skills aren't as advanced as yours, so I can't offer any suggestions. But, I have the exact same problem with my tension! Sometimes it's so bad that I can barely make the next stitch. I think it has something to with the fact that my tension is always tight for crochet.
All the best with your knitting!

The Butterfly Bush Diaries said...

I'm like you too - I'm a right needle dropper before I wrap my yarn round. I can pick up the odd stitch if I drop it using a crochet hook but I know for a fact I probably don't put it back on the needle the right way round but I don't care - as long as I have picked it up it's good enough for me. If I have to unravel something then I have to start again because once I have frogged back I CANNOT get the stitches back on the needle without making things ten millions times worse.

So, in retrospect I have offered you no advice (sorry) but this is I think because I just don't know enough about knitting. But all I can say us beginner knitters have to relax, persevere and just knit to the best of our ability - I'm sure it will all come together with time and practice. :)

Dottie's Dolls said...

I too tuck the right needle under my arm then it stays stable when I wrap the wool round, lovely hat, gorgeous colour.

Teje said...

Hello Louise! 'Regula' has very good advices to you! I was thinking all the same! I'm just beginning a 'Rainbow' jacket and I'll take photos to show how I keep the yarn. I don't know that 'dropping the needle' and I have thought often how it works.
Keep your elbows relaxed and you knit more loose and can knit hours without getting tired.
Good luck and enjoy your knitting!
xxx Teje

Lucy Caitlin Higham said...

Your hat is super! I just love the colour - my favourite! Good luck with your knitting! I don't knit but hope some day to learn to do it properly!
Lucy xx

Terrie said...

I have no advice for the cardi - just wanted to let you know that you're not the only one! If I drop a stitch the whole thing ends up being frogged. Good luck! The hat looks great x

Louise said...

Hello Louise
One nice comment deserves another. I have knitted since I was 10 years old. Hope I can help. If you are knitting too tight, you need to use bigger needles otherwise your garment will turn out small(the tighter you knit the closer your stitches are together) I recommend doing a tension square, altering your size of needles until you get the amount of stitches to inch. Have you tried knitting with the right needle under your arm, this is how I knit, it may help when you are wrapping your wool around your needle. hope this works.