Teaching Myself


For as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated with knitting and crochet. My Dad taught me the basics of knitting when I was younger but I forgot how to do it, it’s really one of those skills that you need to keep using. Crochet was more of a self taught process. I relied on videos from YouTube, a lot of forums and suggestions from friends. I found crochet easier to pick up since you’re only dealing with one hook. I made a few stuffed animals, a simple hat, those sorts of things. As much as I crochet though I really wanted to learn knitting. In specific I wanted to learn how to knit socks. Socks are my end goal when it comes to knitting. They’re the dream that always seems just a little be out of my grasp. I’ve bought videos on how to knit socks from Craftsy, but so far all of my efforts have been thwarted. I blame this on a few things but the main one is that I’m incredibly impatient and don’t practice enough. If I try something a few times and don’t get it I tend to get frustrated and give up. That’s absolutely not the way to learn any new skills. This year I decided it was going to be my year. I have quite a large yarn stash in a bin that I’ve been neglecting, and I really want to learn how to make socks.

I started out small by revisiting the knit and purl stitch. That’s the black bath cloth in the picture top right. I finally figured out the one thing I was doing wrong every time I tried to purl – I kept forgetting to move the yarn to the front (or the back). As soon as that one issue clicked for me it started coming together. When I felt that I had practiced that enough I decided it was time to learn how to yo (yarn over, also known as an increase) and k2tog (knit two together, or a decrease). That’s the green bath cloth. That one starts out in a triangle shape as you increase the stitches, and then narrows back down to complete the square as you decrease. Both of those are very easy to do, at least when you’re working in a knit stitch. I haven’t attempted increases and decreases while working a purl stitch yet.

I joined Ravelry and started looking through the easy (level 1) and beginner (level 2) free patterns on their site. Right now I’m working on some Easy Fingerless Mitts that will help me continue my practice of knit / purl but what they also do is get me familiar with markers and how those work so you’re not constantly counting stitches. This came as such a surprise to me. I hadn’t even realized that it’s what markers were for. In crochet and cross stitch and knitting I’ve always counted EVERY stitch which makes for lots of errors because a single miss counted stitch is all it takes.


For the fingerless mitts, I’m using three stitch markers. One marks the wrong side of the piece. Two others mark when I swap stitches. Basically whenever I see the blue stitch marker (hidden here because we’re looking at the right side) I know that I knit 5, purl 20, knit 10. I swap stitches every time I hit the marker, no counting required (aside from when I placed those markers). If I don’t see the blue marker, I just knit stitch the entire row. Easy, right?

That’s where I’m at now. In the meantime I’m thinking I need a few more sets of needles. I really prefer working with wooden ones over metal or plastic, and I’m missing a few essential sizes that patterns call for. Plus you can never have too much yarn, so I’m going to be looking for a bit more of that, too.

When I first started out learning crochet and knitting, I really just didn’t like knitting at all, but the more I do it the more I come to the conclusion that I actually enjoy knitting more than I do crochet! Go figure. Socks, I’m coming for you.

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