Knit One, Purl One …

Knit One, Purl One …

For my birthday, my husband and children gave me knitting lessons at the adorable needle arts store not far from our home. The beginning class, consisting of five sessions, teaches basic knitting skills and a variety of stitches. The end result is a sampler scarf that displays the various stitches taught and also the notion of how to change colors in the middle of a project.
Here are a few photos of the progress I have made on my scarf, after three out of five classes.
I chose purple yarn, because this scarf is for my almost-five-year-old daughter. Although she changes her favorite color as often as she changes her socks, purple is well-liked by her, and just about any little girl, so I knew it would be safe.
Here is a photo of the scarf after three weeks, along with the two shades of purple yarn, my bamboo knitting needles and my cable needle.

At the first class, we practiced casting on, which for some reason I found difficult. It took me forever to get the hang of it, and I am not sure I will be able to do it with ease when I start my next project. Maybe it’s because I have never had much practice with knots. I don’t know …
We then made an eight-row Garter Stitch, followed by a 16-row Stockinette Stitch. This is when I learned how to purl. (I already knew how to knit from previous lessons I took.)
When I went to do my homework, I didn’t remember that to purl I had to move my yarn to the front of my work and to knit I had to keep my yarn at the back. I tried to reference my How to Knit book, but this concept made no sense to me, so I ignored it. For the most part, my stitches ended up OK, but because there is a Garter Stitch border around the entire scarf, there remains a big hole on one side of my Stockinette patch, because I failed to move my yarn to the front. Oh well! Of course, the perfectionist in me can’t stand this, but I keep telling myself to relax and enjoy this new hobby rather than insist on being perfect at it. Where’s the fun in that?

At the second class, I learned that my stitches were too tight and that I needed to loosen up when I knitted. Of course I wasn’t intending for them to be tight, but I tried to figure out how I was doing this and correct the problem. At the second class, we learned the Seed Stitch, which is knit one, purl one, knit one, purl one … You can see this stitch at the very bottom of the photo below, and at the very top of the photo above.

At my third class, I was informed that I had loosened up my stitches very nicely. Yeah!! Also at this class, we learned another stitch called the Mistake Stitch Ribbing (above photo, see the ribbing lines). With this stitch, we had to learn how to add a stitch at the beginning and remove it at the end of the section. I don’t think I could add a stitch (intentionally =) on my own again, I’d need help; but I found it rather easy to decrease the stitch at the end. After we worked on this stitch for most of the class, we were instructed on how to make a Braid Cable Pattern, using a cable needle. I didn’t get very far with this in class, so it will be my homework this week to complete this section before next week. But you can see the beginning of my cables in the photo below.

Next week, we will learn an Eyelet Ridge Pattern and then how to change colors. Once we get through all of this, we basically will do it all again in reverse order to finish the scarf. I plan on making this scarf a few times to get in some good practice.
The advanced knitters that are in the store when we are taking our class always comment on how quiet we are. And us beginners have concluded that we simply haven’t learned how to talk and knit at the same time yet. We can’t possibly figure out how to count stitches and gab and not loose track of what we’re doing, but I guess that will come with practice, too.
Stay tuned for another progress report in a couple weeks!
Happy Thursday!
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12 thoughts on “Knit One, Purl One …

  1. I’ll likely learn how to knit much later in life. Or, soon after we finally get out of the military and retire. But, it looks like so much fun! And, it’s so useful!

    You’re doing splendidly.

  2. I learned how to knit(basics) pre-children but then lost the knack after the first one came. It is so much fun to see the work you create with your hands,Good luck with the class,if nothing else it’s a relaxing event for you. :0

  3. I learned to knit as a child, but I really began after my first baby was born. It was great to have something I could pick up and work on a little bit at a time throughout the day. Now my favorite thing to do is listen to knitting podcasts and knit at night after the children are in bed!

  4. Wow, I have no idea what purl means, but I would love to learn how to knit! Seriously, I’m a little jealous that you’re taking this class. I didn’t even know classes like this existed! It looks wonderfully relaxing and has a very charming, old-fashioned appeal to me. Good for you… when you’re a pro, come on over and teach me!

  5. Thank you, ladies, for your kind comments and encouragement! I hope this does grow into a favored hobby of mine that gives some relaxation and creativity … Now I just need to find some gals to join me. My one knitting friend is moving away this summer =( So, yes, Jennifer, I’d love to come over and knit with you, but I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to teach you! Ha!! (Oh, and I love the old-fashioned beauty of it, too =) And thanks for the suggestion, Barbara. I will have to bookmark that Web site! In fact, I may have to go to it soon, as I’m not sure I’m doing my cables properly … And the concept of knit your purls and purl your knits still gives me a little headache! =)

  6. Good for YOU!! I hope to try that someday. First my photo albums must get caught up then onto other fun hobbies. I love to scrapbook. I do not do creative memories stuff. Just have my own fun “creative” way to do pictures.

  7. Impressive Sarah! That is coming out really well, and it’s hard to believe you can do all of that already! What a nice gift from your husband and kids too! I keep saying I want to learn how to knit, but when I look through a how-to book, I don’t stay focused very long. So…I’m not sure if I just want knitted things, or if I really want to make them myself. lol. I also think I want to learn how to really sew.
    Do keep us posted. I think I feel inspired to really give it a whirl myself. It sure is pretty!

  8. beautiful sarah.
    i am itching to start my knitting classes too, but i just can’t squeeze it in right now.
    a time to knit…..
    that is what i am waiting for.
    until then, i will relish your knitting posts (no pressure though) and live vicariously thru you!
    my girl would love those purples. she is a purple person.
    i am reading an incredibly profane book about knitting and a woman who lost her daughter.
    a cheeky line from the book i am going to share with you, just to give you a hard time and because because i envy your skill AND you are making a scarf, is….”the way i learned, said a woman in her sixties with a salt and pepper bob, was you start with scarves, you only do scarves. start with sweaters, you learn how to knit.”

    well, if that is really the case, i will NEVER learn how to knit. the thought of making a sweater intimidates the heck out of me.
    enjoy making your scarf! =)

  9. is an awesome site! i taught myself how to knit from it. much easier than trying to read instructions.
    not entirely sure what ‘knit your purls, purl you knits’ is. BUT if you can remember a purl stitch will look like a bump, a knit stitch looks like a v AND the backside of a knit stitch is a purl (and vice versa) so your second picture, the center section that looks like rows of v’s are knit stitches (and if you flip it over, it will be a bunch of bumps which are purl stitches). i am guessing the knit on a purl is for seed stitching (that top part on this same picture) or for garter stitching (the bottom part of that picture). once you get a little more used to the look of knitting, you will be able to tell which stitch you did on the row below.
    you look like you have a good handle on cables, (based on 3rd pic it looks like one right leaning, one left leaning ~ and that just means the direction the top of the cable is going). the only way to alter cables is having the cable needle in front of the work or behind it. and typically however many stitches you use in a cable (it looks like you might be doing 6 stitch cables so 3 on the cable needle, 3 on the regular needle) that is how many rows you will work normally before doing the cable again (so if you were just doing knit stitches, you do the cable row then for 5 or 6 more rows you just do normal knit stitches then do another row with the cable, etc).
    as for keeping track, i usually have a spare piece of paper with lots of row counts on it.
    fyi, there are TONS of ways to cast on, but shows how.
    good luck, looks like you are doing great!

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