(K)nit Picking: A New Knitter’s Frustration

Trying not to forget any of what I’ve learned lately, I’m taking on small projects to reaffirm some skills and teach myself new ones. The latest task is a washcloth shaped like a leaf.  The directions took a circuitous route to my printer, but I’ll save you the trouble by linking it HERE.  This is the front page so I can give credit to the author, but you’ll have to scroll down to the bottom of her page to find the “download” button.  It’s a good beginner pattern, and the pictures are colorful and enticing.  Most importantly, it looked like a “quicky.”

But once again I had difficulty keeping up. Call me clumsy, but I need definitive, inclusive and detailed directions or I will get lost in a hurry.

We novice knitters don’t find row counters just convenient, but rather necessary. I’m so busy just trying to keep track of the minutiae of the row, forget about keeping track of the number of rows completed without a clicker.

When I get to an instruction that says to “Rep row 7-7 sts” I can do that.  But then my eyes have to move back up and find row 8.    

And! when I get to row 12, which should simply read: “Knit three, purl across, knit last three stitches,” and I’m then instructed to repeat row 11, where 13 should be, making 12, in reality, row 14, I can’t keep up.  The back and forth was too much for me.  “Next Row” are not words I can work with because I can’t count them as such.

So, my solution was to devise a way to mark off the rows with strikes and circles.  This worked, sort of. And I like the pattern so much, I am going to restructure it by writing out every row and having it numbered so I can use the row counter gizmo.  And that’s my recommendation about starting a new pattern.  Read it thoroughly.  If there is ambiguity, rewrite it so that it is understood before you start knitting.  Anticipate problems, and do the math.  It’s easier to count the number of stitches as indicated by the instructions, and know that row whatever should have yada yada number of stitches, than to arrive at that row and be wondering what went wrong, or worse, is it the stitch count or the row count that is not working out.  I guess on something like this little leaf it would not be a big deal.  But having just finished my first Entrelac piece, I know that having the right amount of stitches to pick up to attach segments, like in a sweater or a pair of socks, is paramount to the project turning out correctly and looking like it should. 

I’m going to make more of these because they would make great presents, and I’d like to have a few finished and wrapped up for last-minute hostess gifts.

My two other small suggestions include clicking or marking AFTER the completion of the row.  That’s a rule I’ve made for myself, and I am now no longer confused about what the number on the clicker actually stands for.  The other:  For this particular project I tried using pure cotton yarn but my stitches were loose.  It might have been the yarn, or it might have been me, but it was working up droopy.  So I started fresh with a 50% cotton/50% acrylic Baby Bee (Hushabye Solid, “Baby Sage”) that stayed put and didn’t slide around. When I wet and blocked the washcloth, it reacted the way I thought 100% cotton would. But I’m no expert.  On the contrary, this post is for people who are not experienced knitters, and maybe even have KADD (Knitting Attention Deficit Disorder) like me.  And yes, there are mistakes in this first (actually 5th) washcloth; two that I can see and probably more that I can’t.

About Patsye

I am an older woman and artist. I love to craft. I love to sew and knit and crochet and needlepoint. I love to paint and draw and make art with my hands. Being creative is what gets me up in the morning. Art is my tea, my fresh air, my good book, and my cats all rolled into one. I have much to share and hope you'll visit often.
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One Response to (K)nit Picking: A New Knitter’s Frustration

  1. helen says:

    Frustration! I am teaching myself knitting again after many years.,Only things I dont know except plain and purl, garter and stocking stitch. I know I have KAAD and had to laugh when I read your blog…but really….Is it a club for elite knitters or is there not enough paper and ink in the world that knitting designers now write
    skpo for s1 k1 psso, and pb or p1b for purl through the back of the loop pbl, I tend to ignore patterns with abbvs I dont know well. By the time I look up the abbvs and find a picture I can understand and then try to cope with the computer I tend to ignore abbreviations I dont know.Helen from Australia.
    ps does anyone out there know a pattern for a largeish collar that lies flat around ones neck and doesnt stand up. And not on circular or double point needles please.

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