Monday, February 21, 2011

Knitting 101

I'd always wanted to know how to knit.  How hard could it be?!??!  So I bought a book last year and taught myself.  If you are a knitter don't be offended....I'm sure I'm doing certain things "wrong"!!!  But if you want to learn I think this hat is a great place to start.  I like the ribs because it lays flat and your wrong side looks the same as the right side.  This is a great pattern to use for scarves too for that same reason.

You may notice I've added a simple chain crochet trim --I'll show you how I did that later too.  The first thing you need to know is your needle size and yarn weight.  My advice---start with large needles (8.5 mm) and bulky or super bulky yarn.  It's so much easier to see what you are doing and follow the directions in photos and books.  This hat is made with super bulky yarn using 6mm needles.
So let's start with casting on...this is the method I prefer.  I think it's called the double cast-on.
Start with a slip knot

You'll want to make the not about 4 feet or so into the length of the yarn.  You'll be using the "tail" as you cast on.  If it's too short...guess what you have to do???  Yep..start over.  So take my advice and leave extra :)  Next you put your needle into the slipknot.  I'm right handed so if you're not you'll have to flip the instructions.  I'm also using the 8.5 mm needles for these photos so you can see better.
 The tail (short string) is around and across the thumb.  The ball of yarn string is around your pointer finger and down through your hands.  Your ring finger and pinky finger are holding BOTH pieces of yarn.  You 're going to take the right hand needle down and under the thumb string keeping your slip knot on the right needle.
 Now that same right hand needle is headed up to the yarn on the pointer finger.  You want the needle to go UP over that string and pull it down...
 Under the thumb yarn you originally went through.  Make sure that the yarn wrapped around your thumb stays BEHIND the right hand needle---it's OK to pull your thumb out I promise!
 I then use that thumb to help pull the stitch tight and it also puts you back into the original position to keep casting on stitches.  As you pull the right hand needle up you'll see that original triangular position of the two pieces of yarn.  One behind your pointer finger and the other behind your thumb.
 You want to be careful how tight you make your cast on stitches.  You have to be able to get your needle in once it's time to start knitting.
For the hat shown above you will need to cast on 56 stitches using 6mm needles.  Next we'll be alternating knit 2 purl 2.  On the pattern it would say *K2,  p2; rep from * to end.  This just means that you are going to knit 2 stitches then purl 2 stitches from the beginning (or *) to the end.  Tomorrow I'll post my knit and purl photos.

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