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Beginning Knitting - Help!

(51 Posts)
NotQuiteCockney Fri 11-Mar-05 09:23:45

Any expert knitters out there? I'm just starting to relearn how to knit, after years and years. Well, really, I'm learning for the first time, as my mom used to do casting on for me etc.

I've got a pretty good book, and am doing ok (I think). The problem is, I bought a ball of yarn from a local shop, and I'm finding it very annoying. The yarn is "courtelle", which must be synthetic. It splits a lot, and if I mess up, un-knit a bit, and try to start over, it's all frayed and impossible.

What sort of yarn works best for figuring out what I'm doing? I'm working on 4mm needles, although I'm happy to get more. And are there good online sites for buying knitting stuff? Or should I just do ebay? (There's a nice-looking place out in Leyton, but getting there's a bit of a struggle with no car.)

Ameriscot2005 Fri 11-Mar-05 09:43:04

Sounds like your tension is too tight, so you probably need to loosen up a bit.

If you are just practicing, get some cheap double-knitting yarn from your local pound shop, convenience store, Woolies etc, and the right sized needles for it.

tarantula Fri 11-Mar-05 09:52:44

Ameriscots right its best to start with some cheap wool. Charity shops are also good for this and to get needles from. Def start by using a plain wool. Chunky is also good and knits up quicker than DK so you look like you have done more for less knitting moi?? lazy??? Most knitting patterns should also have tension details at the top and they advise you knit a square x no of stiches by y no of rows ad measure it to see if its the same as what they reccomend.

NotQuiteCockney Fri 11-Mar-05 10:54:36

Ah, yes, I think my tension is too tight, I'm working on pulling it less tight.

What is double-knitting yarn? I've seen it on ebay. Is it wound differently?

NotQuiteCockney Fri 11-Mar-05 10:54:59

Also, what is chenille made of?

Thanks for the help, by the way.

tarantula Fri 11-Mar-05 11:00:11

Duble knitting is the thickness of the wool. Basically there is 4-ply which si really thin and then Double kitting (DK) which si thinker nd then chunky which is thicker still. Thick wooly jusmper are knitted in chunky eg Aran and kids jumpers are usually knitted in dk.

Ameriscot2005 Fri 11-Mar-05 11:03:54

You American, NQC? If so, you might know DK as "sports weight yarn" - simply, it is the next thickest after 4-ply.

fisil Fri 11-Mar-05 11:04:03

NQC, I've just relearnt knitting by making a baby blanket - a nice simple design to help it all come back. I used double knitting wool & 4 1/2 mm needles.

tarantula Fri 11-Mar-05 11:05:51

I think chenille is to do with the way the wool si wound. Chenille if I remember correctly is very loose weave wool and tends to mat so that you dont see the knitting stitch so much but taht means its really difficult to unravel. Course I may be thinking of something entuirely different as memory has gone haywire since motherhood as has my typing

Ameriscot2005 Fri 11-Mar-05 11:06:29

Chenille is a velvetty yarn - made up of little tufts, rather than regular yarn that is wound in strands.

This is my own definition - and I might be way off base, so will happily be corrected

Ameriscot2005 Fri 11-Mar-05 11:07:10

tarantula - crossed posts but same sentiment

tamum Fri 11-Mar-05 11:46:17

To be honest, I would say don't buy anything too cheap, and definitely not synthetic. I think you'd have less problem with splitting if you get something a bit more well-made (more densely spun). I would also try bamboo needles if you can get some, it's so much smoother. I have about 100000000 spare balls left over from various projects, if you want to CAT me I'll gladly send you a few for trying stuff out!

As for good online knitting sites, where do I start? I have loads bookmarked. I would try here to start with:
Peachey Ethknits

Marina Fri 11-Mar-05 12:01:11

NQC, John Lewis in the West End has a good choice of quality yarns - Rowan, Jaeger and Debbie Bliss all offering a range of easy-to-use natural fibres blended with a spot of nylon.
The staff there will also advise novice knitters on good pattern choices. There are also workshops held there on a range of knitting skills, quite cheaply priced.
There are super online suppliers but my personal experience as a not-so-long-ago re-learner is that you need to make a few personal sorties and see the ranges before buying confidently over the net.
bundle and I are both in London if you ever fancy a knitting-centred meet-up (and we wish our Scottish correspondent Tamum was too )

piffle Fri 11-Mar-05 12:05:09 is great, I have bought plenty of Debbie Bliss yarn of ebay as well
dk plain knitting wool sounds like the easiest on 4mm needles to be honest for a starting point.
good luck!!!

Marina Fri 11-Mar-05 12:08:49

They're my faves too piffle. Sue Pearce is ever so nice isn't she!

tamum Fri 11-Mar-05 12:35:39

Aw, thanks Marina. I wish I was too

piffle Fri 11-Mar-05 12:41:24

she is v helpful indeed

tamum Fri 11-Mar-05 12:56:33

Incidentally, for all you die-hards, have you seen Get Knitted ? Lots of the nicest US yarns (Lorna's Laces and stuff). I've also ordered quite a bit from Elann . It's in Canada/US, but their prices are so good, and with the dollar being so weak at the moment everything works out really cheap even with postage. Theie alpaca is luuuurvely

Marina Fri 11-Mar-05 13:03:49

Mmm, nice site Tamum, thanks!

maomao Fri 11-Mar-05 13:23:21

Ooo tamum, if you have more sites to link to, I would be very interested! I am a novice knitter, and have (mostly unravelled rather than knit) only used cotton made by Mission Falls.

NotQuiteCockney Fri 11-Mar-05 14:24:24

Oooh, lots of knitters, great!

Ameriscot, I'm Canadian, I think we use the same terms as Americans, but I only just barely learned to knit in Canada. I'm learning from an American book (Stitch 'n Bitch), though.

I can't tell what weight I've got - it recommends 3.25 - 4mm on it. It seems quite thin to me. 100g.

I'm sent tamum a CAT, so will hopefully get bits and bobs off her. I might make it into town and get stuff from there, or maybe order some yarn from somewhere. I'm doing better with this yarn now that I'm being more careful about my tension.

Bamboo needles sound nice, from the book, they just didn't have any in the shop. I will have a look online for them, maybe.

There's so much to figure out ... I've got just the basics so far, but the book is working out ok, and I only really started yesterday evening, so I'm doing ok. Made a bit of 2x2 rib.

tamum Fri 11-Mar-05 14:45:21

Right maomao, you're on!

Dianne's - cheaper yarns, loads of patterns, good service.

Colourway - mainly Rowan and similar

McA Direct - ghastly website but lovely to deal with, and free p+p over £5 which is good.

Cnyttan - lots of patterns, good searching, free p+p for patterns, nice owners, increasingly good selection of yarns.

UpCountry - more Rowan, have an oddment exchange

English Yarns - more Rowan (I won't do any more of these unless there's something unusual about them!

Wool Shack - not a UK outlet, but incredibly useful facility for searching for all the patterns available for a particular Rowan yarn, for example (I always feel a bit guilty about using this)

KnitPicks - again, not UK but you can see inside some knitting books which is really handy.

KCG Trading - not good in web terms, but they stock some good stuff like Addi turbo needles

Laughing Hens - fab website, you can search for wool by colour

(Back in a minute)

tamum Fri 11-Mar-05 14:46:48

I had to do this in two parts as the weirdest thing happened when I previewed it- the second half of the links were all to one of the first shops I mentioned even though the links had been copied correctly. Still, seems OK this way.....

Texere - a millshop, lots of unusual unbranded yarns

Dragon Yrans - lots of gorgeous Irish yarns, heathery tweedy bright coloured stuff.

(stop me if I'm boring you )

Scottish Fibres - slightly eclectic collection, lovely wooden needles; I get subscriptions to Interweave Knits from here (good US knitting mag)

Woolly Workshop - great selection of American stuff, including the fab Denise sets of circular needles.

Finally (honest) a special mention for Knitty , a free online mag, also Magknits (not as good yet, but newer). There's also a yahoo group, UK Handknitters .

May I just point out that I do have a life

maomao Fri 11-Mar-05 14:54:46

Tamum, you are fab! Now if only you would do the knitting part for me...! (I've got the unravelling bit well under control).


tamum Fri 11-Mar-05 15:03:50

Unravelling is a very useful skill maomao : You're welcome, anyway

NQC, I haven't had your CAT yet, but I will respond, honest!

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