Monday, January 13, 2014

My Adventures In Knitting Part 1

I've known how to knit since I was a child, which is more years than I care to mention.  Mostly I've knitted scarves and afghans.  Not very challenging stuff!  But a while ago I came across a book about knitting mittens and fingerless gloves in the round, using two circular needles.  I thought it looked interesting and the fact that both mittens would be done at the same time and be exactly the same size was an added plus.

So, I went out and bought some circular needles.  The book recommended buying one 16" and one  24" of the size needle required to obtain the correct gauge.  The different sizes were so that you could differentiate between the back and palm sides of the mittens.  I found the different sizes difficult to work with and out I went to the store to get another 24" needle.  That seems to work better for me.  To tell which is the back, as opposed to the palm side, I simple put a stitch marker in place on the back side of the mitten.

I cast on my stitches and after several frustrating attempts, got the stitches set up the correct way without any twisting.  Now I had two circular needles, four needle tips, two skeins of yarn, two strands of yarn to knit with and two tails left from casting on.  I started to knit.   It was like knitting with an octopus.  Several times in the first few rows, I had to undo stitches because I had started knitting with the left-over tails of my cast-on row.  I had to start over several times because I got confused on which needle I was supposed to use.  I admit that I threw the whole thing at the wall a few times and uttered some loud expletives quite a few times.  But I finally got the hang of it.

I've knit a number of pairs of mittens and fingerless gloves using this technique.  I highly recommend it because of the fact that there are no seams, the mittens come out exactly the same size and they are both finished at the same time.  Add to that, the fact that I've tried knitting with double pointed needle and could never get the hang of it.

Here is one of the items I've knitted using the two circular needle method:

Lacy Ribbed Long Cuffed Mittens 

The next technique I taught myself was continental knitting.  I've always been a thrower when it came to knitting, holding the working yarn in my right hand and "throwing" it around the needle to knit or purl.  I came upon a video on YouTube demonstrating the Continental or "Picking" method and decided to see if I could master this technique.  It was very awkward and difficult to get used to holding the yarn in my left hand and scooping it up with the needle.  I thought that I had finally mastered it, sort of. 

My knitting stitches were fine but my purl stitches were very tight and seemed to be backwards on the needle, so back I went to the internet looking for more instructions.  I found a new video and sat down at my computer and started to knit.  I had to rewind a lot until I finally got the hang of it.  Continental knitting is quicker and easier on your hands that the "throwing" version.  Once you master it, you'll wonder why you ever knitted any other way.  Now, I knit everything using the Continental knitting method.

This pair of Half Fingered Gloves with Hoodie  was knit using the Continental method of knitting.

I have several other adventures in knitting but I think I'll save those for another post.  They involve Intarsia and Double Knitting and they posed a whole other set of challenges. 


  1. Wonderful adventures! It is so nice to knit two things at once on circular needles so that both items are done at once. Your mittens and hooded gloves turned out beautifully!

  2. Thanks! I've come back to knitting after a long absence. I find it very relaxing (as long as I don't drop a stitch)!

  3. This was an extremely entertaining blog! I did an LOL! What little I learned about knitting, and it was so little that I did not continue trying, was from a Turkish lady while I lived in Turkey. That is why the 'throwing' of the yarn when I moved back to America really overwhelmed me. I knew I would not be able to do that. Well, I took up spinning and weaving. For me, they were easier ;)

  4. Thanks, Anna. I plan to do another post with more of my adventures with yarn.

  5. I, too, enjoy knitting and find it relaxing. I was taught to knit the continental/European way by my dear mother in law many years ago. I also use circular needles to make infinity scarves, but haven't taken the time to adapt my current fingerless glove pattern to that technique. I've used 4 double pointed needles, but it does take a little getting used to and the needles always seem to get in the way. I am interested to read your next post on Intarsia and Double Knitting, since I've not tried either of those techniques.

  6. I enjoy knitting. It is a winter passion, but this winter I have not been knitting... That darn crochet hook keeps getting in the way! LOL


  7. I knit all year long. Cotton yarn is good for knitting in the warmer months, though as long as my project isn't a huge afghan I'll knit almost anytime,

  8. I had to laugh, Nancy, at this post. Despite throwing the pieces and the loud expletives, your work came out beautifully! Really love the hoodie gloves. Look forward to more adventures!

  9. It must be nice to always have your knitting near by. I like having an evening project, like my applique, but if I don't always have a project going. Getting one going involves lots of prep work. My daughter knits and crochets, but I never got the hang. Love your work, Nancy.

  10. Thanks ShadowDog and QuiltTops. I know what you mean about having something for an evening project. I really can't move all my equipment for my polymer clay into the living room. Besides I usually make quite a mess when I working. Knitting is highly portable and easy to gather all the materials.

  11. What a fun reading! You made me laugh. They turned out beautifully though! I knitted scarfts years ago, a simple pattern of course. Then I tried knitting Afghan. It's 80% completed and has been on my parents' crawl for years. I even forgot about the pattern, duh! I guess I'll just close it or have an expert finishing it off.

  12. I don't know anything about knitting, but I think those fingerless gloves are a great idea.

    1. I wear several of that type of fingerless gloves, sometimes even in the house, if the weather's extra cold outside. I even have fingerless gloves knitted with cotton yarn for when it's a little bit chilly but not terribly cold.