The most important piece of knitting advice I ever found was in the Holiday ’87 issue of Vogue Knitting.
A wonderful knitter wrote a letter to the editor which greatly influenced my knitting success. This woman’s letter largely influenced how I became a “fearless knitter.”
A word of advice to new knitters. I learned to knit and purl at age six, so have spent 23 of my 29 years knitting like a maniac. One of the first things I ever did was really STUDY knit and purl stitches. Make a rather large swatch (stockinette stitch) with fairly large needles and an even yarn. Don’t bind off, but remove knitting from needles, and practice losing and re-picking up stitches. A clear understanding of how a stitch works and looks will allow errors to be easily repaired. Remember, that all knitting is just that — knit and purl stitches. You may change the order of the stitches (like with a cable), but it’s no more complicated than that. Figure out those stitches, and a lot of headaches are over.
Almost 30 years later, the advice still holds true. Knit a piece of knitting that you don’t care about, and then play with it.
- Look at how a stitch is shaped.
- See how the stitches interconnect. Drop them down and hook them back up, with a crochet hook or your needle tips.
- Put them back on the needles — and notice there are two ways you can do that, and only one of them is right (that is, with the right leg of the stitch towards you).
- Notice that a knit stitch is just the flip side of a purl stitch, like heads and tails of a coin. Mess around with turning knits into purls, and vice versa.
- See that “knit” or “purl” happens at the bottom of a stitch, because it depends on whether the new loop was pushed through (purled) or pulled through (knitted) the old loop.
Figure out those basics, and you can take care of probably 80% of average knitting mishaps!