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Breaking Out Of Beginner Knitting: The Essential Skills

Many of intermediate and even advanced knitting students have a spotty foundation to their knitting. They may have been knitting for thirty years, but they still don’t feel comfortable reading knitting patterns (this is like living in the U.S. for thirty years and not learning how to speak English – you’re missing out on a whole lot).

Many are self-taught knitters who aren’t aware of where their skills fit into the overall structure or body of knowledge of knitting techniques. They go for years and through many frustrating projects without even knowing there is an easier way to do something.

You need to make sure this doesn’t happen to you. When you build a solid foundation of knitting knowledge and skill, each new project is a challenge where you learn and add to your skill set, not one where you get frustrated.

It’s important to work through progressively more challenging projects so that you can really absorb each skill and build on it as you go.

Depending on how you learned how to cast on, you’ll want to learn a slightly more complicated but much nicer-looking cast-on called the long-tail cast-on, which is a sturdy and attractive cast-on. One tip – it doesn’t matter if the tail or the working yarn goes over your index finger – your cast-on will come out the same!

Then, you’ll need to learn the flip side to the coin of knitting – the purl stitch. Then, practice the different kinds of fabrics you can make when you combing the knit and purl stitches in different ways, such as 1×1 rib, 2×2 rib, and mistake rib.

A regular 1×1 (knit 1, purl 1) scarf it the best project for a beginning knitting to start out on to practice the purl stitch. Buy some yarn that is a solid or semi-solid color, so that you can see what you’re doing, and the final texture can be seen. It’s best to buy a chunky-weight yarn, so the project goes fast.

If you’ve never taken a trip to your local yarn store, now’s the time to do it. Walk around, feel the yarn, and get a feel for if the staff is helpful and friendly towards beginning knitters. Remember, the most expensive yarn isn’t always the best one for your project!

While you work on the ribbed scarf, you should also be practicing “reading” your work – recognizing what knit and purl stitches look like. This skill will help you enormously in the future. Just do a knit stitch, and then look at it, studying its shape. Now do the same thing with a purl stitch. See the difference?

Keep a curious attitude while you knit – it will help you learn faster and not be frustrated with yourself.

Liat M. Gat is an expert video knitting instructor and founder of the website KNITFreedom.com and the most comprehesive video knitting course around: Become a Knitting Superstar. She writes and films video e-books on the most popular topics in intermediate knitting today. Learn which videos are best for beginners at Breaking Out Of Beginner Knitting.

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