Each stitch that the gnu could gnit

Last night I stopped by a craft store to pick up some basics for learning to knit. Although I could have easily gotten carried away in the yarn section, I maintained surprising discipline, leaving with a functional list of items to get me started: three balls of worsted cotton yarn, bamboo needles, and a “how-to book.” (There were two books for newbies. This was chosen solely on it not having “Dummies” in the title.) When the house quieted down, I worked through the first part of the Art of Knitting DVD recommended by Susan.

The video teaches the two-needle method for casting on. After practicing it for an hour, I think I get the concept, but I was having problems bringing the left needle in front of and through the loop on the right needle. I was able to do ten in a row, with only a couple of odd twists. (No problem, just tug on it and start over.) Tonight I want to try the “thumb method” recommended by the book. The book also offers suggestion for left-handed knitters, but I don’t have left-handed needles.

Deepest Africa, by the Chenille Sisters
[…]
I was in deepest Africa,
Yes I was, yes I was.
I was in deepest Africa,
Teaching a gnu to knit.

Each stitch that gnu would knit
He would throw a fit
like a gnu knit-wit.
I was in deepest Africa,
Teaching a gnu to knit. (Knit 1, purl 2; knit1, purl 2)

16 thoughts on “Each stitch that the gnu could gnit”

  1. I’m so proud!!!

    My friend, (another) Jim, used to do a lot of wood working. He was always so jealous that when I didn’t like my knitting, I could just rip it out and start over again – no harm, no foul. Even after he measured twice and cut once, he often wished the wood offered the same feechur.

    And… it’s probably somewhere in the book or DVD but it’s important to know another feature of knitting: an error is another name for a design element.

    Can’t wait to see the pix!

  2. When I was getting started, I picked up “Everything Knitting” instead of “Knitting for Dummies” for reasons that are apparently similar to yours. The book content is effectively the same, but oh, that title!

    I’m not sure what the “thumb method” is, but I’m fond of the “long tail cast on” (instructions). It only requires one needle and, once you get the rhythm going, can be done (practically) blindfolded, just by feel. Far more comfortable on the hands (I think).

    What will your first project be? I recommend against a sock. 🙂 A scarf, or a washcloth, or heck, just a sample swatch, would be far more immediately rewarding.

    Have fun!

  3. One note about the long-tail cast on: you need to put the initial slip knot sufficiently far along the yarn (leaving a “long tail”) so that you don’t run out while casting on the stitches. If you try it, you’ll see why. Unlike the knitting process itself, this cast-on mostly consumes yarn from the tail (as opposed to the ball-of-yarn end… the head?) as you add stitches.

  4. What the “I Taught Myself Knitting” book calls the “thumb method” seems essentially similar to the “long tail cast on.” It could be more fluid for me once I learn it.

    Right now, I’m just messing around. I’d like for my first project to be something mostly rectangular like a scarf. This will depend upon how many “design elements” I add.

  5. You rock, Carson. Knitting is a blast. The “thumb method” is the one I always use now.

    AND weavers—I do that too—also call a “design element” a “mark of the artist”.

    I too have a total aversion to “Dummies” books. Although my personal favorite, seen in Borders some years ago, was “MENSA For Dummies”.

  6. Jim,

    When you are bored with the ever popular two needled knitting, you must give your hand (single) a try at the the single needle knitting Vic and I saw on our bike trip to Newfoundland.

    Evidently the most popular stitch of the Vikings, this naal knitting is very fetching, and no matter where I wear my hat, people always ask about it. Since they can’t possibly mistake me for Bjork, I assume this is soley for the fetching qualities the hat bestows upon the wearer.

    Besides, when you retire, you could just go live in Newfoundland at a viking recreation village and knit hat all day for extra cash, July through August.

  7. I’ve always wished there was a programming language called “knit”, so programmers could knit one, perl one, but alas, Steve says he doesn’t think there is one. 🙂

    I learned to knit when I was twelve years old (maybe? – I was in the final year of primary school). I can’t imagine learning to knit now, or how to teach someone to do it. I cast on using two needles and the one needle method looks terribly complicated!

    Scarves are wonderful and are my standard project! I have done more complicated things in the past, but an overuse injury in my shoulder encouraged me to “keep it simple”!

    The other amazing thing about knitting is that my mother used to do it. She was blind (as you probably know), but no doubt learned to do it when she was sighted. She always amazed me with what she managed to do. I mention this as an “inspirational example” for you. 🙂

    Good luck!

  8. I wish I could knit. I did refresh my knowledge of crochet last year, but I need someone to help me get through a pattern. 🙁

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