Knitting 101

Knitting 101 class at Imagiknit

As part of my new year’s resolution, and part of my happiness project, I wanted to learn how to knit. This urge to knit came about when Laura knitted me orange arm warmers for Christmas. They’re super adorable and cozy and I wanted to learn how to knit so I could make more awesome things like them. Truth be told, I have knit once before… back in high-school my friend Christine Manning’s mom taught me. I remember I used white yarn, had purple metal straight needles, and the awful thing I made looked like a bib because I went from really loose stitches to really tight ones. Regardless – all you need to know is I was bad at it and, before taking Imagiknit’s Knitting 101 class, I didn’t remember a thing.

– – – Knitting 101: Class 01 – – –

I called (another new year’s resolution) to sign up for the class, so when I arrived the first night I was totally overwhelmed by the amount of beautiful colored yarn and ashamed by my total lack of knitting knowledge.

Yarn!

Thankfully the girl working was incredibly nice and walked me over to the 3 shelves I could choose from – simplifying my choice tenfold. She also put together a whole ‘beginner sewing kit’ including size 11 circular needles, darning needles, and a gauge measurer. Now that I had all my gear, I couldn’t wait for the class to start. My class met every Monday for the first 3 Mondays in January at 7pm.

We sat in these cozy wooden fold out chairs.

We were taught by Judy Sakaguchi, who has more knitting talent in her pinky finger then I still have in my entire body. She is an absolutely wonderful teacher. Patient, kind, teaches you why your making a mistake and how to fix it, and stresses everyone to move at their own pace. The first night I did -something- (I’m still not sure what it was) and remember I was totally disheartened because the mistake was a few stitches back. Judy came over, in two seconds she had it back to the stitch right before the one I made the mistake on. From then on I gave her the title ‘Judy Sakaguchi: Real-Life Undo Button’. Judy also teaches a Fixing Mistakes class that I will be taking in the near future.

The woman in the back in the salmon sweater she knitted herself.

The first class we learned how to do a long tail cast on, knit, purl, stockinette, and 1×1 ribbing. Our homework was to practice casting on, knitting and purling. Stockinette & 1×1 ribbing are basically stitches that are alternating knitting and purling either by row or by stitch.

The result of my first class.

– – – Knitting 101: Class 02 – – –

The second class we focused on ribbing, learning how to read stitches, binding off, and darning in the tail threads. I finished up my first hot-mess homework and moved onto a larger piece.

It looks great until I did a weird seed stitch ribbing combo of awfulness.

After my first class I fell in love with stockinette stitch. The only bummer about stockinette is that it’s not great for scarfs because it rolls. (For socks, arm warmers, and the like – it’s great!) I, however, was determined to use it for a cowl I wanted to make – just to test out how much yarn one would need for a cowl, how badly stockinette would roll, so on and so forth.

The result of my second class.

One huge thing I learned from this exercise was that I had learned how to purl incorrectly. If you look closely at the above patch all of my stockinette stitches are twisted. When I was purling I was wrapping the thread clockwise around the needle instead of counter clockwise – gah! The difference is crazy when you do it right, as pictured below.

Yay! No more twisted stitches!

I finished the cowl, put it on Reptar, and then [accidentally] gave it to Maria. I really hope she likes it! It’s my first knitting project ever. :)

Reptar's cowl.

– – – Knitting 101: Class 03 – – –

The third class is the one where we start our first project. Of course, because I’m obsessed with them, I’m making a cowl for Chris! We went to Imagiknit two Saturday’s ago and I let him pick out the yarn he wanted me to use. He picked two beautiful alpaca yarns, a cranberry and a white. Coincidentally, I needed to use the yarn ball winder to get them ready to use. Learning to sew really paid off because you thread the yarn like a bobbin. It was surprisingly super fun.

Yarn Ball Winder

Turns out the yarn Chris had picked was totally different from the yarn I was used to. I needed to get smaller needles and the yarn is dark and stretchy, which makes it really easy to drop stitches and not be able to see what you’re doing. When I started the cowl it took me a good 20 tries to get past the forth row without making a mistake and having the right amount of stitches on there to begin with. At first I had tried 2×1 ribbing, but it looked kind of ugly so I switched to 2×2. In the third class we learned how to change colors and make seamless seams with the mattress stitch. I had progressed a decent amount on my cowl before going, so I focused on making stripes.

Cranberry cowl with white stripes, 2x2 ribbing.

After taking the Knitting 101 class I’m so excited to knit. I find it super relaxing to just sit on the couch after a stressful day and just knit away. I’m pretty sure I’m an 80 year old woman at heart. If you’re interesting in learning how to knit, I can’t recommend the Knitting 101 class at Imagiknit enough. Judy is great and the class sizes are small. I’m super pumped that Tori is currently taking them as well! :)

I will keep you all updated when I finish the cowl for Chris. In the meantime, if you want to see more knitting photos – check out my flickr.

Linzi

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