Posts Tagged ‘first project’

Fearless Knitter Finished Objects

February 6, 2018

In November, I started teaching a Knit 101 class at Stitch House, one of Boston’s lovely local yarn stores (LYS). Starting at 9:00 on Saturday mornings, a group of about six or eight new knitters gather around the table for learning, creating, sharing, and only occasionally, cursing. The students include sisters, ages 7 and 9, so we try to keep our language in check!


For their first projects, several knitters have made the Wham Bam Thank You Lamb Neckwarmer. Jean is seaming hers in the lower corner in the photo above. It fits my top requirement for a first project, namely that you’ll be able to finish in a reasonable amount of time and experience that surge of pride in your accomplishment. A cotton dishcloth (or washcloth, your choice) also fits the bill when it comes to a first project. Here’s Mary’s creation:


When Helena finished her neckwarmer, she immediately texted her mother in Brazil, who was suitably impressed. Of course.


Julia made a super bulky cowl, which she was delighted to discover also made a terrific headband!


This past Saturday, her sister finished a hat, complete with pom pom, for a younger cousin. As you can see, she was delighted. And that’s what it’s all about.


What have you made that makes you proud? I’d love to hear your ideas for other good knitting projects for beginning knitters?




Girls Who Knit

December 9, 2016

For the past few weeks, I’ve been spending Monday afternoons teaching knitting to eight girls at a local after-school program. It’s the most high-energy 90 minutes of my week!

As always when I teach new knitters, a first lesson is to spot and then fix mistakes. Mistakes are inevitable, and if you can’t fix them, you’re more likely to give up. Although only a couple of the girls have tried knitting before, each of the 7 fourth graders and one fifth grader is on her way to becoming a Fearless Knitter.

They’ve started with a cotton dishcloth, casting on (knitted cast-on) about 33 stitches, and working a few inches in garter stitch.

I like seeing how each of them holds the needles and yarn, developing her own technique and muscle memory for the craft.

With each stitch, they’re becoming more competent and more confident.

“When I woke up this morning, I dreaded going to school, but then I remembered that we’d be knitting this afternoon. That gave me energy to make it through the whole school day!” A bit dramatic perhaps, but a sentiment that many knitters — including me — share.


Quick Cotton Dishcloth

July 24, 2016

There are times when a quick, basic project is needed. That time for me usually involves the completion of one project and some indecision on what to make next.

My go-to “palette cleanser” projects are baby hats and cotton dishcloths or washcloths (depending on the size).

Last week it was a dishcloth. Not just any dishcloth though; Mason Dixon Knitting’s Ballband Dishcloth, a simple, clever, and quick design. Lily Sugar’n Cream in Indigo and Hot Green (although I think of it as Green Apple).

Even though I’ve started a new project (stay tuned for next post or get a sneak preview on Twitter @SaltwtrHillKnit), I’ve started a smaller version, which will be a wash cloth for a lovely niece who’s heading off to two weeks of overnight camp.

What’s your go-to quick-and-easy knitting project?

WTF does WYIF mean?

October 16, 2013

Several of the students in my knitting class want to learn how to read a pattern, so I’ve started them off on a delightful cotton washcloth. Washcloths are great first project because (1) there’s a high probability you will finish (unlike a scarf which can be interminable), and (2) they provide ample opportunity for learning new stitches and reading a pattern.

After the first class, Rachel emailed with a question, “I’ve done my 4 rows of seed stitch for the border. Can you tell me what sl5p wyif means?”


This was the ideal opportunity to reinforce a key rule of following a pattern: read the entire pattern before you begin. And take notes, right on the pattern. Rachel did a lovely job of this. See those four checks next to each of the seed stitch border row instructions?

Don’t be shy. Use a highlighter to mark all instructions related to the size you’re making. Circle, flag, or (my favorite) star those details that you want to be sure not to miss — like “do this and that for 16 rows and, at the same time, bind off two stitches at the beginning of each row.”

In the washcloth pattern, as in most patterns, special stitch combinations are defined at the start of the pattern — a pattern-within-a-pattern, of sorts. There it was:

sl5P wyif = slip the next 5 sts as if to purl with yarn at front of work (this forms a yarn strand on the right side of the fabric).

This is the point at which a knitter must speak aloud, slowly and clearly while following the instructions word for word. It usually takes me two or three talk-throughs before I understand what I’m to do. I find it best to do this while alone or at least at home, where I’m less likely to be interrupted by someone asking “what did you say?” Because then I’d have to stop and explain and then start all over again!

Rachel figured it out — while hanging out at her daughter’s soccer game, no less. She even sent a photo when she got home. Look at those bands stretching across 5 stitches!

IMG_00000093 (1)


Knitting Reacquaintance

August 5, 2011

“I’d like to take some time during our visit to get reacquainted with knitting,” my dear cousin Meg wrote in advance of our getaway weekend in Chicago. Her words were music to my ears because there’s nothing a knitter enjoys more (this knitter, at least) than sharing the joy of knitting with others.

I know, I know. It’s not all joy, especially when you discover a dropped stitch 5 rows down or realize that your attempt to “join without twisting” was unsuccessful. But it’s mostly fun and oh so satisfying, especially when you can say “I made this.”

Meg decided on a baby hat, a good choice for a first project since it meets criteria #1 on my list of good first projects : you can finish it. She chose a wee tomato hat — red with a leafy green crown & little stem.

She lives in Toronto, so I sent her to the good folks at Lettuce Knit , which happens to be right in her neighborhood. I know they’re good folks because the Yarn Harlot regularly sings their praises and, well, she wouldn’t lie about a thing like that.

Over the course of our 2.5 days together, she cast on, knit a swatch (important to establish good habits early), figured out her gauge (same as the pattern so no recaculating needed — huzzah!), cast on the hat, divided into 4 double-pointed needles, joined without twisting (no mean feat that), and was well on her way to the 25th round when we had to part.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take a single photo of these wonderful accomplishments. But I’ll see her very soon and perhaps will have one then.

This shot of Meg (with me in the background) at the amazing Cloud Wave sculpture (aka “The Bean”) in Chicago’s Millennium Park will have to do:

Cousin Meg reflected in Cloud Wave metallic sculpture

Let’s start knitting

June 23, 2010

I get great joy from teaching others to knit. Pure and simple. There’s something very rewarding about watching someone create something they’ve envisioned and finally be able to hold it in their hands.  All from a very long piece of string (well, yarn).

Earlier this year, I taught a beginner knitting class through the local community education program.  We had a terrific group of women, about 6-8, the maximum number that’s manageable for a class with one teacher.  They were fun, adventurous, warm, and persistent — one cast on the stitches for her hat 4 or 5 times until she got it right. THAT’S a fearless knitter!

Learn a bit of open-work (lace) and make a poncho for a lovely niece:

Knitting in the round with circular needles to make a baby hat:

Garter stitch baby bonnet with banded edge (learn how to pick up stitches).

How about a golf club cover?  Basic stockinette stitch in the round with some decreases, yarn changes if you like, and a pom-pom:

One student completed a baby hat and started another in between two classes!

Adult hat in process:

Lovely lilac baby hat:

What’s your favorite first project?

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