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Topic: New Knitter! WOO! I need some help though....  (Read 509 times)
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motleykitten
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« on: February 09, 2007 02:35:12 AM »

Wow, I can't believe I am actually knitting now. Debbie Stoller really is a genius at making diagrams and writing instructions.

It looked so hard but now that I have it down its really fun. I can't wait to learn to do more than really long rectangles.

Anyhoo, I had a few questions for the experienced knitters... please feel free to answer any combo of these. It would be a big help!

1. Is it normal to have a numb left hand (from holding the stick thing) after knitting a while?

2. Even though my needles aren't sharp I feel like I am getting callouses on my left and right index finger and my thumb from poking myself. Is there anything I can do about this?

3. In the future, when I start a project, how do I keep the first few rows from being shorter than the rest? Commercially made scarves and stuff are really square and pretty at the ends but mine looks kinda curled up and a bit smaller than the rest of the scarf.

Thank you!
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april_cocaine
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2007 02:54:35 AM »

First off - congrats for knitting!

1. Yes, especially since you're a beginner. Make sure you take a break every half hour or so, and drink plenty of water to keep your joints flexible. you can also do hand exercises, the same kind that you do after typing for a long time.

2. I  don't know how to help you on this one since I have callouses anyway from playing bass guitar.

3. You can either cast on with larger needles, and then change to the smaller ones a couple of rows in - or block your stuff. Blocking is a process where you basically wet the item, and then pin it out flat so it dries in a flatter shape.
http://www.knitty.com/issuewinter02/FEATdiyknitter.html
This page is helpful for knowing how to block particualr types of yarn.

Good luck, and make sure you post pics when you've finished something!

(also, you've made this post twice, so you may want to delete the other one!)
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neekie
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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2007 02:58:38 AM »

1. If your wrist/hand hurts after knitting for awhile, stop and rest. if you continue knitting you could develop some serious hand issues. if you know anyone who knits in real life, get them to show you how they hold the needles, you could be holding them in a way that puts strain on your hand/wrist

3. that sounds like a tension problem. Try to cast on loosely, and the more you practise the better your tension will get.. also if you do a whole scarf in stockinette stitch (knit on one row, purl on the next) your scarf will curl because that's the nature of the stitch.

hope that helps some. (:
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sylphlike
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2007 03:00:26 AM »

I think all of your questions point to one answer, you're still a new knitter and are doing what most new knitters do and that is holding everything a bit tight

1 relax a little, rest your hands often (stretch them, and rub them, this will stop the muscles from knotting up and get the blood flowing again)

2 only use your fingers to guide the needles, again maybe slow down a little and play with your technique to reduce the impact on your fingers.

3 I am guessing here, but it sounds like your cast on tension and initial rows are tighter than the rest, this indicates that again you are new and are settling into your tension after a few rows, this will improve with practice.

I hope that helps, and reassures you, some of my first projects were very variable and wavy as my tension varied.

Good luck and enjoy

Sarah
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JennAviv
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2007 04:52:22 AM »

I agree about Debbie Stoller - I learned from her book too, and it helped me so much!

1.  If your hand's numb, you might be holding the needle too tightly.  Maybe stop every row and stretch your fingers and rotate your wrists?  Also, I found that knitting Continental style, that it, holding the yarn (loosely) in my left hand, helped my wrists and forearms a lot.  Just try to hold the needles barely tightly enough to control them.

2.  What kind of needles are you using?  And what kind of yarn?  It might be from the yarn moving through your fingers - again, holding needles or yarn too tightly?  Or pushing harder than needed on the needles.  Try a little unscented lotion on your hands before and after knitting for the callous-feeling, if your yarn isn't something that might react adversely to it.

3.  How tight do you cast on?  If your first few rows are smaller than the rest, and you aren't adding stitches accidently (I did that a LOT at first - I had to count stitches and go back quite frequently), then it's probably your casting on.  Relax your wrists, maybe do the two-needle casting on she describes in the original S&B (just casting on to both needles then pulling one out before starting to knit).  That would also help with the curling if it's caused by really tight stitches... Although, if you're knitting in stockinette, curling is a fact of life.  Blocking afterward  helps though.

I used to get really sore shoulders too, until I learned to work on my posture while knitting.  I would either lean forward intently or hold my work up close to my face.  Holding my work more loosely, sitting up straight and knitting Continental all helped immensely.

Also, make sure you aren't using just the point of your needles - I saw this mentioned in another 'pointers' post a minute ago, and it's a  very common mistake.  It'll make you stitches seem like they're being made on smaller needles, so if you start like that and gradually ease up it'll change the size of your knitting.  It will also be hard on your wrists forcing the needles through.

Keep it up and have fun with this!!!   Grin
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homebunnyj
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« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2007 06:19:00 AM »

You are likely clenching the needles and yarn in a deathgrip. That's causing the fatigue and callouses. Concentrate on relaxing your hands; the yarn isn't going to run away. Wink It will get easier over time.

Cast on with needles a couple sizes bigger than you'll use in the project, then switch to the ones you need on the first row. It's common to cast on tightly. Do you know how to switch needles? Just lay down the empty one from the first set and knit the row on a smaller needle, then lay down the other big needle when you empty it and tada, you've switched to the smaller set.
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rosecomet
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« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2007 07:00:07 AM »

1. I totally agree with everyone. You have learn how to relax and loosen your grip. Also it may also be to way you're sitting. For me, I have to have space while knitting, more elbow room. I also use a wrist brace while knitting. The one I use hooks onto my thumb and wraps around my wrist with velcro; my twin sister had bought for herself through a medical supply magazine.  Here's a picture of it.

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Misscritta
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2007 07:10:02 AM »

All of these are great suggestions. I agree with everyone else on these being newbie probs. Your tension will work itself out in time--My first projects were the same way, and I found that changing my cast-on to a slip stitch cast on helped me a lot.

As for the hands, I still have wrist pain from time to time (I type a lot, so I already had carpal tunnel going into the whole knitting thing!). I have wrist braces, also. Another thing that helps are those stress relief gloves you find in craft stores. They're tight enough so they don't get in the way, and they put pressure on the right places to keep the pain away.

Good luck and welcome to the addiction, er, club!
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motleykitten
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« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2007 06:43:44 AM »



3. You can either cast on with larger needles, and then change to the smaller ones a couple of rows in - or block your stuff. Blocking is a process where you basically wet the item, and then pin it out flat so it dries in a flatter shape.
http://www.knitty.com/issuewinter02/FEATdiyknitter.html
This page is helpful for knowing how to block particualr types of yarn.


Thanks! I was wondering about blocking. But I agree with everyone that my problems probaby stem from a)death-gripping the needles and yarn (its a bad habit that I am trying to break myself of), and b) casting on too tightly. It doesn't look like there are more rows than the rest of the scarf but the beginning part looks way tighter. I bookmarked the page on blocking and will have to try it out!
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