Friday, August 7, 2015

How I Knit without Knowing How to Knit

Ever since my grandma taught me how to knit when I was a little kid, I have always enjoyed knitting. However, since my grandma lived about 3,000 miles away, she only ever taught me the one stitch, and despite having purchased several books on how to knit, I still haven't been able to figure out how to knit for real--I still just kinda do that same stitch, with the sole variation of the "pulled-out" rows (in picture, above), which is actually the SAME stitch--I just do it twice on each loop.

Not only do I not know any other stitches except for the one (and cast on and cast off, of course), I also don't know how to follow patterns or make complicated shapes--I basically just make flat things. They can be long, skinny flat things called scarves, or big wide flat things called afghans.

To avoid having my knitted items be terrifically boring, as an expanse of one stitch can certainly be, I have discovered the wonderful world of specialty yarns. I use special textured yarns, variegated-color yarns, and I even cut yarn into short sections and tie the ends together, letting them hang out for a "fringe" effect. And that's how I can knit without really knowing how!

Above is a scan of one of my knitted pieces. If you look closely, you can see it's all the same stitch, but the different yarns make it look way more interesting!


  1. It's beautiful, Ali, even with the one stitch!

  2. Most of knitting really is one stitch anyway. Even a purl is just the back side of a knit stitch. Everything else is just variations much like the variations you already do.

    1. Oh, good--this goves me some hope that it won't be to hard to learn to knit "for real" some day.

  3. You obviously do know how to knit. By "for real" I'm guessing you mean learning the purl stitch? There's another trick that allows us to create standard stockinette stitch without purling...anyway, a library near you probably has Sally Melville's "Knitting Experience: The Knit Stitch" and "Knitting Experience: The Purl Stitch." The purl stitch is just the knit stitch turned backward (relative to other stitches).

    And once you can do the plain knit stitch and the purl stitch, you can do anything (in knitting, anyway).

    Meanwhile...both Melville and Elizabeth Zimmermann had lots of knitting/designing fun with *only* the knit stitch.

  4. Thanks for the info! It would be nice to be able to make useful things like sweaters and socks, or to follow a pattern. My grandmother made a beautiful grey sweater for my dad that I still have and treasure!