Teach Me, Tiger

Posted by: MrsLawcomic

Recently on the MKM Facebook page, I asked for questions from non-knitters. What do you guys want to know? Ja’Lyn asked how long it takes to learn to knit.

What an incredibly complicated question. Easy answer: somewhere between one day and never.

I first attempted knitting in the winter of 2003. I bought a book called “I Taught Myself Knitting”. I, in fact, couldn’t teach myself knitting.  And for the love of sock monkeys, I tried. I gave up and sold it (and the giant bag of yarn) on eBay. It’s not that I didn’t want to learn or didn’t try hard enough.  It just didn’t take. Eventually, driven by my love of the wedding blanket, I managed to teach myself to knit. I used Knitting Help .com mostly, but there were many frantic trips to my LYS.

Most went like this:

Me: (running in door of LYS during 30 lunch break) Fix this!
LYS: Um, what?
Me: I dropped a stitch. Fix it.
LYS: I can show you how to fix it.
Me: Why do you hate me so much?!?!

And she would show me. Repeatedly. Until I learned to read my knitting (Oh, THIS is the front side), it didn’t matter how she showed me. I couldn’t do it. And this was just basic stockinette knitting. Knit one side, purl the other. Then one day it clicked. There was no stopping me.

So, for a timeline. I learned to cast on and do a knit stitch in a day. It took me weeks and several different teachers to figure out how to purl. Increases and decreases came intuitively.  By the time I got around to knitting socks, I was at the mercy of every experienced knitter I knew. And luckily I knew several. I can knit socks in my sleep now, but may or may not be able to explain it. I learned within the first year to pick up dropped stitches and go back to a mistake and fix it. I learned to knit backwards in a day. Short rows and chart reading still feel like fairy magic when I get them right.

I (the theoretical me, not the real me) could probably show you how to cast on and do a knit stitch in a few hours. You could have that down pretty well in a few days if you keep practicing. You will forget how to cast on until next time, when a kind soul will patiently show you once again. And again. And every new skill will be like that. The thing to remember is that knitting doesn’t require patience. It teaches it. Knitting can be relaxing, but only once it has whipped you into submission and broken your will to live. Then you can sit back and enjoy the process.

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2 Responses to “Teach Me, Tiger”

  1. Ja'Lyn Says:

    Reading this really makes me eagered to try my hand at knitting. Notice I said TRY — as I don’t know how to. I’ll just go to a bookstore and buy a knitting book and go from there. That sounds like the right thing to do (besides taking a knitting class of some sort), I think ..

    Thanks for answering my question, btw! ^_^

  2. MrsLawcomic Says:

    So glad you asked! And don’t forget to try the LYS. They are a great help. Start a knitting group. is an amazing resource for patterns, etc, but us also a great place to meet other knitters in your community.

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