Beginning Knitting – my projects

A few months ago, I started meeting a friend at a local coffee shop with a knitting group. It was nice to start routinely going out again, even if just for an afternoon once a week. Since I didn’t knit, and really had no interest in starting.. I mean, I’d tried several years ago, and though I love the look, I determined it was just too complicated for me to bother with.

Instead, I took other projects along. One day I cut out patterns for doll clothes, or tiny stuffed animals for doll toys – these were for my ball-joint dolls I’ve been collecting. I took some wool roving, felting needle and piece of foam to play with another day. Still another day, I took pieces of long fur material, the size of a note card and made little wigs for my dolls. I could have taken a crochet project, but really hadn’t been in the mood to crochet yet another scarf. Scarves and wash clothes seemed about all I had ever really made.

One day, another knitter brought a sweater she was knitting for her nephew (I think it was). It was a natural color, like a sandy, natural off-white, brownish color (yeah, I’m sure there is a name for it, but I’m totally drawing a blank on it. On the front, she’s knitted (or maybe it’s cabled) 3 owls. It was adorable, and I could so envision making something similar for my granddaughter. I was in awe… and told the ladies that was the project that was going to make me want to knit. I wasn’t kidding.

I went home and over the next week, I bought small circular knitting needles, went through all the patterns on ravelry, and settled on a dress for my dolls. Over the coming couple of weeks, I made two dresses, and a few others that were ok, but not my favorites.

I then found a pattern for a shawl. I thought that’d be wonderful. Many times the coffee shop we meet at is chilly in the evenings, other times, I run in the grocery in shorts and a tank top, only to come out shivering and numb because the grocery is just so cold. A shawl kept in my bag would be perfect.

I started with a pattern that was simple for me to understand, and was so easy it makes for a good group project – in that I can knit this pattern, while I chat and not worry too much about mistakes. It’s called the One-Skein Shawl – find it on, or

After knitting the body, I was ready to do the border. Here I got stumped. Today, I finally figured it out – not that I did on my own by any means, but the people on the ravelry forum were great at helping me out. It took them figuring out my thinking, rather than the pattern, though.

I wrote an email to a friend giving her an update. Rather than rewrite it here.. I’ll just share the email. I hope you get a good chuckle from my confusion.

I thought I’d update you on my issues with the shawl border.

In the pattern when I got to the amount of stitches I was suppose to have on the needle, it said that it was now time to add the border to the bottom. This didn’t make any sense to me, since I was working from the bottom up… to me, it meant adding border to the top, which I didn’t want.

I went to the pattern’s [forum] page on ravelry, and asked about it. I got two responses that told me yes, the pattern was correct and to just keep going and I’d be fine. Still not understanding the why’s of this, I decided I’d run over to FiberWorks [local yarn store, LYS] last night. Since they were open until 830 and I’d have the opportunity to go ~ Bob [hubby] would be home in plenty of time. And, I thought, I’d pick up yarn for a couple more shawls. If they go really fast, I’ll give them as gifts right away, if I run slower on them, they’ll be gifts for the holidays. I also figured I’d take my work, the pattern and ask for help there.

I showed them my LittleFee bjd doll – the one I’d named Darla – but changed to Agnes (a nostalgic name from childhood. I kept getting little whispers in my thoughts that this needed to be her name). They oohed and ahhed and told me I did a good job.. (btw, another customer came in at the end of my talk with “forgethername”, and she ooh’d and ahh’d over my doll and the dresses, lol).

I showed her the pattern, my work, etc. And she agreed with me that it didn’t make any sense. Now, in my favor, I don’t think she’d made shawls before, as I think if she had, she’d have caught my mistake right away. That said, I gave her misinformation and based on my misinformation, she wouldn’t have been able to figure it out. I was frustrated, disappointed, but at the same time, i still felt good. I wasn’t giving up the project. I wasn’t going to just “wrap it up” as it was.. I was determined to figure it out. Which really did feel good (but you can understand my frustration at what felt like deadends). I really needed someone to explain, exactly what was going on.. did I need to pick up stitches, bind off and then back on.. what?

Have you guessed my mistake? It’s so simple, and really, I knew it was. The whole pattern up til this point had been so simple. A quick pattern you could easily whip out in a weekend of dedicated knitting… so why was this last part causing me to hang up so much. And I knew once I knew the answer, it would be a “smack forehead” moment.

It truly was.

I had posted on the forum for the shawl, but since the replies there hadn’t helped me, I went to Fibers of Dayton (is that right?) and asked there too. One lady took the time to reply back and forth with me a few times, trying to figure out where this pattern was situated in my brain, and why I was seeing it so different than everyone else. While we went back and forth a few times throughout the day, I remembered I’d posted on the other forum – I must not have it set up to notify me via email, so it’s easy to forget, and I had to figure out my way back to my posts… anyway, I must have told them there what I was doing and that I didn’t want the border across the top, but along the bottom… and it clicked with them just what I was doing wrong.

Actually, nothing wrong. I was just thinking upside down. I thought since I was increasing with each row, that I was knitting bottom to top – like an upside down triangle, point to width. In actuality, it is worked top down. So the point or tip that I thought was so flat, was really the center of the top. And the border I needed to add really was to the bottom of the shawl, the part on my needles.

So flippin’ simple.

In my defense, this is only the second real project I’ve done.. and I only really started knitting a couple months ago. And the only real instruction I’ve had the whole way, was watching YouTube videos. So, I’m pretty proud of myself.

I will share pictures soon, of the shawl, almost ready to come off the needles, before and after blocking, and of Agnes too.