Podcast Call for Entries: Newbie Knits



Are you a relatively new knitter, or have you been knitting for a while? Our next podcast is devoted to new knitters and we want to know, “What is the biggest mistake you made in your early days?”. From gauge issues to pattern disasters, we want to know your biggest mess-ups. We also want to know what you wish you knew when you were starting out. Is there some small wisdom you could impart to those just starting to knit?

If you have a contribution, email podcast@knitpicks.com. If we use your entry, you’ll receive a “charm pack” or our our favorite Knit Picks yarn in the mail. Email us, today!


  1. Adrian / March 29, 2015

    I had a good chuckle at some of these – mainly out of relief! I have made all of these mistakes (and probably even more).

    I have been knitting for 1-2 years and everything I do is a learning experience. I’m enjoying the stage I’m at where I’m only mildly apprehensive to cast on for a first magic loop project or research that actually there is a particular cast on that is preferable over others for this particular project etc.

    I feel that, instead of diving in head-first and hoping for the best (it won’t happen), I’m being a little more considered and organised. I actually like swatching. I like researching techniques that will improve the finish of my work, though having said that, I’ve never formally found out how to weave in – must do this.

    I’m lucky to be a knitter in the internet age. I’m lucky that I can keep re-watching a YouTube tutorial if I struggle to grasp the concept the first time.

    The biggest mistake I made in my early days, which I consider to be still happening, was to knit first and ask questions later. Research the pattern, research the techniques required. Not just how to do a 2 x 2 rib, but how to do a great 2 x 2 rib.

  2. Laura Flak / January 23, 2015

    PLASTIC NEEDLES!! I so rarely use plastic needles. As I was new to knitting, I took on the task of making a sweater or something of the sort. I started working on a beautiful teal vest for my mom while I was a freshman in college and living with a roommate. I left the back panel on our couch while in progress, and on grey plastic needles. My roommate’s boyfriend came in and immediately sat down on our couch… and I heard a loud snap. Of course, he sat on the plastic needles and one of them shattered. I had to try and salvage the row and the stitches, which is terrifying as a new knitter. I struggled, but somehow managed to get the right number of stitches again… yet there’s still a mangled knot on the back panel. Like other mistakes in knitting, I see those mistakes and think, “Well it at least makes my piece unique!” I still use plastic needles on very rare occasion, but I never ever leave them lying around again…

  3. Fuego Azul / January 20, 2015

    I love reading the comments this podcast call inspired!

  4. Lauren / January 17, 2015

    My first mistake was knitting stripes, adding the different colors, but I added the new color as a slip knot. Each time. So the scarf ended up… growing… as I moved along. It is now a lovely, long triangle.

  5. Mary M. / January 15, 2015

    These stories are so great. =) I taught myself to knit from books, knit a few scarves, and then quit knitting for a few years. When I went back to it, I didn’t check my books, I just picked up my needles and tried to figure it out again. I started some scarves and went through a few practice swatches before I realized I was knitting “backwards”, wrapping the yarn around the needle in the wrong direction every time! Not super noticeable at first, but if you stretch the fabric even a little it looks kinda funny. =) Also, turns out knitting into twisted stitches slows you down. Now my fabrics are much more even and my knitting goes much faster.

  6. Megan / January 14, 2015

    One of my dearest friends taught me how to knit years ago. However, she only knew the knit stitch and taught me how to knit with the English method. It was so frustrating to knit so slowly and only with one stitch. I made my first scarf in all garter stitch with only a few mistakes. Only after teaching myself how to crochet, did I realize there were more ways to knit and it also helped me learn how to read knitting patterns as well. I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to come back to knitting and I wish I would have learned more than just knit stitches when I first started.
    No worries however, I am surely making up for lost ground now!

  7. Ampy / January 14, 2015

    My biggest mistake early on was being too hard on myself. I wanted my projects to look just like the picture. When I started knitting it was before the internet and no one in my family knew how to knit. I made every mistake a knitter could make. I knitted the tail, didn’t buy enough yarn, bought the wrong weight yarn, didn’t check my gauge, dropped countless stitches, purled when I was supposed to knit, knit when I was supposed to purl, bound off too tightly, and chose projects that where way above my skill level. But what I gained from all of the “mistakes” was they were not mistakes at all, they were my “knitting life” lessons. Like Edison and his light bulb, I learned 100 ways how not to knit. Now when I knit I do it with a sense of fearlessness and adventure! Bring it on!

  8. felicity Walsh / January 13, 2015

    gauge swatches and tearing out – I used to do neither, and was a disaster. One summer I was at home between trips, (I think I was 15?) I had 2 days to unpack from the beach, do laundry and repack for a family trip to Wyoming. My dad always asked me to knit for him (because I knit all the time) but he was a big guy and I kind of hemmed and hawed. But I had 48 hours, right? I made him a blue, self pattern v neck pullover out of Bartlett yarn in the time I was home. It was massive – the sleeves were a good 8 inches too long. My dad looked like he had either lost a bet or was wearing some kind of knit cassock and dress – but he wore it all the time for the next 15 years, rolling up the cuffs and proudly telling everybody who would listen that not only had his youngest daughter knit him a sweater, she’d done it in 2 days. I wish now I’d knit more sweaters for him.

  9. Emmy Fink / January 13, 2015

    I was knitting a pair of socks for a friend leaving the country on a very tight deadline. I was pretty new to sock knitting and wanted to try a different texture other than plain old stockinette. I knit the first sock in a seed stitch. Distracted by the Summer Olympics, I knit the second sock using K2, P2 seed stitch instead! I got through the entire leg without realizing my mistake. I cast on a new one and finished it correctly. My “mistake sock” patiently waits to be finished.

  10. Kirsten / January 13, 2015

    Lots of good points here. Here’s mine:

    When starting in lacework, I learned the hard way to put a stitch marker between each repeat and count all your stitches in each repeat after every row (or even just as you finish the repeat). When I find a missed or extra yarnover, I mark the spot with a removable stitch marker so I can fix the error on the way back across by picking up or dropping the YO.

    Also, if you try DPNs and hate them (like me!) don’t give up on knitting in the round! Learn magic loop or even knitting in the round on 2 circular needles. There’s a method for everyone!

  11. Nan in Oregon / January 13, 2015

    Initial missteps… where to begin? I think I’ve committed most of the “crimes” the knitters before me have detailed. The two most glaring, though, would be “beginning knitter= cheap yarn”, and “WWWAAAYYY over my skill level”.

    In order… using cheap/poor quality yarn because “I don’t want to mess up and ruin some VERY expensive yarn when I’m just beginning to learn to knit.” WRONG! You don’t have to learn to knit using break-the-bank luxury fibers, but you do yourself no service using cheap (and usually), inferior materials. I made a very nice cabled pullover as my first real project, and it grew with washing so that I couldn’t wear it… and snagged if you even walked by anything sharp or catchy! Huge mistake, one that can be avoided by using good quality yarn. I have worn the sweater twice, and retired it to a drawer. It took me over a year to finish it, and I did learn about materials.

    Which brings me to the second huge misstep: Don’t get in over your head. All newbie knitters make scarves, cowls, and even hats in the beginning stages. You are learning here! I love the beautiful Estonian Lace Shawls and wanted one so badly that I chose it for my first lace project. (Yeah, you know where this is going, eh?) I have in my stash quite a bit of gorgeous creamy silk lace weight and an unintelligible charted pattern… my skill level still isn’t up to re-starting that beautiful shawl. Eventually, I will make that shawl, but not yet. Patience, Grasshopper.

  12. AnnaInMD / January 13, 2015

    I love downloading patterns, either free or purchased, and find it most helpful to read all reviews that accompany the patterns. Such a treasure trove of valuable advice from participating knitters who ran into problems with either the written pattern, the type of yarn, the suggested size of needles,the sizing or whatever. Reading about their mishaps and work-arounds is the best tool for me NOT to make mistakes.

  13. Anne / January 13, 2015

    My first sweater, I measured the actual arm hole length instead of vertical up from the initial bind off. I think I ripped the back out 3 times before I got it right.

  14. Cathy Timbs / January 13, 2015

    knitting lace is a chalange but, when I discovered using a “lifeline” (run a contrasting thread thru the row after completing a set of instructions), knitting lace was much more enjoyable. I could rip out just to the lifeline, then begin row 1 again. And move the lifeline occassionally! And using markers along the row, at repeats,helped me to only have to backtrack a few stitches if I made a mistake!

  15. Ariel / January 13, 2015

    Knitting late at night and making silly mistakes because I’m tired.

    While knitting my first sweater, I was working 1×1 rib on the round for the bottom edge late one night. I set down my knitting and somehow when I picked it back up I had turned it inside out and started knitting in the opposite direction. It took me hours to fix the next day when I finally realized the bottom of my sweater was lopsided.

    Now if I’m going to knit while I’m distracted, I choose carefully and work on an easy project.

  16. Ginger / January 13, 2015

    My biggest mistake was knitting in the back loop and thinking I was purling! Imagine my surprise when I finished my first dishcloth with what was supposed to be an image on it just to find out I only knitted all the way through! Thank goodness for knittin help.com! But I’ve learned … Now if only I can do cables without leaving holes next to them!

  17. Megan / January 12, 2015

    I have been knitting for 10+ years, but I just learned what a lifeline is. My advice to knitters of any skill level: take advantage of your LYS and the community of knitters there. The knitters and staff have a wealth of information, sources, inspiration, and experiences that will only make you a better knitter!

  18. Megan Campbell / January 12, 2015

    Probably my biggest mistake was not actually reading the required yarn for the project. I was knitting a lovely DNA scarf which is in the original pattern is made with sport weight, but being a newbie, I had not knit with anything smaller than worsted. I just saw that the pattern called for size 4 needles so that is what I used. I was so confused when my scarf turned out stiff as a board instead of the lovely drape I had expected. My sis-in-law was so kind to help me out and suggested bigger needles next time. It was only later I realized that it is important to check both the yarn type and the suggested needles. My new DNA scarf turned out beautifully using size 8’s.

  19. Jakki J / January 12, 2015

    I’m really bad with adding stitches when you switch between purl and knit and I end up with the wrap over stitches which aren’t real stitches, but then again they are. So then a little while later I start wondering why my project is looking all out of sorts.

    And my other mistake I still do is having stitches drop on me ….. I am known to pull apart a whole project because I dropped a stitch and can’t figure out to bring it back to the top.

    This one is new to me, I will pull apart a partial project to reuse the yarn on something else … over and over again because my attention span on projects isn’t the longest.. I get this new idea in my head and I want to go with it, only to discover I only have so much yarn and not enough to do this bright and shiny new one. And hanging out with other knitters I’ve learned this isn’t the best, because the yarn looses it’s twist and maybe that’s why I get so frustrated sometimes when my yarn doesn’t stay together like it should.

  20. Virginia Smith / January 12, 2015

    Failing to use stitch markers. I made a chevron stitch afghan and somehow added a stitch about 2/3 of the way. Made for a rather interesting looking skewed chevron.

  21. Kathy Moore / January 12, 2015

    Fixing mistakes

  22. Eluned / January 12, 2015

    Always decreasing by knitting two together, regardless of where the decrease was, instead of doing it properly, i.e in a different way depending on which edge you’re at and which way you want the decrease to slant.

  23. Debbie / January 12, 2015

    Still do this every once in awhile. Use my tail to start knitting.

  24. Sarah / January 12, 2015

    When learning how to knit in the round with DPNs, I didn’t realize that the extra, spare needle was actually for knitting the cast on stitches. After joining a local group of knitters several years ago, one of them shared with me that I needed that extra needle to knit the working stitches on the three/four needles of my project.

  25. Vicki / January 12, 2015

    yarn quality, tension, sizing, tension, yarn type [worsted, sport….], tension.

  26. marie / January 11, 2015

    I am self taught and just realized last week after 5 years of knitting that I put my right needle in opposite of how I should in the loop. Kind of you should when doing a twisted rib. Oops. Still looks good to me.

  27. marcia / January 11, 2015

    The biggest thing I hat to learn was doing colour work. I am a self taught knitter in the days before internet. When I was a teenager I made a sweater with blocks of shapes and of course without having properly twisted while knitting, when I was done I had a lot of holes! Without knowing sny better I just sewed them sll after! Needless to say that after that one project I never wanted to make anthing with more than one colour. It wasn’t until about 15 years later when I tackles colour work sgain. Even now I admire fair isle from a distance.

  28. Holly Erickson / January 11, 2015

    I’ve been knitting for a few years, but still don’t have complete confidence. The thing that trips me up still, and that I wish I had a better handle on from the get go, is how to fix my mistakes. I can’t tell you how many projects I’ve ripped back to the start simply because I didn’t know how to begin fixing whatever went wrong. I think this would be a really valuable topic to have a handle on early in the game. If you knit, you’re going to make mistakes. Getting comfortable with this reality early and having the confidence to deal with it would make knitting much less stressful!

  29. Margarita Maldonado / January 10, 2015

    My biggest mistake (and still my biggest resistance) was not making gauge swatches. Oh, the terribly missized garments I made! But I was stubborn. Stubborn, stubborn, stubborn! I thought, Well, I’ve got the right-sized needles and the same yarn, why shouldn’t it come out the same size as indicated in the pattern? Nope! I’m a tight knitter, and invariably my gauge would be off. Sometimes by quite a bit. So while I still don’t enjoy checking my gauge, I begrudgingly do it because it’s far less frustrating than frogging the whole thing after so much time and effort!