From vintage patterns like this:
To modern versions like this:
(from Sweet Mama Small Sugar)
I was hooked!
So one day I put the baby boy in his car seat & drove the mile or so to Lamb's Ear Yarn in Tacoma & inquired about learning how to knit! Roxie sold me my first skein of yarn, a variegated Encore acrylic & wool blend, and a set of bamboo straights in size 8. She sat me down with her then 17 yo son, Erol, and he taught me how to cast on and how to do a knit stitch. For the next week or so, until I was scheduled to go back in to learn the purl stitch, I knit, and knit, and ripped, and knit, and cursed, and knit until my shoulder ached. When I was finished with the skein, I had a very long garter stitch scarf... and I had cemented the knit stitch into my muscle memory.
Next, I knit a ribbed scarf with a skein of Noro Kureyon. Those two stitches-- knit & purl-- is all I have ever really learned from a person. Everything else I know, except for a few bits here and there shown to me by the ladies in my knitting group, I learned from the Internet or books. Within a year, I was able to knit a soaker for my baby, following the Curly Purly Soaker Pattern. Soon thereafter, though, I decided to write my own pattern, and the Pea Patch Diaper Soaker was born.
Since that time, I've found it more interesting & in some ways easier to make up my own patterns rather than follow those written by others. This is one reason that I prefer the top down, seamless method of knitting garments-- it is much more open to improvisation, as you can try on garments as you knit & make changes on the fly! There's a good reason why Wendy Bernard is my favorite designer and her book, Custom Knits, is my knitting Bible!
If you're trying to learn how to knit on your own, the videos available on KnittingHelp.com are utterly invaluable. Being able to stop & start them over & over ad infinitum without feeling stupid is one advantage to not learning from an actual person! And, of course, Ravelry is the place to go for patterns, yarn info, help forums, themed groups, kal's, and more inspiration than you'll probably ever need!
Below I've put together a short list of resources that have helped me with some specific techniques:
- Decorative Bind Offs
- Elizabeth Zimmerman's Sewn Bind Off (super stretchy!)
- Favorite Buttonhole
- Folded Picot Edge
- Twisted German Cast On (again, stretchy!)
- Unwrapped Technique for Invisible Short Rows