Saturday, September 12, 2009

Learning to Knit while making a Dust Mop Cover

Have you ever thought about learning how to knit some day? I have thought about it many times. I always think about how I have seen ladies who carry their knitting with them just about everywhere. They sit down and away they go. Their hands seem to fly. You can hardly see what the needles are doing they get going so fast. The concept of knitting yarn with two straight needles seemed well beyond me. In many ways it is hard enough getting going with a crochet hook but at least you have the hook to grab the yarn with.

At my local craft store I found a free pattern for a Dust Mop Cover (pictured covering a Swiffer Mop). It said that you could make one for under $2 and that the skill level is 2 out of 5. The pattern seemed fairly straight forward and is made in 3 parts. I decided to give it a try. I have a few tips on things that helped me out

Knit Dust Mop Cover

This is my finished Dust Cover. Not bad for my first knitting project. All in all it took me something like two weeks working on it a little every day. Oh and starting over at least 5 times as I got use to learning how to knit.

I found this tutorial on If you scroll all the way to the bottom of the page you will see other knitting videos that show various steps on how to knit. I like that they are very clear about what they are doing.

It is helpful to roll your yarn into a ball before you start. I found that I could go straight off the skein but that the flow was much more fluid when I had the yard in a ball.

Try to not worry so much about being neat, which is what I was doing. I felt that if I made the loops too loose the end product would look sloppy. When you relax and let the loops be a little larger it is much easier to work the row, and you will find you go faster. Once you have completed a few rows you can look back and see that it does not look sloppy as long as your loops are fairly even in size.

The first row or two after casting on are the hardest rows to work. My theory is that as you complete more rows you have more give from the yarn that has already been worked. The loop on the needle has more slack to stretch from. Another theory I have is that by the time you have reached row 10 or 15 (for the first time) you are more practiced and more relaxed and will be making your loops a little larger and more even.

More than once some of my stitches came off my needle when my 5 year old was trying to get a better look. If you are careful you can put the stitches back on before the whole thing starts coming undone. I had to start over at least once because I had too many stitches come off the needle and I was unable to rescue them.

knitting is progress

Besides learning how to knit and purl, the hard part for me was keeping track of how many rows I had done. I picked up some knitting markers. I liked these because you lock them closed. No worries that they will fall off as I am working. I marked the knit rows with orange and the purl rows with green. Once I started using the clips I magically ended up with an even looking pattern. I was able to tell at a glance what stitch I left off with and what I needed to do next. All I had to do was look at the last two markers I had put on to know where I was in the pattern. (if you don't want to buy any and have safety pins you could spray paint some so that you can use them to make what stitch you are one as well as know how many rows you have done.)

The last thing I suggest you get is end caps for your needles. If you don’t want to buy any you could use an old cork. They are helpful so that your project does not slip off your needles when you put it down. (use a rubber band to keep your needles together when not in use)

I hope you try learning how to knit. I was determined to end up with a Swiffer dust cover. It is so much better to learn with an end project in mind. When I finished it and put it on the Swiffer my boys were excited and wanted to try it out. It works great!

Go to to get the instructions for this Knit Dust Cover.


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A Dusty Frame said...

Yeah! I love knitting and yes I'm one of those who carries it with me everywhere.

To keep track of rows you can buy a row counter or just use a note card and right down each row when you finish.

I often just write down tick marks and add them up to see where I am.

CitricSugar said...

An excellent first knitting project! Pat yourself on the back - mine (years ago) did not turn out nearly that well... Counting rows takes practice - I still have trouble with counting garter stitch - but after a few projects you begin to "see" the rows...

You can also paint the non-business ends of your needles with different colours. Like red and white - say you had a four row repeat with purls on alternate rows, then knitting with the red might mean follow the pattern and white always means purl. Good luck with your next project!

mommabear said...

Yay! I'm glad you posted this...I too saw the directions for these at Michael's and thought how eco-friendly it would be to knit a few! Now, that I've seen yours I have inspiration to get going on my very own...if only I can stay away from my sewing machine long enough! :)

Ferrers Locke said...

About the tight cast-on - you can cast on (and off) on needles a size or two bigger than you use for the main piece of work. I often do both. Or (if you're using the thumb/ long-tail cast on), leave a bigger space between stitches on the needle.

Also, a lot of people start off tight when they first knit. It takes a while to get a feel for the right tension. I recommend using yarn with at least 50% wool content, because it's much more elastic than most other fibres, and that makes it easier to knit - very important for beginners. Or if there are wool allergies to consider, use a good quality acrylic yarn - more expensive than low-end acrylics, but much nicer to knit.

Unless you have a passion for cotton knits, avoid cotton and cotton-rich yarns at first, as they're very inelastic.

A good project for beginning knitters are neck wraps - choose a smooth yarn, so as not to tickle!

You could use 4-ply (fingering weight) yarn and 5mm or 6mm straight needles to make a lacy garter sitch wrap - just sew the ends together. (A tip for neat edges - don't knit the first stitch in every row, but slip it from one needle onto the other without knitting.)

Ribbed neck wrap - you'll need to know how to purl for this one (it's very easy).

Use 4.5mm circular needles (no sewing up, very easy) and double knitting wool (example, Regia 6-ply: I *think it's equivalent to a heavy sports weight or light worsted weight, but it's not *that important for a project like this).

Cast on 96 stitches.
First round: purl.
2nd round: knit.
3rd round: purl.
(This creates a subtle frill under the chin.)
All subsequent rounds: Knit 2, purl 2 until your work is about 5" long. Cast off in rib. (It's very easy, but it wouldn't matter too much if you used a knit cast off.)

The ribs flare naturally around your collarbones. Suits both sexes.

If knitting in the round scares you, cast on 98 stitches on straight needles, and work 3 rows garter stitch; then (first row) K2, P2 to last 2 stitches, K2. Second row, p2, K2 to last two stitches, P2. Repeat those two rows to 5" length, cast off, and sew the edges together. You want the side with 2 garter stitch ridges to be the right side. said...

I am *SO* impressed that is your first knitting project! Mine was unrecognizable. My knitting friends looked at it, tried to help me and couldn't think of much more to say other than "maybe you're twisting your yarn?" They were too kind. You couldn't tell if I was trying to knit or trying to purl. I kept at it though and now I love it! Yay knitting!

Jenn said...

Love this idea!!! Thank you so much for sharing.

Jenn said...

Love this idea! Thank you for sharing. I will be doing this when I have time to crochet again!