So, following a few oblong/rhombus shaped practice samplers using the videos in my last post, I got the basics in from Abakhan. This included a random selection of yarn chosen purely by colour - a super chunky cream, a fine green, a very fine pink mohair and couple of shades of brown. I also picked up a variety of needles; some resin, some plastic, some bamboo, some circle needles, and made sure they were the correct sizes for the yarn I had chosen.
Hint - If you look at the label on the yarn, it will show you which gauge/size of needle would work with it.
I started by matching a brown yarn to some 5mm needles and cast on cocky as anything. I soon realised I was dropping stitches (missing them out), picking up several stitches (miraculously creating extra stitches), twisting stitches and splitting stitches (where you pierce the stitch rather than work around it). My samplers basically look like shit - as you can see.
My problem was uniformity of the stitches and controlling the tension of the working yarn (attached to the ball). After a quick Google, it seemed all I had to do was practice and knit as much as possible. Great.
My next move was possibly the best I could've made to improve the quality of my kitting; I picked up the chunky yarn and size 10 circular needles I'd bought (needles connected with a 80cm wire) and I cast on as many stitches as I could fit on there, didn't count them, and knit every row. It was hard going as the wool was difficult to work with, the plastic needles weren't slippy enough for me and I'm pretty sure it gave me arthritis, but I kept going. When I'd hit the third ball of yarn I called it quits for a while, purely to give my knuckles a rest. It looked like this after one skein and three skeins:
It still looks like that. However, when I picked up the finer yarn and standard needles and started knitting in stockinette (One row of knit stitch, one row of purl stitch ad infinitum), it came out perfect, or as perfect as I can expect it to be. Tension sorted.