Last Christmas "Santa" gave Nettie and me a pair of knitting needles, some yarn, and "An Idiot's Guide to Knitting". The year before I'd found a knitting for kids kit* and then never sat down and figured it out with her and the kit got lost. I tried a few times with the book and another book my Mom had and couldn't quite get the hang of it. The pictures skipped some crucial bit. Skip to our trip.
While staying with Judy and Danny, Judy pulled out a sweater she was working on one evening. And I mention I'd tried with the book and just couldn't quite figure it out. She fishes out a pair of needles hands me a little yarn and shows me how. I dropped a bunch of stitches and split the yarn a bunch (all she had handy was some cotton to make washcloths out of) but I got the motion down.
When I got home I go tout the needles and practiced. I still split the yarn some and drop and randomly add stitches but that got better. Here's my practice piece:
At the top is where I started, all addition of stitches and holes are accidental. After I got comfortable with the knit stitch I tried purling. That didn't work so well the first time so I knit a few rows and tried again. It worked better. Then I did a big section of stockinette (alternating knit and purl rows). Somewhere in the middle of this section I started a row, put it down, came back and accidentally reversed direction. Somewhere else I think I purled part of a row and then switched to knitting. oops. Then there is some rib stitching (alternating two or more rows of knit and purl). Then I tried decreasing on purpose (maybe a few too many per row) and increasing (these holes are on purpose). Then finished up. I'm still splitting the yarn some, but I usually don't make a new stitch out of it.
Now, to teach Nettie.
*It made a purse, I avoided the one with the stuffed dog that you made a sweater for (even though it was unbelievably adorable) to save her dog the indignity of sweaters.