Improving Your Skillset: 3KCBWDAY6

Improving Your Skillset
How far down the road to learning your craft do you believe yourself to be? Are you comfortable with what you know or are you always striving to learn new skills and add to your knowledge base? Take a look at a few knitting or crochet books and have a look at some of the skills mentioned in the patterns. Can you start your amigurumi pieces with a magic circle, have you ever tried double knitting, how’s your intarsia? If you are feeling brave, make a list of some of the skills which you have not yet tried but would like to have a go at, and perhaps even set yourself a deadline of when you’d like to have tried them by.

This is going to feel like a confessional where I expose my deep dark secrets. I would say I am a daring intermediate knitter, emphasis on the daring. Let’s do it quick like taking off a BandAid.

I have never taken a knitting class of any kind. OK I said it. Anything I know about knitting I have learned from my mother and grandmother who taught me, a book, the internet or a DVD/video. I am not afraid to try things I don’t know how to do. For the most part I just plow in and give it a try. If I find that I’m having trouble I search for a bit of help. Google and I are BFFs.

Back in the pre-internet days I knit this sweater for H. I don’t think I even have a good photo of her wearing it. The sweater was lovely but it took me months and months to knit it. I had to sit in total quiet to knit it and I had to write down each and every stitch as I did it so I could keep track of where I was. I wasn’t able to read my knitting and this left me at a serious disadvantage. Years later when I knit the same sweater for N it took about 1/3 the time because I could read my knitting and only had to keep track of rows. Learning to read my knitting is by far the most important thing I’ve learned.

My most recent step into the unknown was with Sheldon. I had never done attached icord before. I knew what it should look like and I had the written instructions so I just gave it a try. To be quite honest it took multiple tries in multiple sittings to have something that seemed right and that I was happy with. In the end it was totally worth it.

Not every project has such a happy ending when you just plow through. Meet Mariah (I’m not linking, search for it if you’re interested) a beautiful sweater I knit and ripped eons ago. Many things went wrong with this sweater and not all of them were my fault. First I didn’t listen to the nice woman at the yarn store who gave me a warning about the sizes other than the sample not working out so well. Then I kept knitting even when I saw that the neckline (see photo) was HUGE. Shortly after this photo I ripped the whole thing and cast the yarn aside. It wasn’t a happy ending but there were lessons to be learned and for the most part I got them.

The most important lessons I have learned are:

  • Knit anything and everything. If you think socks or lace or cables or whatever is too hard, knit it anyway. You won’t learn to do it if you don’t try.
  • By the same token, if you aren’t happy with it, rip it out and try again. Some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned are from complete failure.
  • Knit what you love. It doesn’t matter if it’s trendy or not. You will want to knit it and be willing to work through any problems if it is something you truly love.
  • Don’t pass on a pattern just because it’s trendy. Thousands of people on ravelry all knitting the same thing can’t be wrong and damn those Monkey socks are a fantastic pattern!

If you’d like to read more posts on Improving Your Skillset search for the tag in the title of this post. Don’t forget to search for 3KCBWDAYWC too to read the wild card posts.


About nothingbutknit2

I'm a wife, mother and knitter. Watch out for my pointy sticks.
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11 Responses to Improving Your Skillset: 3KCBWDAY6

  1. kimmery4 says:

    I love what you have to say and have a little bit of the same philosophy—my friend always tells me when I start freaking out about something scary new coming up in a pattern, “Breathe, then trust the pattern.” When I am getting ready to choose a pattern I read the comments and look at some of the other completed projects before making a decision. I definitely have a few very trusted designers I tend to go to when I don’t want a lot of grief! I am not new to Frogging, and Google is my friend too,
    Thanks for your encouraging advice!


  2. Truly Myrtle says:

    Monkey Socks! I must do those!


  3. Sue says:

    good post, shame about your sweater, looks like you put alot of work into it


  4. Renee Anne says:

    I have a bunch of the “trendy” patterns in my queue……or, at least, they were trendy when I added them a year or two ago. By the time I get around to making them, they’ll be “retro” or some other variation…

    And I may never get there.


  5. Marilyn says:

    It might not have been your fault with the blue sweater but the pattern’s. Sometimes they are just poorly done.
    I’m with you on just giving a new thing a try. Hands on is the best teacher. Well…with the internet as a helpful guide! 🙂


  6. Pumpkin says:

    Great list! If you knit the Monkey socks, so will I. We can be trendy together.


  7. Lisa says:

    I love the list of things you have learned, it really made me think about where I am as a knitter. Sorry about the sweater, but like you said, you learned from it and to me that’s all that really matters.


  8. kathy b says:

    Knit what you love…yes yes yes that’s it for me


  9. YarnyDragonfly says:

    I love that you have never taken a knitting class! I have taken a few classes, but am starting to be braver in trying things on my own and with the help of YouTube, books, etc. I am starting to realize that I would rather put the money to buying yarn than classes! 🙂


  10. I totally agree with “if you think it’s too hard, knit it anyway.” It’s just yarn, after all. Mistakes can be fixed or the stitches ripped back for another try.


  11. Kepanie says:

    You are so ON point, Karen! I agree w/all of your points 110%.


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