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.