Monday, March 11, 2013

Lessons Learned: My First Few Month Knitting

My scarf collection is growing a bit too rapidly

Taking up knitting was something I did on a whim. Driving to my friend Jen's house that Saturday morning I had absolutely zero intentions of taking up knitting - I'd been promised an afternoon of "knitting and bitching" and was looking forward to gossiping with the gals more so than learning anything new. 

Thank goodness for borrowed needles, and yarn, and hands on instruction - the girls basically placed the needles into my hands and then started moved them in some awkward marionette type situation. I'm such a lucky girl. 

Now of course I'm completely in love with knitting and can't wait to try more and more complex patterns and stitches. A couple months since that first knitting session here are a few things that I've learned so far...

It's ok to be a beginner
Embrace the basics and nail them down before trying to get into anything more complex - trust me, it'll save you from pulling out your hair in frustration. I spent a couple weeks sorting out my knit and purl stitches, using scrap craft yarn and borrowed needles, before looking at a pattern or buying pretty supplies and I'm grateful for it. Jumping in over your head will only turn a wonderful hobby into something you despise. 

I'm Talking About Practice
I've made six scarves in a month and have no desire to attempt anything else anytime soon. The reason? I like scarves, I can wear or gift scarves, they are easy to make, and are a great way to play with new stitches. If you pick something straightforward and make, like scarves or dishcloths, and make a few before moving onto something else, you'll start to recognize what works and what doesn't. An example, I've recognized to look for stitches that work up flat because I hate curling edges and a nifty trick for clean borders (slip the first stitch of each row).

Keep on Knitting, Keep on Knitting
The day will come when you need to rip out everything you've done, many, many times. Either because you've made a mistake or you don't like how it's coming together, pulling your project apart is heartbreaking but worthwhile - the last thing you want is a mistake glaring at you from a finished project. Just last week, recognizing I hated the scarf I was making, I unraveled my skein, took the loose end and cast on, knitting up a knew project from the previous partial one. 

Help! I Need Somebody, Not Just Anybody
It's always nice to have knitting-talented friends at the ready to help when things go wrong or the pictures in your pattern make your brain feel fuzzy. Luckily I have a half dozen friends and family members that are willing and able to help when needed. If you aren't as fortunate, or it's 3am and your friend won't answer their phone, Youtube is extremely knitting friendly. There's just something wonderful about seeing someone explain a process step by step.

Continuing into the spring with a growing appreciation for knitting, I've developed a soft spot for a few stitches and discovered some awesome knitting resources online - all the more to share in my next recap!

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