Friday, July 22, 2011

The Newbie Knitter's Guide (Part 2)

In case you missed it, Part One (Getting Started) is here.

The Newbie Knitter's Guide, Part Two-
Make it Easy

There isn't much out there that can make learning a new skill super easy (if only there was a magic *learn to knit* pill!) but you can make a few choices along the way to make the process simpler.

Pick a project that doesn't give you the vapors.

Feel a bit ill at the thought of trying to tackle a sweater? Does the prospect of a huge afghan make you feel faint? Then don't choose those projects. Recognize your limits and work within them. There are *tons* of projects available that use a lot of garter stitch (just the knit stitch) and as you feel mor ecomfortable you can try some new techniques. There's no reason to force yourself into new and exciting knitting territory if you dread it- you'll never want to knit again.

So what kind of project should I choose? A scarf, right? I hear that's the first project every knitter should do.

Um, I didn't. I've actually only ever knit one thing that could be considered a scarf and it was of the lace variety. It totally doesn't count as a traditional scarf.

Rule number one here: you don't really have to do anything in any certain order once you know a few basics, and you'll be practicing the basics on any project you pick. My best advice is to go pattern hunting on ravelry and favorite a ton of projects and patterns on there. When you have an idea of what you like read through several patterns to get an idea of the skills required, then decide if it's something you are up to trying.

Remember- the worst thing that can happen is that you have to rip it out (undo your knitting) and start again. You always have a do-over!

Seriously- where should I start?

Okay- a few suggestions:

:: Stella Pixie Hat- a baby hat that is knit flat and then sewn together at the end. This was one of the earliest hat patterns I tried and it is still one of my favorite baby gifts to give.

:: All kinds of dishcloths: plain (plus the options for something a little fancier), with a yarn-over, and two dishcloths with a pattern (the last one is one of the first dishcloths I made)

:: a garter stitch baby sweater: Pie

:: Okay, okay.... a scarf: Merci Scarf

If none of these strike your fancy, I recommend you look around and pick out something that is fairly small so that you can accomplish it pretty quickly. Setting out with the goal of knitting a huge afghan is certainly possible, but that can be one looooooong goal.

Remember: You're new (no matter your age or crafty skill)

Give yourself room to make lots of mistakes without guilt or those sneaky words "I should know by now...". If you spend your knitting time beating yourself up instead of practicing knitting you won't get very far and you won't have the desire to continue learning.

The truth is that even as an experienced knitter you have times where you totally mess stuff up, have to rip out, or make a mistake when you honestly should have known better. Some knitters are comfortable leaving little mistakes in there. I'm not one of those people so I rip out with impunity and go again.

Don't be ashamed of watching the same technique video again and again.

There were knitting days when I just watched the knit stitch video again and again, holding my yarn and frowning. I've done the same with the M1 video, various cast on videos and most recently the different seaming videos as I tried to decide how best to seam my Textured Tunic.

If you're an experienced knitter, what were some of your first projects? If you're a beginner, what project are you planning to start with?

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