So I’ve gone a bit out of order here. I’ve answered all the questions except day 29’s. I deferred on it the other day because I was playing catch up and putting multiple answers in one post. I found I wanted more time and space to answer this question, so here you go!
Day 29: Do you have any tips, or things that you’ve learned from knitting?
I’m tempted to break this down. I mean, what is the actual focus of the question? Is it referring to knitting tips and tricks I’ve learned? Or is it about a greater insight into life, myself and the world that I might have gained from knitting? The answer to that is, of course: my blog, my choice! And I choose both.
For knitting tips and tricks, oh man. I’ve learned a lot. I keep a list of things handy on my ravelry profile page. They’re in no particular order. There are patterns, techniques, tricks, tutorials, etc. I’ve copied and pasted it here in case any one item will prove helpful to someone:
Wiki tips and techniques
Top Ten Knitting Tricks
Grafting in pattern
Weaving in ends
Chain crochet cast on
Fiber burn chart
Tillybuddy’s very stretchy cast on (short version)
Grams to yards conversion
Knitting a chain edge on garter stitch
A giant list of sock techniques
Icelandic bind off for garter stitch
One stitch cable techniques
German short rows
Judy’s Magic Cast On
I can’t stress enough the usefulness of the TECHknitter index. It’s my first stop shop for any technical knitting question. My second go-to is knitty.com. Over the years, knitty’s Techniques with Theresa column has helped me with tons of stuff. I prefer to learn from pictures rather than videos, so often the knitty articles work well for me. If I can’t find what I’m looking for from either of those sources, good old Google has yet to fail me.
One tip that’s not represented on that list (to my knowledge) is my newly discovered no-holes sock gusset approach. I mentioned this on my last Thursday Sock-Along post, but I’ll briefly restate it here: when picking up stitches along each edge of a heel flap (on cuff down, traditional heel socks), pick up as many as seems appropriate for the edge, i.e., one for each slipped stitch. This will typically be one or two more per side than the pattern calls for*. Then, work one round in pattern and start your decreases as usual. The trick is that instead of decreasing any extra stitches away on that first round, you just add an extra decrease round or two until you get down to the prescribed number of stitches. That keeps the fabric from getting pulled too tight at those extra stitches and making a hole.
One last knitting tip I will share is this: Just try stuff. That’s how you learn new tricks. Just trying things to see how they work, making adjustments, talking to other people who’ve done the same thing, making more adjustments, repeat repeat repeat until you have something you like. So much of my knitting prowess, such as it is, has come from just diving in and trying things that seemed over my head at the time.
Okay, this is really the last tip I’m sharing: ravelry is a great resource. I haven’t had a ton of luck finding tutorials and that sort of thing there, but if you have a question about a specific pattern, that’s the place to try. Check the pattern page first. There are sections for comments, forum posts and blog posts, and many times I’ve found the answers to my questions there. If that doesn’t work, searching the forums often turns up answers.
You can also do an advanced search on all the projects for a specific pattern. I like to do that and filter to view projects with the most favorites or that were marked the most helpful. That way, I can look through project notes and often find the answers I’m looking for there.
And now, on to the more existential interpretation of the question: What life lessons have I learned from knitting?
Interestingly enough, the answer to this question is, in a general sense, pretty much the same: use your resources. When something seems tricky or tough, poke around until you find someone else who has gone through the same thing, and then benefit from their experience. Try new things and new approaches. Don’t give up–it will make sense eventually!
I have also learned that knitting is a powerful tool. For me, it has been pain relief, a mood enhancer, a source of balance and perspective. It has provided me with community and support, good will and mojo. It’s been an outlet for me for when I just need to get my mind off things, or when I need to calm down enough to mull something over. It’s provided me with both comfort and challenge when I’ve needed them. Knitting is both a way for me to take care of myself and to give to other people, be it through community and connection or through gifting FOs, yarn, fiber or supplies. In short, knitting has saved me, over and over again.
What tips and tricks, technical or otherwise, have you learned from knitting?
So, this concludes my 30 day knitting challenge. I’ve gotten some really good feedback on these posts, and I’ve enjoyed writing them immensely. I’m toying with the idea of making it a yearly thing. I would write another set of questions as most of these are one time deals, but I haven’t worked out the details yet. I think it would be a cool June tradition for me. Also, it will segue nicely into July 4 which is my blogiversary! Stay tuned for that tomorrow!
I will leave you with a pic of another thing that is a constant source of both joy and challenge for me. Here she is when I asked her to smile!
Have a wonderful weekend, and happy knitting!
*As far as I can tell, this happens because patterns usually say to pick up 1 stitch for each 2 rows knitted…but that total often doesn’t take into account a set up row or final row. So, picking up the number of stitches stated will often leave a hole in one or both of those places.
The 30 Day Knitting Challenge is the creation of Meggiewes who blogs at Knitting in Wonderland.