If I knew then what I know now…. knitting
Hindsight is a wonderful thing! What would you tell your beginner knitter self, now that you’re more accomplished? Merion looks back on those dropped stitches and ponders…
When you teach someone to knit, they (hopefully) benefit from all the lessons you have learnt along your knitting journey. If you look back, what would you have told your garter stitching beginner self? I’ve had a good think about the lessons I’ve learnt and these are some of the things I would say…
1. Start with bigger knitting needles and yarn! I remember desperately trying to knit with tiny needles and yarn – if only someone had said, try it with bigger needles, you’ll be able to see the stitches and understand them!
2. Read your knitting! I wish someone had taught me how to “read” my knitting earlier – understanding how increases and decreases work, and which way they lean – a little bit more than “the bump is the purl” – reading your knitting is the key to not being fearful of mistakes, and speeding up!
3. There’s no need to finish something you don’t like. This is a big lesson. Why do we constantly feel we should invest time in something we are not enjoying? A dreadful book, a pattern that doesn’t look as nice as you thought – an impulsive colour choice? A sage lesson for us all! If you start knitting something and you realise you’re a) not going to like it after all, and b) never going to wear it – then stop and frog! Nobody is going to judge you for changing your mind!
4. Choose colours you will actually wear. We are often over-excited by colour and we make impulsive, snap decisions – but, I would encourage you to stop and consider before you buy yarn for a garment: what will it match in my wardrobe? Will I wear it? This might help to curb the purchases of lime green, pumpkin orange and bubblegum pink.
5. Knit the right size. I would counsel anyone to always be realistic about size and fit. Wool particularly will grow, and so try not to make something TOO big – and conversely, be realistic about making something big enough, after all that work, you’ll want your garment to fit. This is a time to be honest with yourself, measure, check the pattern size measurements and positive ease.
6. Knit what you WANT to knit, not what you think you should want to knit! If you don’t like cables, don’t knit them. If you like plain knitting, KNIT plain knitting! If you love very fine yarn, knit with it. It’s very easy to fall into competitive knitting in a group – I know that sounds bizarre – but it happens! Knit what you love.
7. I wish I’d knitted more for myself than other people right from the start. Selfish? It does sound it – but suddenly I realise I have been knitting for years with little to show for it!
8. I wish I’d valued my knitting more highly – other people don’t love your knitting as much as you do! Value your efforts – however much of a beginner you are! Don’t talk yourself into a corner “it’s only my third attempt”, or “I’ve dropped lots of stitches” – learning to knit is a big achievement, so recognise your hard work!
9. You don’t have to learn EVERYTHING. Some people will never knit socks or lace – that’s not because they can’t, it’s because they don’t want to… I felt I should knit everything, and master as many skills as I could, but now I feel I don’t need to – the world will not stop because I have never mastered Entrelac.
What would you go back and say to yourself at the beginning of your knitting journey? Please tell us in the comments!
Last updated: August 8th, 2017.