The last installment of my Confident Knitting series is focused on skill building. Whether through classes, online videos, joining our help table, or attending a knitting group, there are many ways to learn new things and keep your knitting toolbox full and fresh.
First, my advice to new knitters: With each new project, look for a skill builder. Did you just knit a scarf? Then try a hat to learn how to knit in the round and decrease. Have you been knitting nothing but accessories? Cast on a sweater! Look for a new thing to tackle with each project: cables, colorwork, chart reading, etc. Don't shy away from projects that challenge you – embrace them!
Here are a few of my favorite ways to build your knitting knowledge.
Classes - Whether in person or online, classes are the best way to learn new skills. Keep an eye on our list of classes and take one that interests you. I highly recommend taking classes on basic skills like fixing mistakes, seaming, blocking, and pattern reading....all of these can build your aresnal of knowledge.
A technique-based class like cables or color-work will allow you to look at new patterns without feeling intimidated and make knitting so much fun! It doesn't mean you have to cast on a project using the technique right away, but it allows you to try something to see if you like it. Then when you stumble upon that amazing cabled sweater on Ravelry, you will know that you can cast it on!
Don't Give Up - If you are stuck, don't get frustrated and put your project down; get some help. We have a Help Table on Thursdays to give you a hand, or you can call us and sign up for a private lesson. If you are not in the area, ask a friend who knits, go online, and look up the issue or question. (My favorite is Very Pink Knits. She has an answer to almost any problem.) If you need in-depth help and cannot get to us, reach out to our friends at KnitChats. They can answer a quick question or set up multiple online appointments to guide you through a more significant quandary.
Grab a book - For new knitters, we have Knit How from PomPom publishing, and for the advanced beginner, grab a copy of Patty Lyons' Knitting Bag of Tricks. All of us at the shop have a copy. There is a reason I have re-ordered it five times! I have learned some new ways to approach knitting techniques.
Knit with others - Knit with a friend or find a knitting group. You can learn so much by knitting with others. What are other people knitting? How do they knit? Maybe someone has knit the project you are working on and has some tips.
Show off your knitting! – Don't be shy; Bring your Finished Object (FO) to the shop, or show it off to your knitting groups, family, and friends. Knitters love to shower compliments on a FO. Be proud of what you make. Nothing builds confidence like hearing, "Did you knit that? Wow, that is amazing." And it is amazing; you can create things from sticks and string; how magical is that?
The key to becoming a confident knitter is... to knit! Knit a little bit each day - You do not have to have marathon knitting sessions. When you are just starting, try to sit and knit for just a few minutes each day. It is centering and calming, and it builds muscle memory.
Knit...and be happy!