Saturday, February 25, 2006

Knitting Attitude

Sometimes people say they wish they could knit like me. I say they can. First they have to believe they can! I believed for years that I could not handknit a sweater, even tho I had HKnitted since I was 7. Then two years ago I did my first, my own design. I then knit another which was better, then another, and another till I then knit my own design Aran and I am doing more. What changed? My attitude! I believed I could.

I have machine knitted for 25 years. I get better all the time. Most of the improvement has come in the last 3 years. Why? My attitude changed! I began to feel I could do better and I wanted to do better. I was prepared to make mistakes. I was prepared to put the effort into it. I also vowed to only make what I like. I will NOT knit commissions, generally, tho if it is a repeat of something I designed, I will. I already know I like it!

Practice makes perfect. Always use a good yarn. Always. If you bugger it up, you'll do better next time. There is no point working hard and making no mistakes if the finished garment is one you hate. So start with a good yarn.

MAKE A SWATCH. Yes. ALWAYS MAKE A SWATCH. Do to the swatch what you are going to do with the final garment. Wash it and leave it to dry. Take your measurements after it has dried.
Most of the work, for machine knits, is in the finishing. How you attach the collar and how you sew it up. DO NOT SKIMP ON FINISHING. An otherwise excellent garment will be rendered amateur and poor because you didn't take the time to finish it well. Many garments will take longer to finish than to knit.

Making a swatch, washing and drying and finishing all apply to hand knitting also. Hand knitting will take longer to knit than to finish!

Read as much as you can on techniques and finishing. If you can, see someone proficient working. Once you are more confident, start working on you own designs, work out the shape yourself, the sts and rows you'll need etc. No designing is not hard! You CAN do it.

Keep your work simple. Get really good at making simple but classic garments. Once you have achieved this, then perhaps, you can move on to the more complicated work, if it is your desire.
Learn to work with colour, choosing the colours that complement. Learn about texture. What really turns you on? Colour? Texture? Both? Play with your yarn. Experiment. Try things out. Knit LOADS of swatches. Don't be tied by what you read, or another's opinion. Experiment. Put colours together that YOU think match. If YOU like, that is all that counts. ONLY KNIT WHAT YOU LIKE!!! This is so important. Knit to please yourself, not anyone else. Not your partner, not your children, not your friends or other knittters. Only please yourself.

1. BELIEVE YOU CAN
2. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
3. KEEP IT SIMPLE
4. DON'T SKIMP ON FINISHING
5. DON'T BE A SLAVE TO PATTERNS
6. ONLY KNIT WHAT YOU LIKE, EVEN IF IT IS FOR SOMEONE ELSE.
7. ENJOY IT!
8. TAKE PRIDE IN YOUR WORK.
9. IF YOU LIKE IT AND YOU DID YOUR BEST, THAT IS ALL THAT COUNTS.
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