Day 29: Do you have any tips, or things that you’ve learned from knitting?

I’m just going to throw out a random list of things, in no particular order.

If you don’t like the color of a yarn, add another color. And another. Keep adding colors to your project until it’s something you like. This is advice from Stephen West.

In general, add more colors. Knitting even the most tedious and enormous project, like a huge stockinette stitch sweater, becomes pleasurable and even exciting when you have a new color yarn to look forward to coming up.

Keeping on the theme, self-striping sock yarn is addictive. You’ll always want to get to the next stripe. If you have never knit socks, start with self-striping yarn. You’ll thank me.

Don’t get complacent. Yes, plain knit hats are fairly easy and fun, but try lace. Try cables. Try other stitch patterns. Make it brim up or crown down. Knit it sideways. Try socks. Try shawls. Try sweaters. If the project looks scary, go for it. You’ll learn something, you’ll have fun, and you’ll feel accomplished.

Never knit something you aren’t enjoying. Ever. Frog it and move on.

If you’re struggling, ask for help. Most knitters in the community are happy to help. Most patterns have projects with notes on Ravelry. Hell, you can ask me. I may not be able to help you, but I could point you in the right direction.

YouTube is your friend. Most techniques have a good quality video tutorial on YouTube.

Use the good yarn. Yes, it’s handwash and lay flat to dry. You’ll enjoy the process of knitting more and you’ll have a better final product, especially if it’s something like a garment that you want to fit right.

Use the good needles. I like Hiya Hiya Sharps. Some people like Addi Turbos. Others like Chiao Goos or Knitters Pride. Just use needles that you like and don’t make you hate picking up your project.

Try knitting socks. Really, they aren’t too complicated and there is nothing like hand knitted socks on your feet.

Keep practicing. Everything gets easier with practice. You’ll soon be knitting cabled sweaters in dark movie theaters without having to look and not a dropped stitch in sight.

Never go anywhere without your knitting. You never know when you’ll be stranded in a waiting room, on the roadside, or talking to that annoying person who thinks that you’re besties but you don’t have the heart to tell them just how wrong they are. Keep an emergency ball of yarn in your car with a set of needles. I keep mine in the glove box.

Take care of your knitting. Use the proper washing techniques, weave in all your ends, block it, etc. You spent so much time on this. Keep it nice.

Find a community. Even if it’s a forum on Ravelry, have other knitters to talk to. Maybe you’re just watching a knitting podcast. That’s fine. That can be your community. It’s more fun to hear from other people than it is to go it alone and you’re more likely to stick with your Enormous Sweater of Doom projects if you’re hearing other people’s stories.

Writing notes is not necessary, but it’s crazy helpful. You never know when you’ll put down a project and forget where you are, needing to frog the whole thing and start over. It’s also useful for socks and other things that you make a lot of. Every sock knitter ends up developing or following a specific set of instructions for how to knit socks that fit their feet. I use US 2’s/2.75 mm needles with fingering weight plied yarn that has at least a 10% nylon, bamboo, or silk content for durability and find that my best fitting socks are 66 to 68 stitches and 6 inches between the toe and heel. How do I know? I wrote down my notes and whether or not something worked out well for me.

DO NOT SHARE PAID PATTERNS. Designers work hard and this is their job. If they can’t make a living on their patterns, they will need to look for other work and not be able to keep making patterns. Support your favorite designers and pay for patterns. If you can’t afford to, there are plenty of free patterns to choose from.

Support the small, local, and independent businesses as best you can. They make up our community and provide beauty, quality, and variety.

Find a way to make it so your stash yarn is visible. You’ll remember what you have and will be more prone to using it. I just got some corner toy hammocks that will be going up in the corner of my living room soon to hold my yarn stash. (I believe it was TruffleShuffler from HPKCHC who posted a picture of this to Instagram.)

Instagram photos can be added directly to your project pages and that is brilliant. So much easier, and it encourages sharing.

Different kinds of projects are appropriate for different states of mind. Knit cables when you’re calm and can stay focused. Knit lace or other intricate patterns when you need a heavy distraction, like when you’re in the waiting room during a family member’s surgery. ALWAYS have something that is just plain knit stitch on the needles. You will always have occasion for mindless knitting.

Okay, that’s what I’ve got for now. Tomorrow is the last prompt! It’s not an exciting one, though, so I’m hoping to have something else prepared to finish off this month.


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