Monday, 30 April 2012

3KCBWDAY6 - Improving your Skillset

As I don't tend to post at the weekends, I'm a couple of days behind on the last 2 Knit and Crochet Blog Week topics, so I'll post them both today instead ;)

6. Improving Your Skillset
How far down the road to learning your craft do you believe yourself to be? Are you comfortable with what you know or are you always striving to learn new skills and add to your knowledge base? Take a look at a few knitting or crochet books and have a look at some of the skills mentioned in the patterns. Can you start your amigurumi pieces with a magic circle, have you ever tried double knitting, how's your intarsia? If you are feeling brave, make a list of some of the skills which you have not yet tried but would like to have a go at, and perhaps even set yourself a deadline of when you'd like to have tried them by.

During last year’s Knit and Crochet Blog Week, I think I’d been knitting for approximately 6 months… Which means I’m now at about 18 months.

Earlier this year I set out what I considered to be my crafting goals, skills that I wanted to acquire and/or improve. I’m really happy with what I’ve already achieved as a knitter, I tried cables, garments and socks all in a fairly short space of time. I found that if I assume something won’t be hard, it turns out that I’m usually right *laughs*

In fact, just to throw in a little self-promotion here, I wrote a series of posts on how some of the skills that some of us fear will be too hard, just aren’t: Socks are Hard and Colourwork. I strongly believe that if we tell ourselves it is easy, there’s no reason for it not to be. Having said that, I still haven’t braved steeking *laughs*

So, back to my goals. I wanted to try colourwork for the first time…

That went really well, I enjoyed the rhythm of it, and I love the finished article.

I wanted to learn to cable without a cable needle. I picked that up pretty quickly, thanks to the fact that the socks I am (still) making for cunning boyfriend are covered in 2 stitch cables. There’s no way I wanted to wrestle with a tiny cable needle on top of 4 DPNs! Now that I’ve learned, I haven’t picked up a cable needle since.

My other goals weren’t skill based as such (unless you consider using stashed yarn instead of buying new to be a skill – it’s certainly a challenge!) so I think it’s time for me to consider what I want to achieve next… The 2 main things are:

Better finishing. I’m not great at seaming, I rush it because I want to finish the item. But I know that taking the extra time to do it well will pay dividends in the long run, by giving me a better garment. So I need to be more patient and work harder at finishing (although I tend to avoid patterns with seaming in general!)

Deciding whether or not I want to knit lace. I aspire to knit wonderful lace pieces and envy those who can do so (I’m a little impatient, if you hadn’t already noticed that, and lace needs a level of concentration I’m just not sure I can provide *rolls eyes at self*)… But, I don’t actually know if I would wear lace items, I think they’re beautiful, but maybe the fact that I’m not a lace knitter is not a slight on my skills, it’s just me knitting what I know I want to wear…


  1. I love the sweater :)
    I've never tried cable but it's on my to do list. Would you recommend learning with a cable needle first or would it be ok to learn without one from the off?

  2. Man! Only 18 months?! I have been knitting for years and haven't even been able to do half the stuff you do :-) Hopefully when my kids are a little older, I will have a little more time to concentrate on patterns. As for now, basic stitches is about all I can get done :-)

  3. Great list! You certainly seem to be picking up new skills like crazy! I also want to improve at finishing, I hope that you will share any tips you come across here ; )

  4. Oh finishing. I could use some work in that area. You have done so well learning to knit and learning new skills. You should be really proud:)

  5. I agree about lace, I haven't done it yet because I would never actually wear a shawl or lace scarf. I really like that colorwork hat and congrats on such improvement in a year, I think it really says something about your motivation and skills in knitting.

  6. Lace can be done on big needles with big yarn. Go ahead and ask me how I know :)

    My first finished lace piece was a shawl I made for a friend. Entirely feather & fan and it was a four-row repeat. It was a fairly easy knit but it took forever because I kept getting bored with it.


  7. Lovely post, thank you.

    I've been working on lace. It's actually a lot easier than you'd imagine, as per your knitting philosophy!

    I'm working on two lace projects at the same time, one easy and repetitive for confidence and one a bit manic that I admit is slow going, but is a small item = achievable.

    Come and have a look at them:

    I'd love to know what you think :)

  8. I struggled and struggled with lace knitting following a four row pattern. The hard part for me was taking it back when Ive made a mistake, a skill I still havent mastered. My friend is the worlds best knitter so I kept popping to her and asking her to take it back. I got their in the end with a beautiful lace shrug. Would I do it again?, I think not to much hassle I prefer simple things that are easy to knit up quick, and that are relaxing to knit.
    I need to improve my finishing technique to, someone advised me to crochet my seams together as it looks neater??.
    I also despertaly want to learn to crochet. So those are my goals for next 6 months.

  9. Yeah... you're a knitting savant. You know that, right? LOL!! I've been knitting for about 9 years and I'm nowhere near as proficient or adventurous as you. We'll blame it on my age. :) - Alex

    Btw, today's blog post is about my quest. You have a pivotal role in the story.

  10. Great goals! You've come so far in a short time - it's very impressive.


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