Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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6 Helpful Tips for Knitting & Crochet

March 23rd, 2014

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We’re reposting some of our favorite columns by Barbara Breiterauthor of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting, previously featured in our Weekly Stitch newsletter.

knit+crochet

Yarn crafts should be an enjoyable experience. Pitfalls abound but many of them are our own doing. I hope these suggestions will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed or disheartened as you explore the world of knitting and crochet.

1. Don’t be afraid to try new things.

You’ve never knit with circulars? Thousands, if not millions, of people have done it. How hard can it be? You won’t learn a new skill unless you give it a go. Try out the new skill and you’d be surprised how many skills come naturally to you.

Need extra help? Lion Brand can show you other ways you can learn to knit or crochet.

2. Break it down.

If you’re working a series of instructions [such as this bobble: Knit into front, back and front of next st, turn and k3, turn and p3, turn and k3, turn and Sl1, k2tog, psso] that you don’t understand, try it step by step without thinking ahead. It’s easy to get overwhelmed looking at the entire sequence. By looking at it in steps, it’s easier to break down.

3. Knit or crochet with a yarn you love.

If you’re finding a texture cumbersome or that the yarn is rough on your hands (doesn’t slide, feels like plastic…whatever the case may be), perhaps it’s not the right yarn for you (or this particular stitch pattern). Pick a smooth yarn for more complex stitch patterns and use a simpler stitch when using more textured yarns. Finding the right pairing will make your project more enjoyable.

4. If you’re frustrated, walk away.

Come back to it the next day. It’s amazing how often you will then see something you previously found puzzling with clarity.

5. Read the entire pattern before you begin in order to get an overall sense of how it works.

This will help you understand for example, that the pattern is worked from side to side and not bottom up. Remember though that sometimes you’ll read an instruction that may not make sense until you’re actually working that portion of the pattern. Don’t let it stymie you before you even begin.

6. When you get through a project and decide you want to rip it out, it’s NOT a waste of time.

What have you learned from your experience? Was it the wrong size? (Did your gauge go awry?) Did your stitch definition get lost? (Hmmm, the pattern used a cotton yarn but you switched to boucle…) Was the color scheme all wrong?

It’s like that old saying goes: Live and learn!

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