I do not LOVE the projects currently on the needles.
Do you know what I mean? There are knitting projects that you love so much that you are motivated to finish the next row and that next one and the next one and the next one and then before you know it the darned thing is finished and ready to wear. My vneck pullover and pink socks are not those projects.
Both projects were born of a need to knit up some stash. Both projects have the same color tone. Both projects are miles upon miles of stockinette. I want to finish them. I really really really want to finish them. And I will but probably not until this is finished:
It's the beginnings of a Rikke Hat, which apparently is quite popular. No sooner had I decided to knit one that I read about how one of the Rainey Sisters was going to knit another one. It's a garter stitch hat, which you have to knit in the round with alternating knit and purl rounds. Kind of the same as stockinette knit flat, but at least this is in the round, has a garter stitch texture and uses some leftover yarn from one of my favorite cardigans. It's my favorite shade of purple.
Bet this hat will be done in two weeks flat.
The Rikke Hat is super cool because it forces you to learn a new cast on. It's the German Long Tail Twist Caston, which is basically your run-of-the-mill long tail cast on, but with a sneaky twist that is a little hard to figure out.
This is the look on my face the first time I watched a how-to video on how to do the cast on:
"You're kidding me right?"
This was the face I was making mid-cast on row:
"Am I doing this right? Maybe I should go back to that boring stockinette"
The answer is yes, I was doing it right and if you want to know how to do this kooky cast on, check out this video. It got straight to the point and you could see the little twist and slip that makes the German Twist Long Tail Cast On. It's also called the Old Norwegian, which should really be the name of a cocktail. One could drink an Old Norwegian while knitting the Old Norwegian, which would be super helpful because you kinda need a cocktail when trying to figure out this cast on. It would send a beginner right back to cross stitch.
This one is from Knitting Help, which was just as the title implies, helpful to my knitting:
This one is from youtube, it's a little chatty at the beginning. I just wanted to tell the guy to STFU and get straight to the knitting, but that chattiness is actually kind of helpful because he was able to describe how you're meant to pull the loop through and where. You can also view the full guide here.
It kind of helps that I'm knitting the Rikke hat as part of the fundraising auction for my kid's preschool. I'm also making a trio of marmalades for that as well. I finished the Blood Orange Marmalade on Saturday. The Cara Cara Orange was done late last night. The Lemon Vanilla will be finished tomorrow evening. Here's hoping that they raise beaucoup bucks. :)
All this crafting counts towards that fundraising work, right? I've still got a lot of work to do....
It can be one of the most frustrating things, getting started on knitting only to find at some point that you've dropped a stitch, or accidentally cast on extra stitches. As a new knitter it can seem difficult if not insurmountable to try to fix these knitting mistakes. After all you're in your knitting infancy. Such mistakes can make quitting seem rather appealing, but part of becoming a great knitter is learning to perservere through the mistakes. Over time fixing mistakes will become easier, but it's still tough to have to spend the time having to fix them all the same.
It is hard to be a new knitter. Just when you think you've got the hang of knitting you end up with a dropped stitch, or way more stitches that you started with and suddenly you have to figure out a way to get your knitting project back on track. It can be frustrating to encounter problems in your knitting, especially as a new knitter. It's hard to work backwards and get to a point where you can even know where to look in fixing knitting problems. Check out these common mistakes that new knitters make and you'll be back to your knitting in no time.
Knitting too tightly
From the very beginning before you even have the time to make any mistakes one of the biggest challenges to new knitters is having a tight grip on your needles and stitches. It's true, when learning to knit, you're teaching your brain to have new muscle memories and your wrists do not know the best tension at which to grip the needles. Plus many knitters feel like they're less likely to lose a stitch if they hold on for dear life. However all this tight gripping is tough on the wrists. Once you get used to the knitting, after a row or three the knitting will even out and you would be grasping so hard at your needles. If you find that you are still gripping rather tightly take a deep breath and shake your hands at the wrists and give your arms a stretch before going back to your knitting.
Dropping a stitch
Yes there is such a thing as dropping a stitch. If you happen to let a stitch fall off your needle it's called "dropping a stitch" because the unknitted stitch will unravel itself down to the cast on row, leaving behind a series of horizontal unknitted stitches. The good news is that this is something that is relatively easy to fix. If you're lucky enough you've just caught the dropped stitch within a row or two of dropping it can be easy enough to remedy. Here are a few good youtube videos that show you how to fix a dropped stitch. Before then be sure to get a small crochet hook ready, you're going to need it.
Check out these Youtube videos that show you how to fix a dropped stitch:
Accidentally creating too many stitches (or accidentally decreasing too many stitches)
When you're new to knitting it's very easy to drop stitches because you haven't mastered the rhythm of knitting. Even if you're paying close attention you're still getting used to the mechanics of knitting and it can be just as easy to create new stitches as it is to drop them. You might find when you've finished a few rows that your scarf has gone a little wobbly, by which it seems to get wider. Do yourself a favor, count your stitches. If you have more stitches than what you originally cast one then you've accidentally added some stitches.
If it's only one stitch it's easy enough to knit two stitches together and continue on your way, but if you're have added two or three it's probably best to tink back (that is undo your stitches one by one), or remove your needle and frog back a few rows and then reinsert your needle into the whole row of stitches to knit again, hopefully this time without adding more stitches. It can be a little scary to frog back your knitting, but with patience (and sometimes a smaller knitting needle than the one you were working with) you can easily remove the knitting needle, pull back the knitting, put the needle back and continue on.
Learn more about how to undo your knitting (aka frogging)
Here's a youtube tutorial on how to tink back your knitting:
Adding a new ball of yarn
It's one of the best things and worst things to happen to a beginning knitter, when you've gotten far enough along to have to add another ball of yarn. It seems like it could be complicated, but guess what it's not. The main rule: do not tie a knot. There are no knots in knitting, never. You might have the urge, but those knots are going to f-up your knitting and make it look like amature hour, so have the strength of mind to allow your newly added ball of yarn with it loosely attached at the edge until it gets more and more secured.
Check out this youtube video on how to add a new ball of yarn:
Hopefully now you'll feel a lot more confident as a new knitter whenever you are faced with a knitting mistake. It's also super helpful to have a knitting book or two to reference whenever you encounter something new in your knitting that you don't know how to fix. Check out our page of Best Books for Beginner Knitters here.
It's a very small knitting group, just myself and two friends. We've been knitting together now for three years whenever we can get together. We were all mommies who knit. Our kids are good buddies and all attend the same school. We all even attend the same cooperative preschool. It is a luxury to be able to knit with two other people who know me so well. As much as I miss having a yarn-store based knit night I love my little knitting group.
There's something special about the bond of knitters. I don't know if it's a shared mindset, an understanding about the joys of knitting, or if we just all know what makes each of us laugh, or if they're just great listeners, but I am much happier when we regularly get together and knit than when we don't. It's a bummer that one of our knitters moved across the bay, otherwise we would be a group of 4 knitters, but we should try to make that happen. These goofy school schedules make it hard to do outings outside of our town, partially because traffic is so terrible that getting around the bay is difficult to do trips that allow you to get anywhere in a timely manner. You can't risk anything when it comes to being on time to pick up your child.
So soon we're going to have more time to knit. Within the next two years all of our kids will be in elementary school. I'm drooling over the possibilities. What to do what to do? Of course I'm going to work on the blog, there might be more knitting but there's possibilities to do something a little more abstract and artistic. Maybe I'll take a creative writing class, or an art class. Or I could do something entirely practical and get some sort of web development certificate so I can make more money.
But for now I'm pretty happy with knitting, friends and tea (and I guess coffee for me).
On another note I'm still knitting the Erika Knight Vneck Sweater.
Knitting Does Not Happen in Plastic Containers. Free ALL THE YARNS!
A few days ago we explained that knitting should be your new year's resolution, but most of the people who visit Knit Luck are already knitters so whatabout them? Shouldn't we also have new year's resolutions for our knitting so that we can progress in our craft? What are some of the ways you can commit to being a better knitter in 2016?
Knit the Stash
If you're been knitting for more than a few years then you've probably acccumulated more than your fair share of a yarn stash. I've seen some on ravelry that rival the annual wool exports of some small countries. You know when you have more wool than a large sheep farm that perhaps you should be knitting directly from the stash.
January's a great time to spend some quality time in your stash, picking out some yarns to knit for the year. Find five or six lots of yarn and then get ready to take a dive into your knitting book library!
You can even get some stash knitting support from some of these ravelry and reddit knitting groups:
For some of us the knitting book library is almost as big as the yarn stash and yet there are new independent knitting patterns and books released every month, so it's easy to end up with more knitting patterns than you can knit in a lifetime. Some of us have to make a commitment (or better yet, a resolution) to knit some patterns from our existing library. Take the yarn that you've dug out of the stash and cuddle up with some of your favorite knitting books. Sometimes you can get a little stuck, unable to find patterns to suit your yarn, which is when Ravelry can be of assistance.
Make sure that all of your knitting patterns are listed in your ravelry library.
Do a search for patterns based on the yarns you've gathered from your stash.
Filter your patterns based on books and patterns in your library.
Now you have a list of potential knitting patterns to bust your stash and use patterns you already have.
There's also some ravelry groups to support you in your quest to knit the library stash.
Go Sock Knitting Mad
If there's one kind of yarn that some knitters love to collect it's sock yarn and sock yarn does not turn into socks all by itself. Some people need a little extra motivation to knit through the sock yarn stash so check out this Ravelry group that encourages you to knit one pair of socks for every month of the year. Come next New Year's you'll have warm feet twelve times over.
Sharing your knitting adventures is a great way to give back to the knitting community. The internet is a giant hive mind of experiential information. Whatever you share about your knitting projects could help a fellow knitter. One of the best ways to do this is to blog about your knitting. Combining that blogging with good record keeping in ravelry and your contributions could help the knitting community and make some new friends.
It's really easy to start a knitting blog. You can read all about it here.
Try a New Knitting Skill
There are many kinds of knitting, lace knitting, color knitting, cable knitting. You know there's one part of knitting that you have been avoiding and you won't really know whether you truly like it until you try it. Take that knitting skill that is the equivalent of eating your vegetables and give it a good effort. It's good for you and builds character!
If you need a little help, Craftsy has fantastic, cost effective classes available 24/7.
Make 2016 the year you become an even better knitter! Happy new year!
This year, put aside the everyday, run of the mill New Year's resolution.
Do yourself a favor. Learn to knit.
We have New Year's resolutions because we want our time to mean something. We want to know that we have the capacity to grow, change and improve ourselves. Sure, we can use that time to do the obligatory lose weight, eat healthily, brush and floss our teeth resolutions, but maybe this year your New Year's resolution should be fun. It should teach you a new skill and allow you to extend that expertise to other areas of your life and make those more traditional New Year's resolutions easier to achieve. Knitting can do that. No joke.
Knitting is fun and you should learn to do it. No really.
All biases aside knitting should be your New Year's resolution. Everyone should make learning to knit their New Year's Resolution at least once in their lives.
1) Knitting is good for your health
Every month there's a new article proclaiming the health benefits of crafting and even specifically knitting and guess what? They're all true and not just because they're articles on the internet. There are actual psychological and medical studies that prove exactly how knitting helps humans.
If you're looking for friends, knitters are where it's at. When you learn how to knit suddenly you develop this entire vocabulary that only other knitters understand. So when you see a knitter out in the world, it's actually pretty easy to say hello, mention that you're a knitter too and ask about what they're knitting. Sure not every knitter is going to be super friendly, but as long as you don't ask them to knit you whatever it is they're making you should be in good shape. In time, should your knitting habit progress you'll be able to identify handknits in the wild.
Knitters have their own social network, Ravelry. They have knitting patterns, all kinds of forums. You can find knitters who are also redditors, knitters who use knitting to help their depression, knitters who love Dr Who, knitters who like to can vegetables. You can make a ton of friends on ravelry.
Knitters like to knit in groups. They like it so much that they organize entire knitting retreats at fancy hotels and even have knitting conventions. Once there was even a sock knitting convention. Seriously. A convention just for people who like to knit socks. Even if you're not down for an entire weekend of knitting, knitters also like to meet in weekly groups to support each other, which is kind of like an emotional support group but without the shrink mediator.
3) Knitting is a physical form of meditation
If you have problems staying in the moment with meditation, knitting can help you stay focused. Some people enjoy how keeping their hands occupied allows them to feel a greater sense of detachment and clarity over their mind. Their beathing evens and they are able to experience a deeper connection to themselves, allowing for a greater sense of enlightenment than just meditating alone. There's also the side benefit of ending up with a physical manifestation of that meditation in the form of a stunning shawl or scarf.
4) Knitting helps you overcome other problems, like cigarette smoking or binge eating
If you take to knitting you're going to find a weird situation. Suddenly you would rather be knitting than doing almost anything else. You might even prefer to knit over other less healthy distractions. For some people they enjoy knitting so much that they binge eat less and smoke fewer cigarettes. Remember, knitting is actually proven to provide stress relieving seratonin, so it's a great idea to pick up knitting especially when you're trying to stop an unhealthy behavior. Besides do you really want your knitting to have food crumbs and cigarette smoke on them? The natural consequence of wanting to keep the knitting you've worked so hard on nice will keep you from indulging.
What's especially wonderful about knitting as a healthy distraction is that you can actually pick projects to keep you busy. Pick a unique hand dyed variegated yarn to knit a new scarf, you'll spend hours marveling at how the scarf changes at every row. You'll want to keep knitting the next row and the next row and the next row instead of wanting that next cigarette.
5) Knitting builds your self esteem.
Knitting seems hard and so many people have stories about trying to learn how to knit, or failing at learning to knit to the point where they think that they are inherently unable to knit, when for whatever reason it just wasn't their time to learn how to knit. So invariably everyone has a story about those times when they wanted to learn to knit but grandma tried teaching them left handed knitting when really they were a right-handed knitter. When these people do finally find a way to learn how to knit (and there are so many ways now) they achieve a new level of self esteem. They realize that they were able to do this thing and they were able to perservere and they actually like to knit and they're going to keep doing it.
It also helps that there are many skills to learn in knitting and little tricks that only experience teaches you, but with each newly learned skill comes another opportunity to experience that feeling of mastery. When you realize that you can learn how to knit and knit well, you can apply that same level of focus to anything that interests you, which makes you feel that you can rely on yourself more to succeed instead of fail. That notion brings about an entirely different attitude towards the world that can be downright life changing.
6) Knitting makes you prioritize things... differently
Once you've become a knitting convert so many things revolve around knitting. I'm not joking.
Suddenly you must have your knitting with you at all times because you could end up in line for something and lose some precious knitting time.
Instead of fitting your knitting around your housework, you fit your housework around your knitting.
You realize that there is different kind of knitting for different kinds of situations. Lace knitting and babysitting toddlers rarely combine well.
Crock pot cooking looks more and more appealing especially when you're deep in the middle of holiday knitting season.
Summer is not your favorite season anymore.
Large quantities of what turns out to be fancy string suddenly feature prominently in your budget
Vacations must involve at least one, if not two trips to a yarn shop.
7) Knitting makes you grounded.
When UPS has delayed your package for the third day in a row you know all too well not to go ballistic on the poor customer service people because this is no where near as bad as the time you knit the third repeat on a cobweb lace shawl instead of the fourth repeat and you have to undo all of your knitting without a lifeline, thereby erasing 3 weeks of knitting. The boxes will be here tomorrow. The knitting will not knit itself and you will burn the air with curses with each stitch you have to frog.
8) Knitting gives purpose
When you find a hobby you love it allows you to experience the universe through that lens. Suddenly everything is about knitting. You dont just watch tv, you watch tv and knit. Standing in line for coffee is now an opportunity to knit a sock and suddenly long car and plane trips become opportunities to finish big chunks of knitting. Knitting is something to do that improves your well being and makes the mundane a little more interesting.
9) Knitting lends character
As we mentioned before, knitting teaches self esteem and when your knitting goes wrong and if will invariably go so very wrong it teaches you to carry on. I believe that they call that building character, the ability to pick up despite distress and continue better than if you had never encountered trouble in the first place. Learning to knit and complete all kinds of handmade items teaches you strength and perserverance. While some people like to build that through hiking or rock climbing or extreme bungee kayaking (not really a thing), knitters earn their stripes by knitting ever more complicated projects, which they wear as personal badges of accomplishment, if only for their own pleasure. To be sure, when a fellow knitter sees a completed piece of exquisite knitting they will stop and they will compliment you on your success (and note the pattern for their ravelry queue).
10) Knitting Gives you beautiful handmade items you cannot find anywhere else.
When you knit anything, it becomes a part of you and your history. You remember choosing the yarn for the project. Heck, you remember buying the yarn and putting it in your stash. The project becomes a part of your life's scenary. It goes with you on the bus, in the car to the hospital, and even to the office, or to your grandma's, growing all the while into something functional, fashionable (one hopes) and warm. There will not be anything else on this earth that will be more yours than a handknitted item that you made for yourself. They are reflective of your style, taste, skill and focus. Handknits, and knitting are pursuits of which to be proud.
So get thee to Michael's or to a local yarn shop and get all the things you need to learn how to knit. Or just check out our Learn to Knit page and get started within a few hours. The time is now. Get knitting. You'll thank me for it next New Year's Eve.