You messed up. So who cares?

I make mistakes all the time in my knitting. All. The. Time. Purling when I should have knit, losing track of the number of rows…There are people out there that might lose their shit over this. I am not one of them.

I read on another blog or in a knitting book to just “knit through it.” I love this concept. If you make a mistake that will not be noticed by anyone but yourself, knit through it. Make some adjustments in the next few rows. Just keep moving. Those little flaws will be seen by no one. In fact, most people will still marvel at your skillzzz. They don’t care if you have a tiny little hole where you did a yarn over when you weren’t supposed to or there’s a purl bump in your stockinette. Only you see it and pick at it, stress about it…so just let it go, Grasshopper. It is an insignificant thing.

On the flip side of knitting through something, I think it takes awhile to be confident enough in your knitting to frog it back to fix a mistake. PURPOSELY drop a stitch to fix something you missed a few rows before. I remember the first time I did this – I was slightly terrified of dropping the stitch and ruining hours upon hours of work. Then I realized that it was JUST KNITTING. Just knitting. And almost everything could be fixed, even if it meant starting from scratch.

I think I need to apply these two concepts to my life a little more often. I have a tendency to stress over small mistakes made, particularly at work, to the point of obsessiveness. I disagreed with my boss today and felt like it wasn’t received well (I wasn’t disrespectful, we just disagreed). I replayed the moment over and over and over again…by the end of the day I felt pretty confident I would be fired. Because I disagreed that all sentences in web copy should be short. Because that is a thing to be fired over. Um, I’m thinking I just need to knit through it…you know, it was a little bump. We disagreed. The reality is that I am the only one participant that remembered or cared about that conversation even 20 minutes after it was over. My boss saw it as a difference of opinion. But *I* have to get to the point where I realize that these are tiny things – that my contributions to my company far outweigh anything else. And that hopefully people are more dazzled by rights than grumbling about my wrongs.

Or maybe I get fired tomorrow over sentence length. Eh, at least I’ll have more time to knit. And holy crap, watch Beverly Hills, 9010 (Soap Net! Every day!)

-dk

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Where have you been all of my life?

I found this spectacular knitting technique. Now, before I share it, I am going to warn you: it may blow your ass out. So I hope you’re sitting down. And holding your butt cheeks tightly together.

This technique shows you how to WEAVE THE ENDS IN WHILE KNITTING! I know! I know! Stop shouting!

Behold.

I haven’t been this giddy in quite some time. Like, since yesterday, yo.

-dk

Stockinette is boring. Fo’ sho’.

While working on Chuckles the Monkey, I have noticed that row after row of stockinette = boring. To ease the pain, I’ve tried to work on techniques to increase my knitting speed. I don’t *really* care about this, but it would be nice to crank out my projects a little faster. The gratification would come a little more quickly. (Plus, I have about 792 projects queued up in Ravelry.)

I am an English method knitter – I “throw” the yarn around the needles. This is perfectly acceptable, except I would like to increase my speed. Continental knitting, or picking, seems to be faster, but trying to purl with that method makes me tear my hair out. (For an overview and some great videos, I use KnittingHelp.com).

When I was on the Ravelry forums, I found another method that I thought was interesting. It’s called Irish Cottage Knitting and I think it might be the way to go for me. She’s still “throwing”, but the steps are converging…there’s no other way to describe it – you just have to see the video. (I tried embedding but WordPress won’t let me).
So I’m practicing. Maybe I’ll be as fast as this chick someday:

AND SHE’S LOOKING AT THE CAMERA!

-dk

My top 5 knitting essentials. Or, WHAT YOU SHOULD BUY ME IF YOU WANT TO BE MY FRIEND.

1. Knit Picks needles. All of them.

2. A new knitting bag. Specifically, this one:

I love this bag. I like it in both the rust color and the turquoise. I wouldn’t kick Namaste Needles’ other bags out of bed for eating crackers, either.

3. Needle organization. This is a tough one for me, because I don’t really know what I want. I do like the Namaste Needles organization, but I’m really looking for something that is NOT a bag…I also have to be able to put it away. I like this idea, but it seems like so much work. I don’t want my needles to be jumbly. I would like something with little drawers that pull out and have some sort of organization inside. I don’t schlep 10 pairs of needles with me…usually just one at a time. Someone help me. Please.

4. A knitting/craft room. We have a spare bedroom that is currently full o’ crap from our old spare bedroom. It’s awful. We want to put a bed in there for guests, but right now it is just out of control. It would be fun if it was also a craft room. I would love to “do” the closets to maximize space and storage, but what I really want is a room like this. Can someone just add on to my house for this purpose? Please?

5. Manolo Blahniks. I am positive that my knitting projects would improve dramatically with those Mary Janes. I am sure of it.

-dk

Top 5 knitting essentials for beginners.

1. Needles. Knit, at first, with the cheapest pair you can find. Borrow, look at garage sales, check out Michael’s/Joann’s. Try wood/bamboo, resin or aluminum. See if you like how they feel in your hands, working the yarn. If you’re a tight knitter, like I am, you might have more luck using aluminum. If you knit loosely (the stitches slide easily on the needle) try wood/bamboo. I’ve also heard that some people don’t like the sound that metal needles make when knitting…I personally like the clicking. But whatevs.

Don’t go all crazy buying a complete set. Buy what you need for the project at hand or a single pair of straights to practice with. I think US size 10s are a great beginner size, not too big and not too small.

Once you find your soulmate, buy a SINGLE pair to fit the project at hand. If you’re like me, you’ll be tempted to buy everything all at once, setting up a knitting shrine in a large corner of your basement. But just have patience, grasshopper. Have patience. It took me several projects to figure out what I really liked – I bought several pairs of bamboo needles because I thought they looked cool (yes, I’m that girl) but they’re not the best for my style of knitting.

2. Yarn. Start cheap and in worsted weight. Worsted weight is the most common, and is neither too thick nor too thin…so it’s basically your average yarn. I don’t recommend buying the $9 ball of hand-dyed alpaca wool right out of the gate, because you’ll want to practice, “frog it” (unravel your project), and practice some more. Yarn will start to get a little skanky after a few times of this..and you don’t want skanky alpaca. Trust me on this.

3. Reference book or site. I told you that I love my Stitch ‘N Bitch book, but there are several others out there. Check a few out of the library and test them out. I like Stoller because she’s a little sassy, but there are some other great ones out there too that are a little more traditional, or a little MORE sassy:

The Yarn Girls Guide to Simple Knits

Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book

Domiknitrix; Whip Your Knitting into Shape

I Taught Myself Knitting – Can you believe they had this on Amazon? Used and new from $1.50!!! I seriously loved this little book.

If books aren’t your bag, try the interwebs. The only problem with the internet is that a book is a tad more portable. Unless you have an iPhone. But then you are probably too cool for me.

I do use the internet to for videos…sometimes the book illustrations just don’t cut it. When I come across some good videos, I’ll link to them here.

4. A bag to hold your project. It’s nice to have something that holds your yarn when you’re on the go. I would start with whatever you have around the house – a small canvas bag or even a repurposed Target sack. I have GINORMOUS purses, so I like to use a little drawstring bag I have and throw it in there…just something to keep it all in one place and protect the yarn from the elements, so to speak. Once you and knitting have exchanged promise rings, start to look for something more fun, if you want. And I DID want, so…

I got this bag as a present for Christmas from my sister. It’s pretty handy, doesn’t look too old lady-ish, and holds all my essentials. I also have the smaller ball bag. On a side note, that’s what my mom used to call us if we were whining too much: ball bags. There’s probably other x-rated things you think of when you say “ball bag”, but try to control the impulse, k? Find something you like and that is portabl, but wait until you’re really bought in to the whole knitting thing.

5. Storage. After you fall in love, you’ll probably start to accumulate a stash and/or more tools. I am currently using a canvas cube in a cabinet, but I don’t like that my needles are thrown in there all jumbly. There are a lot of options for needle storage, but I just haven’t figured out what I want. I would also keep track of what needles you already own on a small index card. That way, when you’re at the yarn store, Michael’s or JoAnn’s, you won’t buy multiple sets of something you already have. It is a pain in the ass to get home and realize you already have #11s and have to return them.

So there it is…your top 5 knitting essentials for beginners. If I have one piece of advice for the newbs, it’s this: don’t decide you have to have any tool, book, storage, etc. until you have a few projects under your belt. I think it takes you a little while to figure out what is going to work best, and you’re not a better knitter with the coolest gadgets. Approach knitting as more “pay as you play.” You’ll end up with the stuff you really like, and your husband/wife/accountant/sugar daddy will appreciate the fact that you’ve been sensible.

-dk

PS – Ordinarily, I’d warn against sensibility, but in this case, I advise it. Use the money you save to buy yourself some kick-ass strappy sandals.