Monday, August 22, 2011

How to Become a Master Knitter

I see myself as a life time student. Interestingly as I get older I'm even more curious about the world as evidenced by my increasing consumption of documentaries  and non-fiction books. Much of the research about accelerated learning has lately focused on practice. So the tips that follow are for the Knitters who want to grow their skill set at an exponentially faster pace. Don't give up the easy knitting as it has a place in your world as well, it has a relaxing and meditative quality that we all need to keep our sanity in a busy demanding life. However if you start to consciously improve and learn, those improvements will become part of the easy knitting experience.

Set goals, you have to know where you want to go if you expect to get there. What do you want to learn and why? Goal setting should define outcomes as well as the processes involved in reaching them. Do you want to knit a technically perfect piece of lace or do you want to knit the best fitting sweater ever for your unique shape? What skill sets do you need to develop for each outcome?  What classes should you take? Who could you ask for help?

Deliberate Practice  
Do swatches of techniques that are new to you, pay attention to every detail. Concentrate and try variations of the techniques to see what works best with your knitting style and different yarn choices.

Stretch Yourself 
To get better you have to choose to do projects that are a little beyond your current skill level. Ask a more experienced Knitter for their advice on what projects to try. Tell them what you have already done so they can help you incrementally increase the challenges. Knitting the same type of item over and over again takes lots of time but the learning decreases as the amount of time put in increases.

Swatch and repeat
You can't just do something once and expect to learn it all without repeating the skill. Practice, practice, practice as the saying goes.

Be patient
If we believe Malcolm Gladwell  it takes 10,000 hours or 10 years to become a true master of anything.

Review and analyze
Look at your work, learn to love your mistakes for what they can teach you. I guarantee that you learn more from your mistakes than you do from your successes. What would you do differently next time to improve the outcome?

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