Monday, July 23, 2012

How to Maximize your Knitting Skill Set

Every February my guild runs mini workshops. Many of our members do not join us that evening. Often I hear them say that they are not interested in attending. I always have wondered why they choose to miss out on learning opportunities. I know that many of the members of the guild are extremely skilled and that if they want to learn a specific technique they can look it up and teach themselves. My question is "how do they know what techniques are available so that they can look them up"?  

The mini workshops and other knitting events are an excellent introduction to skills you may not even be aware of. My workshop is listed as Knitting Bobbles - without turning the work. Due to space considerations there is very little detail as to what each instructor covers in the guild's newsletter. I taught two methods to increase the stitches at the base of the bobble, two methods to work the bobble without turning and two methods to decrease the bobble back to a single stitch. I also shared a technique to create an after thought bobble and my four extra tips for working successful bobbles.

One of the things I love most about knitting is that there is always something new to learn. There are often multiple approaches to any solution. When I'm looking for one, I usually look in at least three different technique books. I also flip through the reference books looking at sections that don't target my problem, but might suggest a brand new approach. If I continued only using the skills I was first taught when I learned to knit I would still only be using one cast on technique. I now use four or five different methods based on the specific project I'm working on and I continue to test new ones on a regular basis. 

To continue to grow your skill set you need to question every technique you normally use and to try new ones to compare results. You need to think about why a specific technique is being used. When you knit from patterns that specify a cast on or a cast off other than the one you normally use, do you wonder why the designer choose that one? No....well you should, it will teach you things that you don't know.

If you really want to maximize your skills you need to be open to all learning opportunities. You never know where something brand new to you is going to pop up that might just revolutionize your knitting.

1 comment:

  1. I so agree with you on the learning possibilities knitting brings.

    When I start a new project I like to know that I am going to learn at least one new way to do something. It's a little or sometime a big ;-) challenge, this is also what keeps it interesting.

    I have dozens of books and I love to spend time looking a them. Testing new techniques and see which ones suit me. I love sharing these discoveries during knitting café or at friend's house. See how other people do it.

    I knit lots of shawls, there are so many different shapes and construction methods. Right now I am doing my first Shetland and I keep learning :-)