Of course, a take-off of Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, I have these suggestions for a “highly effective” knitterly life!
- Develop confidence in your skill. Take lessons. Use the internet. Youtube offers great tutorials. Join knitting clubs, participate in knit-alongs, and talk with people including designers on Ravelry. Develop a relationship with your LYS (local yarn store) by browsing and asking questions. Choose projects at your level so as not to become overwhelmed. Alter projects from tough to easy, from multi-textured, to color work, to straight stitch to keep motivated and interested and learning. You will need to purchase yarn. I highly recommend shopping at your LYS to begin your journey in knitting.
- For years, I shopped at any one of the local yarn shops around my area. There continues to be many. I would hop from one to the other just to get a flavor of the yarns and people. Each yarn shop has a culture and/or ambience of its own. You want to form a relationship with the shop to be comfortable enough to ask for help. Any great yarn shop, with a purchase, will want to ensure your success as they want you back! I have had countless personal help sessions over the years, but then again, I wasn’t afraid to ask! Now-a-days, I shop on the internet for most of my yarn. Being experienced and more independent as a knitter, I am able to expand my shopping arena. I feel the internet offers a wider variety of yarns and I can purchase brands of yarns that may not be carried locally. I would never go to my LYS and ask for help if the yarn I was using was not from that shop. I honor this unspoken etiquette. I continue to use the local shops for knitting supplies, however.
- Caress, fondle, and admire your beautifully chosen yarn. They are like children to me. Think of the sheep or llama or alpaca or opossum (I could go on) that was sheered. I imagine the production and dying processes that went into each skein. Even the sense of smell is utilized (I do so love the scent of silk) and does not escape the appreciation I have for each ball of yarn that comes my way.
- Envision your completed project. Begin with the end in mind. How do you want your garment to fit you? How will the garment fit into your wardrobe? Where will you wear it? Do you have coordinating pieces that will work (keeps the cost of fashion down) and will the garment be comfortable during your work or play? All of this is of course critical when choosing a pattern.
- Knit. Knit. Knit. From beginning to end, enjoy the process. Do not take short cuts or short change any part of the process. Attend to each detail. And, again, do not be afraid to ask for help. I continue to use a variety of references, mostly books and the internet now. One of my upcoming projects is a crocheted cardi and I have already developed a support system to ensure my success since I haven’t crocheted in 40 years and never have attempted a fashion look with crochet.
- Style it. Jeans are always nice, of course. (And, there is the discussion needed on the topic of jeans.) But, I am still in the work force and want to be able to wear my hand-knits to work. So, it is always in the forefront of my mind as to how and with what I am going to wear my new garment. Styling starts at the top with hair and make-up and jewelry (all of which are my weakest topics) and goes all the way to the shoes. In fact, I believe shoes make the most difference in any fashion statement. And, sorry… my choice of shoe is never the flip-flop.
- And wear, proudly! Smile! Be your own person. You know what works best for you. Your project was a lot of work, effort, and time. Do not be shy and accept compliments, still a difficult area for me. There are people who appreciate the work of others and I know I love to give a compliment so, I in turn am working on accepting the kind words of others.
I’ve added the image, below (with me smiling) as it is my gravatar here on Word Press and some of you have asked about it. The pattern is from Vogue Knitting, Fall 2010 and is an absolutely fabulous wrap designed by Rebecca Taylor. Imagine knitting a stretchy rectangle, then sewing one short end together as a final step. I kid you not, it is that simple, effective, and worthy of your time.
Happy weekend, Readers, and may you pick up your knitting needles.