After being a seasoned maker it’s easy to forget all the “growing pains” we went through in becoming a prolific knitter and crocheter, so we wanted to share our best advice to anyone who is starting off.
Make a gauge swatch. We know that in order to make a well fitting garment we have to make a gauge swatch but why is it so hard to just sit down and do it? The pull to “just cast on” is so great yet knowing how the yarn feels and works on a particular set of needles will always help you to be successful in the end.
Wash your swatch. We know this may seem like a huge extra step BUT before you commit to a big project we always encourage makers to wash their swatches. Maybe it will shrink! Maybe the colors will bleed (a huge yikes!) or maybe it will GROW bigger than you thought. Having this knowledge will help you decide what to do next. Perhaps it means you need to go down a needle or hook size. Either way, save the stress and wash your swatch.
Take your measurements. Often times we look at a pattern and we pick a size we “think” is right. Taking the time to take your own measurements helps to decide what fit is best for you. Perhaps you like something that fits closer to the body or maybe you’re someone who loves things roomy. When you know your measurements you can be confident in which size to cast on. Plus, we have a handy guide on that right here.
Read through the pattern for techniques. While it’s so fun to jump into a new pattern, sometimes it’s good to get familiar with what you need to do. Take some time to review what kinds of increases or decreases that are being used in the pattern. We provide a slew of How To videos to help, so make sure you look there first before emailing pattern support. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
It’s ok to RIP it out. Do not continue to make something that is frustrating. The act of making should be something that gives joy not takes it. If things just aren’t working out or you can’t quite figure it out, put it down, take a breath, walk away. Pick it up tomorrow… sometimes things become clearer or a new idea will surface. Try visiting your LYS who have staff that are well versed in pattern support and if that’s not accessible to you, write us at our own pattern support! We love to help.
IF though it still isn’t want you want, you have full permission to rip it out. This is not a failure, it simply wasn’t for you right now. There are so many wonderful patterns that will work well with every type of yarn. Sure it may hurt a bit, especially if you’ve put in the time, but you’ll feel much better knowing you can create something new and different than seeing a half finished sweater languish in a basket.
In the end, what we do know is that the more you do it, the better you become, OK?
What are some other things you’d tell a new maker?