10 Knitting Truths

A few days ago I posted about the lies we tell ourselves when we knit. However, there are certain truths we tend to forget too. I’m going to share these with the internet so that when knitting starts to not feel good, I can look back and remind myself of why fiber is fun.  My title says knitting, but the truth is these are just as true about crochet and for the most part spinning. You could probably also apply them to several other fiber arts as well.

The big, golden rule of knitting is this:  There are no knitting police. No one is going to come and take away your knitter’s license if you do it “wrong”. Knit what makes you happy. This rule can be broken down into smaller, more detailed sub-rules.

1. There is no right number of WIPs.

Maybe you know you lose track of your WIPs if you have more than 3 on the needles at once (me, typically). But maybe one is a special case that doesn’t take up much time. Now you have 4 WIPs. Maybe you know you’re the kind of person who can’t stand to work on a project more than once a week. You might have 7, 10, 15 WIPs. Maybe you get really into your projects and need to see each one through with no interruptions. Good for you. Whatever decision you make, it’s your decision.

wips

We can all see how well my 3-WIP system is going right now.

2. It’s not a mistake if you decide it looks cool.

Especially if you then do it again.

3. You are probably the only one who noticed that mistake.

When was the last time you noticed that another knitter accidentally used an ssk instead of a k2tog in the middle of her sweater? Or that he tied a knot rather than weave in one of his ends? That’s what I thought. Chances are, no one has noticed your mistakes either. If they really bother you, fix them. Otherwise, let it go. We’re not judging, I promise.

increases

Can you see the misplaced increase in this top?

4. Ripping does not make you a bad knitter.

If you decide you did make a mistake after all, and you have to rip back and reknit – so what? Now you have more knitting time, and you didn’t even have to spend any more money. Woohoo! There’s not a person on the planet who doesn’t still make the occasional mistake, no matter how long they’ve been doing the same thing. As a designer I’ve been known to rip half-finished samples out because I’m just not happy with the look and waited way too long to believe myself when the little voice in my head said it wasn’t working. I’ve been riding horses since I was 7 months old, but I still wind up on my butt occasionally. My husband is an expert marksman, and has the military badges to prove it, but still sometimes misses the trash can with a wadded up wrapper. People make mistakes. Then we move on.

5.The best way to make a stitch is the one that makes you happiest.

If your completed knit stitch looks like a knit stitch, congratulations. It’s a knit stitch. It doesn’t matter if you made it English style, or Continental style, or Irish cottage knitting, or Turkish, or even a way you accidentally made up yourself. If it got you the result you wanted, it was a success.

socks

These plain, basic socks were knit continental. They are just as much fun to wear as they were to knit.

6. Variety is always an option – but never a requirement.

I have a friend who decided scarves looked boring, so his very first knitting project was a sock. He was not about to let anyone tell him what he was “good enough” at knitting to do; he did what interested him. The reverse is also true – my grandmother cranked out double crochet ripple afghans like a machine until the day she died – and to the best of my knowledge never made anything else. That was what made her happy, so that’s what she did. If you want it, make it. Don’t let someone else’s opinion push you elsewhere.

7. There are no bad gifts. There are no bad recipients. There are only bad match-ups.

The caveat to “Don’t let someone else’s opinion push you elsewhere” is gifts. A good gift does need to match its recipient. If I saved up all my money and gave my rough and tumble husband a diamond necklace, it would sit in a drawer forever. That doesn’t mean it’s an ugly, worthless necklace. It also doesn’t mean he’s a horrible person for not loving it (although I would hope he at least said thank you!) and wearing it proudly. It just means I did not do a good job of matching my gift to its beneficiary. Chalk it up to a learning experience.

diamond

The only actual diamonds in our household. No necklaces here.

8a. If you want it to fit, you need to check gauge.
8b. If you hate gauge swatches, there are other options. 

Sorry guys, if you want a sweater that doesn’t look like something out of Flashdance, you are going to have to make sure your gauge is correct. As a sweater knitter, I’m pretty sure there’s just no way around it. You also need to face what your actual body measurements are. It won’t look good now if it doesn’t fit the body you have now, and a sweater takes an awful lot of time for it to just wind up stuffed in the back of the closet. However, if you really and truly hate measuring, there are options. Scarves, shawls, blankets, trivets…there is an endless variety of things you can make without a gauge swatch.

9. Patterns are suggestions, not rules.

I don’t know about you, but my body does not fit the industry standard. I almost always have to adjust the waist on sweaters I knit, and no one has confiscated my needles yet. I also hardly ever use the yarn suggested by a pattern, and almost never in the color the model is wearing. When you don’t have yarn support, things like Artyarns and cashemere become rare treats rather than sweater standards. I promise no designer is offended. In fact, I personally love seeing the alternatives people come up with when they knit my designs. I like knowing they had fun, and that they love their finished product.

usmc charts

Look at all the fun things people have done with my USMC charts!

10. Knitting is creative. So go create something.

Sometimes we get caught up in the effort of copying someone else’s art, or creating exactly the picture we have in our heads. That’s not what creative arts are about. Channel your inner child, and let yourself get caught up the magic of creating something where once there was nothing. Pretty cool trick, huh? Told you knitting was fun.

What other big knitting truths have you discovered over the years?

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by caityrosey on July 11, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    I’m always having to remind myself that there are no knitting police. And no knitting principals with long rulers either. Some part of me, probably the part that’s stuck in 10th grade, is convinced that every project will be evaluated and that achievement is measured in complexity not in pleasure and beauty.

    Reply

    • Back when I was new to Ravelry and measured the value of my knitting in how many little pink hearts each project gets, I felt the same way. Complex knitting always gets more favorites. In the end though, I mostly knit for myself, and I definitely look better in simpler knits. I mostly save the complex colorwork and fields of braided cables for accessories now.

      Reply

  2. I love this post! It’s so important to be reminded of these things, it’s meant to be fun after all! I totally agree with a previous comment about how Ravelry does sometimes make us feel like we’re in some sort of competition sometimes.

    Reply

    • Much as I love Ravelry, I do have to step away from the projects list occasionally! Knitting anything other than stockinette in front of my husband usually fixes it though. He’s utterly fascinated, God bless him.

      Reply

  3. […] read this fabulous post by feelgoodknitting. And you should too. It helped me get out of my knitting-funk, and I reckon it will be open in my […]

    Reply

  4. Just stumbled upon your blog… I love this post!

    Reply

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