My sister and her family came for a visit over the weekend. We both live far from family and these visits are as precious as they are few. It was perfect timing for me craft-wise because my sister is a knitting fiend, and I had the opportunity to peck her brain about my knitting project.
It was also a perfect opportunity for me to re-experience being a beginner. I made a handful of simple knitting projects in the past, but it has been a few years though. Because I couldn’t remember much of the “English” style of knitting I had learned, this time I decided to try “Continental” style. The process of re-learning a craft has left me with a couple of thoughts I wanted to share with you.
Get yourself a mentor!
I called my sister from the store as I was shopping for supplies (“Do I want bamboo needles? plastic? aluminum? What color should I make it?”) and I loved sitting with her and being able to ask her every 5 seconds, “Is this right, Beth? Am I holding these needles correctly? Why do my stitches look funny? Help!! I think I messed up! Can you fix it?” Her patient encouragement and wealth of knitting-know-how eased over my beginner jitters and I am now confident that I will be able to manage this project.
If you are starting off learning a new craft, find someone who has more experience than you to help along the way. It is best if they can meet with you in person, but even someone phone or email support is great.
Give yourself time to practice!
I was surprised when I was re-learning how to knit and purl just how fumbly my fingers felt. Even after I watched instructional videos and “knew” how to do the stitches, I still was slow and every little motion had to be consciously thought through. It renewed my empathy for those learning to use a sewing machine for the first time. Sewing is made up of many simultaneous actions – holding and guiding the fabric, watching where the stitches fall, using the pedal to stop and start, etc. That is a lot to keep on your mind all at once! If it is overwhelming to you, don’t give up! It gets easier with practice. Be patient with yourself. Give your body time to develop the muscle memory needed to perform those tasks subconsciously.
I hope that this blog has been a good support for you as you learn explore the world of sewing. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.
And go easy on yourself. Everyone was a beginner at one time.
I have tried both styles of knitting, the Continental with a mentor (a far too impatient one who would take my projects from me when asked if something was wrong), and English at a beginner class at a local knitting/yarn shop where I used to live. I have to say, I much preferred the English style, it was much easier for me to catch on to both the knit and the purl stitches, and they encouraged me to use the bamboo needles because they were a lot less slippery. I had some moderate success, but ultimately prefer sewing to knitting. I never got to the point where I could knit without paying much attention to what I was doing… I never got past that beginner stage… Maybe I should try one more time. 🙂
I need to figure out knitting. I bought some needles and I’m about to try again. I never get far with it. I’m more into crocheting.
Aw, love the pictures of us together. 🙂 You’re so cute and doing great on that cowl!
So fun knitting an visiting. Sometime you’ll have to pay me back with a sewing session.