Getting into the car last month with my daughter, Elizabeth, and feeling my jeans pinch a bit around my middle, I said, "I need to find some way to lose weight."
"Eating less isn't working for you?" she asked in all seriousness.
You can see why I call her Captain Obvious. But she's right, of course. I'm looking for some magic soup to make all those holiday pounds melt away, but there isn't one. There is no silver bullet that will help us lose weight, keep our house perfectly tidy, or solve all our problems with just one shot. Life isn't like that. There is no quick fix to anything. There is only steady effort, -- chipping away at a thing, taking one step at a time in the right direction. Doing it is hard. Doing is over and over again can feel nearly impossible.
So why do I like knitting? I guess maybe because it's a tangible example of what you can accomplish a bit at at time. Knitting is a perfect expression of how we have to face life and its challenges - not in sweeping swaths, but one stitch at a time. Slow and steady, moving in the right direction. There are, however, ways to make the process more fun and actually get more accomplished. So while you're not going to knit that scarf in a day or that sweater in a week, here are some tips that will make things move along a little more smoothly.
- Knit more every day. This is right up there with Elizabeth's brilliant advice to me to eat less. Obvious? Of course, but it works. The more time you spend knitting, the more knitting you get done. But you're so busy, you say. Especially then. Set aside 30 minutes every day to knit. It's almost as refreshing as a quick nap, and you'll be more productive all the way around.
- Practice knitting without looking. - Many of you already do this, but if you're a beginner, it seems quite insane. But trust me and give it a try, Just grab some nice smooth worsted (medium) weight yarn, a set of US size 8 needles (or thereabouts), cast on 20 stitches, and start knitting. When you've got a few rows on there, close your eyes and knit. Just do it. It's much easier than you thought, isn't it! Being able to knit without looking means that you can knit while you have a real conversation, or watch tv, or do whatever. You'll be faster too.
- Take a class that challenges your skills. Professional jugglers say that you never get good at juggling three balls until you add a fourth. It's true for knitting as well. Those more challenging techniques like lace and cables and short rows give you a better understanding of simple garter and stockinette..
- Learn to read your knitting and fix your mistakes. One of the biggest problems newer knitters have is that when they make a mistake, they are just stuck. Not knowing what to do they either stuff it in their knitting bag and pretend it doesn't exist, or they pull the whole thing out and begin again. Both options are frustrating and stand in the way of progress. The beauty of knitting is that you can go back and fix your mistakes and continue moving forward with no shame or stress.
- Have a few different types of projects on the needles: Always have something you can knit. Take advantage of quiet alone time with a project that requires your full concentration. Have a simple project you can knit without looking, and have it right by the couch so you can knit while you zone out binge watching your favorite show. And have something small that you can tuck into your purse and work on when you find yourself with unexpected time on your hands, like at the doctor's office. Those little projects seem to knit themselves - you don't even notice the time you spend on them, and suddenly they're done. It's like magic.
We have lots of ways to help you with all 5 steps. You're always welcome to come by the shop and knit your 30 minutes around the table. There's always be someone here who's happy to see you and will make you feel welcome. Around the table is an excellent place to try knitting without looking because if you make a mistake, we can fix it. As far as classes that stretch your skills, we have tons of those on the books. Take at the newsletter to see them all. Look specifically for our class on "Reading your Knitting and Fixing your Mistakes." Ginni and I have team taught this for many years, and even seasoned knitters have learned a lot. And, of course, if you need a more challenging project for your quiet time or a tiny carry-along project, we'll set you up with something that's perfect for you.
I look forward to seeing you in the shop and around the table. You are always welcome here.