Or the top ten lies knitters tell themselves
- I’ll just use the needle size the designer recommends – it’ll be fine. The truth is that the designer only tells you what size he or she, or other knitters used to get the gauge in that pattern with that yarn. You may knit very differently than the designer or the test knitters, so you always have to swatch.
- My swatch is too big -- I’ll just fix that when I block it. There are a lot of ways you can manipulate your fabric when you block it, but making it smaller is not one of them. Bigger, yes. Smaller? No.
- I made a mistake in my knitting. I’m an idiot. Even the best knitters make mistakes. We get distracted. We forget an increase. We misread the pattern. We're all human, and we all make mistakes.
- I don’t need stitch markers – those are for beginners. The better you are at knitting, the more you need stitch markers. Stitch markers remind us a change is coming and jogs you out of your mindless knitting reverie. Plus they help us keep track of what’s happening. The more you knit on autopilot, the easier it is to lose track.
- I messed up, so now I have to rip it all out. One of the beautiful things about knitting is that you can go back and fix most mistakes without ripping it out. You can drop a column of stitches down and correct an increase or decrease, change a knit to a purl and vice versa, and lots of other things.
- Designers are professionals – how can their patterns be wrong? Everyone makes mistakes. See number 3. Always check Ravelry, or the designer’s page for errata. It’ll save you time and frustration.
- I've been knitting for years--there’s nothing new I can learn about knitting. It does seem unimaginable that after centuries of knitting, there wouldn’t be advancements, but there are. All the time. New ways to work short rows, new ways to shape your fabric, and more. Every time we have a guest instructor in the shop I learn something new. There is always something wonderful to learn in knitting.
- Making sweaters is for very advanced knitters. Anyone can knit a sweater, and helping beginning knitters through that process is one of my favorite things to do. Sure, it’s more knitting than a scarf, and there’s that fit thing, but it’s still just knitting. If you’re unsure, take a class. I have an awesome new online class coming.
- I’ll remember what size I’m making – are you kidding? Not kidding. How many times have I picked up a hibernating pattern and completely forgotten what size I’m actually making? More times than I care to remember. Save yourself the headache of counting your cast on stitches, decreases, etc, and just circle the size you’re making. Make a copy of the pattern and circle not only the size you’re making, but the stitch count and specific directions and stitches for your size. Do it all the way through your pattern. Ask me how I know this.
- I’ll remember what size needle I used to make my swatch. Unless you only have one set of needles, you will likely forget what size you used for any given swatch. The more you knit, the more likely it is that you’ll get confused. Here’s what I do – I make it into a little code. If I’m using a size six needle, after the first few rows of garter stitch, I purl 6 stitches right in the stockinette fabric. That way I just have to count the purl stitches to know what size needle I used.
I generated this list as I was putting together a brand new My First Sweater Class. These little tips are just a few of the tips and such that I’m including because when you’re knitting your first sweater, this stuff is not obvious. I’ve made a point to explain every single thing from how to knit a good gauge swatch and how to measure it accurately, to how to weave in your ends. It’s not a hard sweater at all – in fact, it’s super easy, and that’s the point. There are enough moving parts with just the fact that it’s an actual garment, that you don’t need a lot of fussy and complicated additions. You’ll gain confidence in picking up stitches, seaming, and more.
The best part though? It’s online, so you can do the class from the comfort and safety of your own home. I have prepared detailed step by step guidance and videos throughout. You can post questions on any lesson and I'll answer you. You can take it whenever you want and as many times you want. Go back and see any section as often as you like.. I’ll have regular live sessions to stay in touch and help keep you on track. Plus there’s a special members-only Facebook Group where you can chat with other students, share your wins, and make connections.
I’m really jazzed about this format – it’s not a zoom talking head format, but a super-professional platform with video lessons, handouts, chat, and more. I think you’ll love it. The pattern is for an easy summer top with an eyelet stitch, but if you can totally do it in stockinette if you prefer. The pattern is included.