Friday, November 1, 2013

Knitting and Ladders

I hear it all the time: "I'm not very good," or "I'm just learning."  So many of the best knitters I know are very talented, and yet shy of teaching what they know. Ask them a question, and they'll pass you on to a knitting teacher, and sigh with relief when you walk away.  What doesn't happen often enough is that they don't help you up the ladder of learning.  They stay on their rung, and let you stay on yours.
Why do so many of us doubt our own knitting skills?  Why are we so attached to one "right" way of knitting?  Let me burst your bubble:  there is no one right way to knit, and you're better than you think. 

Remember when you were a child and thought that your parents were magical beings because they could open tough jars, at least hit the backboard with the basketball, and fix your broken bicycle?  Well, knowing things about knitting makes you a wizard to anyone who doesn't know that same skill.  Maybe you aren't great at cables, yet you know three different, terrific cast-ons.  Teach 'em to anyone who asks. 

Are there "wrong" ways to knit?  Not really.  There are ways that are slower, ways that create stitches that twist a little, and other variations.  As long as the stitches stay knitted and don't unravel, you're off to a good start.  We tend to be so self-conscious about the skills we don't have that we overlook the skills we do well.  Not sure?

Try this.  Find one of your knitting friends, and plan some time together each teaching the other one skill.  Maybe you know a nice bind-off, and she knows a decorative lace stitch.  Trade knowledge!  Ask each other, "Do you know this stitch/skill?"  "I'll be happy to teach you a cable technique, or I-cords!"  A few cups of coffee and some hearty laughs later, you'll have bolstered your knitting skills and your friendship.