This feature has certainly been an interesting little journey – largely due to the initial challenges and people’s reactions when you pull out your ball of wool and knitting sticks. I have to admit, I didn’t realise how demoralising dropping stitches would be and how awkward I would feel starting out. But it was completely worth it as it has led to a new skill acquisition that means I can actually make something from scratch for the little one, and in the process entertain my friends and family.
So after championing Sayed’s Black Box thinking concept and identifying the need to re-frame failure as a natural part of the learning process, I managed to master the basics of knitting and started seeing progress.
What I have learnt from my knitting experience so far:
As a beginner, start with a scarf! I trusted the lady behind the counter who convinced me to take a pattern that only the Da Vinci code could crack. A scarf allows you to practice the techniques and find your rhythm without the added pressure of shapes and multiple castings.
This leads onto the next lesson regarding the size of your knitting sticks and yarn. I started with thin sticks (because they were free). This became quite technical and fiddly for this first-timer and I’ll be investing in larger needles for my next project. Consideration also needs to be given to how firmly you pull the yarn after each stitch. I went all in with the pull which gave me a tight weave but made it difficult to manoeuvre my needles. This contributes to the technicality of the piece.
Be prepared to implement effective coping strategies when you drop stitches – I used tactical breathing.
Take your time and don’t be shy about mastering the ‘basic’ stitches: the knit and the pearl. These two stitches can really add flair to your piece and make you look like a knitting pro.
You may have some ethical dilemmas along the way. A 91 year old women convinced me she was a knitting Grand Master and she’d knock out a couple of lines for me. At the time, she was recovering from a stroke and her motor skills weren’t necessarily at their peak, so I had to watch while the dropped stitch count went into double figures. It was knitting carnage. Lesson: don’t let anyone do your knitting!
The most interesting aspect of the journey was the perception of knitting and who does it. I expected people to be amused at my knitting prowess, particularly when I got my knitting sticks out in public (I don’t think that’s a knitting term, but I feel it should be), but I didn’t expect the amount of blokes who later admitted to me that they knit, like it was somewhat embarrassing.
So although the intention of this challenge was to gain a new Dad Skill, and knitting was chosen because of the sustainable aspect, I hope my little one gets to see this as a natural learning process. Despite the social perception or attitudes, be confident and do not let this influence you doing your thing!
This chap is dancing to the beat of his own drum and demonstrating the volume of work required to be a master. Although I’m comfortable with my current skills, further exposure and practice will be required to attain this Grand Master status.
We need to be comfortable being uncomfortable if we are to truly grow – JP Sears
What’s next? Well, further investment is going into my podcasts and….. Homemade soap?