Friday, August 21, 2015

Three knitting skills that scare me.

When I first learned to knit, there were a lot of things about it that I found intimidating. But I didn't want to be limited to knitting scarves for the rest of my life, so each year I focused on learning something new.

First, it was socks. I heard knitters saying things like, "I've been knitting for 10 years and I've never attempted socks!" I heard horror stories about turning the heel. But I found a really good tutorial and guess what? Turning the heel of a sock isn't scary at's actually sort of magical, no matter how many pairs of socks you knit. (I don't really understand knitting. So I'm always blown away when you follow instructions blindly and amazing things happen. After all, knitting in itself is pretty unbelievable. How on earth did someone discover that you could take two sticks and some string and make a sweater?)

Next I tried a sweater. It wasn't the easiest experience, but I've learned a lot and my sweaters since then have been more successful than that first one. :)

Since I recently learned how to read a chart properly and did some simple lace knitting, I started thinking about knitting skills that still scare me...

1. Steeking. If you're not a knitter, you might not know what steeking is. Let me explain: you cut your knitting. You take a pair of scissors and, for example, slice up the front of a pullover that is destined to become a cardigan. You take the piece of knitting that represents hours and hours of your life, and you cut it. With scissors. I think even a non-knitter should be able to appreciate how shocking and terrifying this is. I know that with steeking, you take all sorts of precautions to stop your knitting from unraveling, but wow...I don't know how knitters do this without having a heart attack. Because if you mess up, guess what? It's not like you can frog it and reuse the yarn, which is usually an option if a knitting project goes wrong.

At some point I'll learn how to do this, but I don't plan on it anytime soon. And when I do, I'm going to practice on a swatch about ten times before I cut into my real project.

2. Seaming. Okay, so I've done a small amount of seaming before, on a pair of wristwarmers. But the thought of seaming a whole project like a sweater is overwhelming. Doing the finishing work on a knitting project is my least favorite part (I hate weaving in ends), and seaming adds a whole lot of finishing work. Plus, I'm afraid I would never get my seams to look neat. So for now, if I see that a sweater is seamed, I skip it.

3. Colorwork. I really intend on learning colorwork this year. There are so many adorable patterns that I love that involve stranded colorwork. A lot of people tell me that it's no big deal, but something about it still makes me nervous. I think it's the tension aspect. I feel like my knitting tension is weird, anyway. For the first couple of years, my tension was so tight that I automatically had to go up one or two needle sizes for every project. But now, I often have to go down a needle size, especially with sweaters. Even tension seems pretty important for colorwork, which worries me.

What intimidates you about knitting? Am I worrying unnecessarily about any of these things?


  1. Ha ha ha! I loved your post because almost every new knitting skill I learn is preceded by terror. :D I was terrified of turning a heel (like you), and of doing eyelets and cables. All of which were perfectly lovely and easy to do. At the moment I'm trying to master "slip k2tog psso" in an eyelet pattern, but it's turning out okay. Sweaters terrify me, as do the thought of color-work and (believe it or not) blocking. I have no idea how to block, but I know I'm apparently supposed to do so with all my projects. I've got them all laid aside waiting to be blocked; do you know of any good tutorial on blocking?

    1. I've done that stitch before in a couple of patterns, and after a few moments of "how is this supposed to work again?", it finally clicked. :) Sweaters are fun, but the scary thing to me is worrying about the fit. It's not as important with other knitted items, but it's pretty crucial to sweaters!

      Honestly, I don't block every project. I don't block fingerless gloves, cowls, or most hats (because I tend to wear tighter hats instead of slouchy ones). But I do block sweaters and anything with lace in it. Here's the tutorial I used when blocking my first sweater: . It's the same basic idea for other stuff, except with lace and such you have to pin the item in the shape you want it to be. :)

  2. I have not heard of steeking handknits, yikes! Why exactly would this be done as opposed to just knitting a cardi?
    I have seamed a baby sweater, including a pocket. I enjoyed the results, minus the crooked pocket, but wow, it took a long time. I hate weaving in ends too and need to look up a more professional way; I sort of did them well the last time.
    I might try fairisle, but I do not really like the look of most colorwork, and yes, it scares me too.

    1. I think steeking is used a lot for colorwork patterns. Since colorwork is easier and quicker in the round, apparently it's better to knit it that way and then steek it?

      I feel like I'm not very good at weaving in ends, either. Probably because I rush through it most of the time!

  3. I am half Norwegian and own steeked handknits (I don't think my grandmother would bat an eyelid getting the steeks done). Steeking scares the pants off me!


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