Elizabeth Street

Cutting Your Knitting & Learning to be Brave

Creative InspirationLiz TubmanComment

I joined in a fun little challenge on Instagram last month called a "stEEK-along" hosted by Very Shannon, Boyland Knitworks and Drea Renee Knits.  They all wanted to try steeking, a technique where you actually CUT your knitting. Crazy, right?? It's a technique used most often in knitting color work pieces like cardigans.  You knit the whole piece in the round (so you're always working the right side of the piece) but at the end, you cut the garment right down the middle to create the opening to get your cardigan!  These knitters + designers thought it would be fun to try this scary sounding technique together by posting photos along the way and then all cutting their knitting on the same day.  Check out the #steekalong and #steekal tags on Instagram for all the fun in-process photos!  I joined in a little late with my steeking, but learning a new technique like this was so fun and felt really adventurous!   For anyone interested, I used Kate Davies excellent tutorial.

Sometimes you hold back on trying something new because it sounds intimidating or scary, but when you finally go for it, you think, "what took me so long?"   I've been trying to be brave about trying new things lately, and I've got some tips for you when you're feeling hesitant about trying something new:

Break it down!  Take it one step at a time.  When you look at something (steeking, short rows, cabling, etc) that seems intimidating, break it down one step at a time.  Individually the steps will be much easier to tackle.  I feel this way about sewing projects all the time, too.  If you look at a finished garment like a coat or jacket it always seems like SO MUCH WORK.  But really, you sew one seam at a time just like you were making something simple, like a pillowcase.  Baby steps, friends.

Know you're not alone.  Seriously, it's impossible that you're the only one learning how to do something technique-wise.  Google it, YouTube it, visit your local library and check out a reference book.  Someone, somewhere, has tackled this before and has more than likely documented it for someone else just like you.

Mistakes encouraged!  Don't be afraid to rip it out or start over.  It's completely true that practice makes perfect.  The more you have to repeat something, the better at it you're going to be.  Your first attempt will be less than stellar and THAT'S GOOD.  As a total perfectionist, I often have a hard time being ok with making mistakes.  But how are you supposed to learn without mistakes?  We're not robots  pre-programmed with the knowledge we need, and that's a good thing.  

What new thing are YOU going to try?