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Monday, November 1, 2010

How To Get Away With Not Planning

When it's time to start a knitting project, we usually sketch out the basic plan and its objectives like this, right?

Not. As involved, expensive, and labor-intensive as knitting is (labor of love that it may be), it may be hard to believe how many people jump into a project without any planning. Like, all of you, right? I know. It's okay.

MOMFreedom has joined KNITFreedom here in bracingly autumnal Salt Lake City for a few days of strategic planning, and it has really inspired me... to never make you guys go through this!!!

Knitting is an expression of creativity and joy, and it's no wonder that many people don't stop to check their gauge, measure themselves, or even hold up a color in front of their faces to see if if looks good. I can relate - when I see that gorgeous model leaning on mast of a yacht, wearing nothing but a summer dress made of super-bulky wool, I don't want ANYTHING to stand in the way of me having THAT EXPERIENCE. Out comes the credit card. What could possibly go wrong?

Voyageur Dress by Wenlan Chia
Twinkle's Town and Country Knits

How about ending up looking like this?

It's possible that lack of planning precipitated this sad state of affairs. But it doesn't take much to avert knitting disaster! To that end, I will leave you with three painless tips that, if followed, should leave you looking like the gal on the boat. Or at least like your lovely radiant self at your best!
  1. Look at your favorite sweaters - the ones that look fabulous on you - and see if the one you are about to knit has the same shape and/or features. If you look great in deep V-necks or boat-necks, don't make a turtleneck.
  2. Hold the color of the yarn up to your face and see if it makes you go, "Oooh! I look great!"
  3. Measure your gauge after you start! If you aren't going to make a gauge swatch, at least hold a ruler up to your stitches once you're a few inches into the project. 

That wasn't so bad, was it?

If you'd like to learn more basic skills like checking your gauge and blocking, download my free video knitting dictionary here.

Find more videos on my YouTube channel here!

And, as promised, Regis and Kelly's policy on knitting: NO WAY. Aw, snap! Of all the media producers I met with in New York, the LIVE! with Regis & Kelly show was the only one that had a strict anti-knitting stance. Many more totally got how cool knitting is, and invited me to contribute to their shows.

Happily, I will be sharing how knitting can make you awesome on Bonnie D. Graham's Read My Lips radio broadcast on BlogTalkRadio on 11/29, at 7:00pm EST. Mark your calendars! (But don't worry - if you don't want to plan that much, I'll remind you).


  1. Love this post! I almost blew coffee at the transition between the 2 photos! LOL. Everything you say here, though, is sooooooooooo true. I can vouch for the effectiveness of your recommended strategy - both by "virtue" of some of the disasters I have knit, as well as the successes. I would add one more thing - hold the yarn next to your neck or whatever other part of the body will be touched by the finished item. I actually put the skeins around my neck and "wear" them for a few hours. This has helped me now be honest with myself when I will be too sensitive to a yarn, even if it feels incredibly soft to my (hand) touch. Sadly, it has helped me confirm that I absolutely cannot wear alpaca - sad, sad.

  2. Hi Ada!
    Thanks for your comment! I think this is a great addition to the list. Alpaca is a tough one, isn't it? I had a BlueSky Alpacas silk and alpaca lace cowl that I NEVER wore - it was strangely prickly on my skin, even as it was soft. Your post means a lot - especially considering that you are a designer of knitting pattern software! Cool! Check out her site here: