Before You Say, "I Can't Knit (or Crochet)," Ask Yourself These 4 Questions | Guest post by Sarah Dawn's Designs for Underground CrafterLet’s give a warm welcome to Sarah Dawn, the knitting designer behind Sarah Dawn’s Designs, who is joining us for #TipsTuesday to remind you that you CAN knit (or crochet). Sarah Dawn is going to ask you some questions and share some tips that will convince you, even if you’ve been turned off from these crafts in the past.

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About Sarah Dawn

Sarah Dawn has been fascinated by knitting since first learning how to knit at the age of 5, and loving (almost all of) it. When she’s not knitting, she’s teaching herself to crochet and spin. Beyond yarn, her other vices include earl grey tea, and curling up with a good book.

Currently, she lives in the Toronto, Ontario, Canada, area, along with her roommate and two cats. She finds this whole ‘write about yourself in the third person’ thing rather awkward, but it seems to work out alright.

Show your support by visiting Sarah Dawn at one of the following links:

Sarah Dawn’s Designs on Ravelry | Facebook | G+ | SarahDawns on Ravelry | Pinterest | Blog | Etsy | Patreon

Before You Say “I Can’t Knit (Or Crochet),” Ask Yourself These 4 Question

Guest Post by Sarah Dawn’s Designs

Before You Say, "I Can't Knit (or Crochet)," Ask Yourself These 4 Questions | Guest post by Sarah Dawn's Designs for Underground Crafter

Hello from Sarah Dawn, of Sarah Dawn’s Designs!

So, I’m an avid proponent of knitting and crocheting in public. I knit just about everywhere – on the subway, on the bus, in meetings, wherever I want something to do and something to keep my hands busy. Knitting, as I’ve written elsewhere, is actually my version of a fidget toy. In doing all this knitting in public, I encounter a lot of people who also love to knit and/or crochet*. But, sadly, I also encounter a lot of people who want to knit but think they can’t, or used to knit and now think they can’t.

It’s sad, because I’m a strong proponent of the fact that anyone, and yes, I mean anyone, can knit! It’s all about finding the right tools, the right techniques, and the best way for you to knit and crochet.

And I’m going to walk you through a couple of different things to examine, before you throw up your hands and say “I can’t.” Because I promise you, you can! It’s just a matter of finding what works for you.

1: Look at your tools.

For example, I used to hate crochet. I was clumsy with it, and it wasn’t very good, and I didn’t like doing it. Then, I made the switch from metal to wooden crochet hooks, and it became much easier! I now work exclusively with thin wooden hooks, and my crochet has improved, and it’s so much more enjoyable! Different tools work with different people’s hands and styles. I’ve found for myself, with small hands but a strong grip strength, I like metal thinner needles and hooks, but wooden thicker ones. Experiment with different materials and shapes in your tools (for example, square knitting needles are a thing, and so are needles made from all sorts of different woods!).

Before You Say, "I Can't Knit (or Crochet)," Ask Yourself These 4 Questions | Guest post by Sarah Dawn's Designs for Underground Crafter
Star Stitch Mittens, knitting pattern by Sarah Dawn’s Designs.

2: Look at your style.

In knitting, I’m a weird hybrid of English knitting, but I don’t tension my yarn much at all! I don’t know my crochet style, except that everyone who’s ever seen me crochet has said that ‘it’s weird’. I hold a hook sort of like a pencil, but then I use my index and middle fingers to operate it in the same way I knit. Point is, if one style of knitting or crocheting doesn’t suit your hands, research another one that might! There are no knitting or crochet police – do what you need to to keep your hands comfortable!

Before You Say, "I Can't Knit (or Crochet)," Ask Yourself These 4 Questions | Guest post by Sarah Dawn's Designs for Underground Crafter

3: Look at techniques.

This is where you have to have some comfort with your chosen craft. But, it’s also the most flexible. When I was young, I never learned the SSK stitch. I only found out relatively recently that what I thought was an SSK is, in, fact, k2togtbl (knit 2 together through back loops). And I find k2togtbl so much easier! I’ve still never managed SSK. The differences between the stitches are miniscule. When I was knitting the samples for my Snowdrop Lace Cowl, for example, I used k2togtbl for the left-leaning decreases. I figure if anyone’s looking that closely at my neck, that they can see the slight difference, there are bigger problems.

Before You Say, "I Can't Knit (or Crochet)," Ask Yourself These 4 Questions | Guest post by Sarah Dawn's Designs for Underground Crafter
Snowdrop Lace Cowl, knitting pattern by Sarah Dawn’s Designs.

4: When trying to determine what to modify and substitute, sit down and think about what the biggest barrier to your crafting is.

  • Is it time? That might be then be best addressed by choice of project – maybe your crafting personality is best suited to small, quick crochets and knits in big yarn.
  • Is it a physical barrier, like arthritis, or mobility issues in your hands? Look at alternate needle sizes, shapes and materials. Knooking is suggested for people who have limited or no use of one hand, or, there’s a knitting style which tucks one needle under the arm. Even just a YouTube search for ‘one-handed knitting’ comes back with lots of tutorials!
  • It is a specific technique? Then find out what the purpose of that technique is. If the pattern is calling for one stretchy cast on, it doesn’t mean you have to use the cast-on specified – look for a different, but still stretchy cast on. If the pattern is calling for k2togtbl as a left-leaning decrease, maybe do an ssk, or a sl1, k1, psso decrease, instead.

Substitution requires research and knowledge of yourself. But, I promise, as someone who’s had to do substitutions for techniques that are impossible for me (toe-up-cast-on, I’m looking at you!), it actually makes your knitting far more enjoyable, and far more unique! And, after reading this primer, if you’re still not sure about substitution styles, techniques, or tools, drop me a line and I’ll be glad to give you a hand!

*for the crocheters: most of my examples are knitting specific, since I’m still a far better knitter then crocheter. I’m working on getting better at it, now that I’ve found hooks that don’t hurt my hands!

© 2017 by Sarah Dawn (Sarah Dawn’s Designs) and published with permission by Underground Crafter. If you want to share these tips, point your friends to this link: PATTERN LINK. Thanks for supporting indie designers!

Thank you, Sarah Dawn, for sharing these helpful tips with us! Show your support by visiting Sarah Dawn at one of the following links:

Sarah Dawn’s Designs on Ravelry | Facebook | G+ | SarahDawns on Ravelry | Pinterest | Blog | Etsy | Patreon

Before You Say “I Can’t Knit (Or Crochet),” Ask Yourself These 4 Questions by Sarah Dawn’s Designs | #TipsTuesday
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3 thoughts on “Before You Say “I Can’t Knit (Or Crochet),” Ask Yourself These 4 Questions by Sarah Dawn’s Designs | #TipsTuesday

  • September 30, 2017 at 5:43 pm
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    Thank you SO much for this! I am now VALIDATED on that blasted SSK! It seems every pattern does that just a bit differently – and if they don’t tell you that – you have to hope the way you did it ‘last time” works for “this time”. God bless you! I have looked at that SSK – and I’ve thought – why not just do it THIS way – WHY must we move stitches from needle to needle?? I was right! Thank you SO much.
    And you’re right – if people are “noticing” small mistakes, they’re looking too close – this isn’t competition for a blue ribbon at the fair.

    Reply
  • October 14, 2017 at 11:27 pm
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    Any advice for someone that completely lacks the kind of coordination it takes to knit? Three people have tried to teach me and failed. In fact, the third person took the knitting needles away from me after I put one of them through my hand. True story. I was told I was hopeless and was given back my crochet hook. I have not attempted to knit since. I recently boughtt knitting needles and a book “Learn to knit for crocheters” or something of that nature and a rather concerned friend asked me what I was doing with knitting needles…

    Reply
    • October 15, 2017 at 10:06 pm
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      Jorgha, I’ve never seen someone put a needle through their hand but I would imagine that you are using a lot of force to do that. My suggestion would be to hold your yarn as you do when you crochet and to give yourself the chance to make some “ugly” stitches at first. When you’re already an expert crocheter, it can be difficult to go back to the beginner stages in a related craft. Have fun with it.

      Reply

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