Give Yourself Permission to Be a Beginner

dandelion

This week I opened my email and the first one I had was from Half Moon Handwerks (If you don’t know about them, they are located in New Cumberland and have lots of goodies for quilters and stitchers!). The thing that caught my eye was towards the end. It was in big, bold letters: GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO BE A BEGINNER.

This is a concept that a lot of us struggle with, including myself, and it doesn’t only apply to beginners. No matter how knowledgeable we are about knitting or crocheting, there’s always something out there we’ve yet to learn. What we tend to forget is to allow ourselves to make mistakes. None of us are perfect, but society has programmed us that we should excel at everything immediately. We almost expect to be perfect, so when we make mistakes they make us feel awful and inferior, like we’ll never be good enough. We forget to give ourselves permission to be a beginner!

So what can we do to work past this? Here are a few tips that can help:

Practice Makes Perfect – If you’re trying something new, dig out some scraps of smooth, light-colored worsted weight yarn, a US 8 needle/H hook, and give it a whirl. It’s much less stressful to make mistakes on something that is not your final project, and it can give you the confidence boost you need to get going.

We Learn by Making Mistakes – This one is HUGE. Our brains are programmed to learn through repetitiveness and by making mistakes. The important thing is that we realize we made a mistake, learn from it, then work towards correcting it. Once we feel we have something down pat, we can still make mistakes. Even professional hockey players fall down. The important thing is that they get back up and keep going. So don’t worry about those weird stitches, just brush yourself off and keep going!

Don’t Panic! – Yes, this is a partially lame reference to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I am a nerd, after all! If you made a mistake, don’t freak out about it. Many times panic leads to even more mistakes, so take a deep breath before trying to figure out what went wrong. Sometimes this means putting a project in time-out so we can look at it again later with fresh eyes.

YouTube Is Your Best Friend – What a time to be alive! If you’re stuck with a technique or stitch, I guarantee there are loads and loads of YouTube videos of the exact thing you’re struggling with. Not all videos are created equal, so if one doesn’t make sense, try another. The best part? Videos pause and rewind, so if you don’t catch something the first time or simply need a moment to figure it out, use those buttons!

Get Thee to the Yarn Shop – We are here to help you. Really! If you’re stuck and need another set of eyes, bring in your project. We’ll help get you unstuck or demystify that one part of the technique you were stuck on. This always has been and always will be free, so you have no excuses!

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3rd Annual Selfish KAL/CAL!!!

I can’t believe it, but 2019 is here. It seems like just yesterday we were kicking off 2018 and excited for all it had to offer. Now, 2018 is over and gone, and we have the chance to start anew.

This year we will be holding our 3rd annual Selfish Knit-along & Crochet-along! This KAL/CAL is designed to encourage you to make something just for you. Many of us have spent a good amount of time over the last couple of months whipping up gifts for friends and loved ones, but have placed our own project desires on the back burner. Now it’s time to focus on ourselves and get those selfish stitches flowing!

Wondering what to make? No problem! We’ve got some great ideas for you. Just click the pattern title with the description to check out its Ravelry page.

Knitting Patterns

Grayson 

Right now, I am OBSESSED with oversized, bundle-up shawls and scarves. Sure, they take a bit longer to make, but they are so worth the effort! Grayson is one of the latest free patterns from Knitty, and you can whip one up with about 750 yards of sport weight yarn and size 5 or 6 needles. We’ve got Universal Bella Cash, an amazing merino/cashmere/nylon blend yarn that’s perfect for this project, in a variety of gorgeous colors.

Foxy 

Wanna look foxy all winter long? Check out this stunning sweater from this.bird.knits! This textured sweater will be sure to keep you warm while flaunting sneaky foxes in the Fair Isle pattern. This sweater uses anywhere from 1110-1735 yards of DK weight yarn, size 6 and 8 needles, and is available in sizes XS-3XL. We’ve got lots of lovely yarns to choose from to help you become the foxy lady you already know you are!

Light Festival Scarf 

This latest gem from Stephen West is full of color and sure to brighten up even the dullest of winter days. Stop in a grab a couple of skeins of Sesia Imperial, then dig through your fingering weight leftovers for all of the contrast colors or grab a few here. Dig out your size 8 needles and you’ll be set to go!

Crochet Patterns

Cowl Neck Poncho 

This beautiful poncho is perfect for staving off the chill of winter. The pattern makes use of crocheting into only the back of the stitch for a stunning yet simple visual effect. You’ll need 1000-1100 yards of worsted weight yarn, and we have plenty of lovely colors in lovely bases for you to choose from. To increase the poncho size, they recommend using a larger K hook and more yarn. The original pattern uses a J hook.

Unicorn Farts Bag 

Who doesn’t love pulling yarn out of a unicorn’s nostrils or bum while working on your next project? This bag is perfect not just for hilarious project making, but for toting around goodies while strangers give you the hairy eye as well. The bag takes about 450 yards total, most of the yardage in white. You can grab new yarn or dig up scraps from home for the bottom, handles, horn, and tail. You’ll need a G & H hook and just a few other goodies you can grab at the nearest craft store.

Anastasie 

This gigantic shawl is perfect for snuggling up in on cold winter nights. You’ll need around 2000 yards total of fingering weight yarn for this beauty and a C hook. You’ll need around 1000 yards of the main color, and 550 yards each of two contrast colors. We’ve got tons of fingering weight yarn, and you can always mix in some fun colors already in your stash.