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June 26

Getting over Sewing/Knitting Fears

This idea for a blog post has been ruminating in my brain for quite some time – not to mention coming up as a frequent topic when chatting with other bloggers.  It’s time to peel back the layers and have an honest chat about what we’re so afraid of.

Why are there certain things we’re all scared to do?!  How did this happen?  What made us scared in the first place?  And ultimately, how do we get over our fears?

My scaredy-cat list includes:

  • Colorwork
  • Sock Knitting
  • Sewing with Knits
  • Using Power Tools – primarily saws & blades of any sort

I’ve been working on getting over my fear of colorwork by starting with Tasha’s Victory Beret and then working as a group to knit up my Bridge Jumper.

But when I first started knitting (4 years ago at least), I wasn’t afraid of fair isle knitting.  In fact, after knitting for only about 9 months or a year I began a fair isle sweater vest with great success.  I never read any tutorials online or followed any blogs, so I didn’t know color work was hard.  I had a small bit of guidance from a coworker of mine on how to wrap my stitches and deal with floats and off I went knitting up my little vest.

I ended up stopping about half way through since it wasn’t fitting right and I didn’t have the knowledge to fix it at the time.

Fair Isle

Since reading people’s blogs, being on Ravelry, and becoming more aware – I started getting scared and too worked up to try my hand at color work designs again.  I knew I had done it before in the past, but that was before I knew how hard it was to knit it properly – how you’re supposed to do it.  So it grew in my mind to become something for more advanced people than myself, something other people can do.  But not me – not yet.

As a result, I avoided colorwork like the plague.  I went and tackled all manner of knitting techniques instead: lacy designs, cables, vintage fingering weight jumpers, and much more.

All in all – The more I learnt about how challenging a technique can be – the less I wanted to do it & the more scared I became to do it without some serious hand holding.

Tasha – with her extensive knitting help online (and in person chats & also via emails) pushed me to try out her fair isle victory beret.  The result: It was fine!  I finished it in like 10 days.  heh  (My beret got lost in the move, but I’ll take photos when I find it again.)

Then I got scared again!! to do the Bridge Jumper. “It was different” I told myself.  There were 3 colors in a row and not fair isle per say.  The scaredy-cat in me came out once again.  Ugh!  So with Michelle (and kinda Meg) working on the same project, holding my hand, I was able to tackle it.

Bridge Jumper

As I’ve now come full circle, as I’m working on completing that first, fair isle sweater vest.  I’m thinking to myself “What was the big deal in the first place?!”  How did I get so scared of doing something, when I generally feel like I’m up for a challenge.  In truth, I love to learning new things/techniques all the time.  I often try new techniques only after reading them in books – with no hand-holding needed.

Then it hit me.

Somewhere along the line, on some blog (or on many blogs) I read that it was hard – too hard for a beginner or intermediate knitter/sewer.  It was something for *later*.  The more I read, this idea sunk in more and more.

The same goes with my other two fears: Sock knitting & Sewing with knits.

What’s gotten pounded in my head is that:  Sewing with knits is “different” ie more challenging – something for *later*.  Later, when I become good enough, more skilled, when I know more, on and on the list goes.

Technically I’ve also already sewn a test project with knit fabric – like last year.  But yet, I feel like I’m missing something.  “I thought it was supposed to be hard, so I must not be doing it right” Goes off in my head.  So my test project never became an actual finished project.  I feel like I need someone to hold my hand so I can do it “right”, someone more experiences, someone better than me.

Getting Over it All

In talking with Felix, I’ve come to figure out this all stems from the Dunning-Kruger Effect, aka the impostor syndrome.  Basically, it means one fails to recognize their own ability (most likely when they see someone else they think is highly competent, or it has been so for me.)  You basically minimize your own skill set or knowledge and think you’re not capable.  (FYI: This swings both ways too.  Unskilled peeps can inflate themselves to thinking their experts, too.)

Felix and I both seem to suffer from this same thing – but luckily we always seem to encourage the other to push further and tell each other it like it really is.  :)

What I think is the funniest thing is that in 2 of the 3 situations, I’ve already done the technique/project before I knew to be afraid of it.  Yet, that hasn’t stopped me from feeling this way.

As I cast on for knitting my first sock ever I’m hit by a surge of energy.  Just 6 rows 50 rows in from the toe cast on, I’m thinking ‘What was the big deal about socks again?’

If this is supposed to be hard, what was I so afraid of?!  Perhaps the heel gusset/turn will make me think twice (LoL), but right now I’m ready to make myself a whole set for next winter – and how about a fair isle pattern to boot!  :D

Basically the only way I seem to get over these irrational fears, and yes they are 100% irrational, is just by doing them.  

In two of the two new things I’ve tried (colorwork & sock knitting), I’ve come to question why I thought it was so challenging in the first place just as soon as I start the project.  So the best way to get over it is to just do it.  You’ll soon realize its no big deal & continue to forge ahead on sorting out your next fear.

So let me be the first (or gazillionth) person to tell you:

  • These fears are irrational, but I know where you’re coming from.  I understand.
  • You’re totally good enough – right NOW to do it.
  • You can do it!  Just give it a go – what’s the worst thing that can happen?!

Start with a small project, a test garment, or use some scrap fabric/yarn you got laying around.  Try whatever it is that you’re afraid of & on something that doesn’t matter.  I promise you, you’ll be happy you did.  And you’ll be much more motivated to get over the next fear on your list.

So I have to ask, what are your sewing/knitting fears?  Are they the same as mine?

  1. Heather in Oregon / Jun 26 2014

    I think most of my fears involve more fitted sewing and knitting. I didn’t know sewing with knits, even without a serger, was supposed to be hard so when I started I had far more success than I did with many woven patterns. More fitted designs scare me because of the amount of time that needs to be taken to fit them properly. The fact that my weight tends to fluctuate makes me feel like I would resent the amount of time and fabric it would take to fit something just to not have it fit relatively soon after. Which is sort of sad because I love the look of more fitted and tailored clothing. I’m three different sizes between my shoulders, bust, and waist/hip and whereas I can simply grade out with knits most of the time that just won’t work with things like the Hawthorne dress and other designs like that that appeal to me. I have many of those patterns in my stash and they’re just sitting there because of my fears. I’m a self taught knitter and didn’t know a lot of things were supposed to be hard until I had done them. My weakest is probably stranded knitting but that’s more because of how time consuming it is and how much yarn it can use and so I’m just not as practiced at it.

    Non-knitting and sewing related fears are:

    Power tools, especially ones with bits or blades. My husband is a carpenter so I’ve had an easy excuse not to bother to get over that fear.

    The barbecue. I’m not a fan of fire and always worried that I’m going to ruin things. My husband is excellent with the barbecue so once again I have an easy out on that.

    Painting. Everyone tells me that painting is so easy and for some reason I’m TERRIBLE at it and so I’m always afraid to try again for fear of ruining something and wasting paint.

    • Liz / Jun 26 2014

      Hi Heather. Thanks so much for sharing.

      I didn’t even think about the fact that knits are easier to fit than woven. I’ve gotten acclimated to making 1 or 2 muslins per project and don’t really think about it anymore. I too have to grade a lot between bust-waist-hip.

      One thing I’ve learnt is that you can always cinch a too-loose waist with a cute belt, but it doesn’t go the other way around. :)

      Painting – I think it’s easy to slap paint on a wall, but it’s harder to do so and get a nice clean, straight line. That takes practice. I also thinks it makes a difference on what brand you use too. I’ll never use Behr paint anymore after having to do so many coats to get good coverage.

    • Laura / Jun 30 2014

      Haha!

      I’m terrified of the BBQ too – mainly just of the gas though. I’m generally convinced it’s going to explode. :)

      I really want to sew my boyfriend the Goldstream Peacoat from Thread Theory, but am scared I’m not good enough. I’m not sure what’s so scary, since I’m perfectly capable of sewing woven fabric into a garment, but I think it’s something about the heft of a coat.

      • Liz / Jun 30 2014

        Ooh yes! I like that coat for guys. I’d think sewing up that coat would be easier than doing tailoring or the like on a ladies coat. I bet it’s just a lot of steps, but totally sew-able.

        Just make a muslin first – that’s a lot of fabric you’re working with. Plus it would help you get practice sewing up the real thing first. :D

  2. Becky / Jun 26 2014

    I’ve got a couple… I’m pretty much over sewing knits by now, but here’s my hesitations:
    -Sewing swimwear/lingerie

    -Sewing with leather (mostly because I’ve tried it and it was a disaster on my machine!)

    -Knitting Fair Isle– I love the look, but knowing that you often have to cut it worries me. Mostly because I’m allergic to wool, and I’m not sure how well plant-based or acrylic fibers would take it without unraveling! So I guess that is more legitimate.

    -Knitting socks, but I am currently working on a sweater and teaching myself to knit 2 sleeves at once as preparation for future socks, so I think that will help.

    • Liz / Jun 26 2014

      Hey Becky, thanks for sharing some of these.

      I’m currently knitting socks and still can’t figure out why they’re supposed to be hard. I’m just knitting one at a time for now. I think it’s easier to just work on one while you get the fit right and the second sock should go much faster. That being said, I’m up to the ankle on sock #1 and I started it 1 week ago. They go so speedy!

  3. Tasha / Jun 26 2014

    Oh Liz, this is so true! Just the other day I was telling Rochelle that when I first bought my sewing machine 10+ years ago, and having not sewn since I was in high school (and never with a pattern), I bought a pattern, and sewed a button down Western shirt complete with button plackets, set-in sleeves, a collar stand, collar, and piping. It wasn’t perfect, but I did all of it. For whatever reason, later that year I lost the desire to sew for a number of years, and when I returned a few years ago, I couldn’t even FATHOM that I had sewed that (still can’t). At the time, I knew very little–yet I also didn’t know to be scared! And should I have been scared? For some of those things, probably. lol I don’t know. Everything I did was those elusive “later” techniques, some of which still scare me now.

    I have a different relationship with knitting and sewing, and I’ve thankfully never really had these stumbling blocks and fears with my knitting, with one major exception, which was setting in sleeves. Until I did it and realized it was seriously not a big deal to set in a knitted sleeve, I thought it was the scariest thing ever. Totally not so!

    But with sewing yeah, lots of things make me feel like they’re scary! Sometimes it can be hard to convince yourself to just try it, too. :)

    • Liz / Jun 26 2014

      It’s so funny how this happens. I’m generally an adventurous knitter, but have tamed back after reading about the “right” way to do things.

      I don’t want to say that the web isn’t helpful or that blogs gave me a complex to do things – but it just kinda happened hand in hand.

      I love that you had the same experience sewing that I did with my fair isle vest. We didn’t know it was supposed to be hard until years later. heh

  4. Caroline Côté / Jun 26 2014

    This is so much like I feel! I have this fear of the serger ; I have read everywhere how hard it is to thread… But I did it, it is more complicated maybe, but not harder than threading a sewing machine… But I am still afraid of using it!

    I sew at night, when my kids sleeps, so I can convince myself that it is just so much easier /faster to just use my sewing machine… Well, I know it is irrational because when I will conquer that fear, sewing more than a yard long seam will be REALLY faster with the serger than sewing with the slow knit stitch then going back again with the overcast stitch… ;)

    I am not afraid of sewing knit because they are much more easy to fit! But I need shorts and I am still hesitant to sew them ; afraid of not knowing how to fit the crotch! And I have lovely silk in my stash that I am afraid to ruin too… It sounds so irrational when written down… sigh! Thanks for your post!

    • Liz / Jun 26 2014

      Hey Caroline. My friend, Meg the Grand, just got over her fear of the serger and now she can’t stop using it – she loves it so much.

      It’s hard to get over these fears, even though we know they may be irrational. We feel how we feel.

      But I bet, you’re gonna love the serger when you get up the courage to use it. Just remember never to sew over pins. :D I stitch on my basic machine then take the article over to the serger – so no pins to worry about.

      Shorts & pants are a rational fear! heh They’re quite easy to sew, but tricky to fit. You should just make up a pair to wear around the house – kinda like a wearable muslin. That way fit is less essential and you get to make up a pair to see how they go for you.

      • Meg the Grand / Jul 10 2014

        It’s my favorite tool EVER! I had the exact same fear – that threading was going to be a disaster – but I just followed the diagram on the machine and it worked out fine! I am hitting myself for being afraid of a machine that I used every day when I worked in a costume shop. It is just like you said, Liz – I developed the fear, and it’s taken all of my willpower to get over it.

  5. TinaD / Jun 26 2014

    SOCK KNITTING IS SO COOL. I promise you, when you get to the heel turning, it turns itself. You’re tooling along following instructions, knitting a tube, and then you’re following some more instructions, knitting a flat bit and some decreases, and then bam! Like magic, a heel happens. I get what you mean, though. The great thing about the internet is that it is full of information; the horrible thing about the internet is that it is full of information. It is dead easy to get overwhelmed, to overthink the details (which size? which yarn? which cast-on? which bind-off? circulars or straights? etc.), to read too many reviews, and then quit because a little recreational creativity suddenly seems as high stakes as tax accounting. The thing is, people have long knitted (and sewed) with the benefit of very little instruction…granted, Home Ec used to be a bigger deal than it is now, but all those people, all those years, can’t all have been knitting superstars. Or even Mensa candidates. Which means on some level, muddling through was okay. Still is okay, or should be.

    That said, I haven’t sewn with knits, I don’t do circular saws (too many horror movies as a kid, and that Robert Frost poem) and I can’t for the life of me figure out fax machines.

    • Liz / Jun 26 2014

      Hey Tina! I’m past the heel and on to the ankle and I have no idea what the big fuss was all about. Turning the heel was easy peasy – as I’ve done short rows before on many projects.

      I’m hooked now on sock knitting. They’re the perfect little project and each time I try them on my feet get instantly warmed.

      I couldn’t agree with you more on the overwhelmed aspect of the internet. It’s a good thing to have so much information handy, but sometimes it can be just too much to freeze one into doing nothing.

      I would like to get over my fear of saws – I just know I’d loose a finger or drop it on my leg somehow. heh I just need to do it and realize that I’ll be okay if I *respect* the saw.

  6. Stephanie / Jun 26 2014

    I did loads of crazy things when I first started sewing. My second sewing project ever was a medieval/elvish princess costume complete with lace overlay on the collar and I deviated from the pattern and replaced the zipper with grommets and lacing. I also made a corset long before I knew they were hard. I’m so thankful I got to do these things because I’m not afraid of them!

    I don’t like to sew with knits but that’s because I like vintage fashions which use more woven fabrics. I do have an irrational fear of power tools (and tools in general) but that’s because I’m uncoordinated.

    A few years ago, I made my motto for the year “When in doubt, be BOLD!” and that really helped me to try new things. :)

    • Liz / Jun 26 2014

      Wow! Just wow! :D

      I’ve been in awe of your costumes ever since I saw them on your blog. So cool.

  7. Debbie / Jun 26 2014

    I too was pretty was fearless when I started out sewing and knitting, when I didn’t know “proper” techniques :) I just jumped into projects. Sometimes they worked out great and sometimes I just lost interest didn’t finish them.

    Now, I’d have to say I’m very hesitant to sew pants. I’ve read about so many people having fitting issues that I completely psyched myself out the last pair I attempted. I over-thought and over-fitted the whole project and ended up with a pair that was “wearable”, but just not in public. I’m really hoping to conquer them this year, but can’t bring myself to take steps to try to tackle them again.

    • Liz / Jun 26 2014

      I totally hear you about pants. They’re tricky, but once I get that perfect pair done I’m going to make tons of them! :D

      Between us girls, my first pair of pants actually fit better now that I’ve added an extra 5lbs than when I was that much lighter. heh Helps me realize that I believe I had too much fabric in the caboose before.

  8. Michelle / Jun 26 2014

    I really do recommend using power tools. It’s exhilarating! It’s crazy how fearless I am when I don’t know to be afraid of something. While, things, like sewing with knits, seem out of reach because I’ve learned to fear them over time. It’s interesting to put a name to this complex.

    I’m very grateful for hand holding. I love leaning on you ladies when I get tentative or nervous about something. There is just as much strength in support and encouragement as there is in being told that a skill is beyond reach.

    • Liz / Jun 26 2014

      I couldn’t have done that Bridge Jumper with you (and Meg). As soon as we walked thru the first few rows, it was really fine. (As much as can be said of knitting that beast of a sweater). LOL

  9. Annabelle / Jun 26 2014

    I used to be afraid of knits (I don’t have a serger), but sewing while I was prego cleared up that fear because there are no sewings for that sort of thing that don’t involve knits! I guess that I am afraid to try swimwear. I’ve seen a lot of cute suits popping up lately, and even ventured to buy a pattern, but haven’t dared to start sewing it.

    What scares me with knitting is when you have to cut into your knitting. I forget the term (steeking?), but it will be pretty hard to convince me that I need to slice through something I just spent hours knitting – that is if I ever work up the courage to knit a project that will require it.

    Your first color work sweater looks amazing, I’m glad you are returning to complete it.

    • Liz / Jun 26 2014

      Steeking! Yeah… the first time was stressful. But after doing the neckline & two armholes, my next steek project wasn’t quite so rough.

      Before you cut, you do reinforcement stitching so it’s not as bad as it seems. :D Rewarding myself with chocolate does also help to make the cut. heh

      *My colorwork vest is actually blocking as I type* I just have to weave in the TONS of ends and then it’ll be ready for wearing (in the summer heat). lol

      • Annabelle / Jun 26 2014

        You really have been knitting like a mad-woman lately! I can’t believe you will have another finished project soon.

  10. What a great topic!

    I feel this way about pants. I have no qualms about my ability to actually sew them well — but the horrific fitting process most sewing bloggers seem to go through has turned me off completely. Drafting a new crotch curve? Pinching out under the toosh? That sounds horrible and un-fun.

    Rationally, I know that I don’t make as many fit adjustments as folks like you (who I admire a great deal!) because I just don’t care if there are minor wrinkles and I’m too lazy to make muslins most of the time. And generally, I sew things that are fitted only at the torso.

    But if experience has taught me anything, it’s that you should just jump in. My third knitting project ever was a sweater and MANY people told me I shouldn’t go there yet. But you know what? I did and it was fine. It took two tries and has a couple mistakes in it, but at the end of the day, I made a sweater!

    • Liz / Jun 26 2014

      YES!

      But if experience has taught me anything, it’s that you should just jump in.

      Me too! I do better (and am happier) when I sew & knit by Stephanie’s mantra:

      When in doubt, be BOLD!

      I have made 2 official pairs of pants and many, many muslins. You know what… even the saggy butt ones aren’t that terrible. I do wear them to the office anyhow. If you walk around looking at the fit of people’s Off-The-Rack clothing, you’ll notice that their pants seldom fit as they should. This helped me get over wearing not 100% perfect fit trousers – but I do strive towards making the perfect pair. I’ve made one pair every fall now and each is better than the prior version.

      • Lucy / Jun 26 2014

        YES to that! Too often, I get absolutely paralysed by a sewing project because I worry the fit won’t be perfect, yadda yadda yadda. But the thing is, nobody else notices.

        I realised this when I was drafting a shift dress based on the Renfrew top. There were stretchy wrinkles by the armpit I was determined to get rid of. I redrew the armscye five times and made five muslins.

        Then, on the fifth muslin, they were gone. No wrinkles. But…I couldn’t raise my arm. The wrinkles were caused by necessary ease.

        And then I realised that every single knit top I own has those wrinkles. And I started looking at other people…and they all had the same wrinkles.

        From that, I’ve learned to stop overanalysing my projects. It’s not exactly a fear, I guess, but the fear of not being able to make something ‘perfect’ has definitely stopped me from tackling certain sewing projects. Or, indeed, finishing them.

  11. Bonita / Jun 26 2014

    I am petrified of Fair Isle and knits. Like, seriously. I made a wheat sack with knit fabric, and it was basically a rectangle that was a thing-that-rythmes-with-witch to sew. I said never again! But now I am tempted to try again, because the thought of vintage day dresses in a comfortable knit is *very* appealing. Also, I now know to go for a heavy knit that doesn’t curl!

    But Fair Isle, nope… Nope, nope, nope… I just can’t. The thought of it is too overwhelming when I only like vintage Fair Isle knits, and can’t grade a knitting pattern properly to save myself. Most of my knits are done up on a wing and a prayer, so I can’t see myself trying Fair Isle anytime soon. But maybe I’ve been reading too many blogs. :P ?

    xox,
    bonita of Lavender & Twill

    • Liz / Jun 30 2014

      Hey Bonita! I know this post is about tackling fears – but have you given a thought to duplicate stitch? It’s easy to do for a motif – you basically sew the knit stitch by hand with yarn over your current knitting – in another color – to create your design. Just a thought.

      I got GREAT results with Dale of Norway yarn for my fair isle vest. I HIGHLY recommend it for fair isle to you. It’s a 100% merino and is really soft – so it sounds like a bad candidate for fair isle knitting. But somehow it’s just magical to work with. I had no tension issues and the floats on the back are perfection. I heartily recommend it for your next fair isle project!! Seriously. Go buy it now. :D

  12. For me in most instances when someone says something is hard that’s like a red rag to a bull. That’s why I have a Chanel style suit in a fairly busy plaid with the matching done pretty well (if I say so myself); unfortunately I can no longer wear it as I’ve got a little bigger over time.

    There are a couple of things that I’m holding off on though; I’m working on an eighteenth century dress; I’ve done all the underpinnings but the dress is making me doubt my skills, possibly I should have listened to the experts and used silk, but poly was what I could find that I could afford. I’m taking it one step at a time so now the lining is sewn and I’m transferring lots of pleat markings onto the fabric.

    In knitting I’ve done a lot, but for some reason Intarsia and Entrelac seem to be slightly scary; I suspect I’ll be hitting You Tube for those, but not till I get to the items in my queue and there’s a fair bit of stranded colourwork to finish first!

    • Liz / Jun 27 2014

      I love your comment, Rachelle. :D

      Not knowing, I tried Intarsia before fair isle, and well… fair isle in my opinion is easier than what I attempted. But I think you’ll get the hang of either knitting techniques once you give them a go. YouTube is great for that stuff.

  13. Show and Tell Meg / Jun 26 2014

    I totally feel the same way! lol At least I’m not alone. I tend to feel like I have to have someone to help me to try something new with my knitting or sewing. I’ve found that You Tube and Craftsy are my exceptions to my fears though – even though there isn’t a physical person to watch over my shoulder, I’m able to watch someone demonstrate what I’m trying to learn and I find it much easier. I also have learned it’s ok to ask others online for advice on something. I’ve never had anyone in the sewing.knitting blog community turn me down – they are all incredibly kind and helpful and very giving of their knowledge.

    As far as my fears go: with sewing, it’s absolutely fitting. I find that I’m all gung-ho about sewing until I hit some kind of fitting snag that I don’t know how to fix. I’m trying to read more fitting books and watch Craftsy classes, but I still find that really hard to fit myself and try to diagnose what needs to be done. With knitting, I am deathly afraid of cutting my knitting (like to make a jumper into a cardigan) and this is reasonable considering I’ve had issues with cutting small projects before and it unraveling. Other than that I don’t really have any “fears”, just things that I wait to try until I have time to devote to learning. Sometimes I have so many things in the pipeline and going on around me that I don’t have time to just go slow and not worry about how long it’s taking me.

    I am much more forgiving (mentally) of my knitting mistakes than my sewing mistakes. I think it’s funny that Tasha just posted about that this week because I am exactly the same way. I have a dress that I didn’t muslin the sleeves on only to find that in the finished dress they are too tight – it’s sat on the chair in my sewing room since mid-May, lol; but just last week I ended up frogging an entire sweater that was about 65% knitted because it was too big and I knew I’d never wear it if I kept going. I’ve already started the sweater over … and the dress still sits, lol. I need to work on my personal discipline!

    • Liz / Jun 30 2014

      I love watching YouTube for knitting demos. Its so easy when you can pause a person and see what their doing with their yarn/hands.

      Fitting is tricky, to be honest. I still get fit issues even after years of sewing – but for me it’s a trial by error process. You eventually learn what your trouble spots are and learn to spot them in your muslin. It’s a process, but you can totally do it!

      My rule of thumb is: The wrinkle points to the problem. It doesn’t necessarily tell you exactly what the problem is or how to fix it, but it’s a starting point for what to tackle.

  14. Gina / Jun 27 2014

    I’m definitely terrified of pants because of fitting. With most things, I feel confident that I can follow directions well if they’re clear enough. But fitting is something where there are no clear-cut instructions. I’m also sort of scared of jackets and things with lots of tailoring, but mostly because I’m not sure I’d have the patience for all that!

    With knitting, even though I’m a beginner, I’m not sure I’m that afraid of anything because you can always rip things out. I will say I’m a neurotic lifeliner because I do often make mistakes and have to rip back, and I’m terrible at being confident that I was able to get all the proper stitches back on the needle. I made a little scarf for my first knitting project, which came from the Craftsy class I took to learn knitting. Next I jumped right in to the Miette, and a few people who don’t knit have mentioned that I must be crazy, but I want to knit things I’m actually going to wear, and I love and wear sweaters all the time. I think the thing I’m most afraid of with knitting is that I’ll never finish that sweater because I’m such a slow knitter! I’ve been working on it since February!

    • Liz / Jun 27 2014

      Hey Gina, my first knitting project was a sweater. I did a test square and made sure I had the proper gauge & then I got knitting. The fit isn’t perfect, but I totally still wear sweater #1 in the winter. :D

      You’re gonna love your Miette when it’s all done – hang in there.

  15. Justine / Jun 28 2014

    I’m in my early thirties and I can’t remember when I started sewing. I used to make clothes for my dolls and I remember making a hooded jumper in primary school which possibly could have been the first bit of clothing I sewed for myself. Over the years I have made many thing for myself and other people including knit dresses and strapless boned dresses. Then, enter the internet! Although I love the internet sewing community and inspiring and helpful as it can be, I also find it spreads people’s fears. I don’t have an overlocker and haven’t sewn any knits for probably 10 years and all of a sudden I fear them. I know it is irrational and I have made more complex knit projects in the past but suddenly your reading about how hard things are and you believe it, even though you have successfully done those things in the past!

    • Liz / Jun 30 2014

      I know! I don’t think (we) bloggers really intend for this to happen – but somehow or another it does and I’m right there with you.

      I wish I had an easy cure for peeps – but just knowing that you can is the best first step – since you’ve done it before.

  16. Rochelle New / Jun 29 2014

    I think a lot of my issues with sewing comes from just straight-up not wanting to do something, not because I’m scared of it lol. Like sewing with silky fabrics: I can do it, and I’ve done it, but it’s a pain in the butt and I don’t have the patience. Plus I don’t wear silky stuff so it’s entirely too easy to say “Nope, I don’t sew that”. Knits are pretty much the same. I don’t like fussing with my machine settings or changing my needles. I like to sew cotton because it’s easy and it’s what I wear. I’d attempt almost anything with a cotton fabric! Basically I’m a lazy cat, not a scaredy cat haha!

    Knitting is definitely different though because I HATE ripping things out. That scares me. Not because people tell me its scary (just the opposite actually) but because I’m not very good at it and I’ve lost entire projects trying to un-knit just a few stitches. I should probably work on that though since it’s something every knitter needs to know lol!

    This post has really got me thinking though. Is being a lazy sewer just a cop-out for being a scared one?! I don’t know…

    • Liz / Jun 30 2014

      Hey Rochelle! No, I don’t think being a lazy seamer is the same. heh

      Have you heard of a ‘life line’ in knitting?

      Basically you run a thread through your live stitches – and then keep knitting as usual. That way if you have to frog bag you can just tear back to your life-line and *voila* you have all of your stitches right there ready to be knit up again. You can put one in at major junctions in your knitting so if you have to go back a section you can, really easily. I still do this when I’m in doubt of a certain section’s fit (most recently: the heel of a sock).

  17. Kelly / Jun 29 2014

    Ugh, I do this in pretty much every part of my life… My biggest crafty fear right now is knitting a sweater. I don’t know why this is, I know I’ve done more challenging knit techniques, but there’s something about a sweater that seems impossible. As far as sewing goes, lately I feel totally insecure every time I think about a project, which is ridiculous! I’ve made all sorts of things, I can do it again! Once I get started I am kind of amazed that I actually do have the skills to do it. It’s just crazy!

    • Liz / Jun 30 2014

      I think any project can be as complicated or as easy as you make it. Pick an easy, raglan seamed sweater – top down. That way you can try it on as you go to ensure it fits right. I’d go on ravelry and pick a project TONS of people have made before. Peeps post up their project notes all the time and may help you in knitting yours up. Have you heard of a ‘life line’ in knitting? If not look it up; it can become your new best friend – makes ripping out your work really easy and stress free.

      If you made that blue Gertie dress pattern (B5882) – you can make anything lady. :D

  18. Amanda / Jun 30 2014

    I’m definitely one of those people who scared herself out of knitting until now! I’ve been wanting to knit a cropped cardigan ever since I saw them pop up on blogs, but was thinking I didn’t have the skill level with only a few basic knitting projects under my belt. You were one of the people who convinced me that tackling one (in my case, the Myrna) was totally possible, so thanks for the encouragement! I’m slowly on my way and it’s been exciting to see it come together. It’s amazing how wonderful it feels to finally get over your fear and realize that you can do it.

    I’ve found knittinghelp.com helpful. I think that was the site that also showed me the trick to frogging lots of rows (put your needle through the right loop of each stitch in the row you want to frog down to, moving right to left, and then start frogging). It totally worked, although it was slightly nerve-wracking. I like your life line tip too.

    • Liz / Jun 30 2014

      Yay! I use life lines when I think I need them. But oftentimes, I have to frog back unexpectedly. I feel like I’ve become a fogging expert – like most knitters are I think. :)

      Sometimes I’ll do what you did – put my knitting needle in a few rows down all the way across my work and pull the thread to frog. Other times, I’ll thread a tapestry needle and pick up stitches with that needle (like creating a life line), and then will frog and stick my knitting needle into those live stitches. This second way is helpful if you’re going down quiet far and there is an intricate pattern. Hard to describe… I hope it makes sense.

      So happy you’ve gotten over your knitting fears. It’s a great way to spend the time during a commute, when you’re away from the sewing machine.

  19. Meg the Grand / Jul 10 2014

    I definitely used to be scared of knitting until you, Michelle, and I all started getting together, and learning new techniques wasn’t nearly as scary. To be honest, becoming fearless with my knitting has definitely helped me become more fearless with my sewing…though I will admit that I am still petrified of cabling. UGH. Cables. I need to conquer those someday!

    Also, let’s make a date to sew some knits. I’ll bring the ball point needles and the wine ;)

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