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?

In: Knitting Miscellaneous Sewing

Blogger for 6 years and counting, I am a passionate creator who loves to tinker.

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