Could fill a LARGE book. My mother taught me to crochet when I was 9. It was a couple of years after that that my grandma got a hold of me and taught me to knit. My first project was a knitted coat hanger. I still have it in my cupboard. But I was taught one way to cast on because my grandma said it looked pretty. I was never taught the whys. I can do all the stitches but there are many times I don’t understand why I’m doing it one way or another. Since then I’ve taught myself a lot but it’s all from books or youtube (one of the BEST knitting resources).
I bought the DIY bundle in January and it came with a free craftsy class. So since I had to pick one I decided to try the knitting one ‘Essential Techniques Every Knitter Should Know’ by Sally Melville, and maybe I would find some of it interesting. Boy, was I wrong! I learnt just how much I really really don’t know about knitting. She went through everything from picking yarn to basics like different cast-ons and bind-offs. Also went into some awesome detail about seaming that just made perfect sense. I can stitch a beautiful neat fabric but I never understood seaming.
She demonstrated 4 cast-ons. One of which I was actually using because my grandma told me once it looked pretty, called the cable cast-on (I just learnt that name). It was the teacher’s recommended cast-on for many projects, which made me feel better. But what I found the most interesting was when she explained when and how to use the different cast-ons. She explained WHY you need to know how to do a crochet cast on and when it’s appropriate (when you want the cast-on and bind-off edges to look the same, for example. a scarf). How often are we just taught to do the stitches but never taught WHY we need to do them? This got me thinking really hard. We get taught a stitch or a pattern and then get told to follow a pattern but if the pattern is poorly written we don’t know why exactly we need to do one increase vs another or which cast-on would give the best edge.
Raise your hand if you learnt how to cast-on ONE way and that is how you have ALWAYS done it?
Don’t be shy because my hand is as high as I can reach it.
The more I listened to her lessons the more fascinated I became. I’ve never been overly worried about how to perfectly finish/start something when I’ve only got a simple project. I have kind of thought about the fact the start and finish of a scarf never match and look the same but I figured I couldn’t fix that so never worried about it. When I make soft toys I don’t worry overly about my seaming because a proper mattress stitch seam gets too bulky inside the character and doesn’t look right when stuffed. By the same token, I’ve never been very brave about approaching other projects (expensive wool clothes) because it’s a lot of money into something I wasn’t sure how I’d make look properly finished.
So this week I made a dishcloth (I know a very brave project). The photo is at the top of this post. I used a crochet cast on because I can make it look the same as the cast off. I slipped the stitches on the start of each row because it gave me a neat finished edge. Yes it’s only a cloth but it made me proud of it. I was happy with the finish and I haven’t like the edges of my knitted pieces for a long time. I added crochet edges onto all my plain knitted cloths at Christmas because it looked much nicer. It was those little details that I was always missing. A Cast-on that matches the project not my knowledge. A side edge that looks neat despite stitching in garter stitch.
NO MORE! I don’t want to go the easy way with my knitting. I want to learn more and learn more whys so that I can make more pieces that I’m proud to show off EVERYTHING to EVERYONE! My cast-ons and my seams as well as the stitching. I want to make myself shawls and scarfs that look beautiful all the way along. I want someone to turn to me and say “hey! I can’t tell where you cast-on.”, or say “hey your cast-on adds such a pretty edge to this piece.” For a little bit of forward planning it’s amazing the difference in the piece.
So what can you improve on?
What would you like to know more about and maybe we can learn about it together. I’m going to have to write a tute at some point for a crochet cast-on I know that much!
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