3KCBWDAY6 Improv or improving?

Improving Your Skillset
How far down the road to learning your craft do you believe yourself to be? Are you comfortable with what you know or are you always striving to learn new skills and add to your knowledge base? Take a look at a few knitting or crochet books and have a look at some of the skills mentioned in the patterns. Can you start your amigurumi pieces with a magic circle, have you ever tried double knitting, how’s your intarsia? If you are feeling brave, make a list of some of the skills which you have not yet tried but would like to have a go at, and perhaps even set yourself a deadline of when you’d like to have tried them by.

Yesterday I played my wild card to avoid Days 5 ‘s topic.
I just didn’t feel I had the imagination to come up with a dance interpretation of my craft. Now today I sit and scratch my head and wonder if I squandered my wild card because I need it again.
I always hate it when in a job interview the employer ask a similar question and wants me to evaluate my job skills for him. What do you do or say? I mean will he hire you if you say you suck at the job you want or will he think you are  bragging if you say you are perfect and never fail at anything.
What is my knitting skill level?  Well if you ask a person that doesn’t knit much- they might tell you Mary Jo is grand. So talented, her fingers fly through the yarn and creates the most wonderful things.
But the truth is I am not so talented. I think if I went to the Knitting Guild and wanted to be certified they might turn their nose up at my needles. And although my kids used to always tell me to enter a finished project in the State Fair – – I would never submit to the intense competition. Because I know — my work isn’t perfect. My sweaters would never hold up to the scrutiny of inspection by the knit police.
I take short cuts and fudge the directions. My weaving in isn’t the best and worst of all sometimes when I make a mistake and discover it several rows later I  leave it and continue on.
I admit it … sometimes the words in a pattern confuse me. the letters swim around the page and make no sense. …sl3to CN,hold in front, sl center st from LH needle to right end of CN, work 3  from LH, followed by 4…….wait what…go back do it again ..slower this time. So I go to the pictures and study it and work it out  and fudge it until my knit looks approximently like the one in the pattern. Several inches later as I near the neck of the sweater I have the ahaaaaa moment and bang my head on the desktop — oh thats what I was supposed to do!!  but I just forge ahead with my interpretation pretending all is well.
Please don’t get me wrong there really are times you must do exactly as the pattern says and I will frog it all out and make it right. And then there are other times when I simple want to enjoy the rhythm as my needles pass stitches back and forth. Then I pick something with a easy pattern so the yarn can flow through my fingers.
When I was an apprentice(in construction) I worked for a journeyman named Dwayne. And when Dwayne would teach me a new skill he always would tell me, “there’s the right way, the wrong way and Johnnie’s way”.

Yeah every one called him Johnnie even though his name was Dwayne. And he was a great guy to serve an apprenticeship with. There was always more than one way to do a job when I worked with him. But he always took time to explain the differences and when it was important to follow to the letter and when you could get the same results with a short cut. Another saying of his was -if you are consistent with a mistake no one will spot it. This one isn’t always true but some times if your cable is not going the way it should in the pattern – if you always cross it in that direction then no one will be the wiser.
I have participated in a few tests for patterns and then I will make sure that my knitting is exact and perfect as can be. And I think that is a good challenge for me. It makes me a better knitter. It forces me to read and  knit symbol ‘code’ exactly. There is no fudging or changing. I force my needles to knit a certain way even if it feels wrong.

Sometimes it is written wrong and the wording needs to be changed to make it easier to understand. And then the group of testers will work at suggesting different ways to accomplish the same thing. Other times it isn’t written wrong and the problem is that I have read it wrong. I have discovered how hard it is to set directions on a page. I have gained a new respect for designers and the work they put into their knits.
Well it seems like I have gone off topic yet again… and if I don’t watch myself I will just natter on and on till I have bored everyone senseless.
So I should just stop here. But before I do I want to thank Eskimimi Makes for having this fun week of blogging. I have enjoyed the challenge of writing each day. And best of all I am meeting new knitters and crocheters. I haven’t been able to keep up with all the posts being written but will continue to click on the links and find new friends.
One more day and it will be over for the year.  Some time next week I am going to post and do a give away for every one that has been reading on my blog and leaving lovely comments. I am thinking I might make a bunch of mini skeins from my dyeing experiments to give away so I hope that you continue to read ; )


  1. Peg said,

    April 28, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Hi MJ I’ve been enjoying your posts this week! Dwayne sounded like a wise guy . . .

    • whatzitknitz said,

      April 29, 2012 at 3:43 pm

      Dwayne was one of the best guys I worked with. He had a saying for everything although I would have to filter a lot of it here ; )

  2. Ronnie said,

    April 28, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    Great read today! I too will fudge where needed if I can’t figure it out and I think so long as it works, who cares 🙂

  3. baamekniits said,

    April 29, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    I think I need to learn to fudge more then I woudn’t have so many UFO’s hiding in the cupboard 🙂

    • whatzitknitz said,

      April 29, 2012 at 3:40 pm

      some times I just have to let go and ignore the mistakes or else I would never finish anything. I think the important thing for me is to enjoy my knitting and not sweat the small stuff.

  4. Keri said,

    April 29, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    So in my opinion, being a great knitter means learning how to make knitting work for you. That includes “fixing” mistakes and learning short cuts that make your craft easier for you. Does your knitting unravel or fall apart the minute it’s off the needles? Chances are no. It’s all fine. You know the secret to being a good knitter 🙂

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