Technical Tuesday: Challenges

Today I am going to talk about something that is a little more of a softer science when it comes to knitting; design choices. I have RARELY made a garment to the exact specifications of the pattern. There is always something small we change, be it the length, putting in waist shaping or we could just use a pattern chart from that pattern and knit a whole other sweater. Regardless if these choices are big or small, they need to be made and it can be really hard to make them.

Sweater Bad 1

When I was first learning to knit, I didn’t have any kind of mentor. My mother and grandmother did not knit, none of my friends were into knitting, I was really quite alone. I had met a couple yarn store owners, but I generally felt that they were condescending and didn’t have time for anyone so new to knitting; almost like I was not worth the time. I continued to knit, but not buy yarn at those specific stores.
The point I am getting to is, I knit a lot of things; I also ripped a lot of things out because they were not going the way I wanted or didn’t look like I had imagined them. I made mistakes, I made A LOT of mistakes. Sometimes it was heart breaking or serendipity found me, but I learned SO MUCH from these mistakes. That is why I continue to write the Monday Mishaps segment. It’s easy to get stuck in your comfort zone and not try new things, so writing the Monday Mishaps keeps me honest.

Sweater Bad 2

By now, I have taught quite a few of my friends to knit and some of them take more risks than others, but they all learn from their mistakes. I usually tell them about some catastrophic failure of my own so they don’t feel too bad.
But now to give you something useful! If you are knitting a pattern and you really don’t know how it is going to turn out, use Ravelry! On the pattern page, there is a tab at the top that says ‘Projects’. This is where you can look at this particular pattern when knit by another person. If they used different yarn and really liked it… or not. There are a thousand different things you can do with pattern and on Ravelry someone might have tried it. You can see how things turned out and sometimes, if you get a very diligent Raveler, they may have taken notes about the changes they have made.


I use this a lot when I am looking to substitute a yarn and I am not sure how it is going to work out. If you find someone who has made a change, but it doesn’t say what they ended up doing. Personal message them, usually everyone is extremely friendly on Ravelry and they’re more flattered than anything when you admire their handy work.