Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Just go knit something already! How to Deal With Self-Doubt in your knitting (and designing)

Have you ever found that perfect pattern you just have to knit RIGHT NOW!? You know the one. Yeah, that one where you can clearly picture yourself wearing that super lacy hat. 

Photo by Knit Picks
Outwardly, you are thinking how pretty the model looks in the hat. You notice her long, wavy red hair peaking out from under the brim of the hat, and the green variegated yarn perfectly complimenting her eyes.

You imagine yourself in the lifestyle the images represent. You picture yourself in that world. You want the finished project. You want all that THAT hat represents.

Then it starts.

The self-doubt begins to set in the deeper you look at the pattern details. You look at the skill level the designer recommend (Advance: "I've been knitting for only a couple years. I'm not an advance knitter," you say to yourself), the techniques used ("Well, it's not the long-tail cast on. I've never done that particular cast on method before," the negative self-talk continues), the other projects on Ravelry ("wow, so many other knitters made modification that looks amazing, why even bother. My project will never stack up to those other knitters").

You start to talk yourself out of making the hat. Pretty soon your imaginings change to self-doubt about your abilities to make the project, which leads to you thinking you can't compare to the model in the photos.

So, how do you handle self-doubt? I have 3 methods I use that is sure to help you, time and time again, whether it’s  following a pattern, thinking about publishing your own design, or being a human with real world self-doubts. 

  1. Turn the negative feeling into positives.
    1. You might say to yourself: "I can't figure out that new techniques!" Well, turn that statement around and say, "I have never done that technique before, but I can figure out new techniques because of these 3 other times I was able to learn a new technique."
    2. Now, think back to 3 specific times in your knitting life when you had to figure out something new.  An example of this, and the biggest, is when you first learned to knit. Everything was brand new then, but you figured it all out. Remember when you first learned the knit stitch (and how wonky it looked on the needles) or when you finally figured out how to cast-on on your own? Back then you probably thought you would never figure it out. But look at you now.
  1. The swatch makes everything doable
    1. Aquinnah Cliffs Shawlette
    2. When tackling a new techniques, minimize the risk and try it out on a smaller test piece. So, the hat pattern calls for 120 stitches cast-on in fingering weight on US size 2 needles in this new technique. How about working the technique at a larger gauge (heavier yarn and bigger needles) over 20 stitches? Remember, this swatch is just a test piece just for practice, so feel free to make as many mistakes. No one will see it if you don’t want them to. Heck, throw it away. It was just for learning.
  2. Treat is as an opportunity to learn.
    1. Whenever I think of something new as a learning opportunity, it is never a waste or failure. As long as I have learned and grown from the experience it is all a WIN. You never know. Maybe this new cast on will become your go-to cast on method that you use in the future for all hats, regardless of what the pattern calls for. Stretch yourself to experience your full potentials.

So, remember how far you have come and how much more you will learn which will make you a much better knitter in the long run. This goes for you crocheters and designers too. Step outside of easy.

Knitting teaches us many lessons. Every experience pushes us to grow a little more, to reach a bit further.

The truth is: Failure is not a result, it's a feeling. The lesson learned and how you apply it as you move on is the result!

So, stop making excuses. Stop telling yourself all the stories of why you can't and JUST GO KNIT IT!

Now it's your turn. {Leave a comment} What is one pattern you have been putting off trying?

Knit On!


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