It’s a somewhat momentous day here at Never Been Knit because, dear friends, I am here to announce that I HAVE COMPLETED MY FIRST KNITTED PROJECT!
*please imagine a rather large glitter cannon going off at this point*
My first ever knitted project was the Skyping Beanie by Halldora J. It's a pattern that Ethan picked out for me after we agreed that I wanted to start my first garment. I’ve since been told that this pattern, with all its ribbing, was perhaps a bit ambitious for my first go. Sometimes Ethan’s idea of ‘easy’ is not the same as everyone else’s. After all, we all know that Ethan IS an actual IRL knitting god!!
I don't mean that as a humblebrag on my part, the project was a huge challenge that I needed decent amounts of help with. But at the same time I think it's cool I didn't know that it was a little tricky and gave it a good solid crack, after all, anything I'd be trying for the first time was going to be hard regardless! Sometimes in life ignorance is bliss and it’s better not to know how high and steep the hill you’re about to walk up is, until you get to the top!
The Skyping Beanie is a free pattern that is available on Ravelry. It comes in two variants and is a simple, slouchy, beanie. I made mine using Bandit DK in Tomfoolery, which is a lovely deep smoky blue. I knitted it on the round, which was really fun and cool and something I didn’t think I’d get to learn for a long time!
Now full disclosure, before I head into the full project review - I did have some help from the Outlaw team with casting on, to make sure I was setting off on the right foot. And again at the end as I came to decrease stitches (when I discovered I was missing stitches!) and finish off. However the bulk of it is all me - which I think you can see via the variations of stitches, holes and quaint crookedness of it!
To review the project I’m going to try the Rose/ Thorn/ Bud method which Ethan taught me about last week when I appeared on Outlaw’s Facebook Live ‘Hangover’. I’d never heard of this review method before, but I think it’s a really great way to reflect on any completed project, in a constructive, forward-facing and positive way.
For those also new to the idea; Rose is what I enjoyed about the project - successes and progress. Thorn is what challenged me - mistakes and areas of improvement needed. And Bud is what I’m looking forward to next - what I'm wanting to focus on and nurture. Great huh?!
The biggest and best rose of all was completing the beanie. I made a THING. I know I keep saying it, but when you’re starting out and you struggle to grapple just with the needles, the idea that you might actually make something seems RIDICULOUS!!
Once I’d been practising my knits and purls for some time I decided I wanted to sink my teeth into an actual project, as I was getting frustrated knitting ‘for no reason’. I think this very clearly establishes that I am going to 100% be a project knitter, rather than a process one.
Apparently my tension is also very good! This was something I got very worried about during the process that my tension was wrong - so I was delighted to hear this.
Is it perfect? Hell no! But did I do it? Hell yes! And I’m thrilled!
And what’s more, I now have my first item for my very own knitted wardrobe, which we have been exploring on the blog lately.
FIrstly, the process itself was a very slow one for me. Between it being summer and having a lot of other projects on the go - oh and not to mention that I have never knitted anything before in my life - it took a lot longer to make the beanie than I would have thought.
At times I really struggled to concentrate. I’m not the most patient person when it comes to creative pursuits and at times this was definitely tested to the max. I often struggle to sit still and focus on a ‘relaxation task’ for a long period of time and so this is a definite area that I want to learn to lean into and embrace.
Secondly, as you may expect, the beanie is FULL of errors. There’s holes and dropped stitches and weird wonky bits all over the place. When I came to decrease my stitches at the end, I had somehow lost 6 stitches in the process?!?
At one point I was feeling very happy with myself thinking that I was doing great, and took my project into Outlaw to show the team, only to be told that at some point, many many hours of work ago, I’d started twisting my stitches and just kept going and going, meaning that about half of the hat is in a twisted rib stitch! Oopsy!
But you know what? I don’t mind. My style of creativity has never been that of a perfectionist. I’m all about just getting it done and being proud you made something. And I figure that as long as you can wear it (I can!) and people can recognise it for what it is meant to be (they can!) then that’s what counts. If you’re standing close enough to see my many mistakes, then pal you need to back off as you're too darn close!
I really like looking at my hat and seeing the 'journey' of my project. How I progressed, how I improved, how I corrected myself and kept going. I think it's incredibly sweet!
Once I got into the mindset and rhythm of the knitting I could really feel myself getting engrossed and relaxed by it. This got me excited for what else I could be making in the coming months.
Having made the beanie, which turned out to be more advanced than I intended, with its vast amounts of ribbing, I’m looking forward to making something a little simpler on the stitch front.
I'm so happy to have knocked out my first project and to have been able to share this with you. Now I can enjoy my beanie as the autumnal cool air sets in, feeling smug that it's something I made, whilst I set my sights on what to make next!
What was your first knitting project? What were the most valuable things you learnt in the process? What do you think I should make next? Let me know in the comments below, I love to hear from our Outlaw community!
Until next time,
I'm Lou, an Ōtautahi based personal stylist and craft-lover, and this is Never Been Knit - my journey from complete knitting virgin to...well, let's find out together!