I’ve always loved learning new things. Throwing myself into research, brainstorming, experimenting with new ideas and challenging my skills gets my creative juices flowing. I thrive on sharing what I’m working on with everyone too. It helps me feel less isolated as solopreneur when we are on this journey together. So when I discovered the concept of ‘learning out loud’ it clicked with me.
I discovered a post about it on Pinterest. (My son says I find everything on Pinterest, please add an eye roll for dramatic effect). The article highlighted all the ways it can help me as a learner. It also explained that sharing can help other people who might be thinking about learning the same thing. I’m all for spreading the joy where ever I can so it was right up my alley. I’m not afraid for you to see me as less than perfect, because I’m not!
Ask an expert…
Some people might think I’m an expert in my craft. I don’t like that word, “expert”. I’m not a fan of labels at all. Expert sounds a little arrogant and superior. If you ask me, there’s no such thing because there is always something new to learn. I’ll never know it all. I can say I’m knowledgeable about crochet and its skills because I work hard to make sure of it. That isn’t pride talking, it’s a fact. I hope that doesn’t sound conceited. Crochet is my passion and I’m fanatical about learning all I can so I can make lovely things for lovely people. I learn something knew every time I pick up a hook. That is another reason I love what I do.
What’s it all about?
I share what I learn and what I make all the time here (and on Facebook, Pinterest etc). Learning out loud is an expansion on that. It’s all about sharing while I’m learning and showing me, warts and all, as I try to get to grips with a new skill. Last year I invested in some knitting needles. I had no idea if or when I would use them, it was an impulse buy (not too expensive either!) with no expectations. I used to think of knitting as going over to the dark side. As though knitting and crochet are the Lanisters and Starks of the crafting world. I was mistaken they’re more like the Targarens and the Starks. I won’t make any more Game of Thrones analogies. Suffice it to say that knitting and crochet are not at war with each other. At least not in my world. It’s all about balance. When I say that I’m laughing (balance isn’t something I’m good at) but that’s a story for another day!
All Things Wooly
I took part in a charity Zumbathon a couple of weeks ago and I wanted to donate something as a raffle prize. To give myself a challenge between crochet orders I thought I’d have a go at KNITTING! I have tried it once or twice before with mixed results. Since I had a couple of things already crocheted as a back up plan I didn’t have anything to lose but my time.
Crochet v’s Knitting
Most people think crochet and knitting are similar skills. Let me tell you, from my recent experience they are very different. It’s sort of like comparing tap dancers and ballet dancers. Both are dancers, and both are talented, but with very different skill sets. There are some crossovers, (yarn, tension, stitches etc) but there are many more differences. For a start I didn’t know that there were so many different types of needles. Straight (wood of any variety, steel/aluminium or plastic), circular, double pointed, it’s a bit of minefield for a novice. That’s even before you’ve learned how to use them!
I followed my muse and started with hats. Possibly because they were quick and easy projects with lots of variation and I could use up my yarn stash. I’ve managed to make three so far and I admit I’m pleased with the results.
I’m still struggling with reading knitting patterns. All the abbreviations not to mention the charts, it’s like learning a whole new language. My Google search history is now full of strange things. Long tail cast on, K2Tog, twisted rib stitch, how to knit short rows and all sorts of other strange terms. But I’ll admit I’m enjoying the journey even with all the pauses so I can watch Youtube videos.
Embrace the Frog
One thing I got the hang of very quickly was frogging! That isn’t a weird stitch, it’s a yarny term for starting over. When you tear out the yarn, you rip it, rip it, rippit (ribbit) like a frog. I’m learning to embrace the frog. Any time spent learning is worthwhile. I’ve had my fair share of starting over but its all part of the learning process. I could say I’m learning more from my mistakes than my successes. That may be true of most things. I’ll also admit to the fact that I’m terrible for forgetting to take photos when I’m in the middle of working it out. I will try to do better!
What I’ve Learned So Far
- not to cast on too tight, because it makes working your first row a nightmare.
- how to recognise a knit stitch from a purl when I get interrupted midway through a row.
- that I prefer knitting hats in the round because I don’t like the look of seams.
- that gremlins slip your stitches off of your needles when you get up to make tea!
- The lessons keep on coming.
OCD, Obsessive Crafting Disorder!
I get a little obsessive when I’m learning. By that I mean I forget when to stop. I become fixated with ‘getting it’ before I put it down for the night. Sometimes that takes me into the wee small hours. I also get a bit krabit (another good Scottish word) when what I’m doing doesn’t work the way I know it should. I can admit I’m a perfectionist when it comes to crafting (other things too but lets keep to crafting!). Okay isn’t good enough, I want it to be flawless. I forget that failure is a big part of learning and it isn’t a sign of weakness. Quitting would be a sign of weakness!
It’s fun, mostly!
It turns out that knitting is good fun, most of the time. Crochet will always be my go to craft and my first love but knitting is great too. One pet hate though. You can’t easily stop midway through a row the way you can with crochet. I’m itching for a new project to build on my skills so if you have any ideas leave me a comment and I’ll add it to my to-do list.
Give it a try
If there is a new thing you’ve been dying to learn, or a skill you’re keen to develop, don’t wait. Give it a try and see where your passion can take you. And don’t forget to learn out loud. It’s a liberating experience.
I’d love to hear your stories of what you’re learning
If you liked this blog you may like my previous one, To Miami With Love about the impact of my Mini Me dolls.
Until Next time
Be productive, be brilliant, be kind.
for Part Two of this story click here.