let's chat

Let's Chat!: What Advice Would You Give Your Younger Self as a Beginner Knitter?

The Let’s Chat series is a thread on my Ravelry forum where a new conversation topic related to knitting is posted every week. Participants in the threads are entered into a monthly giveaway where they can win either one of my patterns, yarn in my stash or receive a surprise package filled with goodies from Japan!

This week's topic comes from my amazing moderator! She asks: What piece of advice would you give your younger self as a beginner knitter?

The FO in the image above comes from my first garment project (about five months into when I first started knitting) - and additionally this was my first commissioned piece. While the FO came out nicely and the recipient was happy with the result, there was one thing I should have done while knitting this: do a gauge swatch. My final gauge was off just so slightly so the resulting piece was an inch or so shorted than what it should have been. I thought blocking it aggressively could fix that, but now, I know so much better. I keep the aggressive blocking for my shawls and the regular "wash and lay flat" treatment for my garment pieces.

So the piece of advice I would have given my younger self: save time and do a gauge swatch!

What about you? What advice would you have given to yourself? Join in on the conversation here!


Last week I asked: What makes an interesting knit? Here are some of the responses from some lovely Ravelry members!

From nakamili

An interesting knit for me is one in which I get to learn a new technique. Mostly to do with the shaping of the garment. Things like short rows, raglan increasing or decreasing or a new kind of heel shaping that I haven’t used before.
I think that I like variety that comes with knitting 2-3 projects at a time. I love having a mindless knit that I can work on when I’m knitting with others or taking a project on the go. I do like a challenge though, so something that makes me think, but not so hard it drives me nuts trying to figure it out. I, too, like textures, but I find doing (yo k2tog) over and over trips me up on endless shawl rows. For some reason I must check out and forget one or two yarn overs! if I’ve been knitting on a big project, I’ll choose something small, like a hat or tea coaster to give myself a break. I’m drawn to patterns using fingering, Sport or Dk since I like to wear lighter weight projects most of the time where I live. I tend to stay away from lace as I worry it will snag and ruin all my hard work!

Rudipatoodee, I gotta agree with you about the lace yarn! It's a pain to fix mistakes in that!

From aersknits

I like mostly single-color patterns, with texture or stockinette stitch with an interesting break of pattern with lace or texture - like a lot of others have been writing about!

Looking at my recent projects on Ravelry, I see that I like using worsted weight yarn with projects that have short repeats of texture (easy to memorize!). Also, I really like cables. My Bloomsbury, Romantic TML, and my Sister Shalom Cardigan all have stockinette stitch with just a bit of some interesting texture. I’ve made four of my Mal Cowls, and four Man Hats!! (They have similar, easy texture.) I REALLY liked knitting my Blanca Cable Sweater, even though I made a terrible mistake and had to rip out a lot to fix it. But, I don’t think I have been as motivated for a while since I finished that sweater, since I enjoyed it so much.

Finally, I also enjoy nice construction and finishing details, such as in a sock or sweater. In socks, I really like Cookie A’s designs. In sweaters, I like raglans and saddle shoulders that are pullovers - with texture. (hint hint here’s some designing ideas!) ;)

(Hint taken, aersknits!)

I noticed that the majority of answers were along the lines of: alternating textures and simple lace. I'm taking note of this for future designs!

Let's Chat!: What Makes an Interesting Knit?

The Let’s Chat series is a thread on my Ravelry forum where a new conversation topic related to knitting is posted every week. Participants in the threads are entered into a monthly giveaway where they can win either one of my patterns, yarn in my stash or receive a surprise package filled with goodies from Japan!

Everyone has their own comfort and enjoyability level when it comes to knitting. For me, I enjoy knitting garter stitch because of it's simplicity and the resulting wonderful texture, but sometimes I find myself needing a good lace chart to focus on. I have a more difficult time wanting to knit intricate cables as I find using the cable needle cumbersome. And as much as I love the look of stockinette, it can get tiring after a while (but I suppose the upside to it is because it is such a simple stitch, you can get it over with quicker!). One new technique I have found myself really enjoying is fair isle. I was always hesitant to want to design fair-isle for my patterns but after the first couple of practices (both flat and in the round) I really like it! Having to pay attention to the chart doesn't bother me at all and the concentration needed to manage the floats, change colors and reading the chart correctly really draws me in. It's still a slow process for me since I "throw" knit, but it's truly enchanting. 

So how about you? What knitting techniques do you enjoy while knitting? What design elements capture your attention and keep you invested for the entirety of the knit? Share your thoughts on the Ravelry thread here!


I thought my moderator asked a really good question last week so I thought I would share some of the answers I found to be really helpful (though I did enjoy reading everyone's responses!). The question was: how do you keep track of your projects?

Some of the answers:

From yarnoverseas: 

I keep up a notebook with details of the yarn, stitches, needles and a small sample of the yarn I used. As I mainly made stuff for others so far I also scribbled notes for whom and which occasion. And sometimes if they wanted to pay me for it how much I got out of it so I could justify new yarn lol!

For counting I’m either using the info wrap of one skein, I always keep one in my document box, and write it on that one. Or lately I downloaded a simple stitch counter app.

From macewoman:

I always print out the pattern I’m using. I’ve tried putting them in a plastic liner to keep nice and pretty. Nope, doesn’t work. There is no trouble seeing which pattern I’ve knitted, because it looks like it was stopped just short of going through a shredder. It is folded here and there (looks like one of those old maps after a car trip vacation), scrunched up, usually with something spilled on it and there are marks and notes everywhere. Ink, pen or marker, and in multiple colors. The pattern is ALWAYS in the bag with the knitting, so I never lose it.
I have friends that keep a knitting notebook and have every project they’ve ever done. I’m always a bit jealous and then I remember that I just can’t do it. I consider Ravelry my notebook and try to put any pertinent info in the project page.

From dominique69:

I have a stitch counter, I have an app on my Iphone, but for me the notebook is essential. It looks like crap, but I always seem to understand myself. Phew. Numbers, lines, scribbles.

And lastly from Sofichan:

When I knit, I use my semainier to track the progress of my work. And I print the pattern because I add notes and then when I knit again the same pattern, I remember what I changed and what I need to change. I also have a notebook where I write to keep track of knitted works !

(She included pictures of it as well, so cool!)

Let's Chat!: How do You Keep Track of Your Projects?

The Let’s Chat series is a thread on my Ravelry forum where a new conversation topic related to knitting is posted every week. Participants in the threads are entered into a monthly giveaway where they can win either one of my patterns, yarn in my stash or receive a surprise package filled with goodies from Japan!

his week's Let's Chat topic is brought to you by my lovely forum Moderator. She comes up with some of the best and thought provoking topics, as well as making sure it is also beneficial and educational for everyone. This week she asks: How do you keep track of your projects? Do you print out the pattern? Do you use an iPad or Kindle? Do you use a notebook to help with the math?


I had to think a bit further back for this question as I rarely knit other designer's patterns (which I should change soon). But when I was still learning how to knit, I believe that I would print out the pattern to take with me along with a pencil to mark any areas I was having difficultly with or needed my extra focus. If I purchased a printed pattern from an LYS, I will keep it in its plastic folder and store it away safely. Other times I would just leave the pattern on my computer screen if I knew I was going to be home all day. Now when I'm knitting up the sample of my own pattern, I will usually keep it on the screen. However if there is a lace/cable chart, I may print it out, but only if the husband and I can't decide which computer we want to use to watch Netflix movies on! Otherwise, everything stays on the computer. For the more technical, mathy side of things, I use both excel charts and my notebook to jot down numbers and simple equations. 

How about you? How do you keep track of your projects? Head over the Ravelry thread here to share your knit tips and possibly learn some tricks from other knitters!

Let's Chat!: When Did You Fall in Love With Knitting?

The Let's Chat series is a thread on my Ravelry forum where a new conversation topic related to knitting is posted every week. Participants in the threads are entered into a monthly giveaway where they can win either one of my patterns, yarn in my stash or receive a surprise package filled with goodies from Japan!

Let's go back in time this week and talk about what got you really, truly in love with knitting. Not particularly when you first started knitting, but when you really fell in love with it and found yourself addicted to it! I think everyone here has pretty much reached that point of knit addict?


I remember first learning how to knit when I was 12 or 13. It was for a church activity for the young girls and this week a lady came in to teach use how to knit a garter stitch scarf. I was a craft-sy person so the idea of knitting was intriguing to me, but I did not have the patience to finish more than five inches of this scarf, so I put it away and promptly forgot everything I had learnt in that one hour lesson! 

The moment when I fell in love with knitting was when I picked it up in January 2014. I was extremely bored (I was living at home and working part-time while my then fiance was living in Japan as I was applying for my US citizenship) so I decided I would learn how to knit as part of my New Year's Resolution. My first attempts back in the craft were awkward and not pretty. However after finishing my first project, a simple stockinette cowl, I immediately cast-on for my next project (which were several headbands). This cowl was the first thing I had ever completed. I liked to draw or sketch but I never saw a drawing to completion. Just seeing things fly off the needles sparked the fire that you see today. 

I find myself falling in love with knitting everyday, as I'm always learning new things - whether it is a new technique, trying new yarn or making new friends in the knitting community!

How about you? Share your knit love story in the Ravelry group here!


Let's Chat!: What Yarn to Keep, What Yarn to Give?

The Let’s Chat series is a thread on my Ravelry forum where a new conversation topic related to knitting is posted every week. Participants in the threads are entered into a monthly giveaway where they can win either one of my patterns, yarn in my stash or receive a surprise package filled with goodies from Japan!

Yarns that I would never give away because they are so scratchy

My lovely moderator on my Ravelry forum is in charge of asking the "Let's Chat" topic every other week to help me out a bit (my mind is not that great at asking creative questions). This week she asks: 

How do you determine what yarn to keep for yourself and what yarn to use as a gift/other people/charity?

I'm not going to lie, this is a tricky question for me since the majority of the yarn I purchase are for design projects, and I no longer have the luxury of going to a yarn store and making impulsive purchases (it has happened before though). However, since the yarn swap, I have found some balls of yarn that I've exchanged for something new - sock yarns, leftover fingering weight yarns... I usually try to exchange good quality yarns that I know I won't have any use for in the future. Any acrylics I have in my stash are for the "donation" pile.

I do need to keep some of my yarns that I know can't be used in any future projects for swatches, testing out design ideas, practicing stitches and experimenting with different constructions. I keep these ones because they are low quality yarns (see image above) so I don't think many knitters would appreciate them (they are ridiculously itchy) but still serve a purpose.

The yarns I keep, as mentioned before, are ones that are going towards design projects, and are often high quality yarn brands, thus were quite expensive. Haha!

So how about you? What yarn do you guard for yourself, and which ones are you willing to give away? Join in on the conversation on the Ravelry forum!