In Which the Pirate Improves.

3KCBWDAY6 – Improving Your Skillset
How far down the road to learning your craft do you believe yourself to be? Are you comfortable with what you know or are you always striving to learn new skills and add to your knowledge base? Take a look at a few knitting or crochet books and have a look at some of the skills mentioned in the patterns. Can you start your amigurumi pieces with a magic circle, have you ever tried double knitting, how’s your intarsia? If you are feeling brave, make a list of some of the skills which you have not yet tried but would like to have a go at, and perhaps even set yourself a deadline of when you’d like to have tried them by.

It’s a strange question for me, because while I can definitely get behind the idea of learning as a road, I don’t think of it as a journey with a destination. I’ve been knitting for seven years, spinning for four years, and crocheting for one, and in general I can do the things I set out to do.

There are most certainly new techniques and skills that I’d like to learn. I want to make a sweater that fits properly, I want to design more patterns. But then I’m comfortable with what I do know, and could probably be happy cranking out armwarmers, washcloths, and plain socks like the one here for a really long time. I don’t generally try new things just for the sake of trying them; they have to be attached to the desire for a specific project.

Spinning is a little different. My default yarn, the stuff that just comes out of my hands most naturally, is a fine single. I want to be able to spin deliberately, to pull off a beautiful woollen long-draw or to get the rhythm of chain-plying down. When I’m knitting, I can choose the yarn and needle size for the project I’m making. Spinning seems like something different altogether. I don’t have any kind of learning plan in place, but I am going to take part in this year’s Tour de Fleece and see what I learn from spinning every day for three weeks.

As for deadlines, I try not to bring them into my hobby. Every time I have, I start resenting the project. It’s not a matter of bravery for me, but of being relaxed and enjoying working with yarn for its own sake.

To read what other people are writing for today’s prompt in Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, search Google for 3KCBWDAY6or click here.

21 Responses

  1. Tracy says:

    Admire your thinking. You should go with what works for you and if deadlines turn it into a chore then that’s just not right. So glad I’ve found your blog x

  2. Sue says:

    spinning – its sounds like a foreign language….. long draw chain-plying?!

    • Pirate says:

      Doesn’t every different hobby have its secret words, understood by none but those who have been inducted into the mysteries? :)

  3. Pumpkin says:

    Your spinning is just beautiful! What kind of wheel do you have?

    • Pirate says:

      Thank you! In this picture, I’ve been spinning on a Kromski Sonata. I just love it; it fits me perfectly and I keep it next to my computer desk so that I can turn and spin a few yards between typing. I also have an Ashford Traditional that’s become more decoration than anything else, as it’s not as comfortable to spin on. I’ve been considering refinishing it and selling it, but I do love how it looks…

  4. Renee Anne says:

    I’ve only been spinning about a year and I have no idea what any of the spinning terms are or the difference in what I do versus what someone else does in terms of long-draw or woolen or whatever.

    The funny part? I have no real desire to know right now.

    I spin. I like what I spin (mostly). I ply. I like what I ply (mostly). For me, it works out :)

    Someday, perhaps when my knitting comes to a standstill, I’ll be more inclined to learn more about my spinning….

    • Pirate says:

      I like what I spin too (mostly) but sometimes I want to deliberately make something different, in order to knit something different. For example, I love these fine fine singles but I also want to knit a big chunky handspun hat.

  5. Truly Myrtle says:

    Your spinning is quite lovely! I agree, I don’t generally try things for the sake of it – but I’m always thrilled to learn something new!

  6. Karen says:

    Yowza your singles are gorgeous!!

  7. Gracey says:

    See and I know no spinning lingo at all, it doesn’t interest me, except for the fact that it produces lovely, lovely yarn….like yours…that is gorgeous!

    • Pirate says:

      I didn’t think it interested me either, and then this kind woman at Maryland Sheep and Wool offered to teach me to spin in fifteen minutes or less. I took her up on it and it’s been a ‘problem’ ever since. :)

  8. evelyn says:

    Tour de Fleece? That sounds wonderful … looking forward to keeping up with your progress.

    • Pirate says:

      Spinning every day that the Tour de France rides! It should be lots of fun and a real intensive upgrade to my skills.

  9. autumngeisha says:

    Your spinning is gorgeous! I agree that a skill has to be connected to a desirable project for the learning of it to be fun and interesting.

    • Pirate says:

      Thank you! I guess that’s why I’ve never been interested in the Master certification from TKGA, it just seems like knitting a bunch of swatches for the sake of knitting them. I’d rather make things! :)

  10. I go about it the other way, I think. Learn a new technique, and then figure out how many things I can design with it! Entrelac, thrumming…steeking next!

  11. Keri says:

    I agree totally. Deadlines take the fun out of things. That’s why if I’m knitting something for say my BFF’s birthday in November, I knit it over the summer. Still gets done just way in advance and I can enjoy knitting it. Your spinning is outstanding. I just need to figure out how to spend more time with my wheel.

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