Reinvent Your Knitting – 5 Tips to Beat a Creative Slump

How do you “reinvent” your knitting when you feel uninspired? If you’ve ever found yourself to be in a bit of a creative slump when it comes to your knitting, don’t panic! This is bound to happen, but there are some steps we can take to re-ignite our passion!

Is your knitting hum-drum lately?

In a slump with your knitting? Try these 5 tips to recharge!

5 Tips to Beat a Creative Slump

#1 Try something new

This seems like a no-brainer, but instead of jumping into another scarf or “safe” project, what if you did the OPPOSITE of what you normally do? This will get you out of your comfort zone and into a whole new perspective. You can also check out the new issue of Creative Knitting to get those juices flowing!

#2 Experiment

When you find a stitch pattern you love, really explore it and pull it apart. Play with different needles and see what happens. Exaggerate and go really big or really small on the size you choose.

Make a yarn bouquet to make you and others HaPpY!

Make a yarn bouquet to make you and others HaPpY!

#3 Teach

Round up the kids and arrange a fun “bouquet of needles” and a basket of colorful yarn. You’ll suddenly see some really focused kids!

#4 Take a walk

Get those creative juices flowing — then you become a conduit for creativity! There’s something amazing about moving and how this can ignite ideas to flow!

#5 Take a class

Take an online knitting class like one here on Annie’s, or take a trip to your local yarn shop to see what kinds of classes are available to grow your skills.

Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn’t hurt the untroubled spirit either.”
― Elizabeth Zimmermann

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Editor Wants to Know- What’s Your Favorite Sweater from Creative Knitting, Winter 2014?

Hey! I’m sure you’ve got your plans underway for “THE” sweater of the winter season.

Combining knitting and crochet-- From your perspective, do you believe this to be a total faux pas, or do you absolutely relish in the thought of using both crafts together? Please share your thoughts!

Do you have a favorite sweater pattern from the Creative Knitting Winter 2014 issue? I’ve got just a few myself!

Do you have a favorite sweater from Creative Knitting, Winter 2014?

Here’s just a taste of what you’ll find…(we’ve got something for the guys too. Keep reading to the end!)

Quartz pullover-- ultra-feminine layers and a delicate neckline is a practical choice for the season. All stockinette stitch makes for carefree knitting. Love that!

Quartz pullover– ultra-feminine layers and a delicate neckline is a practical choice for the season. All stockinette stitch makes for carefree knitting. Love that!

For a "Chanel-esque" look, try the Radiant Tweed Cardi. You can dress it up, or dress it down for a playful look.

For a “Chanel-esque” look, try the Radiant Tweed Cardi. You can dress it up, or dress it down for a playful look.

For the guys…

I’ve been getting a bit of feedback from you about how you’ve been wanting to see more designs for men, so here’s the Poudre Pullover hoodie. which I think the guys are going to love.

My husband Jay and son London are wearing the two designs below. I must say they are handsome devils, don’t ya think? It’s nice to have “live-in” models :)

My hubby, Jay sporting the Poudre Pullover, designed by Barry Klein courtesy of Trendsetter Yarns.

My hubby, Jay sporting the Poudre Pullover, designed by Barry Klein, courtesy of Trendsetter Yarns.

My son London wearing Jumping Bean, designed by Lean Skvagerson, made with Berroco Inca Tweed Bulky.

My son London wearing Jumping Bean, designed by Lean Skvagerson, made with Berroco Inca Tweed Bulky.

 

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Mindful Mondays: What’s Your Special Holiday Knitting Story?

Happy Cyber Monday! Now that the Holidays are upon us, do you feel a little stress?

Do you have useful tips or an inspiring story to share about how knitting has helped you through the craziness of the Holiday season?

If “sweaters could talk,” I know mine would have have lots to say about how knitting has provided me with so much comfort during this time of year.

How has knitting helped you stay sane during the holidays? Share your story!

How has knitting helped you stay sane during the holidays? Share your story!

What’s your story?

I can’t wait to hear from you!

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The Editor Wants to Know- What’s Holding You Back From Making Your First Sweater?

In this post I asked the question: Scarves or Sweaters? Many of you said “Why not both!” I couldn’t agree more.

Combining knitting and crochet-- From your perspective, do you believe this to be a total faux pas, or do you absolutely relish in the thought of using both crafts together? Please share your thoughts!

The Editor Wants to Know: What’s Holding You Back from Making Your First Fabulous Sweater?

But what about those of you who are struggling with crossing that bridge from scarf to sweater?

What’s Holding You Back From Making Your First Sweater?

What's Holding You Back From Making Your First Sweater?

This just might be the one! Echoes of Orchid, Creative Knitting, Winter 2014

Is it fear of finishing perhaps? Or maybe the expense of purchasing all the yarn you’ll need to complete the project? These are two very legitimate concerns.

Please share your answers in the comments below. You can also chime in on the Creative Knitting Facebook page by clicking here.

Join the conversation on Facebook!

Join the conversation on Facebook!

I can’t wait to hear from you!

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Fan the Flames Knitalong—Week 3: Time for the Perfect Finish: Binding Off, Fastening Off & Blocking

By Patty Lyons

I’m so glad we had this time together — just to have a laugh or sing a song … anyone, anyone? OK, for those of you not old enough to remember The Carol Burnett Show, that’s my way of saying it’s time for our KAL to come to a close!

We’ve covered a lot of ground! Last week, we learned how to fix mistakes, but there are still three important steps left: binding off, fastening off and blocking.

Just as we needed a special cast-on to travel around the path of our lace, we also need a special bind-off. There are many bind-offs that will give you a bit more room, but here’s one of my favorites.

Once we bind off, we need to finish off in a special way for an in-the-round project. First let’s talk about the last stitch. I’m not a fan of stringing your yarn tail through the last stitch, because that actually creates an extra stitch. It sticks out like a little lump. When I’m down to my last stitch of a bind off, here’s what you do:

Cut your yarn,

Cut your yarn,

Lift up on your needle, pulling the last stitch up until the cut yarn comes out.

Lift up on your needle, pulling the last stitch up until the cut yarn comes out.

Here, you can see that the final bound-off stitches are higher than the beginning of your round. That’s because when you work in the round, you are really working in spirals (think of a slinky), so we have to smooth down the gap.

Here, you can see that the final bound-off stitches are higher than the beginning of your round. That’s because when you work in the round, you are really working in spirals (think of a slinky), so we have to smooth down the gap.

Start by putting the yarn tail on a tapestry needle and pulling it through the base of the braid of the first bound-off stitch. You’ve now created 1/2 a stitch.

Start by putting the yarn tail on a tapestry needle and pulling it through the base of the braid of the first bound-off stitch. You’ve now created 1/2 a stitch.

Finish off the stitch by inserting the needle into the last bound-off stitch.

Finish off the stitch by inserting the needle into the last bound-off stitch.

Ta-da! Your newly created “stitch” closes the gap between the first bound-off stitch and the last bound-off stitch.

Ta-da! Your newly created “stitch” closes the gap between the first bound-off stitch and the last bound-off stitch.

Now you can weave in the end on the wrong side of the cowl by going in and out of the purl bumps.

Now you can weave in the end on the wrong side of the cowl by going in and out of the purl bumps.

Now that your little beauty is finished, it’s time to really finish. And that’s where blocking comes in!

The nice thing about blocking is that you can control the shaping.

The nice thing about blocking is that you can control the shaping.

On this cowl I decided I wanted the base to be blocked a bit wider so it would drape down over my shoulders, so I’ve pinned out the base to be wider. Here I am spraying the whole piece with water.  I’ll gently tap that water in and allow it to dry completely. Once one side is dry, I can flip it over and do the same thing on the other side.

Blocking also helps you finish off the shaping of the lace. Here you can see the points of the flame stitches pulled up and pinned.

Blocking also helps you finish off the shaping of the lace. Here you can see the points of the flame stitches pulled up and pinned.

Once it’s totally dry, you can remove the pins and the shape will hold! Isn’t wool an amazing thing!

Once it’s totally dry, you can remove the pins and the shape will hold! Isn’t wool an amazing thing!

Here’s my Zara version of the cowl blocked so the sides remained straight up and down.

Here’s the Tahki Zara version of the cowl blocked so the sides remained straight up and down.

You decide!

At the end of the day it’s ALL your decision. I hope this knitalong has demonstrated just how many decisions we knitters are free to make. The pattern is just our jumping-off point, but every step of the way, from our yarn choice, our needle choice, our cast-on method, how we create our stitches, our bind-off, blocking … it’s all up to us! And really, isn’t that great?

Happy knitting and embrace the knitter’s decisions. It’s what makes our knitting OURS!

Patty

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