Tips for expanding your knitting skills

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beaded lace knitting
Projects that combine techniques, such as beading and lace, are good for expanding your knitting skills
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Expand your skills by trying new knitting techniques

Have you mastered the basics on a few beginner projects and now want to become an advanced knitter? Check out these tips for expanding your knitting skills.


Pick Up a Lace Pattern

Knitting lace is a great way of expanding your knitting skills because it demands your attention at all stages. You must be particularly mindful of all yarn-overs and left- or right-slanting decreases.

Search for free knitting patterns online and look for patterns identified as "lace," you will find a variety of lace patterns. You can make a hat, shawl, baby blanket, tank top, gloves, and more in your quest to become an advanced knitter.


Try Colorwork

Colorwork in knitting mainly consists of two techniques: intarsia and stranded. (For an excellent discussion of the difference between these techniques and instructions on working them, check out Theresa Vinson Stenersen's column in the online magazine Knitty.)

You have several good reasons to try colorwork if you're interested in expanding your knitting skills. If you've never learned to follow a chart, colorwork will force you to learn. Knowing how to read charts can come in handy with other techniques; they make working cables and knitting lace a lot quicker and easier than if you work from written directions. Colorwork can also result in some stunning designs.


Enjoy Cables

Cables often look more intricate than they really are. Many cable patterns are easy to memorize after you work a few rows. But cables are another way of expanding your knitting skills. You will learn how texture can create an inviting design. You will also see how you can combine different cable patterns to create a larger pattern all your own. Cables can also be combined with colorwork, so the possible variations are too large to spend time calculating.

The more you experiment with advanced techniques and consult with other knitters, you may learn two things: (1) additional tips for expanding your knitting skills in a given technique and (2) tricks to make that technique easier and/or quicker. For example, when you are working small cables, you don't need a cable needle. In fact, if you learn to knit cables without a cable needle and you do it well, you will actually be able to knit cables at a faster pace than if you fussed with an extra needle.


Add Embroidery

You will occasionally run across a pattern that incorporates embroidery, which is another good way of expanding your knitting skills. It teaches you new abilities and also can result in a prettier, more unique project. You can also add embroidery to your projects even when the pattern does not specify. Embroidery can jazz up plain knitted fabrics or add an advanced element to an otherwise easy project. In fact, modifying knitting patterns according your own tastes, ideas, or inspirations is often a major step on your journey to become an advanced knitter.

Incorporate Beading

Yet another way of expanding your knitting skills is to incorporate beading into patterns or try knitting patterns written for beading. Sweaters, shawls, purses, and jewelry are a few of the knitted items that most often use beads.

In short, the best way to become an advanced knitter is to always be looking for ways of expanding your knitting skills. Trying new techniques is the best way to grow your skills. There are other techniques not included in this list that could help you in expanding your knitting skills. Give one of them a try when you're ready to begin a new project. Tips for expanding your knitting skills can help you with specific problem areas, but practice is ultimately necessary for you to see results.

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