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Why You're the Boss of Your Own Knitting

September 16, 2019 4 min read

Why You're the Boss of Your Own Knitting

If you’re new to knitting, chances are, you’ve asked a question, or expressed a frustration, and someone said, “You’re the boss of your own knitting.”

And you went… "Well yeah, who else is doing the knitting?” If you’ve been knitting a while, chances are, you’re the one who said that to someone, to be reassuring. 

Let’s unpack this. First of all, there are no “rules” but there are general guidelines. Such as….yes, you should probably still use knitting needles and yarn to knit. Yes, if there’s a pattern, and you want it to look identical to the photo, you should probably follow it. But, there’s a lot of wiggle room for less panic and more fun.

Here’s what we mean when we tell you "You're the Boss of Your Own Knitting."

The only continuity factor in knitting is the size of your needles and the weight of your yarn. Everything else that goes into it will not be the same - from how you hold your needles, to how tight you knit, to how you sit. 

For example, I bet if you give the exact same needles and yarn to two different people and ask them to knit 10 rows of a certain number of stitches, both of those pieces will be slightly different. Your masterpiece and it will never be exactly like someone’s else’s. 

This is the essential reason why you will always be the boss of your knitting.

Here’s where the reassurance part comes in.

You find that perfect piece you want to knit, purchase the pattern, and the fun begins—right after the decision making, which can turn from fun to frustration and even fear.  

From picking the "right" yarn to finding the right needle size, material, and type to use, all of these choices are "boss" decisions. 

Should you use exactly what the designer used? 

Should you be bold and venture out to not only a different brand of yarn and a different color?

Maybe even a different weight?

There are a myriad of options here… and all of them are just as "right" as the next. 

Of course, choosing a different brand or weight or fiber will result in you having to make some substitution decisions when it comes to needle size, stitch count, etc.

But hey, why not? You are the boss of your knitting remember? 

This is where utilizing the Internet (YouTube) and asking for help from fellow knitters (Facebook, Ravelry, at your Local Yarn Store or other forums) come in handy. Even a “boss” needs employees and colleagues!

The most daunting thing out there, though, might be everyone’s least favorite word: Gauge. 

Do you actually spend the time or don’t you? The wise knitters say “save time by checking your gauge.” So you do you have to listen? 

Gauge is one of those tricky things that you can choose to follow or not.

Really, it's just a guideline, but structured pieces such as sweaters and other garments where more of an exact fit may be important are likely a time you want to invest the time in figuring out gauge. 

At the same time, who among us hasn’t fiddled with gauge and not knit it exactly to what was recommended and it turned out okay? Probably nobody! 

At the same time, who among us hasn’t fiddled with gauge and not knit it exactly to what was recommended and it turned out okay? Probably nobody! 

Alrighty. You’ve got your needles, decided on yarn and gauge, and it’s time to cast on. Most patterns simply say "cast on a number of stitches" but if you think about it, just how many ways can you cast on? 

Yet another moment for you to make a decision.

The designer may suggest or "require" a certain cast on, but again, there are no rules here! You are free to decide to cast on how you like.

Next....what stitches do the pattern call for? It's time to decide if you are going to work them exactly as instructed or throw your own twist in—or substitute one stitch for another. 

How many of you have adjusted a pattern because you just felt that you wanted to? 

Did you cheat a little and skip a row, or add eyelets, or do a k2tog instead of a SSK? Maybe that shawl says to decrease by a slip, slip, knit but you really prefer the look of a slip 1, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over.

Honestly? Good for you. Experiment. Enjoy yourself. See how it turns out. 

Patterns are guidelines. That's why sometimes, people even call them "recipes." If you like your food spicier, you're gonna add more Paprika.

It’s up to you how closely you would like to follow the instructions. You have other choices too. Use stitch markers or don’t use stitch markers. If the pattern is too hard and causing you frustration, you can put it aside and start another and not come back to it for an entire year. 

Let’s not forget there are different ways to knit and to purl—how you choose to achieve these stitches is entirely up to you. 

Remember, the end result, or a finished project, can often seem like the most "exciting" part of a project, but true happiness is when you do something for the sheer joy it brings in and of itself—never sacrifice that part of the process. 


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