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One of the things I like the best about learners is that they ask great questions.

‘Cause – honestly – if you think about it – once you lose that tentative, little bit scared you’re gonna make a mess, really don’t feel confident edge – you kinda forget how daunting it can feel to learn a new thing as a knitter (or crocheter).

It thrills my heart to get to sit next to a learner and see that “aha” moment – when it all clicks, and everything makes sense.

I probably get more out of teaching someone how to knit or crochet than the newbie knitter or crocheter does!

NOTHING like it!

The other day I had an excellent question from Heidi. She’s an amazing young woman with young children who wanted to learn how to knit and help us out with the BSD Project. I like her so much! 🙂 She’s got a very full plate – she’s wife, mother, manager of a busy household, and she’s preparing to bring another precious baby into the world. Yet she’s taking a few precious moments to learn to knit! I love her heart!

Heidi is knitting her very first anything. A hat, knit in the round, with a rolled brim. A great first-time out project. She saw Kari’s hat a number of weeks ago – knit with the first 20 rows in stockinette, then a seed stitch pattern for 10 rows – super cute! Heidi decided she’d like to try that, as well.

On Monday I got to sit with Heidi as she learned to purl so that she could execute the seed stitch patterning. She picked it up right away and was off to the races!

Yesterday I got an email from Heidi with a question. She wanted to know how to remember which stitch she was supposed to do next on the seed stitch.

For those who aren’t familiar with seed stitch – here’s a little refresher:

(You can click on the picture to take you to the link on the Walker Treasury Project blog.)

In essence, it’s simply this:

Row 1: knit 1, purl 1 to the end.

Row 2: purl 1, knit 1 to the end.

So – when you reach row 47 and you’re thinking – “Um… what was the last row? Knit 1 first? Or purl 1 first?”

The easiest way to know what to do is to look at the stitch in the row last worked.

If the prior row stitch was a knit 1, then this row it’s a purl 1. You’re doing the opposite of what you did the prior row.

This little chart may help.

Really – the bottom line here is learning how to recognize what is a knit stitch and what is a purled stitch, right? (And it helps when you’re in the middle of your work trying to figure it out to hold your yarn to the rear of your work (as if you’re about to knit the next stitch) so that you can see more clearly what was last worked.)

The knit stitch looks a little like a “V” and the purl stitch looks like a “bump” or ridge. Which seems reasonable enough if there’s a veritable sea of one or the other together. It’s when you mix it up a bit and have one right next to the other where it can become a bit fuzzy on the whole recognition thing.

(line drawing of seed stitch)

There will be those who will cringe at this suggestion – but honestly – it’s a valuable thing to do:

Guess and go for it.

What’s the worst thing that can happen?

You might end up with the wrong one and your pattern won’t be true.

But – if that helps you to learn to be able to recognize what the pattern ought to look like – huge victory there, right?

Part of the reason I know my way around Southern Spain so well is because I’ve gotten lost there a LOT. Funny how figuring out how to do things the wrong way helps you recognize the right way a little better, huh?

Same thing with knitting. Go for it – try it – if it looks wrong, tink back a bit and re-try. Or if it’s just too far gone, frog it and start over. Life will go on. You will have learned something, and will be a better knitter for it.

And – if you’re just not sure and afraid to go forward – give me a call, we’ll meet up at Starbucks and knit a bit, okay? 🙂