Friday, August 13, 2010

Selecting A Project

When I teach beginners, I start out with basic stitches and ask the student to focus on mastering the hand-eye coordination before moving on to making "something".  But there comes that day when it is time to make "something".  So . . . where do you start when selecting a project?  What things should you consider?

I like to start with the "something" and decide what it will be.  Do you want home decor, something useful, something pretty, something to wear? Are you ready for a large project or do you want something that will be finished quickly? 

Great first projects are scarves, dishcloths or washcloths, hot pads, placemats and/or coasters.  All these projects are relatively quick to make and don't require shaping (i.e., they can be square or rectangular or even round).  They also don't require a large quantity or fine yarn.

Once you've decided on the "something", it's time to find a pattern. There are many places to find patterns.  In my post on free online pattern resouces, I listed links for several sites that offer free patterns. Public libraries are a good source of pattern books; bookstores, as well as stores that sell yarn and your local yarn shop have many patterns to choose from.

Now that you have the pattern, what should you look for?  I always like to start with the Skill Level. If you are a beginner, choose a pattern with Beginner or Easy Skill Level.  Next, look through the Materials section and make sure that nothing out of the ordinary is called for (such as a hairpin lace loom).  Finally, scan the pattern instructions.  If you know all or most of the instructions, I'd say you are ready!

Ready to select a yarn, that is. For most of us, our hand automatically reaches for yarns with rich textures.  You guessed what I'm about to say.  Avoid boucle or nubby yarns to start with.  At this stage, you've trained your hands and brain to work together, but your eyes still need some training as well.  Smooth and light-colored yarns aid your eyes in "seeing" the stitches.

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