The 3 Decisions You Have When Choosing a New Project

Woman thinking of knitting patternsIn yesterday’s post I asked you to think about where you would like to be with your knitting one year from today.

If you struggled to answer, or if you couldn’t quite come up with the right kind of project for you to knit next, I have just the thing to help.

It is a way of thinking called the 3-Challenges Model that I created to help my students knit what is most rewarding for them.

The goal: pick something that is just a tiny bit more challenging than what you feel comfortable doing right now.

This puts you in a state of what psychologists call FLOW, which means you can get totally absorbed in the project and be learning happily while you knit, and you don’t get overwhelmed because the project is too hard or bored because it’s too easy.

KS Webinar slides.009-pick-the-right-pattern for me

In my next post I’ll give you a great visual guide you can refer to, but today I’m going to teach you to tell how difficult a project is just by looking at the pattern.

Since most yarn stores don’t organize their sample projects by difficulty or techniques required, you’ll have to walk up to the project that catches your eye and ask to take a look at the pattern.

Choose one or two of the following challenges:

Challenge #1 – Patience

When you look at a pattern, notice how long and/or dense is is. Scan over the whole thing to see how many steps it has.

KS Webinar slides.011-Patience and concentration

Maybe it’s all techniques that you already know, but it’s three pages long — maybe it’s just three pages of knits and purls in different combinations.

It would challenge your patience to approach a long, multi-step pattern like this and, knowing that you already know the “moves” involved, to just take it one step at a time, being careful to write down where you are and to cross off or highlight what you’ve done so you don’t get lost.

Challenge #2 – Knowledge of Knitting Abbreviations

Look over the Abbreviations section in your pattern and see if you know the meanings of the abbreviations there by heart. If you don’t, as long as there aren’t like 20 new abbreviations, this will be a good opportunity for you to add more “words” to your vocabulary as you study of the language of knitting.

KS Webinar slides.012-knowledge

As you knit, approach any abbreviation that you don’t know as if you were learning a foreign language – maybe ask a friend and/or look the word up in a trusted dictionary. (You could spend time Googling it, but I’ll give you a faster solution below.) Try to memorize the new abbreviations as you go so next time you won’t have to look them up.

A word of caution: if you’re reading the pattern “out loud” in your head as you knit, I recommend that you “say” the full term when you see its abbreviation.

For example, if I see a “K1, M1,” I know that the M1 stands for Make One, the invisible left-leaning increase. If I’m reading aloud, I’m going to say to myself, “Knit One, Make One,” not “Knit One, Em One.”

Saying the full name of the technique as you knit will help you tell your brain what it is that you actually need to do.

To help you look up knitting abbreviations quickly and easily, (and to save you time becoming an expert at Googling) I’ve completely overhauled and updated my free Video Knitting Dictionary – download it at the end of this post.

Challenge #3 – Challenge Your Hands

If your pattern calls for techniques that you’ve never done before that involve you manipulating the yarn in a new way, you can consider this a good challenge for your hands.

KS Webinar slides.013-hands

Maybe you’ll need to make a hemmed edge, or make a bobble, or do a Pick Up and Knit. Anything that’s a little tricky for your hands the first time you try it will be a good challenge to increase your skills.

The Key To Success When Selecting Any Knitting Pattern: Choose Your Battles

Pick one or two of the above challenges to work on — don’t attempt all three at the same time. You may know from experience that you’ll just end up wasting yarn and giving yourself a headache and, although I hope not, questioning your knitting abilities (more on that in a few days!).

While you’re thinking on this, I’ll be back in a few days with a tool I invented – the Tree of Techniques.

It’s an easy visual way for you to see which projects are best for you based on what you what you’ve knitted in the past and where you want to go.

And remember, in a couple days — once you have your new project picked out — I’ll be sending KnitFreedom subscribers something quite special, so sign up below and stay tuned!

Free Download: Updated Video Knitting Dictionary

Leave a Comment

What do you think of this way of breaking down challenges? Do you use something similar? Have you come up with another way of challenging yourself without getting overwhelmed? What advice do you give to your friends?

Leave a comment and let me know!

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Webinar Replay – 3 Tips All Knitting Superstars Need to Know, Plus Brand New Tips and Content This Week

Graphics from the webinar 3 Tips Every Knitting Superstar Needs to KnowIt all started innocently enough, as most good stories do.

I wanted to connect more with my readers and share some helpful new tips so I decided to do a webinar and start a podcast. To tell you the truth, I was a little nervous (in a good way!) to be sharing this new content in a brand new format.

And then, something unbelievable happened.

There were so many students attending the webinars and learning about Knitting Superstar (my flagship course) that it crashed knitfreedom.com — multiple times!

Each webinar I’ve held has completely filled up, and I’m aflutter with the positive comments and emails we’ve gotten.

It quickly became clear that we needed to share this cool content out to ALL KnitFreedom readers.

So over the next week I’ll be posting my favorite tips from the webinar here on the blog for you to enjoy.

I’ll also be going more in-depth with detailed tips and techniques, plus downloadable resources you’ll want to keep at your fingertips… plus, there will be a very special surprise just for you, so stay tuned!

For now I’ll leave you with a question to consider:

If you and I were having a conversation a year from today, and you were looking back over the past year, what has to have happened in your knitting for you to feel happy with your progress? Continue reading

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Introducing The KnitFreedom Podcast! An Interview with Liat

Liat's happy headshotHello my Knitting Superstars! Welcome to my first KnitFreedom podcast.

I’ve been so busy working on improvements to KnitFreedom that I’ve really missed connecting with you- my students- and I thought this short podcast episode would be a fun and new way for us to connect.

I asked my good friend and KnitFreedom Marketing Mastermind Stacy to interview me, and she asked lots of good questions that you may want to know the answer to. Click below to listen to the interview — I hope you enjoy!

Oh, and please leave a comment on this post with any thoughts or feedback you have.

Click Below To Listen: Interview With Liat

Listen to our podcast in iTunes

Other Audio Options:
Listen in iTunes
Download the .mp4 audio file (for loading into your music player of choice)
Download a complete transcript of the interview

Prefer to Read? Here’s What We Covered, Plus Links

Stick figures interviewing and talkingThis interview and blog post is the first in a series that we’re doing around my upcoming free webinar, The 3 Tips All Knitting Superstars Need to Know.

It’s the first interview I’ve set up on my own, where I’m getting interviewed by someone I know and love, and who knows me, KnitFreedom, and you – our readers.

Some Background:

Woman dressed as super heroThe KnitFreedom website is my contribution to the knitting world — a tool that I hope will help people become Knitting Superstars, that is, confident, happy, curious knitters who can knit anything their heart desires whether they know how to knit it already or not.

I use video as my preferred teaching method because when I was teaching live classes at my local yarn stores, I couldn’t show my hands to everyone at once.

I was running around trying to show everyone, and I thought, “If I could just get a video camera on my hands, everyone could see what I’m explaining!”

An encouraging attitude is a big part of my teaching style. Many of my students have lots of hang-ups about learning — they think they’re too old, clumsy, or stupid to learn new and difficult things, and when they make a knitting “mistake,” it just seems to prove them right. I hope with my help students can learn to be more gentle with themselves and at peace with making mistakes.

For me, learning to catch and fix mistakes as just as important as the learning any technique itself. I even make mistakes in my own videos! I sometimes drop stitches or do a stitch wrong, and I just calmly show how to fix it and move on, which I hope sets a good example.

The highest compliment I’ve gotten is when a KnitFreedom student says that it feels like I am there with them as they are knitting, or that in their minds they can hear me encouraging them on.

What I’ve Been Up To This Summer with KnitFreedom

I haven’t been blogging much (understatement?) so I’m excited to get you all up to speed.

I’ve mostly been working on two things: the new website {{{cheering}}}} and my upcoming book, The Fearless Knitter.

KnitFreedom Website Overhaul – Update

knitfreedom new website screenshotThe website update that my developer, designer, and I been working on for the past year and a half was a much bigger undertaking than I could have foreseen. It’s probably a much fancier site (as far as user features) than it needs to be right off the bat, but at least it takes care of all the things that bug KnitFreedom subscribers and customers the most:

You’ll be able to:

  • find any video or technique easily – often in just one click.
  • Sign into your account and view all the classes you’ve bought.
  • See the patterns right on the pages if you’re signed in.
  • Forget about saving emails or remembering passwords to classes.

Plus I’ll have the ability to create the app that everyone’s waiting for which will enable you to watch your classes OFFLINE on any device. It’s not coming until next year, but we’re paving the way with this new website.

I’ve also learned a lot about what it means to run a business, with this project in particular. Here’s to asking for what you need!

At this point we are in the testing phase and the site should be live by the end of the year.

Upcoming Print Book: The Fearless Knitter

Stack of papersI have been working almost without cease on my first print book, which is due out in September of 2015.

The Fearless Knitter is primarily aimed at beginning-to-intermediate knitters and it will be sold in bookstores and yarn stores as well as online. Obviously it doesn’t have video, but I think you are all going to like what I came up with instead.

I didn’t want to do the same old thing as other knitting books that have “step-by-step” photos. I put “step-by-step” in quotes because it’s hard to show a lot of steps when the photos are really spaced out and there’s just a line or two of text in between. You end up having to imagine the movement that connects the two pictures.

I decided that I would put in as many photos as it takes so that you could just look at the pictures — I mean scan across the pictures with your eyes — and truly see the movement happening, like in stop motion video or a flip book.

I took over 8,000 photographs, 6,000 of which made it into the final version of the book. Here’s a tiny sample — a rough layout — of what the teaching tool will look like. I call it a step-by-step photo collage. This is one of the steps to fixing a dropped stitch.

Sample photo collage

My deadline for the manuscript was in August, so that kept me busy over the summer. I logged a lot of hours in front of the camera but no videos.

Knitted Anything Cool Lately? (Besides Socks)

Toe-Up SocksWell, if you must know, I am always knitting a pair of socks.

What I love about knitting socks is that if you have the Fleegle heel formula you can buy whatever yarn you want (I recommend machine-washable Merino wool) and knit socks out of it without checking your gauge or anything — you just check them by putting them on your feet.

When I went with my sister to go see Gone with the Wind on the big screen recently, the project I brought with me was an easy pair of two-at-a-time toe-up socks.

Having Fun With Mosaic Knitting

Desert Stripes mosaic pillowAs I was working on the Fearless Knitter manuscript I realized that a lot of books for beginners don’t introduce some of the more advanced techniques, like color knitting, soon enough.

I decided to put an easy version of color knitting, called Mosaic Knitting, into the book, with a versatile throw-pillow pattern for practice.

Mosaic Knitting is easy because although it uses two colors, you never knit with more than one at a time.

You do two rows with one color and then two rows with the other color — all you have to know how to do is count and slip stitches.

Teenage Stripes Mosaic Throw PillowI knitted two mosaic throw pillows for the book and I’m really proud of how they came out (shown above and left).

I’ve taken them to the upholsters now to get them turned into real pillows, but here you can see photos of the knitted front pieces.

Same pattern, two wildly different yarn choices — you can see how versatile this pattern would be.

Picking a self-striping yarn as the main color and a solid yarn as the contrasting color makes the projects look a lot more complex than they actually are.

What Have I Been Up To Personally?

In the past I’ve blogged about my adventures in Argentina, Spain, and Israel as I take KnitFreedom with me around the world. I don’t have anything as exotic to report right now, but I’m enjoying life all the same.

I’ve been living down in Southern California with my oldest sister — a lovely person whom I’ve never actually lived with because of our age difference. A request for temporary cat-sitting has turned into a seven-month “staycation” for me as I have fallen in love with her silly cats, her sun-soaked flower garden (complete with fountains and bird feeders), and a beginner surfing spot just 15 minutes away.

surfer girlI decided to make the most of it and took some surfing lessons and learned how to surf, although I’m still quite a novice.

That’s been great for my spirits and my health.

Another adventure I’ve done is indoor skydiving (Google it! It’s not scary at all) – the most expensive and thrilling four minutes you’ll ever experience outside of jumping out of a real plane or going heli-skiing in Alaska.

I also learned about getting healthy amounts of sun and keeping up with my Vitamin D – I’ve got a tan for the first time in my life!

Healing Injuries by Knitting With Good Posture

I’m delighted to say that I’ve finally started to make great progress in healing my mystery yoga injury that has plagued me for the last two years. I discovered Esther Gokhale (pronounced “Go-clay”) and the Gokhale Method through her free workshop and her book, 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back.

I’ve been re-learning how to sit, stand, walk, and even sleep in a way that’s healthy and healing for my spine. But it takes lots of practice, and I’ve definitely used the KNIT Formula on myself to encourage me to keep working at it.

Esther Gokhale and Liat Gat - knitting and back pain reliefYou’ll be hearing more about this soon because I actually recently made a video with Esther Gokhale herself on Knitting and Back Pain Relief, specifically to post on KnitFreedom. That will be coming out within a month or so. Exciting!

Getting Back To Making Video Ebooks

I’ve been having a great time working on projects like the website and my book, but I’m looking forward to creating new content in 2015, namely the video ebooks that my students have been waiting for.

Lace Knitting has especially been on my mind. But to make the video course really excellent, something you can’t get anywhere else, something that anyone can learn from – it’s going to take my undivided attention and focus.

And speaking of focus, what we’re focusing on next is…

The Upcoming Webinar on October 11th

3 Tips All Knitting Superstars Need to Know Webinar I’ll be teaching 3 specific things during this webinar that every knitter should know.

I don’t want to give too much away, except to tell you that I’ve created brand-new tools and materials for everyone, including a really awesome “Tree of Techniques” to help you pick the right projects for your ability level (and to challenge you).

Whether you are a beginning or advanced knitter, I think it will be helpful to you. It’s going to be a fast-paced, informative, and helpful workshop with practical tips that you can use to improve your knitting right now.

Click here to sign up for the webinar (after the webinar you’ll receive my new “Tree of Techniques” and another very special surprise for attending)

Leave a Comment

I did this interview for you, so if you have any feedback, I want to hear from you! Besides, I love and care about you all, and it makes me feel great to know what’s on your minds.

Want more podcasts? Different formats? Audio not your thing? Let me know in the comments.

P.S. If you haven’t signed up for the free webinar yet, reserve your space now – it will be full of brand new content I’ve never shared on KnitFreedom (and, I can’t wait to connect with all of you in a new way).

Click Here to Join Me for The 3 Tips All Knitting Superstars Need to Know Webinar

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Free Webinar: 3 Tips All Knitting Superstars Need to Know

3 Tips All Knitting Superstars Need to Know Webinar There is so much going on here at KnitFreedom and I can’t wait to tell you more about all of it.

Sometimes, with all of the preparations, it can be hard to do what I love doing most: connecting with you, my students.

Stacy, my marketing mastermind, and I started thinking about how we could connect with you and share some helpful new tips.

Starting on October 11th, I’ll be doing my first ever webinar for you: The 3 Tips All Knitting Superstars Need to Know!

I want to make sure you can attend, so we’re doing the webinar at a few different times – just choose the date and time that work best for you.

Click here to learn more and register for the webinar.

Also, stay tuned for the next couple weeks, because I will be sharing all-new content – including a surprise later this week that I can not wait to share!

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Liat and Knitting for Health In The News

Knitting and its health benefits are in the news again.

Like me, many of you have experienced the benefits of knitting firsthand. Whether it helps you unwind after a long day, gives you something to look forward to completing, or has other positive impacts on your life, you know that knitting has a positive impact on your health.
Springtime Bandit by Kate Gagnon Osborn

The Craft Yarn Council (CYC) has just released an article with a ton of scientific research to back up what we already knew – knitting is healthy! And I’m extra excited about this article because I had the opportunity to be a part of it.

My History

I have written about my personal history before, but wanted to share a bit for those who may not know how knitting saved my life.

About eight years ago, I was in an eating disorder treatment center and I had forgotten how to pursue so many of the things that had once brought me joy in life. Instead of focusing on meaningful relationships, sports, and constructive projects, I spent all of my time focusing on losing weight as my way of feeling successful. Continue reading

Posted in Knitting and Health, My Personal Journey | 91 Comments