5 Mistakes That Are Common to New Knitters and Crocheters & How to Avoid Them.

Are you a beginner to the world of knitting and/or crocheting? Have you ever found yourself feeling frustrated by the mistakes you’ve made while crafting because SAME! 

If so, don't worry. You're not alone. In fact, even experienced knitters and crocheters make mistakes from time to time. The good news is, these mistakes don't have to ruin your crafting experience. 

So let's explore 5 common mistakes beginners (& even seasoned knitters & crocheters) make and go through some practical tips on how to fix and/or avoid them. 

By the end of this post, I hope you'll feel more confident in your crafting abilities and be one step closer to creating beautiful handmade items. So, let's dive in and learn how to avoid these common knitting and crocheting mistakes!

Uneven stitch tension

One mistake that beginners often make when knitting or crocheting is uneven stitch tension. This can happen when the tension on the yarn changes as you work, causing some stitches to be tighter or looser than others. Uneven stitch tension can make your finished project look lumpy or misshapen. You can tell from my knitting when I have been watching an intense show LOL

To fix uneven stitch tension, try to be consistent with the amount of tension you apply to the yarn as you work. You can also try using stitch markers to help you keep track of where you are in your pattern and prevent your tension from getting too tight or too loose. If you notice that you are consistently struggling with uneven tension, you may want to experiment with different types of yarn or needles/hooks to find what works best for you.

Learning how to avoid uneven stitch tension can be challenging, but it's also part of the process of becoming a skilled crafter. Don't get discouraged if you make mistakes along the way; also a-lot of the time you can fix this with wet blocking, as long as the tension difference is not too drastic.

Losing count of stitches or rows

Losing count of stitches or rows is a common problem among beginners (and seasoned makers...especially if you are watching tv while you make like me), but it's an easy one to fix. One way to avoid losing track of your stitches and rows is to use stitch markers. Place a marker at the beginning and end of each repeat, so you can easily see if you've missed a stitch or added an extra one. 

Another technique you can use is to count your stitches and rows after every repeat. This may seem tedious, but it will help you catch any mistakes early on and save you from having to unravel your entire project. I try and do this if I am knitting a complicated pattern that is broken into sections. I will stop & count at the end of every section to make sure I am on track before I move on because sometimes depending on the pattern if your stitch count is off, it will make the next section impossible to knit.

If you do lose track of your stitches or rows, don't panic. Take a deep breath and carefully count your stitches and rows, going back to the last place you were sure you counted correctly. If you still can't figure out where you went wrong, consider using a lifeline. A lifeline is a piece of scrap yarn that you thread through your stitches every few rows. If you make a mistake, you can unravel to the lifeline, rather than starting all over again.

I also like to place a stitch maker/progress keeper at the start of every row repeat. For example, I am currently knitting a pattern that is an 8 row repeat so when I knit Row 8 I place a stitch maker, then I can count from that where I am in the next section and keep moving it every time I complete a row repeat section.

By taking these steps to avoid or fix the mistake of losing count of stitches or rows, you'll be better equipped to tackle the next challenge of misreading patterns.,

Misreading patterns

Misreading patterns can also be a common mistake for beginners. It's important to carefully read the pattern instructions and follow them step by step. Sometimes patterns can be confusing, so don't be afraid to ask for help from more experienced knitters or crocheters. If you do make a mistake, don't worry, it happens to everyone. 

Take the time to go back and correct the mistake before continuing with the pattern. By following the pattern correctly, you'll be able to create a beautiful finished product that matches the intended design. And remember, each pattern is unique, so make sure to read and follow the instructions carefully every time. I like to read through a pattern fully before starting. It does not always make sense until you get going but ateast you have an idea of what is to come. 

Ignoring gauge swatches

Ignoring gauge swatches can be tempting, especially when you're excited to dive into a new project. But skipping this step can lead to a frustrating outcome. The gauge swatch is a small sample of fabric that will help you understand how the yarn will behave and the size of the needle/hook you need to make the project. It's important to take the time to create a swatch that is an accurate representation of the yarn and hook or needle size you will be using. Otherwise, you may end up with a sweater that's too big, a hat that's too small or a blanket that's misshapen. Trust me I have done all 3 LOL..

So, before you start your project, take a deep breath and take the time to create a gauge swatch. This small investment of time will save you from having to rip out your project and start over. Remember, every yarn, crochet hook, and knitting needle is different. Even if you have used the same yarn before, the dye lot can vary ( I only recently learned this fact), which means that you need to create a new gauge swatch every time. 

By ignoring gauge swatches, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Take the time to create a swatch and measure it accurately. It may seem like a hassle, but it's worth it to create a beautiful project that matches the intended design. Now I do not always practice what I preach haha, I often will skip doing a swatch and just start in and measure after I have knit an inch or two. If i'm off, I rip it out and start again, but I know this seems insane to some people. So remember to always do what works best for you. 

Crocheting or knitting too tightly

Crocheting or knitting too tightly is a common mistake that beginners make, especially when they are first learning a new stitch. When you crochet or knit too tightly, your stitches become too small, making your project stiff and inflexible. It can also lead to frustration and fatigue, as your hands have to work harder to manipulate the yarn and hook/needle.

So, what can you do to fix this? First, try using a larger hook/needle size than what is recommended for the yarn. This will give you a looser tension and help you achieve the desired gauge. You can also try to consciously relax your hands and loosen your grip on the yarn and hook/needle. It may take some practice to get a feel for the right tension, but don't get discouraged. Remember that this is all part of the learning process. This is where making a gauge swatch does come in handy because you can "practice" with a few different sizes of needles / hooks to see what works best for you.

If you find that you still struggle with crocheting or knitting too tightly, try working on a simpler project with a larger yarn and hook/needle size. This will help you get comfortable with the right tension and build your confidence before moving on to more complex projects. I always recommend a beginner start with at-least a worsted or medium weight yarn if not a bulky weight yarn. 

By avoiding the mistake of crocheting or knitting too tightly, you'll be able to create projects that are flexible and comfortable to wear or use. Keep practicing and experimenting with different hook/needle sizes and yarn types to find the perfect tension for your projects.

In conclusion, mastering knitting and crocheting takes time, patience, and practice. As a beginner, you may encounter some common mistakes such as uneven stitch tension, losing count of stitches or rows, misreading patterns, ignoring gauge swatches, or crocheting too tightly. But do not worry as we have provided some practical tips on how to fix and avoid them. 

Remember, practice makes perfect, so keep going and don't be afraid to learn from your mistakes. As the famous saying goes, "a mistake is only a mistake if you don't learn from it." So, keep crafting and happy stitching!

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