Ever since I can remember, my mother and I would do arts and crafts together. We would draw, sew, color, sculpt, whittle, paint and just about anything else we could occupy ourselves with. However, there has always been one craft that has eluded me… knitting. My mother would knit yard upon fabulous yard of brilliantly colored blankets, vibrant scarves, hats, and mittens, but try as I might I would inevitably fail. I became the official “yarn-detangler” of the house for my sister and my mom even though the one typically tangled in yarn was me. My little sister must have stolen the talent from me, which is entirely embarrassing. I mean, the eldest sibling is supposed to be the superior sibling at everything right? So when we were assigned to create something outside our comfort zone, I knew that it would be on this day that I would set off on a journey to stitch my final art skill into place and claim my rightful place as Alpha sibling…
Before I began my craft, I took the VARK Questionaire entitled “How Do I Learn Best?”. I took the Questionaire with this class in mind, however, and were surprised by the results.
VARK noted that I had a multi-modal learning preference, and that my results, aside from one outlier, were very close together. I was, at first, surprised that I was not a preferential Kinesthetic learner, but I soon realized that my results weren’t necessarily indicative of how I learned anything at any given point in time, and was satisfied. One interesting thing I did note however, was that my results directly correlated with the steps of my learning process. For example, in order for me to best optimize learning a new skill or subject, I first must be told and explained what I am learning and have the opportunity to ask questions, which corresponds to my immediate Aural preference. After I have gone through that initial process, I like to see pictures, diagrams, or demonstrations of the material, which would correlate with my secondary preference for Visual. After hearing and seeing the material, I then would feel more comfortable with touching the object, or playing around with the materials in order to gain a better understanding of how everything fits together (Kinesthetic). It is only after I have gone through these three initial learning phases that I can learn to fully understand the topic or subject and effectively gain excess knowledge from reading sources, or documenting how the object or subject works in writing.
I also figured that my Strength Quest results from my Entrepreneurship class may be something to factor in too, considering the qualities and skills exhibited are usually the most frequently used by that person. My top five Strengths were Strategic, Command, Deliberative, Significance, and Futuristic. It was these results combined with my VARK results that I discovered the overall methods and strategies on how I approach various subjects and learning materials. With this in mind, I set out to find some tutorials that would mold me into a knitting master.
After realizing that knitting needles cost money, and knitting anything moderately wearable takes immense time, I settled for a lesser known, cheaper, much quicker variation of traditional knitting called: Finger Knitting.
I found a wonderful Tutorial on YouTube entitled “How to Finger Knit an Ear Warmer in 15 Minutes with Simply Maggie”. Simply Maggie is a YouTuber and Pinner on Pinterest that specializes in knitting tutorials. The fact that Maggie would explain and show me what she was doing at the same time really matched my learning style, and I relied heavily on the video for this project. I also derived useful tips and help from four other pins on Pinterest I found by similar Pinners. I figured Pinterest would be a good place to look considering its massive crafting database, and the fact that just about any resource or media could become a pin.
When I first attempted the steps used in Maggie’s video, I quickly found out that something clearly wasn’t working right. Everything seemed so spaced out and stringy, not at all like a warm tightly knit band. It took me a few re-runs of the introduction to realize that I had bought the wrong type of yarn. Mine was too thin! I deliberated for a bit on what my course of action should be, but I loved the color of the yarn and wanted to make it work. This was where I had realized my Futuristic strength had failed me, and had not seen the significance in buying very thick yarn. I wasn’t going to spend an obscene amount of money buying more yarn so I had to devise a strategy and figure out a solution.
It suddenly came to me. Crochet. My little sister had successfully taught me how to crochet a single line of yarn just for fun one day. We had never really pinned a good use for learning how, but it was a fun way to pass the time, and was a good decorating material. I thought it may be a neat idea to try and thicken up the yarn by crocheting it first, but that gave rise to another problem. It was going to be difficult measuring out the final distance of the yarn for the headband before I had even finished knitting and crocheting the product. Crocheting the yarn first would mean it would take even more yarn to finalize the product, but I had a solution for that too.
I had a mini easel a friend had given me to paint mini canvases that had exactly 3 legs! The fourth place holder I hung on the side just in case, but it was an effective way to hold the stitches while I crocheted the next line to be knit!
Eventually I would finish two of the three bands needed to create a full headband. But this is where I began to notice another problem. On the left hand side of the picture above, you can see the two long ends of crocheted yarn bundled up beneath the knitted bands. This was something Maggie required in her video be done on both ends of the headband. I had not seen the significance of wasting 6 inches of yarn, so I had completely ignored it. This was where my Strategic strength had crashed. On the right side of the picture, the crocheted ends that began the initial band lay as single short strands and aren’t as long or thick as they should ideally be. I wouldn’t figure out this problem until later though.
Another resourced I used but could not cite was the awesome advice of the the Trinity Knitting Club! A friend whom I had class with earlier in the week asked if I would like to attend a meeting with her and perhaps get some advice on my project, which I gratefully accepted. I got some helpful input as to which bands I should place in what order so as to create a flowing design. I also gained some tips on which color yarn to use to thread the headband together. I chose white so that in the future, I may learn to crochet or knit a white flower like the one in this tutorial, and the design would look more put together with bits of white showing throughout the head band. I would save that idea for the future though.
In the end, I tried just tying two knots on either end of the ear warmer, and there was just enough string to make it work! I even got the tiny ends in the knots as well!
Overall I really enjoyed this project, and would definitely do it again. I made some great friends with the knitting club, and learned how I functioned and learned as an individual. This project was very insightful and, although I can’t say I’m a knitting master, I can now say I have a skill I didn’t before. When I return home for the holidays now I can curl up with my family and we can all knit together! But one day down the road, I will claim my rightful place as Alpha Sibling…