Feb 6, 2011

Knit-Along Week One: Some Helpful Tips To Get You Started

We're a good few days into February now, and hopefully at least a few of you are working your way through charity hats for the knit-along! Above you can see the hats I've been working on already - not as many as I'd have liked, but still a good start to what I hope will be a charity-filled month! Because this knit-along is a month long marathon, I don't want to see anyone burn out, injure themselves, or give up too soon - with that in mind, here's a few tips and tricks to help keep you in the thick of things throughout February!  

Gather Your Supplies In One Place. Many of us have a knitting or crochet bag where we keep our current projects. For the month of February, I've got a bag that I've placed knit-along specific yarn in, along with my crochet hook and a spare pair of scissors and darning needle. This way, whenever the urge to knit-along happens, I know exactly where all my supplies are!  

Work With What You've Got. Most of us have at least a few skeins of acrylic laying around our stashes that we're unsure what to do with - this is the perfect time to use it up! Most hospitals only accept items for babies that are made out of washer/dryer safe yarns, and acrylic is best I've been told - less chance of allergic reaction than with wool or even cotton. Even your most "vintage" acrylics, which feel a bit more scratchy, will wash up soft and wonderful! On that note ...  

Hats Don't Have To Be Just Pink Or Blue. In fact, most of the hats I donate to my local NICU don't have a trace of pink or blue in them. Some are more masculine or feminine in color, but I find that all hats are generally welcomed and loved by new parents. Remember, just like knitters, not all new parents have the same style and taste, so a yarn color you may think no baby will use will get snapped up super fast!  

Take Frequent Breaks. This knit-along takes place over a full twenty-eight days. To avoid boredom and injury, be sure to take frequent breaks! This may mean taking weekends off, only working on the challenge on weekends, setting a limit to how many hours or minutes you'll knit a day ... so many other options!  

Set A Goal. Without a doubt, the easiest way to keep on track is to set yourself a goal. My personal goal is two hats a day during the week and five hats a day on the weekends - I've even set myself up a cute little chart in the front of my Essential Patterns Binder so I can check off the day's hats as I've completed them! Having a goal will help keep you on track for the month.  

Reward Yourself. Whether it's a small reward for each hat done, a medium-sized reward for hitting milestones - such as finishing your goals for the week, or hitting a certain number - and at the halfway point, and a larger reward if you finish the challenge are all great ways to stay motivated. My rewards will all be food-related {I'm like a puppy that way}, and I'm looking forward to each one of them!  

Share Your Successes! There's nothing quite as nice as someone seeing what you've been up to and cheering you on. Be sure to post your weekly updates to each Friday's post so we can all head on over to your blog/Ravelry page/Flickr page and see what you've been up to. The added encouragement you'll get should help keep you motivated!

What are some of your tips for keeping motivated and excited for a marathon-long knit-along like this one? Can't wait to hear about them in the comments, as well as see some links to your finished hats for the week!

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