At this time last year, I was planning on learning Brioche “soon.” That word is so paralyzing. “Soon.” There isn’t a definitive start date for “soon.” It took me until June to pick the right project that would kick off a new love affair with Brioche that carries over to today.
I thought it would be too hard. I thought that I would mess it up and not be able to figure it out. I feel this way about every new project, every situation I come across. I’ll suddenly realize that I’m not terribly good at anything, and then have no creative outlet to get me through the days.
Self-confidence is always something that has come in pieces for me. It’s only after I have proven that I am good at something that I can fully realize the confidence in doing it.
I think that everyone feels this “soon” paralysis. I hope that the rest of this post will help you pick up the needles and try something new (brioche?) today. I have broken down that paralysis into three stages to help you get through it.
Stage 1: Research
The first stage of trying to learn anything new – in my case, it was Brioche – you have to do some research. The entire internet is at your disposal with technique videos, written tutorials, and even classes online. The internet is one massive “How To” do anything that you’re not sure about.
Here are some essential Brioche knitting guides that I’ve found. There are so many different ones out there, but these are the ones that I watched, read, and used when I had finally had enough of the “soon” paralysis.
First is a video tutorial by the Knitting Expat. She has a podcast, and is a knitwear designer. She has a lot of useful information in this video. It’s where I started when I was trying to learn Brioche. I watched this video at least 10 times.
Next, I love the tutorials that come from Purl Soho. Their photography is stunning, their posts are full of information, and usually they provide you with a simple, free pattern to follow to test out the techniques that you have just learned. This is a tutorial for 2-color Brioche in the round – which is a useful technique if you want to make hats or cowls using the Brioche stitch.
Last, I wanted to share a class that you can take. This class teaches you the basics of brioche in the round, using one or two colors. I love the Craftsy classes, and they are definitely worth it if you need to give that paralysis a little extra time to settle.
Step 2: Use the right beginners tools.
Do not start with precious yarn. Do not start with tiny sock needles.
The best idea is to start with something cheap, and move to something lush that you’re going to love. I keep a stash of one or two skeins of Red Heart acrylic yarn in my closet so I can use it to teach myself new techniques.
I love working with wool, silk, and other natural fibers. I actually don’t use acrylic much in my knitting because I find that it dries out my hands when I use it, and I don’t enjoy the finished product as much as I would if it were animal or plant fiber. That being said, using the right tool for the right project is really important.
If you are not sure if you’re going to like a project, or if you’re going to be able to do a certain, difficult technique, practice first on yarn you’re not going to be sad to get rid of. If you choose a thicker yarn and a bigger needle, you’re going to be able to see exactly what the yarn is doing. You’ll be able to learn to read the knitting better if you start there and work your way down to using the sock weight yarn with 2.5mm needles.
Step 3: Knit!
Start. Make mistakes. Most importantly, give yourself a definitive goal, and you’re more likely to actually accomplish it. Don’t start saying “I’ll get around to it” or “I’ll start that soon.” If you get into that habit, it’s going to take you forever to really get into a new technique. Write down your goal to learn the new technique by a certain date, or block off time in your hectic schedule to do a little bit each day.
If you make mistakes, that’s okay! Everyone does. There are fabulous videos and classes on how to fix your mistakes with almost any kind of technique. Make the mistakes now, and when you’re using the expensive yarn you bought on holiday because you needed to have it, you will be able to avoid that same thing.
I hope that you found this useful, at least to know that there are other people out there who have that same fear of messing up that you suffer from when you come across a new technique. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below.