Does a Knit-a-long Teach Us Anything?

The Secret of the Stole II KAL (knit a long) is coming to a close this week and after nine weeks of receiving bits and pieces of the pattern, the members finally have the final chart to complete their lace stoles. One of the questions most asked is “Why, do you do it?”.

Why Designer’s Like Knit-a-long’s

For me, the designer, there are several reasons. The knit a long format gives me a way to try out new designs and new concepts in knitting techniques. Even though my designs are test knitted prior to the knit a long, when it begins I have access to a couple of thousand test knitters, all at varying skill levels to help me make my patterns even better.

Have You Made Any New Friends

Another reason I like to run them is that some of those knitters become my global friends. Mr. K and I have knitting friends all around the globe now and that is priceless. We have participants from all over Europe, the USA, Asia, Africa and sometimes very exotic places that I have to go look up on a map. I hope you have made friends a long the way as well.

Learning Something New is Fun

The main reason I create and enjoy participating in knit a longs, however, is one you might not expect. I absolutely love to see or hear from people when they think they cannot do something and, through a little effort and explanation, realize that they can and it wasn’t as huge and scary as it looked. That is why the format of the knit a long works so well.

Something new is learned by every member, without exception. It may be that you learn how to do a particular stitch that is new to you. You may learn about a specific technique, like placing beads in your knitting or installing a lifeline. You may ultimately learn that the particular knitting style that is involved in the knit a long is just not for you, like lace for example. Regardless, just by being a member we learn something. That is my favorite part of the Secret of the Stole knit a longs!

If you were a member of the Secret of the Stole II KAL, or any other recent knit a long by any designer, what did you learn?

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72 thoughts on “Does a Knit-a-long Teach Us Anything?

  1. What have I learned? Some things really ARE as hard as they look but well worth the effort. If I think I can, I can! Also the reassurance that if I have an issue with any part of my project there is always someone to encourage and help, not only from the numerous others knitting the same project but also that I can contact the designer. Personally I’m not even a tortoise anymore but an ant. But I WILL finish this thing!!!!

  2. This is the first KAL that I actually managed to keep up with and finish. Admittedly though that is more due to a spell of unemployment and the creation of a lot of spare time for knitting. The pattern itself was interesting enough to keep my attention though and that can be tough to do.

    What did I learn? The importance of double checking the colors before joining in a new ball of yarn. I had 4 hanks of handpaint, all supposedly the same color. One is slightly darker than the others, of course which one was grabbed and spit spliced in and another 30 rows knit before I figured it out. The other thing is that something that I knew but really hadn’t experienced. Knitters as a community are very supportive of one another. The encouragement that I’ve both watched and received have been deeply appreciated.

  3. i had a fear of reading charts…had a preference for written instructions. my first mystery shawl kal conquered my fear of charts and now i ❤ charts!

    kal’s have also taught me that i cannot usually keep up! but it is fun to follow the progress of others.

  4. This was my very first knit along, and I loved it. I have read charts before, but it wasn’t until this knit along that I got the hang of it. Now, I can look at the rows below the one I am working on to see where I suppose to be, in the pattern.

    I also liked the pace of the knit along, it challenged me, and kept me motivated.

    And I loved sharing the experience with other knitters. I originally started the knit along because 4 of the members from my local group wanted to do it. As it turned out, I am the only one that stayed with it, and several of the members dropped the project. I think I would of been a lit more daunted by this project, if I hadn’t had encouraging words from you and from other members on Ravelry.

    I’m sad to see it end, but already have my next lace project picked out. Can you say addictive personality.

    Big Hug,

    Shannon in GA

  5. Of course, a Knit-a-long can teach us! I learned so much from this KAL. Besides the obvious knitting techniques and a great deal of patience, I learned how to let go. Throughout this KAL, I used my knitting time to just enjoy myself. I let go of my worries and the stresses of being a stay-at-home mom. I took time for me. With each row, I let go of control and followed the pattern. When I got a little behind, I let go of the pressure of time and let myself enjoy the moment. Right now I have a beautiful stole (through Hint #6)…what a beautiful thing it is to LET GO!!! Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to learn this!

    Kelly
    Yahoo id: kmcschmidt
    Ravelry id: lilchem

  6. Knitalongs teach me that I can’t always keep up sometimes, but that’s okay! A lot of my pleasure from mystery KALs is seeing what the product looks like, not necessarily being the first one to knit the clue and seeing what it looks like in person. In fact, I’d rather not be the first person through a clue, because then the errors are already found! I’m not wonderful with figuring out how to fix something on my own, so I’d rather wait until someone else has. (Something I should probably work on.)

    I also went out of my comfort zone color-wise with this KAL, and I’m really liking what I’ve come out with so far. So I’ve learned that a color risk is worth taking.

    Thanks for all your hard work on this and the first SOTS as well!

  7. Yes, by all means KAL teach us so much, it is even hard to describe.
    During my first one I learned to read charts, and what a blessing that was. I knew the symbols, but I didn’t dare to jump in and create something “serious” on my own.
    While we go with our own speed, we have to give moral support to other knitters, who is not as efficient as we are. It is very nice to be updated daily of other member’s progress or frustration. It is so heart warming when we can help somebody when they reach the end of their rope 😉
    Participating in one of the KAL brought me a friendship I will cherish for life. Even though we are from different countries from around the world, we are like a big family, always ready to help.

    KAL is a fantastic experience. I would suggest this to anybody who is willing to learn something new.

    Thanks DK and Mr. K.

  8. For me KAL’s teach patience and stamina, and give me a creative outlet when things in my life aren’t going so swell. SOTS II has been wonderful for this. I had cancer and radiation last fall and during this KAL have had complecation from this, family problems, had to learn to drive again after 24 years of refusing to drive, and other things I just don’t want to mention online happened. All this while I managed to download and print my hints, I may not have managed a whole lot else that particular week either!

    I have finally, near the end of the KAL, managed to get back to knitting. The stole I have will be a cheerful a reminder to me that I overcame cancer and it’s aftermath!

  9. For me the KAL helps me to stick with a project and get it finished in a timely manner. Clues come out, I knit until it is done, then wait for the next. I just like that progression. I also like to be able to help, if I can, when people get stuck and I like being able to ask for help if I need it.

  10. For me the KALs have taught me how to knit from charts and this is something I was always afraid to try. I have progreswsed so far a s a lace knitter I am now eager to start new projects. The comraderie in the group has been great and I look forward to August and the new KAL.

  11. For me the KALs have taught me how to knit from charts and this is something I was always afraid to try. I have progressed so far as a lace knitter that I am now eager to start new projects. The comraderie in the group has been great and I look forward to August and the new KAL.

  12. I learned to read a chart and to be able to read different lines, so if I made a mistake on a line I could put the stitch a bit in the rigth place (medaillons), but I also learned that you’re a great designer and I should have confidence and not try to alter some things. It only made me frog some more lines. I still have a long way to go, but for a first lace experience, I’m proud of myself and know I will finish this.

  13. I learned not to fear lace weight yarn. I learned that even if it does look really complicated that I can still do it. This is my first lace shawl with actual lace weight yarn and I found that I really enjoy working with yarn that thin and I also found that I really like working by getting hints a week at a time. It isn’t as overwhelming. Thank you for a really enjoyable experience.

  14. A knit-a-long teaches many things. First, by breaking a pattern into managable parts it teaches me that I can successfully complete a complicated project. It also treaches me that there are many others like me who are interested in knitting and leaning new patterns and techniques and that we can count on each other to help out if we run into difficulties. It teaches me that trying is as rewarding as completing a project. And it teaches me that there are talented and generous knitter and designers on the web who will share their beautiful ideas and designs with others.

  15. They remind me life is not ever going to go the way I want it to, and it’s okay to roll with the punches instead of resisting. Like this KAL – I’m still on clue 4. I was doing great until class deadlines snuck up on me and completely derailed the project. I can’t wait to finish it, but wait I must.

    It may go with me on that trip to Vegas next weekend….airplane + mp3 player = good knitting time!

  16. This knit-a-long has taught me many things, including how to knit lace, how to knit from a chart confidently, patience and courage (needed to tink or frog back to lifelines a few times!).
    I think that knit-a-longs in general always help us to learn something, even if it isn’t directly knitting related. Also, just knowing that there are others out there knitting with you and there to support you and cheer you on lets you know you aren’t alone in the world, which is always important to know.

  17. This was my first Knit-a-long and I have really enjoyed it. I have knit simple lace patterns before so this was a challenge. I learned to read my lace knitting better through quite a bit of tinking and lurping. I still have a few clues to go but I am determined to finish. Lifelines were another learning experience and what a lifesaver they are! I look forward to participating in more knit-a-longs.

  18. Let me just say I’ve LOVED this KAL. Thank you DK for all the hard work you put in to this for us. I love my stole and can’t wait to wear it.

    What have I learned from KALs? I’ve learned how to read charts, read my knitting better and that I can undertake a monumental project and finish if I break it into parts. I’ve fallen more in love with lace and I think I’ve learned more about my “knitting self”, that I don’t have to do all sorts of different knitting (sweaters, socks, scarves, intarsia, entrelace, etc) to be a Knitter; that I can focus on what I love (lace) and not care that I’m not good at knitting sweaters. I’ve learned to give myself permission to focus on one aspect of knitting and ‘go for it’.

    Thank you again DK and Mr. K!
    Suzanne
    Yahoo ID: sbl1231
    Ravelry: BrittKnits

  19. I learned so much with this KAL, even though I’m an experienced knitter.

    I learned patience – patience with myself, as I tinked, lurped and frogged my mistakes. Patience with others, as they tried to express things in terms or languages that were foreign to them.

    I learned how to knit lace better – before this KAL, I had done 2 other lace type projects. I really thought I had a good handle on how to do this. I improved my skills.

    I learned tact and diplomacy when reading posts that I didn’t agree with – everyone is entitled to their own viewpoint. It’s ok to disagree, and keep it to yourself.

    I learned the joy of using “real” wool – my last mystery shawl used mystery yarn, as well. i’m not a confirmed yarn snob.

    and I learned so much about so many new people, many of whom I view as friends as I ‘see’ them on ravelry, in another KAl…

    so thank you.

  20. I learned that even as an enjoyable, relaxing pattern as this means that I can’t become complacent while knitting lace. Mistakes can and will be made! 🙂 So I practiced “being present” with every stitch (although that is really hard to maintain during purl-back rows, hence “practice”).

    It’s a lovely knitting experience. Thanks, DK!

  21. This has been my first ever KAL and my first time working with “real” lace–using lace-weight yarn. Many of the comments on the KAL were helpful. But I feel the most useful aspect of the KAL was simply the technical advise about lace knitting. I have seen other lace patterns in magazines but was intimidated by their odd shapes (re: the no knit stitches), but now I feel I understand what is going on and could tackle most any lace pattern now! Thanks so much!!

  22. KALs have taught me that I should not let any pattern scare me. Mystery KALs are presented a little at a time. That is something that I can handle. After several of these I have learned to take my knitting 1 stitch at a time.

    The pattern may be long, but if I relax and take it 1 stitch at a time, I can finish that long pattern.

    I have also improved my self-estime. I can knit beautiful pieces of art. Just keep designing them and I will keep knitting them.

  23. This is my very first KAL and it certainly has taught me much. This is the very first time I have forced myself to work from a chart. Dare I say I’m VERY experienced at it now! The KAL has been great, too, to keep me motivated. I’m certain if I would have started with the complete pattern I would have been too overwhelmed to finish. But I have stayed current with the KAL as it has been released, and by the end of the weekend, my shawl will be ready to block. I have enjoyed this so much, and have learned loads! Thanks!

  24. This is my first KAL to actually participate in. What have I learned?
    a) I am not motivated by a group of relative strangers. I need people I know and see nagging me to keep me on track. HOWEVER….
    b) I can relax knowing that others have successfully navigated a hint. It can be done!
    c) Charts really are nice. Even though I translate the images into words in my head as I knit, I have a clearer idea of whether or not I am doing it right if I can see the chart.
    d) Lace is less intimidating in fingering-weight yarn.
    e) Having the group prevents me from making assumptions about mistakes. Was it me or the chart? With a whole group of knitters, I can know for sure. (usually it’s me.)
    I have really enjoyed doing this KAL and even though I am woefully behind (see lesson “a” above) I feel really proud of the progress I have made and will finish this!
    Thank you DK!

  25. This has been my first KAL, and it has been very fun. The members are very supportive and willing to help out – often almost immediately.
    I have learned a new vocabulary as well – frogging, tinking, etc.
    Most of all, it has been so fun to see all the different stoles. There is a lot of very good knitters out there.

    Thanks to you all.
    Happy knitting,
    Vips – Denmark

  26. What did I learn?

    That I need more time and concentrated focus to knit this kind of lace than I am able to muster when working full time and playing recorder in too many groups.

    How to read a chart, if imperfectly!

    That It’s OK to just put it away for a while and come back later — even if the current state is a mess. Frogging is often easier done, for me, when it has rested a while.

    That I will enjoy learning this lace skill when I do have more time!

  27. It reminds me that I am not alone. I don’t know any other knitters in my area and my time constraints don’t allow me to join any groups. KAL’s push me to be a better knitter and expand my skills. They also help me see a project to completion. I so enjoy the friendship of all those knitting along with me. In the last KAL I was in Maui and thought of several of the knitters that were in their homes knitting the same project as I was at that same precise time. It gave me sister/brother hood.

  28. I have learned some of the strangest odds and ends. As a somewhat experienced lace knitter, none of the techniques were necessarily new to me, but by reading about others experiences, I have learned things that could happen, but luckily haven’t happened to me or thought about other ways of doing things or tried to answer the questions of new lace knitters and solidified my knowledge by trying to explain concisely.

  29. I loved doing this KAL and have really enjoyed stretching myself. While none of the knitting technique was new, reading charts is still new, so that was a good thing to work on. I am also looking forward to learning how to block a piece well, since I am not sure how to really do it. I liked having the pattern broken up in parts too, made me get it done. I think seeing all the charted rows together would have seemed overwhelming. The biggest thing I learned was that in lace, a LOOSE cast one is very good to have, so you dont snap your cast on edge after all your hard work:) This was learned by experiance!
    KN

  30. What have I learned…? Well, well…

    – a little bit of patience (which is a lot when you’re hotheaded old me)
    – how to count stitches at the end of every row (even though I started running out of fingers and toes very quickly)
    – how to fix booboos without always having to frog
    – how not to beat myself up because I’m “behind” (in my own estimation)…

    In other words, a whole heck of a lot!

    This has been my first knit-a-long, but I’m fairly certain it won’t be my last.

    Thanks, DK!

  31. This KAL has opened my eyes for a new world.I haven´t had the courage to show my work but i will later.
    I´ve learned so much that i hardly can find the words and I´m stunned over that there are so many nice people all over the world.
    I´ve learned to:
    Knit lace!! and read a chart. Read my knitting and make a lifeline and much, much more.
    Everyday i have pracitised my english and it feels great. I´m only on hint 5 now but I´m so proud that I´ve have knitted this on my own with the help of you .
    Thanks DK and Mr. K!

  32. This has been a fun and exciting knit a long… I have made many new friends, shared not only my knitting, but my freindship with many in the group. I think this project has shown me that no matter what race, color, culture, or country we come from, we all speak the international language of knitting. Knitting crosses the international boundaries that seperate us. By knitting a project together, and working together, we have forged ties that will carry us through a lifetime.

    In the end, our shawls will be as unique and colorful as each and every knitter is, yet underneath, the pattern is the same, just as our love of knitting is this same. This pattern and our love of a craft ties all of us together.

    I have enjoyed sharing and being able to cross continental , cultural, and international boundaries…without the expense of a plane ticket.

    Thank you everyone.

  33. I’ve participated in several KALs since my first one(SOTs 1) and there’s always something new to learn. In SOTs 1: hardly any CO or BO stitches on a pointy stole makes for nice even edge all around; first time adding beads with crochet hook- also added them to another shawl where the pattern didn’t have them; having the pattern broken into hints was a double edged sword-good for pacing myself but then had to wait impatiently when I finished a hint quickly; started to use cookie sheet with magnets instead of post-its to keep track in pattern; learned a lot about blocking lace just from all the people’s comments; it’s possible to knit a lace stole in much less than a year. After knitting SOTs 1 and another lace at the same time I think I got addicted to KALs but also burned out. In SOTS ii I learned that I’m super picky about stripes, that’s why my stole has stalled. In the other KAls I learned: new bind-off, new overall lace patterns, I don’t have nowhere near enough time for all the knitting I want to do. It’s been nice seeing the same people in the different KALs and looking at everyone’s progress. It has also been a pleasant surprise to learn that I know more about knitting than I thought.

  34. I hoped when I joined the knitalong that it would keep me motivated, and it has!! Usually after a couple of weeks on a project I get bored, and my pile of UFO’s grows, but the challenge of finishing a clue before the next one comes out has been great to keep me going. Also the world of possibility that opened up when I saw so many different versions of the same pattern. I learned to “read” my knitting and fix my mistakes without ripping rows and rows. And I learned the spit splice (which I couldn’t use) and the Russian join (which I could). Thanks DK!

  35. The main thing I learned from this KAL was how to work from a chart. I had always avoid it and looked for the writtern instructions. This time, I was determined and found ways to make the chart easier for me to read. ( For example, I used colored markers, place markers and a magnetic strip to keep my place .) It was slow but I always counted my stitches before going on to the next marker. Thus, I learned a lot of patience. Someone mentioned stamina and there was certainly plenty of that as I worked to keep up. It was also nice to see once again how the knitting community is generous with their time and help.
    DK and Mr.K, I thank you again for all your hard work on this to make it enjoyable for everyone. Lyn

  36. KALs are great. I love getting a little bit of the pattern each week and usually being able to finish it before the next bit comes out. I like having other knitters and the designer available to help if I have a problem or question. You have knitters with different levels of expertise and knowledge at your disposal and almost all of them are willing to help and answer your questions. It is also great seeing the photos of everyone’s project as it advances.

    The hints, along with the cross word puzzle answers, we have gotten each week have also made this KAL fun. It has been great comparing everyone’s answers to the ones that I have to see if we are all on the same page. I can’t wait to find out the theme of this KAL even though I think we all know what it is or at least suspect.

    Thanks DK and Mr. K for a great pattern and a fun time.

  37. Knit-a-longs teach so much and in different ways to different people. This KAL challenged me to learn chart reading and lace knitting. I learned that with lace knitting I had to concentrate more, meaning not talking with someone and knitting at the same time. I learned new terms such as lurping and frogging. We made friends, commiserated with each other, cheered each other on, and congratulated each other on their accomplishments. We learned new techniques. I learned about posting messages, reading blogs, and uploading pictures. I’m a snail, but that’s ok. I just love working on the stole as time permits. It’s all been a positive experience and made so wonderful by DK’s talent and time and Mr. K’s contributions. Thank you!

  38. What I learned from this Knit-a-long is to read a chart which is a lot easier than I first thought! Trying to figure out the hints, trying to finish the clues in time for the next one.

    I really enjoy the interaction between all the ladies, I also enjoy looking at all the different colored stoles.

    Thank you DK and Mr. K! Can’t wait for your next KAL!

  39. First off, thank you DK for this KAL.

    This was my first KAL as well as my first stole. I have learned patience through waiting for the next clue. I have learned that I really like being surprised by the end product, not that I’m near the end. Its been really fun seeing the results each week yet not knowing what the finished product will look like.

  40. I think mystery style knit-alongs are a real life example of how to complete a large project. Like eating an elephant one bite at a time, finishing a lace stole as long as I’m tall is much easier when broken down into smaller, more manageable pieces.

    The online knitting community is an extra perk to this kind of project… for the most part (and I’m talking about 99% of us), the online community is extremely supportive. Whether we’re the ones who finish a clue one or two days after it’s released, or we’re the ones on team Ant or team Snail, or even the ones swimming along (relatively) happily on the Frog pond; we’re there to share and buoy each other up, and cheer when someone else has managed to finish. It’ s nice to realize that competition can be friendly and inspiring, rather than what we’re usually subject to in our real life communities.It’s human-kind at it’s finest, and it’s something that I’ve been lucky to have experienced.

  41. I love mystery KAL’s! very addicted, I am. So for me, a knitalong forces me to move along on the project, something that I am very good at putting aside. But with prizes and everyone cheering all on, I keep up.

    The best thing for me I learned once was how to bead knit with a crochet hook. I love it. And I love knitting charted lace.

    This was fun!

  42. I LOVE the mystery and the surprise of surprise KALs! I love seeing how the different yarns work up in the same pattern.

    I learned that I should never knit AND read a book when I am both too confident AND too tired to concentrate. Toward the end of the shawl, a quick glance at the pattern was sufficient to complete most of the rows. Unfortunately, I knit along so fast and fearless when I was tired that I sometimes missed a yo, ssk combo or something more complex and had to tink 10,15, 20 stitches. At that point, I generally marked the spot with a thread and corrected the stitches when I reached them again on the way back across the row on the purl side.

  43. I’ve knitted for many years, but only discovered lace about 3 years ago and KALs about 8 months ago. At first, I was a little apprehensive about committing time and yarn to a mystery pattern when there are many known patterns that I want to knit. I’ve come to realise that, for me, the pattern is not overly important. Through participating in KALs I’ve become a more confident knitter. I am now comfortable reading charts and reading my knitting. I’m more adventurous in my choice of patterns because I know to tackle a new pattern stitch by stitch, row by row, just like a mystery KAL. I love most that knitters all over the world can feel a connection, that we are a community. We have different tastes, we use different materials, we knit for different reasons, but we generously share our thoughts, advice and experience. We deal with problems and we get better at our craft.

  44. This was my second Kal, the first being Sots1. I did not finish that one sadly to say, although it did one good thing. I now can do charts and that in itself is wonderful. I then signed up for your second kal. Yes it was easier for me to follow. I still am working on it as I was watching my grandchild it didn’t go so well. Now that I am done watching them I am going to finish this stole. I have finished the first hint going onto the second soon. Again thank you for a wonderful stole to be.
    See you all in the fall.

    Teri

  45. I learned so much from this project! It was my first KAL, first lace project, first time reading charts, first time working with such thin yarn. I learned about life-lines, and how to actually use them when I had to rip out mistakes. I learned what lurping is! and did a lot of it. Thank you for this great project!!

  46. This was my first KAL, my first lace project, my first experience with lace weight yarn, my first experience reading charts for knitting — so I suppose everything I know of KALs and lace has been learned in these last 9 weeks!

    – I learned about lifelines and how important they can be.
    – I learned that it’s okay to put in a lifeline every other row, if that’s what it takes to build confidence — I’m now brave enough to put one every 20 rows or so.
    – I learned how to tink the ssk stitch — it was impossible for me at first with lace weight yarn!
    – I learned how important it is for me to check my work every row on a project like this, even though it felt like I was wasting time at first. It was worth it to find right away where I omitted a yo, or where I k2tog instead of ssk, rather than to find out 2 or more rows later.
    – I learned how wonderful it can be to knit with a group. The support I’ve received from other knitters has been wonderful, and it’s helped me to read of both their successes and set-backs and to be able to give of myself to them.

    It’s been a great experience. I’d do it again for sure!

  47. This was my fourth KAL, and through all of them i’ve learned several things:
    – I’ve learned new techniques like knitting with beads, lifelines or blocking (before my KALs I’ve mostly knitted socks, which I never blocked 😉
    – I’ve learned new expressions like tinking and lurping, although I was quite familar with them before…
    – I was already able to read charts, but during the KALs I finally understand them and was able to recognize any mistakes quite soon
    – and I’ve learned that even a big project like a lace shawl is easy to finish if you break the overwhelming large pattern into smaller bits which are much easier to do…
    I’ve already finished the stole and will soon block it… so thank you very much for the lovely pattern!

  48. Although I have not been able to keep up with the KAL, I have enjoyed the challenge. Seeing photos and reading the comments have helped to encourage me. I am whatever is slower snail or turtle. Due to illness, work / training schedule and not knowing what I am doing I ripped it all and am on clue 1. I will complete.

    Like others this is a first KAL, lace, and pattern reading. I’m still not quite sure what to do with the grayed out squares on the pattern, but I believe once I get there help will be available somewhere.

    Thanks to all for the lessons learned.

  49. I think the best thing about KAL’s is that you know you’re not alone. Just like Denise (above) I have no knitting friends nearby, and it feels good to know that I’m not the only one knitting. Also in a KAL there’s always someone who will help you if you get stuck at some point of the project (like I’m right now…).
    In addition to that, I’ve learnt soooo many new knitting techniques since I started joining KALs.

  50. This is my very first lace knitting project and I have learned so much. Too much, so I have signed up for numerous other KALs. I fear I am now an addict. I learned how to do a long-tail cast on, about lifelines, and the wonderful language of knitters. Plus, I enjoy feeling a part of a group, I love the encouragement and the competitiveness, and the prizes are a wonderful bonus. I have frogged so much, but the yarn is very forgiving, and the pattern is beautiful. I want to do more. I learned to knit quite late in life, and am happy that I am retired and have time to do things I want to do. I have 2 crocheted afghans to complete, then I think I will be a total knitter. But, soooo many projects, soooo little time………..

  51. Hmmm… this was my first knitalong (unless you count Sock Wars!), and I really enjoyed it, even though I didn’t finish.
    What did I learn? I learned that I don’t have enough time to chat with people about progress, and post pictures, but that I do enjoy seeing others’ progress and sharing their enthusiasm. I learned that I love having something to look forward to each week with the pattern releases, even if I haven’t finished the last clue. I learned that it’s fun jumping into something with no idea what the finished product is going to look like! And I learned that even if I was never in the runing for any of the completion prizes, I enjoyed being a part of the whole process. Thanks for running such a great show — and count me in for SOTS III!

  52. This KAL taught me to persevere even when the going got tough because there were always folks there to send encouragement or commiserate with me. It allowed to try my hand at lace in the comfort of a shared experience with others.
    I’ve had an AWESOME time!!!!!! Looking forward to SOTSiii!!!!!!

  53. Since this is the first KAL that I have been able to keep up with, I should say I have learned perseverence. I was determined to keep up with this one. This Kal has greatly improved my ability to read charts. I have learned to color code the legend and the chart so that I’m able to see what to do at a glance. Also learned to keep the previous rows exposed so that I could read my knitting back across the purl row and catch any mistakes before progressing too far. As a result, was able to do this project without a lifeline. I do realize this will not work as well for all lace knitting. Participating in KAL’s has also taught me that the internet community of knitters brings people together from all over the world in spite of the language barriers, and that there is always someone willing to help. I almost feel as if I am working with the designer on their project. I may not do the next one but I do look forward to doing more. Thank you!!!

  54. This is my first attempt at lace knitting and now I feel like I can conquer just about any pattern (even if I am a newbie at knitting). I am now a Master at frogging and tinking LOL. The best things I learned are to use a lot of stitch markers, count, count and count your stitches and last that a lifeline really does save your sanity. Look forward to trying this again.

  55. I just had a great time once again trying to keep up with the clues. I love having the feeling of an FO every week once I’ve finished that weeks clue and waiting to see how the next one will look. I love it! Thanks, for the fun!

  56. 12 reasons to love KALs:

    12 – Knowing the weather in different parts of the world!

    11 – getting to recognize words in a different language from our own mother tongue

    10 – a pattern from a designer we have come to love, know and trust;

    9 – a pattern in increments, so we are not overwhelmed

    9b) – nor are we afraid to try something so beautiful, complex and long!

    8 – adding `test-knitter`to our resumé (that`s a bit of a stretch, I guess)

    7 – our very own cheerleaders! Kudos to you DK, Mr. K and a very special thanks to Peggy

    6 – discovery of our knitting ethos – process or product

    5 – KIPPing (is that a word) and persuading others to join us in our obsession

    4 – online, ongoing, sometimes immediate assistance with a problem, be it real or only perceived

    3 – the company at the frog pond (sub: realizing each of is human!)

    2 – the opportunity to `discuss` the differences or similarities in yarn, colours, taste, and, of course, the enabling (i.e., the posting of websites, etsy sites, etc – our own KnitGoogle Search Engine!.) – love all of this

    1 – being in a virtual knitting group, sharing thoughts, tweaks, encouragement, triumphs, sorrows, laughter and tears … in other words, the online friendships and support.

    Thank you, thank you, DK – You are da bomb!

  57. I loved the pace of the KAL. I learned to not be so impatient to finish things and to pace myself. I also learned to not be afraid of lace and laceweight yarn. I’m already looking forward to the next one.
    Thanks for the great pattern, the comraderie and the fun.

  58. Yes, you can learn from a Kal. I learned many things from this KAL.
    1. Lace Weight Yarn doesn’t bite you, jump in and try it.
    2. An unknown pattern doesn’t either, take it as it comes and as the saying goes, you might find that you like it.
    3. This was my first KAL, my first lace weight project and my first unknown pattern. I found that by taking it a few rows at a time and using a lifeline, it isn’t so frightening and I am coming out with a beautiful project. Even though I may be one of the turtles showing up in the frog pond, the best prize is my shawl. Knowing that I made it and how good it looks when I have completed it.

    Thank You so much. I am so glad that I found the KAL and I have even joined the other group so that I know when secret stole # III comes up.

  59. Yes, I, too have learned knitting techniques, the differences between the left slanting and the right slanting decreases and the reasons for both, whether to k2tog thru the back loop or to ssk, and all sorts of other techniques.

    But the best thing I learned is that the knitting community is fantastic – filled with people who are understanding and encouraging, who are quick to praise rather than find fault, who support and empathize with their fellow knitters, even on matters unrelated to knitting.

    So, hat’s off to all of us, the speed demons and the snails, who have undertaken this wonderful project under DK and MR. K’s direction and come to care about the people behind the names on the KAL posts!

  60. Things I’ve learned on a KAL:
    How to read a chart, and later, how to read from the chart better
    Techniques to use to keep one’s place in a chart
    Learning different designs and recognizing when the pattern is not lining up (when a mistake is made)
    How to unknit (backing up the knitting)
    Blocking is easier than it looks, but it takes awhile

    And most of all, that there are many supportive people out there willing to help!
    Thanks, DK, for this fun design and KAL!

  61. Does a knit-a-long teach us anything?

    This is my first knit-a-long and although I have not kept up — I am still working on clue 5 — I’ve learned a great deal from this kal, including. :

    (1) To check my knitting after every row. It takes some time, but I can find any errors — or missed yos and fix them on the way back.

    (2) To use a lifeline. It has strengthened my confidence to work a lengthy pattern with lace weight yarn.

    (3) To persevere in working the pattern, even though I am woefully behind.

    (4) To enjoy the online/virtual learning, encouragement, and sharing as a large group of strangers gets to know each other as they work the same pattern.

  62. Absolutely! I think Knit alongs are so wonderful for the commmunity they provide, the connection between knitters, the guidance for new (and not so new) knitters, and just the plain old fun of doing something when you’;re not sure what it will look like. I have learned so much on this, my first KAL, more than in my many years of knitting. I can’t wait for the next one!!

    Heidi

  63. I forgot to add one more thing — I actually FINISH my projects! With the support from the group and the excitement of the knit-along, I actually finish my projects! I may not be done with this one yet, but I am almost there and know I will finish it.

  64. I think KAL’s teach us a great deal. On the one hand we learn knew techniques and are exposed to styles of knitting or patterns that we otherwise might not have tried, but we also, perhaps more importantly, learn about each other and make connections with complete strangers. People we might otherwise never have met and we quickly share our joys, frustrations, fears and lives on a more intimate level than we usually would with mere acquaintances. The fact that we share a common interest – knitting and a shared goal – the pattern brings us together and allows us to open ourselves up and help each other. There isn’t selfishness, pettiness or greed, but instead a willingness to help each other and give of our own time to research someone’s question or help them find a link. I think if more knitters were running things, we’d be a lot better off!

  65. What have I learned? Once again, that I have a strong drive to take on more than I can chew. Despite being a SAHM with 3 kiddos under 7 I always think I can hang with those that aren’t. I honestly thought I could keep up the pace. This project was going to be my #1 priority. Then life slammed me hard with the fact that everything is relative. There are times when everything extraneous has to be set aside. I can and should in fact let things go at times. I can slide when I need to. Nothing will blow up. Nothing will disappear. I can pick up where I left off. I can take my own pace and just be fine. It will get done. Not by some magical date or set point, but I will eventually make it through. It’s been an odd confluence of events. An exercise in patience on many levels. I expected my skill set to grow, but wasn’t expecting the life lessons as well. Sometimes you get bonuses. This is one of them. Thanks DK! Dawn

  66. I think working on a KAL is one of the most enjoyable things a knitter can do. It doesn’t matter how experienced a knitter you are because you will learn many things that you didn’t think you would ever be able to do. Seeing the work so many people have done is so enjoyable. To think some many people from all over the world can come together to work on something like this is very special. To bad our countries can’t work together the same way these knitters have. Knitting is a universal language in its own right.
    Thank you again DK for such a wonderful experience and am looking forward to your next one.

    Jan

  67. Does KAL’s teach us anything???? Yes, of course. Patience, persistence, perseverance! I love working lace with the laceweight yarns. I usually learn something new which each lace project that I do. I love the mystery aspect. It teaches us to trust in our designer, that it will work out in the end. It is very helpful in that we can ask the questions, and someone from the group usually has the answer. Which is much nicer than to say, use a book, to knit a lace stole/shawl and have no one to ask questions. I have so enjoyed the process of knitting this stole, and also Sots I. You do beautiful work DK, and your instructions have been precise and clear. Thank you for a wonderful KAL.
    Janet

  68. I’ve learned about the knitting experiences of others, which in itself is fascinating. It’s amazing how many of us make the same mistake in the same place for the same reasons! This group has been wonderful and courageous: The encouragement has been great, and I marvel at those in the group who struggle mightily, but still push on. You are the real heros here. 🙂

    I learned that this is the best way to knit a large lace project *for me*. Receiving a portion of it each week instead of looking at a huge, looming chart/set of directions really cuts the monster down to size. Breaking it up into smaller milestone goals is a giant morale boost and enables me to keep going toward the next one. It’s easy to spot this sense of accomplishment in the posts on both the yahoogroups board and Ravelry, too.

    This will be the first KAL that I’ll finish; that alone is enough to make me very grateful to DK. For whatever reason, I seem to drop out after a couple of weeks and have collected a little pile of WIPs. This KAL opened my eyes: I’ve frogged those two other KAL projects, and will use that (beautiful) yarn for something else instead of deluding myself that I’ll finish them. (Perhaps I’ll use it for the NEXT SOTS project!

    My grateful thanks to DK, and all the knitters who are participating in this. I look forward to knitting along with you again.

  69. I’ve learned about the knitting experiences of others, which in itself is fascinating. It’s amazing how many of us make the same mistake in the same place for the same reasons! This group has been wonderful and courageous: The encouragement has been great, and I marvel at those in the group who struggle mightily, but still push on. You are the real heros here. 🙂

    I learned that this is the best way to knit a large lace project *for me*. Receiving a portion of it each week instead of looking at a huge, looming chart/set of directions really cuts the monster down to size. Breaking it up into smaller milestone goals is a giant morale boost and enables me to keep going toward the next one. It’s easy to spot this sense of accomplishment in the posts on both the yahoogroups board and Ravelry, too.

    This will be the first KAL that I’ll finish; that alone is enough to make me very grateful to DK. For whatever reason, I seem to drop out after a couple of weeks and have collected a little pile of WIPs. This KAL opened my eyes: I’ve frogged those two other KAL projects, and will use that (beautiful) yarn for something else instead of deluding myself that I’ll finish them. (Perhaps I’ll use it for the NEXT SOTS project!

    My grateful thanks to DK, and all the knitters who are participating in this. I look forward to knitting along with you again.

    Nicki

  70. I had a great time–even though i am only on hint 2–i learned and not to be scared of reading a chart how to read a chart !! thank you! this was my first (but not last) kal–as well as my first lace project—-and I agree with all Paula’s comments—

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