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Are you in a knitting rut?

Ten ways to keep your knitting practice fresh

Remember that first-FO feeling? Whether it was a scarf, a hat, or a dishcloth, that final cast-off was a triumph - and a gateway to more. Do you still have that fresh feeling? Or maybe you'd like to mix it up to bring it back?

1: Challenge yourself to an impossible color

Fill in the blank: I could never pull off ____________. Then, go do it anyway. Try an accessory or a project for a friend. See if you can find creative ways to work that color into a colorwork project. Use it to make something for your kitchen. Whatever it is, give yourself permission to play. 2: Knit a present for Future You Think out six months, and pull out some of your favorite clothes for fall. What could you make that would be a perfect addition? Knit it up, buy yourself a new pair of earrings, and wrap the present. Set a calendar date so you don't forget! Psst - looking for inspiration for wardrobe planning? Use paper dolls! 3: Swatch something scary Pull out a yarn you love and a stitch dictionary, and just knit up a swatch in a technique that's been on your slightly-intimidated list. Brioche? Intarsia? Dropped stitches? Whatever it is, set aside time for some creative play. My favorite stitch dictionary remains my first - Potter Craft's 400 Knitting Stitches: A Complete Dictionary of Essential Stitch Patterns. 4: Meet a new fiber

We definitely all have our favorites. But what if you ran an experiment with something else? I recently knit a second sample of a tee that's coming in May in cotton and I DRIED IT IN THE DRYER. I've always been leery of cotton, but now that I've knit it up and know that it can handle real-life wear and real-life care, I feel like I have a new tool. Whether you're curious about something more practical or something outrageously IMpractical, take a gamble on something fun. 5: Start a notebook Are you an online-project tracker? A non-tracker? Already on the paper notebook train? Creating a physical record of your knits is a fun and tactile way to organize your thoughts and plans. I love disc-bound systems for this, and I'm personally a fan of the Tul system. I can create a really pretty page on high-quality paper, punch it, and stick it in. Take it further by sewing little pockets, or using a scrap of your actual yarn to embellish your page. Remember to come back later and update your thoughts on your finished projects. 6: Throw away yarn Is the weight of your stash breaking your spirit? De-stash it. Sell it online, donate it to a school, but whatever you do, don't let your stash bully you. 7: Make a fiber friend Sometimes just getting out of the house to knit with someone else can be totally indulgent. Join a group on Meetups, or start your own! 8: Take a break

You don't have to be a year-round knitter. Coming back when your creative tank is full is just fine. In fact, you never have to come back. Our creativity grows and changes, and even if your whole life is tangled up in knitting, it's okay to stop entirely. 9: Do a photoshoot Go big with a professional, or keep it private and take photos in your own home. Use a tripod and a shutter remote (around $20), plan a moodboard and a playlist, and let yourself really get into the vibe. Most of us have been discouraged from taking up too much space, or being too much. Taking beautiful photos of yourself in your handmade art is a quiet act of political defiance. Psst - I recently did a photoshoot for an upcoming collection. You can see the moodboard here and listen to my playlist here - and thanks to Anastasia for helping me build it!

10: Knit something borderline ridiculous This week, I've just put the finishing touches on a wool bralette. I thought it was going to be something I was just doing for fun, because it would look cool, and to kind of get out of my all-serious-sweaters-all-the-time rut. But listen, y'all. All of my bras were in the wash or on the line and it was just sitting there. And danged if I didn't wear a wool bra all day long without thinking about it once! It was a super fun project, and the fact that it's super practical is just the icing on the cake.

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