These are my own Knitting Tips garnered over 30 years of knitting experience,

I hope you will use them in all your knitting projects too! 

When knitting in the round: Tensions

 

I find when knitting in the round my tension is looser than when knitting back and forth accross a needle.

 

This is because when purling,  my natural tension is tighter than when working a knit row.

 

Because of this, if I am knitting top down and continuously in the round on a circular needle I use a size smaller needle.

 

 

 

 

Stitch markers | Row markers

 

Stitch Markers:

No fancy stitch markers on hand?

Simply use a contrasting piece of yarn, tie a slip knot halfway and slip over your needle.

 

Row Markers:

Very usefull for counting rows when decreasing sleeves for example:

Use the same knotted contrasting yarn slipped over your needle.

When starting a row, knit (or purl) over the loose ends and keep working over for the required amount of rows.

Its easy to quickly count the rows worked.

To work the next set of rows, slip off the marker and restart knitting over the loose end.

 

 

Working with Hand Dyed Yarns or different dye lots?

 

There is a useful and easy way to avoid those 'bands' of differing colour hues sometimes found in hand dyed yarns within the same dye lots on finished worked panels. 

 

With this method you also do not have to worry about purchasing yarn from different dye lots because you so badly want the yarn!

 

I find that using 3 skeins of yarn at the same time diminishes this problem entirely... big yay!

 

At the beginning of each new row, simply pick up the yarn of a new skein. There will always be a thread available on each side of work, Rs and Ws, and the loop created will only be one row apart and easy to deal with when seaming.

 

Use the yarn from the centre of the skein to avoid balls rolling around. This method has an added bonus of less threads per fabric length to weave in after completing a panel as you are elongating the length between ends by a third! 

 

What to do when coming to the end of your supply of skeins? Before starting a new skein which is possibly the 2nd last in your stash, rewind off as much as possible to add another skein to work with. If you are like me then this will give your hands some time to rest inbetween knitting too and is not too bothersome to do to ensure an even distribution of dye lots and colours... Voila!

 

 

Rewinding yarn from a frogged project

Making a yarn ball from frogged yarn should be wound up as loosely as possible to avoid stretching and 'Flattening' the yarn thereby losing the yarns' natural and original 'Bloom' 

What is a yarns 'Bloom' ?

when yarn is worked and relaxed the yarn will naturally bloom - this means the yarn will 'fatten' out a little bit. Looking at yarn and thinking it is a bit 'mean' is not always the case as natural blooming means it will be slightly bulkier that it appears on the skein.

To Block or not to Block ?

Blocking fabric by dampening and shaping to specific sizes on the pattern and left overnight to dry is instructed on most lace work patterns for example shawls.

 

But do all knitted items and garments in particular need to be blocked? The answer is no, not at all!

 

Most acrylic and wool blends do not have to be blocked, even those with cabling panels, but it mostly depends on how the fabric reacts to the particular stitch used. If the fabric is being nipped in then blocking will help to open out and display the stitch at its best. 

 

Blocking is sometimes instructed on a pattern to gain the correct width of a panel to size the garment correctly. 

 

Steam Pressing

Sounds a bit radical, but steam ironing very carefully on Cotton and some Cotton blends works miracles!

The result is a very professional and even finish to your hand work, just dont over do it!  

Most importantly test it out on your gauge swatch before steam rolling right in.

 

!! Warning !! - NEVER ever steam acrylics! .....

.....unless you want to try this radical idea......see down the line!

Loose Knitter ?

If you are a continental knitter and your natural knitting gauge is very loose, try wrapping the yarn around your pinkie more than once. The thinner the yarn, the more wraps you use will help tremendously.

Needle Storage Tip

Not my own tip but so very good have to share!

Found on Flickr: rjrahardjo

 

Use an old zip up CD case to store circular needles. You can even note down the needle size on the sleeve.

 

Those pesky holes on the neckline

After a lot of frustration I have finally gotten a handle to avoid those holes occuring when picking up stitches around a neckline. I used to spend an aweful amount of time 'filling' them in while darning and finishing a sweater....

 

Click on the pic to take you to the instruction page

 

Perfect Professional Neck Finish

Along with the tip of avoiding neck holes this is the next top tip to producing a perfect neck finish.

 

Click on the pic to take you to the instruction page !

 

Result: A perfectly formed and stable neck shape with an 'outline' of stitches closest to the body mimicking a machine knitted garment.

  

Professional Seaming

 

For the best, easiest and most professional garment seaming rather 'knit and bind off' your seams closed.

 

Click on the pic to take you to instruction page.

Bamboo or Metal Needles?

Use Metal (aluminium) for intricate and *tighter* sts for example; lacework. You need those lovely sharp points and your work will slide along the needle that much easier.

 

Use Bamboo for hand comfort and *loose* stitches for example; stocking stich. Bamboo 'clings' and 'grips' your fabric onto the needle and will prevent sts slipping off whilst sliding your work along the needle.

These SPIN needles can be sourced at naturalyarns.co.za.

Colour Working threads

 

When colour striping, carry the second or additional colour threads up the side seam by knitting them into the 1st stitch along with the normal row. Its simple, quick and there will be a lot less hassle when seaming. 

Travel Knit Tip

 

When planning your knitting to take along for a trip, make a note to only take 1 ciruclar Dpn needle and not two separtate std needles.  You will never lose a needle and will always be able to knit...but dont forget about extra yarn or you will be stuck.

Update and Embellish !

 

Update and Embellish your favourite Mitt pattern. Remake by adding on a fancy yarn trim at the wrist !

 

Easy Peasy !

Inside, not Outside !

 

When possible, try starting a new skein of yarn by pulling the end of the yarn from the inside of the ball, this prevents the ball rolling around whilst unwinding and using the yarn.

 

Beginning Slip Knot

 

That all important unavoidable slip knot must be able to be tightened from the beginning of the yarn and not from the yarn you are about to begin casting on with.....then you will always be able to regulate its tension afterwards to avoid a big loop!

 

Finish Cast Off

 

On your last cast off stitch, knit the last stitch BELOW, (K1b) then cast off to prevent that nasty open hole.

Test before Spending

 

So you have chosen a pattern and have substituted the yarn....purchase ONE skein to test the stitch pattern as well as the gauge before purchasing the entire amount.

Gauge and Tensions

 

Yes, we have all heard it before and with very good reason......whether or not you are substituting a yarn, do not omit knitting up your gauge swatch, take the time to save the time.

Yarn Substitutions

 

Love the pattern but cannot find the specified / suggested yarn?

 

Go to a favorite yarn sub website like www.yarn.sub.com and type in the specified yarn to find a substitute.

 

We have provided a link which you will find on any of our pattern information pages.

Keep on Track

 

We all know we should do this so keep reminding yourself!

 

When working on a lace pattern, thread a contrasting thread through the end of each repeat row. If you have made a mistake and only notice this within a new repeat or even a repeat one or two below it, this makes undoing not only easy but completely necessary!

 

Also, always keep a track of your rows on paper or in a notebook!

Use Ziplock Bags

 

Use Small sized ziplock plastic bags to keep your yarn labels and a wool sample for future reference, very handy when you need to find info like washing instructions etc.

 

Also handy when you wish to re-make that fav item in a differrent colour and have forgotten how much yarn you used to customise the length.

 

Use Bread Clips

 

Use Bread clips to wind up those long loose threads that occur when starting a new ball of yarn, rather than snipping them off.

 

Keep a stash handy while knitting and dip into the stash as and when you need one.

Use Butterfly Clips

 

Use Butterfly hair clips to hold together 2 pieces of work while closing seams.

 

These are especially usefull when joining sleeves into armholes, pop one on the relevant matching points

 

Find the smallest ones in packs in the accessories department in your local store.

Use your Arms !

 

Use your arms to measure when you are approaching the end of a skein of yarn!

 

Before the yarn runs out, hold your work as far away from you as possible and measure the yarn from the work to your other shoulder, make a slip knot and work the next row. If you get to the slip knot before, just after, or just before the end of the row you will know roughly how much yarn you will need to complete another row.

Oops! Can't find more Yarn?

Run out of yarn and simply cannot find anymore anywhere? It happens to all of us!

 

Option 1: Use a differing weight for the cuffs etc  (double up with a 4ply in the same colour)

Option 2: Use a contrasting colour on all the edges or insert a stripe just before the cuffs.

Option 3: Turn your cardi / sweater into a 3/4 sleeve instead, you may just find this works out even better for you in the long run!

Option 4: Toss the sleeves completely, use your reclaimed yarn and knit off an edging for the armholes and add the same onto your neckline.

Keep a Notebook

 

Avid knitters keep a notebook in their knitting bags at all times!

Take this notebook along with you to the yarn store too!

Make and Keep handy notes like these for example:

My Sizing / Daughter Sizing: March 2015:

1. 4Ply weight ± 150 stitches / 55cms width / 1000gms

2. Dk weight ± 90 stitches / 55cms width / 900gms

3. Best length for me: Hip / 65cms

4. Best cuff width / Best sleeve length

 

 

 

radical Re-Cycling of old sweaters

This tip is very radical but one that I have done over the years with acrylic yarn garments that I did not want to throw away and that had shrunk whilst I have grown in sizes over the years :)

 

It only works with acrylics and can alter the whole look of a sweater or a cardi, which is rather a nice way of 're-cycling' old sweaters.

 

Time to grab the steam iron and iron the heck out of it on full steam setting, starting where you want the size to grow. I start accoss the width at the underarm point downwards which is where it is mostly wanted anyhow and take it from there avoiding the neck line and graduating the amount of stretching and steaming upwards. Take your time and try it on repeatedly until the look and size feels and looks good.

 

Remember that this process will thin out the fabric and make it quite floppy, which is not a bad thing with a stiff and outdated item. Good luck, go forth and experiment before tossing it out instead of trying something new (and brave) 

 

 

Finally ... Wing It !

Lost track of where you are in the middle of an armhole for example? Think you will have to start at the very beginning all over again? No ways!

 

Knitting is a very 'forgiving' craft and no one will notice the odd mistake, thats a promise! The odd stretching in or easing on a sleeve seam will go un-noticed! Go easy on yourself and wing it.....within obvious reason!

 

Other useful stuff to make....

 

See below for usefull household items to knit.......

Knit a cover for your hoover to protect your wooden floors

 

Measure your hoover attachment and make several knitted covers to protect your floors whilst hoovering. Thread thin elastic around the edges to slip over hoover quickly.

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The Knitting Station is privately owned by Tracy,  a passionate obsessive compulsive knitter......

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Cape Town, South Africa.  

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