One of knitting’s secrets is to be very familiar with all of the little tips and tricks that you can use for any project. Whenever I go to forums or even visit my favorite LYS (aka my ‘local yarn shop’) there are knitters there who have been knitting for years and some are still not familiar with little techniques that are not only time savers, but knitting life savers, as well.
So I have comprised a list of Knitting’s Best Tips. Some of these may seem rather obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many knitters have never heard of them!
Without further ado, here we go:
1. Before you even make a slip knot, READ the entire pattern through at least once. You will be amazed at how directions / instructions are written. Some very helpful hints or notes will be added near the end of the pattern. Usually these are things you need to know right away. Be sure to read the pattern through completely, so you know what these are.
2. When casting on, always leave yourself enough yarn to make it all the way through the stitches you need to cast on the needle. Don’t worry if you have a long strand of yarn left over, simply cut it to size.
3. When joining a second or third ball of yarn, try to join them at the edges rather than in the middle of a row. Then your seams will be hidden in the sides and it just looks so much neater.
4. When knitting off of a chart or directional rows, always use a sticky note to keep your place. Then when you need to walk away, always write down the last row knitted on the sticky note so you’ll know just where to pick up when you resume. The sticky little note can be moved down the page as you go.
5. When knitting with a ball of yarn, always pull the yarn from the center and not the outside. If you do this, your yarn will flow nicely and not become a monster tangled mess as you knit. If you do encounter a knotted mess, simply cut the mess out, then attach your yarn again. Some knots are impossible to untangle!
6. If you want to change colors rather than knit all in one color, then do it! Be creative. If you wish to add a stitch pattern to a project, and you know how to do that, then do it! Variations on a theme are always welcome.
7. When you work on a pattern that is written for 2 or 3 sizes, always circle or highlight the size that you are knitting for. Do that all the way through the pattern. It is very easy to start knitting for another size if your size isn’t highlighted from start to finish.
8. New to knitting? Then don’t knit with specialty yarns or anything fuzzy or ribbon-y, like fun fur or mohair. It’s too difficult to see your stitches on the needle, and you’ll get lost in the fuzz. Take my word for it!
9. Keep all those knitting accessories to a minimum. They may look all the rage, and be very cute to have, but most often you won’t use them anyway. Needles, yarn, scissors and instructions will do the job every time.
10. If you’re getting to the end of a ball of yarn and want to know if you can knit another row without running out, then do this: take your remaining yarn and stretch it out across the width of your piece three times, back and forth. If your yarn makes it, you have enough for another row. Whew!
These tips should get you started. As I come across more fun knitting secrets, I’ll write additional articles. So be sure to check back often; you never what you’ll find!
Alice Seidel works as a freelance writer. She is the author of dozens of articles, a full-length book on knitting, and is the Author and Publisher of Knit Stitch & Whimsy, a monthly knitting newsletter. For details, visit scarfknitting.com