Monday, June 17, 2013

Knitting Tips and Tricks

I have been browsing the Internet for knitting hints, and here are my favorites, so far.

Use a yarn bra or old sock or stocking end to hold skeins of yarn.  Prevents twisting and tangling.  Alternative method:  Use the little bags that cherry tomatoes come in. Just cut off the top label and you have a yarn bra that is very flexible and does not snag your yarn.

To make sure you have enough yarn to complete the second sock or other half, use a kitchen or postage scale.  Weigh the finished and then the remaining yarn.

To be sure you have enough yarn to complete a second row, before knitting the first row, place a loose knot half way down the yarn. If you do not have to undo the knot to complete the first row you have enough yarn to complete another row.  Alternative method:  When coming to the end of a ball of wool and you are not sure if it will knit another row stretch out stitches on your pin and if your wool will stretch over four times you have enough for another row.  (In my own experiene, three and a half times is enough.)

I decided to make an excel spreadsheet with all the yarn I owned.  Now when I want to start a project, I go to my "stash" document to see what I own and had forgotten!

Rather than spending money on Woolite which actually attracts dirt after you use it, use dollar store baby shampoo. It leaves no residue and gets wool very clean.

After you've finished your handywork, go back with the same yarn and do a row of single crochet around the buttonhole. This will make the hole so much stronger, and it looks so much more professional!

I just recently found an awesome knit/crochet pattern book that I think every knitter just starting out should have. It's called, "One-Skein Wonders." Many a time have I ended up with just one (sometimes a half) a skein of yarn and just didn't know what to do with it. This book has some really nifty ideas. Enjoy!

I do a lot of Charity Knitting. With the balls of wool left over I knit hand warmers for the elderly. Cast on 38sts - 1st Row. K2.P2 - 2nd row P2.K2 repeat for 7 inches. Cast off. Sew up side leaving enough room for the thumb. Uses up my small balls of wool and the oldies don't care about the rainbow colors as long as their hands are warm. I know I am old too.

When knitting the cuff of a sweater use one size smaller than the pattern asks for and you will get a nice neat fitting cuff. 

These row counters that you slide on to your knitting needle can move if you hold your needle under your arm.  I thread mine through a length of wool and hang it round my neck.  This is within easy reach and the rows never get moved accidentally.

I use a yarn needle to thread one of those small row counters that's meant to go on a needle onto the tail from my cast-on instead. That way the counter isn't weighing down one needle making it feel "off balance".

if you want to know how much yarn to use for a long-tail cast-on, wrap your yarn around the needle 10 times and release, hold yarn out and measure that same amount again for every 10 sts you plan to cast on, plus some extra for leaving a tail.

A nice, stretchy bind-off:  knit the first st. then K2tog, pull the first st knit over the k2tog st, then k2tog, pull the one sts left over the k2tog st, cont in this manner till all sts have been bound off.

Use a lace faggot chain to cast on lace & never worry about a too tight cast on. (Lace Faggot Chain in Mary Thomas's Pattern Book, page 157.) Cast on 2 sts. All rows: yo, p2tog. Slip your needle through the yo loops, attach yarn & you're good to go. A plus with this method is there are loops on both sides so you can knit in 2 directions or with some contortions proceed to knit in the round. It forms a wonderfully holey center. 

When using ring markers I slip knot a 3 or 4 inch tail of sewing thread to the marker. If the marker falls off it just stays in place and it's easy to drop off to complete a stitch and then replace the marker. If you have to tink or frog the tail keeps the marker in the right place. 

My favorite tip is to use a thin 'widish' piece of ribbon for my lifeline. It has the advantage of not leaving untidy remnants unmatching fiber; it is slick and can be removed easily; and best of all, it will fold in half within the stitches and form a nice pocket in which to easily slip the needle if you do need to rip back a portion of your project. 

For a handy cable holder, keep a darning needle tied to the end of your cast-on tail and use the needle to hold your cable stitches.



elizabeth said...

now that I am knitting I read these with even more interest! I don't understand this one though ~ My favorite tip is to use a thin 'widish' piece of ribbon for my lifeline

can you explain this further?


Anastasia Theodoridis said...

A lifeline is used, especially in lace knitting, to hold your stitches in place. After every few rows, you double check your work and if it is mistake-free, then, using a darning or tapestry needle, you thread a smooth yarn of contrasting color through all your stitches. Then, if you have to rip back, or rather, WHEN younhave to rip back, which in lace knitting can be very confusing, you know you can stop at a known good row, at the lifeline. Just re-insert the needle, carefully following the path of the contrasting yarn. Can save much heart-ache.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

P.S. I use dental floss for my lufelines. As my own lace is almost always white, I use the mint-flavored floss, which is green.