At Knitting Daily, we define fearless knitting as facing your knitting fears, mastering them, and then using those previously feared knitting situations with gusto.
We've just published a new book, Fearless Knitting Workbook by Jennifer E. Seiffert, that embodies all of those ideals perfectly. I received a copy in the mail last week, and I sat down to flip through it to choose a couple of tips to pass on to you. Remember when you were in school (or maybe you're in school now!) and you'd read with a highlighter in hand to mark the important passages? Well I had to ban highlighters from my pencil cup because I highlighted everything, which sort of defeated the purpose!
I was transported back to those over-highlighting days but with sticky notes instead of a bright yellow pen: There are so many tips and tricks worthy of Knitting Daily, the book was littered with Post-Its!
I managed to narrow it down, though, and here's a finishing tip for you (I'll bet you've got a couple of gift items that will benefit from this tip).
Weaving in Ends
by Jennifer E. Seiffert, from Fearless Knitting Workbook
Weave in ends securely so they do not ravel during use or cleaning. Weave an end in one direction, then go back in the opposite direction for a few stitches to anchor the tail. Sometimes I also like to split the yarn of the stitches being weaved into, for added security.
Weave the ends in so that they are invisible from the right side. For a piece that will be seamed, weave the tails in the seam allowance. If there is no seam allowance, weave the tail into the fabric, matching the direction the yarn was coming from or going toward to prevent a hole from forming. Put just enough tension on the yarn tail so that the join can't be seen on the right side—pulling too tightly will make the fabric pucker. Weave into solid areas, not openwork. Weave diagonally if that will make the result more invisible. If you are weaving in multiple tails near the same spot, weave them in different directions so the fabric doesn't become too thick in one place. I like to weave over and under a few stitches pulling the tail snug, then stretching the fabric to allow the tail to achieve the length it will need to maintain elasticity.
|Different ways to weave in ends.
||Front view of the sample at left. You can
see which methods show more on the
front than others.
There seem to be two schools of knitting (with a half of a school in the middle): those who rip out rows to fix mistakes and those who keep on trucking. I'm in the latter school, with occasional side trips to the "middle school" of ripping out.
Below are some words of wisdom from Jennifer Seiffert and Fearless Knitting Workbook that might just change your outlook on knitting, or at least give you something to think about when you make a mistake. Jennifer is a knitting teacher who has mentored many a new knitter into a fearless knitter!
When must you fix mistakes, and when can you leave them alone? This may be more of a question for Dr. Phil than for your knitting teacher. I've had students who had to fix absolutely every mistake or problem and would rather rip out and re-knit their work several times than leave a mistake in place. Then there are other students (fewer in number) who are very relaxed about mistakes, I myself am a recovering perfectionist, who eventually learned that "done is better than perfect."
The best knitting teachers will tell you, "There are no knitting police." This is true and in that spirit, here are my thoughts about when to fix mistakes.
When the mistake affects the structure or size of the finished piece. For example, if the right and left fronts of the sweater aren't the same length or if your gauge is off, and the garment is not going to fit.
When the mistake cascades into more and more problems. A missed yarnover in a lace pattern affects the stitch count, which destroys the lace pattern in subsequent rows.
When fixing the mistake will be an opportunity to learn how to do it right. Self explanatory.
When the project is a gift and the mistake will be discoverable by the recipient. Have enough respect for the recipient to do your best work. But if the recipient is a young boy who doesn't care if all the cables cross in the same direction, you needn't care either.
These are just a couple of items from the Fearless Knitting Workbook. I hope this whets your appetite for more!