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Share your favorite knitting tip with us!

Jul 8, 2011

There's so much knowledge out there—let's help each other and share tips and tricks.

Here are some topics to get you going:

Sock Knitting: How do you avoid that hole at the top of the gusset?
Sweater Knitting Patterns: What's your favorite cast-on tip?
Lace Knitting: How do you put in a lifeline?
Easy Knitting Patterns: What's your favorite type of pattern to suggest to beginners?
Knitting for Women: How do you do short-rows?
Knitting for Babies: What's the easiest baby blanket/baby booty pattern you've knit and why?

Those are just a few—sky's the limit on this topic! How to knit tips and tricks are a great way to bring our knitting community together.

Have a great weekend. I hope you find some time to knit!


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on Jul 18, 2011 4:37 PM

As for Casting on: I hate trying to estimate the amount of yarn needed to do a three point (long tail) cast on so I regularly use a knit on cast on for sock tops(sort of loose and open looking) and a cable cast on (knit between the stitches) for sweaters or scarves or just about anything besides a sock. The cable cast on gives you a nice firm edge that usually does not roll and looks very nicely finished, and there aren't any loose stitches to catch and tear to cause your rib to un-knit itself.The cable cast on also allows you to cast on knit-purl to start your ribbing.

Aine wrote
on Jul 18, 2011 5:44 AM

This is the easiest baby bootie/sock pattern I know of, although when it says to knit 31 sts, 33 would be closer.  Still experimenting with it.  About to knit it in the round on my next pair, since another link in Norwegian shows pictures of sewing it up invisibly which I just can't do.

My favorite pattern for baby blankets is the Fiber Trends Ribbons Baby Blanket.  I did 2 up in worsted very recently, although directions for DK and fingering are also given.

HaBaHaBa wrote
on Jul 16, 2011 2:16 PM

Here is another tip from my friend who knits her socks with five dpns. She marks one needle with permanent marker or nail enamel. When distributing cast-on stitches, she puts them onto unmarked needles and then starts to knit with marked needle.

Every time she has marked needle free, she knows she knitted another five rounds.

mudhny wrote
on Jul 16, 2011 12:18 PM

someone else may have come up with this idea, but i have never read it or seen it.  so here goes:  using the little rubbery place markers to bunch double pointed needles together. like the small ones # 1, 2, 3, 4.  works like a charm and then the needles aren't rattling around in a drawer or box.

AnitaS@24 wrote
on Jul 16, 2011 12:03 PM

When you need to cast on a lot of stitches, use two balls of yarn and slip knot them together for the first two stitches

knitterlynan wrote
on Jul 16, 2011 11:35 AM

The best tip i found (can't remember where now) has to do with figuring out whether the skeins/balls of yarn I have is enough for my pattern (epsecially if i have had to tweek the pattern to make it fit better or accomodate my choice of yarn).

. Each skein/ ball has written on it; Xoz = Y yards.

I knit up a swatch.

I calculate/count the number of stitches in the swatch.

Weigh the swatch. calculate the yardage in that swatch based on the weight. Then I calculate the approx # stitches in the project and voila .from there i just have to do some math to figure out how many yards that quantity of stiches needs....i'll  have a pretty good idea if my volume of yarn will be enough.

this tip is also excellent for knitting socks from one ball of yarn. i knit the sock toe up and when i get to the leg i just weight the ball of yarn occasionally until i get to half the original weight and cast off!

HaBaHaBa wrote
on Jul 16, 2011 10:28 AM

To calculate yarn tail needed for tubular bind-off, I make a crochet chain of exact half of stitches I have to bind-off, then cut the yarn, undo the chain and use this length for Kitchener. Crochet hook is to be the same size as working needles.

For example, if I'm going to bind-off 60 stitches (which are in ribbing), then I crochet chain only 30 slip stictches.

This tip works as well for usual Kitchener; in this case you need to make a chain of full number of stitches to weave.

Paige-Kate wrote
on Jul 16, 2011 9:49 AM

I've been knitting for about five years and my biggest tip is to do a test run of a pattern or stitch before you commit to a project. I buy some cheap yarn (acrylic or cheap cotton) and follow the pattern instructions until I'm comfortable with the pattern or I give up. It saves a lot of time and frustration as well as your wallet.

ourmum wrote
on Jul 16, 2011 8:35 AM

Although I am now an 85 year old great grandma, I learned to knit when I started school in England at the age of 3, so I have a little experience with the knitting needles--my tip is in casting on.  I like to cast on inbetween the stitches--it makes a much neater edge.  Phyllis

revmisty wrote
on Jul 16, 2011 7:46 AM

As an 8-year-old I was given a knitting book and size 10.5 needles with yarn.  I'd learned to knit a garter stitch square in Girl Scouts.  The book had a pair of "cuddlemoc" slippers, made in bulky yarn.  There were no increases or decreases, but I did have to teach myself to purl.  I didn't know anything about yarn weight, so I made those slippers in every color of worsted weight.  My favorite was the bright red/blue/green/orange/yellow ombre yarn.

   It is still the best project for a beginner -- although having to make TWO slippers can be a challenge.  One year my 2 sisters made each other slippers for Christmas, unknown to the other one.  3 days before Christmas they both came to me and said, "Can you make the second slipper for me?  I can't finish in time!"  I kept their secret, made the second slipper, and Christmas morning there were two delighted girls!!

  Pattern:  Cast on 29 stitches (heel edge).  Row 1 - knit; Row 2 - knit 9, purl 1, knit 9, purl 1, knit 9.  Repeat these 2 rows 10 times.  Next row: knit 1, purl 1.  continue in k1,p1 ribbing for 9 more rows.  Leaving a long tail, cut yarn and draw through all the stitches on the needle.  Using the tail, seam the ribbing section.  fold the cast-on edge in half and seam for heel.  Top with a pom-pom on top of the toe.

margi333 wrote
on Jul 16, 2011 6:01 AM

Hi.  I actually have a question about socks.  I have knit a few pairs that fit perfectly when I first put them on, but as the day wears on, the socks get really baggy.  Is there a way to prevent them from stretching?  After washing, they are the perfect size again.


on Jul 10, 2011 6:09 AM

My favorite baby blanket is the Big Bad Baby Blanket from the first Stitch n *** book. It's easy-peasy and so, so classy.

TammyT wrote
on Jul 9, 2011 10:40 AM

I've done a LOT of socks and have done several heels.  Heel flap and gusset are my least favorite.  I have very large feet and they add too much bulk at the back of the heel.  They also fit my foot poorly.  I recommend that you explore different heels and fits until you find the right one for your foot.  Generally, the most comfortable sock will be one that is SNUG.  Loose socks are annoying!  I get rid of holes by picking up extra stitches in the hole area, sometimes twisting them.  Then I decrease the extras away on subsequent rows.

My favorite cast on tip is to learn a bunch of them and use a different one for every project.  The Long Tail cast on is a good "all purpose" cast on for a beginner, but when you start seriously making garments you need to gauge what level of stretchyness you need and how you want to the edge to look.  Choose a cast on accordingly.  I think it is just as important to know several BIND OFFS.  These are vital too when finishing toe-up socks, neck edges and edges that will be sewn to other pieces.  Using the correct bind off is a huge help!

Ruth Ann R. wrote
on Jul 9, 2011 7:45 AM

I've come up with a way to learn/try new  lace patterns without driving myself crazy frogging rows and rows of knitting due to mistakes, and use up stash at the same time.  I make small squares (7x7") of lace patterns I think I may like, then sew them together to make an afghan to take to a local nursing home where I do volunteer work.  Then I know what patterns I like, and the ones I don't like, and I have a pretty, colorful afghan.

spanks wrote
on Jul 8, 2011 4:25 PM

i use cat bodhi's sock patterns...the new ones where you knit the whole foot and open a hole for the really is magic, everytime.....i've knitted socks before but consider myself a beginner.  Her patterns are easy, practically fool proof and no holes gussets, wraps and turns, trickey grafting or kitchener and no tight cuffs.  a perfect fit every time is a knitting goddess!

grafovna wrote
on Jul 8, 2011 2:36 PM

I am not exactly an experienced knitter. I have been teaching myself how to do things this year. I am improving though. I am teaching my kids now. They are making little garter stitch bookmarks, which are great to have because they are both big readers. I think small projects are better for a beginning knitter. The first project that I tried was WAY too big for me. I got frustrated and didn't try again for a couple of months. Then, I made a dishcloth and it was easier. My kids plan to see who can finish a bookmark fastest this weekend, so the fun for them is apparently not lost with such a small project.