Tips and Tricks from Lily Chin

Lily Chin is amazing. Whether it's reinventing cable charts or being the fastest crocheted on the planet, she's a knitting force to be reckoned with.

She's a master knitter who's been a professional designer since 1981, and she wants to share some of her favorite knitting tips and tricks with you in her new video workshop, The Knitter's Toolbox: Lily Chin's Techniques and Tricks for Savvy Knitters.

Using light from a lamp to see your
stitches better

Here are just a few of Lily's wonderful tips:

I can't see my stitches. If you're knitting with a mohair, bouclé, or a novelty yarn, hold your knitting up to a lampshade to see the stitches better for getting your gauge. This trick also works great to find a dropped stitch!

Do I have enough yarn? When knitting in stockinette stitch, if you have 3X the length of your row, plus 10%, you have enough yarn to do one more row.

This is not what I expected! Do unto the swatch as you will do unto the project and you will have no surprises. That is, launder your swatch as you're going to launder your finished piece and you'll see what will happen to the fabric. I wish I would have done this with a sweater I recently finished. The yarn ball band said that said the yarn was machine washable with cold water and dryable on low heat. I followed those directions and my sweater came out of the wash totally pilled. After two goings-over with the sweater comb to remove the pills, it looks years old. Sad for me! All that time and energy knitting went to waste. I'll wear the sweater, but only in the house.

Binding off with a crochet hook

My bind-off is too tight!
To avoid a too-tight bind-off, use a crochet hook instead of your right needle, and follow these steps:

Step 1. Place the hood in the first stitch as if to knit, yarn over the hook, and draw the yarn through the stitch. Remove the stitch from the left needle to the hook, just as if you were knitting.

Step 2. Follow the directions in step 1 to "knit" another stitch. You now have two stitches on the crochet hook. Use the hook to draw the left stitch through the right stitch, as if you were making a crochet chain. You now have one stitch left on the crochet hook and one stitch bound off.

Repeat step 2 until all stitches are bound off. This method makes a looser bind off because it doesn't involve the traditional passing the right stitch over the left stitch, which tightens up the left stitch because it tugs on the yarn as it's pulled over the right stitch.

Pretty great tips, right? There are literally hours more (almost 5!) from Lily on her new video workshop—imagine how this video will change your knitting!

Download The Knitter's Toolbox or pre-order the DVD today!


P.S. I'm sure you Knitting Daily readers have tips of your own. Please leave a comment and share them with us!

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Knitting Daily Blog
Kathleen Cubley

About Kathleen Cubley

Hello daily knitters! I'm the editor of Knitting Daily. I've been obsessed with knitting for about ten years now and my favorite projects are sweaters. I like the occasional smaller project, but there's nothing like yards of stockinette with a well-placed cable or a subtle stitch pattern here and there. I crochet a bit now and then—especially when I need to produce a baby blanket in time for the baby shower. I've been in publishing for 20 years and I'm finally exactly where I want to be: at the crossroads of knitting and communication. I live in Spokane, Washington and when I'm not knitting I enjoy gardening, snuggling with my dogs, swimming, reading, and playing in the snow in the winter. But, really, I'm pretty much always knitting!

13 thoughts on “Tips and Tricks from Lily Chin

  1. I have been a knitter for years (probably 75 years) but there is always something new. I appreciate these tips. Thank you very much. Keep them coming.

    Joyce Van Houtte

  2. I read what you said about a sweater that pilled badly after being washed and didn’t look good enough to wear out even after using a sweater comb. I used to sell knitted and crocheted afghans on eBay. I’d buy them used and sometimes they would be pilled. I found that (although it’s time-consuming) cutting the pills off with small scissors (often the pilled areas are connected almost like vines and you can pull them up and trim them in one fell swoop) makes the garment look just like new. That way I could sell them and make money! Works better than the gadgets. I know it takes some time, but how much time did it take you to make that sweater? I guarantee if you finish trimming off the pills with small sharp scissors, it will look good enough to wear anywhere.

  3. Thanks, very interesting !
    But i didn’t understand :
    1. due to step 2. we will get just half of total quantity of stitches so need to piece out them somewhere in another place-row

    2. What is the very beginning of such knitting – with 2 needles ?

  4. Gosh – I have been doing this for years. I wish I had been the one to tell you about this “tip”. Lily Chin is amazing and I would love to be able to knit like she does, but after 60 years of knitting, why change now. LOL thank you for all you do and I love watching on Friday mornings.

    Carol in Florida ……….happy knitting everyone!!

  5. Thanks, as always, for your great ideas.

    Another tip: The plastic clips used to close the bags bread is packaged in are excellent for wrapping up the excess tail after you cast on.

    The Balloon Lady

  6. Thanks, as always, for your great ideas.

    Another tip: The plastic clips used to close the bags bread is packaged in are excellent for wrapping up the excess tail after you cast on.

    The Balloon Lady

  7. How is this different from:
    Knit first stitch.
    Knit second stitch.
    Move both stitches to L needle, K2tog.
    One stitch remains on R needle.
    *K one. Slip both stitches to R needle. K2tog.*
    Repeat to end.

  8. I have one question re: Do I have enough yarn? It’s clear how much the “3X the length of your row” is. But is the additional 10% referring to the length of one row, or to the “3X the length”?

    In other words, is it 10% of the shorter length or of the longer length?

  9. I was surprised when a friend said she had never heard of this technique. I use it to avoid creating a break (linear split) when knitting with double-pointed needles or circular needles. When casting-on stitches, I add one more than called for and knit together the first and last casted stitches.

    Really enjoy Lily’s suggestions.


  10. @ Cosmicmuffin. I knit the English way (Yarn on right fingers) and even if I hold it loosely, the cast-off it always tight, so I started using the next larger needle like you. In fact, I just made a doll’s cape and went from a size 7 up to a 10 to make a stand up edge. Very pretty.
    My mother taught me NEVER to join yarn in the row (though I have found that carefully splicing each strand as I learned in Girl Guides, saves sewing in so many ends.) She said you take the very end of the yarn, + a couple of inches, and double it back to the end of last row. Where the bend in the yarn, is, tie a loose double knot and start the next row. If you get to the knot before you have knitted half the stitches, you don’t have enough yarn, back it up and get more yarn. If you have done half the row before the knot, you will have enough to finish it.