5 Tips for Knitters
This week on Ask Me Monday I go over 5 Tips for Knitters to ensure a positive stitching experience. Watch the episode, and bookmark this page as a future reminder of smile ways you can find success with your projects. Enjoy!
Tip 1: Choose the Right Needles for Your Project
Avoiding frustrating knitting experiences can sometimes be as simple as choosing the type of needles that will serve your project (and the yarn it’s being made from) best. Consider these choices:
- If you’re knitting a lace project or one with a lot of shaping (i.e. plentiful amount of decreases), needles with a pointy tip, like any from the Knitter’s Pride Mindful Collection will be your BFF.
- Working with a slinky yarn like silk, rayon, Tencel, or the like? Choose a needle made from a material with a little grab, like Bamboo, so you’re less likely to accidentally lose hold of stitches.
- Does your wool’s halo have a hold of your stitches? Consider switching to slicker needles. Needles made of a shiny metal-like nickel-plated brass, or wooden needles that have been buffed to shine like the Vickie Howell Aqua Wood or Knitter’s Pride Ginger Needles will help those woolen stitches glide right off for speedier knitting!
Non-Project Specific Pro-Tip: Knitting is a long-game, so take care of your body. Using lighter weight straight needles, like those made out of plastic or bamboo, or any type of ciruclar needle will be kinder to your wrists. If you’re dealing with hand cramping, consider trying an ergonomic, square needle option.
Tip 2: Know Your Yarn
All yarns are not created equal when it comes to project type. To ensure your project looks and feels like the sample or photo that inspired you to make it in the first place, be sure to find a comparable yarn for your project that’s called for in the pattern. Here’s a checklist of what to look for:
- What weight (dk, sport, worsted, etc) yarn does the pattern call for?
- What is the fiber content? Is it a blend? All wool? All acrylic?
- What is the desired effect wanted from the yarn? Does it need to be sturdy, like for an amigurumi toy? Washable, like for socks or a blanket? Resilient, like for a charity hat? Soft, like for a baby garment or chemo cap? Drapey, like for a wrap or flowy top? Don’t be shy about asking your LYS owner or craft store owner for help finding the yarn that will give you the results you want.
Tip 3: Use the Best Cast-On for Your Project
Put your best knitting foot forward by choosing the cast-on that will give your project the best start! Here are some options:
- If you’re casting on for a ribbed waistband or cuff, consider using the Alternating Cable Cast-ons for 1×1 or 2×2 rib. They’ll give you more stretch than a traditional cast-on.
- Will your cast-on edge be exposed (i.e. not in a seam)? Then sturdy options that offer the equivalent heft of 1 row of knitting, like the Long-Tail Cast-on or Single Tail Cast-on, are both great choices!
- Is there a lace project in your future? Give it a great start by using the Knit Cast-on for a stretchier, more open edge that will easily block out when you’re done!
Tip 4: Pick a Better Bind-Off
You’ve put all kinds of love, work, and time into knitting that beautiful knit project, so it can be a real bummer if it all goes to pot with an unideal bind-off. Before you go get that yarn off those needles, take a minute to consider which bind-off method will give you the best result. For example:
- If you generally feel like the bound-off edge of your Stockinette Stitch pieces isn’t all that pretty using the traditional cast-off, try the tidier Wendy’s SSK Bind-Off.
- Working in ribbing? Try Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off.
- For Lace projects, try the YO Bind-off.
Tip 5: Give Yourself a Break
You deserve a break, both literally and figuratively. Here’s how to give one (or more) to yourself.
- Every 20 minutes or so, set your knitting down and take a moment to circle, stretch and massage your wrists, hands, and shoulders. These little respites will make a world of difference in the longevity of your stitching! If you have my book, The Knit Vibe, you’ll find several yoga moves, with instructor Alicia Montoya, designed for folks who use their hands, wrists, and shoulders repetitively.
- Have a bunch of UFOs (unfinished objects)? Going a little slower progressing on that WIP (work in progress)? Go easy on yourself. Knitting doesn’t need to be about what you make, or if you actually ever make anything at all. It’s about the time spent focused on creativity, the calm that the movements can bring to one’s mind, and the positivity that the act of making puts out into the world. It’s that simple.