I’ve been knitting for over 15 years, and during that time I’ve benefited from a lot of shared knitting tips and tricks.
Some were borne out of a combination of desperation and ingenuity. Others were passed down from older and wiser knitters.
Still others I picked up from the chatty hubbub of internet forums, comment sections and in-person knitting circles.
I’ve used each knitting tip countless times, and they have served me well. Go forth and let them power up your knitting game!
If you’d like to watch me gesticulate wildly while going through these tips, watch the video above. Otherwise, scroll down to read each tip.
Let’s get into it!
1. Stitch Markers are Everywhere
Chances are you’re surrounded by stitch markers right now.
That paperclip on your desk? It can be twisted into a split-ring stitch marker
Rubber bands? Rings? Hair ties?
All stitch markers waiting to be put to use!
If you have a bit of scrap yarn, you can cut off a 6” piece, twist it into a loop and knot it at the ends.
Instant stitch marker!
2. A Cheap and Easy Project Bag
Yes, you can splurge on a leather or waxed canvas project bag with gleaming brass hardware and the smoothest zipper that moves like a knife through soft butter.
Sure, you can do that. I would be incredibly jealous of your project bag, and would likely stroke it longer than appropriate.
But for those of us who can’t splurge on a luxury bag, a humble Ziploc bag gets the job done.
Just poke a hole through one side of the Ziploc bag near the zip.
Then, make a cut from the top of the bag to the hole you just poked.
Feed the yarn through the hole, close up the zip, and you’ve got yourself a cheap and slightly waterproof project bag!
3. Oh, Baby! You’ll Love this Knitting Tip
Your well-loved knitting is going to get dirty at some point.
To wash it, you don’t need to buy special wool soap.
Instead, try a squirt of baby shampoo in a bit of lukewarm water.
Soak your knitted item in the shampoo-water mix. Then, rinse it in lukewarm water and lay flat to dry.
You might be wondering, why baby shampoo?
Seems a bit random, right?
According to the baby shampoo Wikipedia page, baby shampoo has a pH of around 7, which is more alkaline than soaps formulated for adult skin and hair.
Baby shampoos are also often diluted to make it sting less if the product gets in baby’s eyes. So, it’s safe to assume that baby shampoo is less harsh than shampoo for adults.
Furthermore, an ideal environment for wool to be washed is at a neutral pH of 7. So, baby shampoo, with its neutral pH, fits the bill!
You can always buy a wool soap, but I’ve found that baby shampoos work just fine.
4. Keep Your Charts Organised
When you’re knitting a chart, it can be easy to skip a row or two and get totally lost.
Trust me – I’ve been there.
To keep organised, I like to use a post-it note or washi tape to cover the rows I’ve worked. As I knit each row, I move the post-it note up the chart.
The row that’s directly above the post-it note is the row that I need to work. All the rows covered by the post-it note are rows that I’ve already knit.
The rows that are visible need to be knit, and the rows that are covered are done.
5. Never be Without Your Pattern
If you bring your knitting out with you, you may also need to keep a knitting pattern close by.
You need to get in a couple rows while waiting in line at the bodega, right?
Keep your pattern at your fingertips by taking a photo of it on your phone, sending it to the cloud or emailing it to yourself.
Where your smartphone is, there your pattern will be!
(And in this day and age, our smartphones are basically a third appendage!)
6. Skip Weaving in Ends
Finishing a knitting project is a cause for celebration!
But if you’re anything like me, the last step of weaving in ends feels anti-climactic and puts a damper on the celebratory mood.
The good news is that you can weave in ends as you knit, thereby avoiding the need to break weave in ends once a project is done.
Here’s how it works:
When you join in a new strand of yarn or finish casting off, just grab the yarn tail that you’ll need to weave and hold it together with the working yarn.
Then, just knit into the first four or five stitches with the yarn tail held together with the working yarn.
The yarn tail will be integrated beautifully with the knitting. After knitting four or five stitches, drop the yarn tail and continue knitting with the working yarn.
Snip off the yarn tail and you’re done. No tapestry needle needed!
7. Straighten out Those Curls
If you’ve ever unpacked a pair of long circular needles, you might notice that the cables are incredibly curly and out of control.
This is because the cable has “set” after sitting in its packaging for a long time.
To un-curl the cable, get the largest pan you can find. A big roasting pan is best.
Boil up a pot of water and pour it into the pan.
Then drop your needles into the pan and watch them un-curl.
The heat will relax the nylon cable, softening the curl and straightening the cable.
Voila! A straight and smooth cable.
Hot Tip: If you’re worried about the join between the cable and needle getting loose from soaking, you can leave the needles out of the pan. Just let them hang out off the side of the pan.
8. A Ruler at Your Fingertips
Need to measure your knitting on the fly?
Get your finger involved!
The space between your index finger and the join is roughly one inch.
So, the next time you need to measure by the inch, whip out your finger and get measuring!
9. No Tears Long Tail Cast On
If you’ve ever cast on with the long tail cast on, you know that you need to estimate the amount of yarn you’ll need before casting on.
There are ways to guess the amount of yarn needed, but I’ve never found a method that was truly accurate.
More often than not, I ended up ripping out the cast on because I had too much or too little yarn. It was maddening!
But – no more.
Above, you’ll find a fool-proof way to long tail cast on without doing any yarn estimation at all.
That’s right – no yarn estimating!
The trick is in using two strands of yarn to cast on instead of one. It’s genius!
Now, It’s Your Turn
Now I’d like to turn it over to you:
What’s the #1 knitting tip from this post that you want to try?
Are you going to start casting on with two strands of yarn? Or hunt down potential stitch markers in your home?
Let me know by leaving a comment below.
And if you’d like to save this post for later, make sure to pin the image below!