Knitting FAQs or frequently asked questions.

If you have knitting FAQs or frequently asked questions to add to this post, let us know and we’ll try to answer it here. I’ll be updating this post every week with several new questions and answers, so there will be more info each time you visit.

Knitting FAQs
TKnitting FAQs, Photo by Surene Palvie from Pexels

How do I learn to knit?

How do I learn to knit, Photo by Retha Ferguson from Pexels

Depending on where you live and your proximity to a yarn/wool shop, you may be able to attend classes to learn to knit. If your local store doesn’t offer in person classes, they may offer online classes for beginners. For those who don’t have a local yarn store (LYS) there are thousands of videos on YouTube to teach you how to cast on, how to use the knit stitch, how to purl and build up your skills. Another good resources is aka Craftsy which has classes you can buy and watch online, download to an iPad or phone via their app. The courses start with Knitting 101 with all the basics up to designer level.

How do I find a yarn shop near me?

Knitting and crochet blog

If you’re a member of you can use their LYS search here and add your location so it can find the closest stores to you. The UKHA also have an LYS list for the UK here
Or you can search in your internet browser (Google, Bing etc) for Wool Shop in (add your location here).

What is a tension square or gauge swatch?

What is a tension square or gauge swatch?

The two terms mean the same thing, it’s a small piece of knitting worked in the suggested pattern to ensure you have the right number or rows and stitches per 4 inch or 10cm square. If you have more stitches per 4 inch, try a larger needle, if you have less stitches per 4 inch try a smaller needle.
I usually make a square that’s approximately 6 inch or 15cm square, a larger piece gives me a more accurate result when I am counting my stitches per 4 inch/10cm square.

If you don’t knit a swatch then your finished object (FO) could end up being a lot smaller or larger than you wanted or anticipated. With a hat, that’s maybe not such a problem as it’ll fit someone, but a sweater could be a lot larger or smaller than you need. It could be too long or too short and end up wasting your time and money.

If the front of your sweater has 100 stitches, at a gauge/tension of 20 sts = 4 inch it will measure 20 inches in width making a 40 inch sweater. But, at a gauge/tension of 18 sts = 4 inch it will measure 22 inches in width, making a 44 inch size sweater. If your sweater works out at 4 sts per inch, the end result would be 50 inch chest. That’s quite a difference in terms of fit and possibly yarn usage.

Always block your gauge/tension swatch after you’ve finished knitting and cast off the piece. You need to block it the same way you intend to block the finished item, whether that’s wet blocked, steam blocked or spray blocked and pinned to shape. Your square in lace will typically be larger than a stocking stitch square because of the holes/eyelets.

Do I have to use the yarn recommended in the knitting pattern?

York Merino by Lanas Stop 50g 924 Yellow

No, you don’t have to use the exact yarn recommended in the pattern, you can use any yarn that is the right thickness and gives you the correct number of stitches and rows per 4inch/10cm square for the pattern. However, it’s worth understanding the characteristics of the recommended yarn.
For example, a garment knitted with linen will typically grow in length when blocked and when worn so is knitted shorter than the same garment knitted in acrylic which doesn’t grow in the same way.

You can find suggested yarns at or chat to the staff at your local yarn store, who will find a yarn to suit your pattern, your pocket and the right fibre for you. If you’re allergic to wool, they could recommend an acrylic, cotton or other plant based yarn.

If you are knitting from your stash, you could combine yarns, so two strands of yarn to make the equivalent of a heavier yarn. Always swatch to make sure it’s not too stiff or too floppy a fabric when knitted.

Can I photocopy a pattern for my friend?

No, that would be copyright theft. Your friend needs to buy their own copy of the pattern for their use. The same applies to digital pdf patterns, you not allowed to share patterns with others, they need to buy their own. A lot of work goes into designing a pattern, both in terms of knitting a series of prototypes, testing, technical editing, graphic design, tutorials and special instructions, the cost of the yarn used etc.

What is ply? I’ve seen it next to yarn weight, what does it mean?

Yarn manufacturers used to make yarn using multiple plies or strands of yarn twisted to make a thicker yarn. So 4ply in the UK is fingering weight, 8ply is DK or double knit weight yarn and so on. Although there are yarns called roving, a loose single strand that can be any thickness. On that basis, it’s best to go with the yarn thickness or weight as a guide. Standard Yarn Weight System

My yarn has a dyelot on the label, does it matter?

Yes, and No. If your yarn is dyed in a particular way and contains natural fibres, then dye lots matter, you don’t want to run out and find that your second sleeve is a different shade of that colour than the rest of the sweater.

If it’s a big box acrylic yarn, then it probably doesn’t matter. I used a lot of Stylecraft yarns and their dye lots are very consistent and I’ve never had an issue.

If you like this post, you may like Top 10 Tips to improve your knitting.

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