Top 10 Tips to improve your knitting

Today’s post is a round up of Top 10 Tips to improve your knitting, though to be fair, some of this also applies to crochet so crochet fans, please read on.

Top 10 Tips to improve your knitting – Try to keep your tension or gauge even

What does that mean? Well, for a start, try and keep the stitches the same size in each row or round. Then try and make sure that your wrong side rows (if you are working flat) have stitches the same size as the right size rows.

If you notice loose or sloppy stitches in your rows (crochet or knit) you need to work on improving your tension. I don’t know about you, but when I am stressed I knit tighter than when I’m relaxed. Same with crochet. I have to make an effort to keep my stitches the same size, but it’s worth it.

Top 10 Tips to improve your knitting – Always finish the row or round

I’m knitting a sweater at the moment, top-down on circular needles in the round. I finish the round, then slip the marker and knit a couple of extra stitches before I put the work down. When I come back to it, I tink the couple of stitches I worked back to the marker and then knit a full round. This helps keep my tension even and stop the needles pulling on the fabric in the middle of the garment.

When working flat, back and forth, I ALWAYS finish a row before putting the work down. Otherwise you get pulled stitches in the middle of the row that may not even out with blocking later. Most of our kids know not to interrupt us mid row, so let’s use it.

Top 10 Tips to improve your knitting – Learn how to fix your mistakes

There are so many tutorials on YouTube, Craftsy and other sources to help you learn how to fix a problem with your knitting or crochet. Do a search and watch a few until you find the video that works for you.

We learn through our mistakes and you’ll be so much better a knitter or crocheter for doing it.

Top 10 Tips to improve your knitting – Check Your Work

Check your stitch count, particularly in lace or cable patterns, to make sure you haven’t dropped a stitch, missed a yarn over increase or worked a decrease in the wrong place.

If it’s crochet, count your chains, stitch clusters/shells to make sure you haven’t missed any. If you miss a chain or a cluster it can wreck your next row, so check regularly and rip out if needed to work it again.

Learn to read your knitting, it makes it easier to see a mistake in the work as you look at it. And, hopefully, save a lot of tinking back.

Top 10 Tips to improve your knitting – use a row counter

When you are first starting to knit, it’s hard to keep count or track of your knitting. Some people mark off every row they knit on their pattern, others are able to ‘read’ their knitting and count up every now and then. For me, my favourite gadget is a swimming length/lap counter. It’s a digital counter with buttons to count each lap/length and a digital display. it fastens to my finger just like a tiny watch, the battery last for ages and it works well.

You can get row counters to go onto your needles and change that each row. It’s handy when you are working increases or decreases to shape a sleeve, waist shaping etc. My friend adds a locking stitch marker to the end stitch of the increase/decrease row when she is knitting sleeves to make sure they are worked every x rows and also so she can count up and make she she’s worked them all. It also makes life easier when working the second sleeve, to ensure the shaping matches.

Top 10 Tips to improve your knitting – a crochet hook is a fantastic help when knitting

It’s a great tool for picking up dropped stitches and working back up to the top of your knitting. I use a crochet hook sometimes for picking up stitches on a neckline as it can be easier to pull the yarn through to make each new stitch. A fine crochet hook can be really useful for adding beads to your knitting. Beads are sneaky little horrors but a crochet hook can help you wrangle them.

Top 10 Tips to improve your knitting – use the right yarn for the stitch pattern

Fancy yarns, textured yarns and busy patterned yarns are great for stocking stitch (stockinette) as the yarn does the hard work. A plain yarn with a good twist will give better stitch definition for cables, lace and textured stitch patterns.

When you’re starting out, buy cheap, plain yarn. Why? Because it’s easier to see your knitting if you’re not distracted by stripes, speckles, random colours, fancy textures that are hard to knit. As you learn and build your skills, you can move up to more luxurious or expensive yarns if you want. If you like knitting with cheaper yarns and that suits your budget, that’s fine too.

The right yarn is the right yarn for your pocket, your colour preference, works with the pattern you are knitting and makes you happy. If you’re knitting for a busy Mum, she’ll want something machine wash because it’s easier to care for, so an acrylic or blend might be best. If your budget runs to a superwash wool, that’s great, but it’s not essential. It needs to be easy for her to look after.

I can’t think of a single person who has commented ‘That’s a lovely sweater and it’d be so much nicer in a fancy yarn.’ No one says that, they all say ‘That’s a beautiful sweater.’ End of story, they don’t know what yarn it is, how much it cost or anything else, they just like what I’ve made, so it’s the RIGHT yarn.

Top 10 Tips to improve your knitting – It’s okay to rip it and start again

It’s not a failure to rip something out. Think of it as perfecting and improving your finished project. It’s also a learning experience that will help you in future projects. It takes time to learn to knit and you need to practice. I’ve been knitting since I was 4 years old, I’m now 52 and I am still learning new things. I love that there is so much to learn that keeps me interested.

Top 10 Tips to improve your knitting – Always block your knitting

I block all my projects, that might be steam blocking with my iron held above the piece, spray blocking or web blocking. Sometimes I’ll machine wash the item, then pull it to shape/size and dry it flat. For smaller items I will spray with water, pull to size and to even out the stitches and leave it to dry. The main reasons are to a) make the knitting share the stitches evenly and make the work look neat and b) to make the finished item the correct size (or as close to it as we can get) so it fits.

Top 10 Tips to improve your knitting – Use the right needles for your yarn

That might be circular needles or dpns for a piece knitted in the round. Though I used circular needles a lot for flat knitting things like cardigans because they allow the weight of the piece to be in my lap and not dragging on my straight needles. When starting out, I suggest bamboo straight needles as they grip the yarn and make it less likely for your stitches to fall off as you knit. Your local yarn store (LYS) will be able to show you different types of needles and may let you try some in the store and see what you think before buying them. Interchangeable needles have different size tips,

I hope you’ve found this article helpful but if you have other questions, do get in touch and we’ll try to answer them.

Loraine

If you liked this article, you make like our Knitting FAQs

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