50 Knitting Tips For Beginners

The following hints and tips were shared with me by visitors to this website.

  1. Store your patterns in plastic wallets in a ring binder. This keeps them clean and makes them easy to look through when you’re looking for a new project.
  2. When you put your work down always push the stitches down the needles away from the points so the stitches don’t drop off.
  3. Carry an old wine bottle cork to poke the end of your needles into. This will stop the stitches falling off.
  4. If you are unsure you have enough yarn to finish a row, lay the yarn across the width of the knitting. If the yarn reaches across four times or more then you should have enough to get to the end of the row.
  5. Join a new ball of the same color yarn at the end of a row.
  6. Use the Continental method of knitting, it’s much faster and makes it easier to watch TV or read while you are knitting.
  7. Use bamboo or plastic needles when learning. Your stitches are much less likely to accidentally slip off than with metal needles.
  8. If your cast off edges are too tight, use a size larger needle in the right hand to cast off.
  9. When you’re learning to knit, count the number of stitches you have after every row until you are confident you’re not making extra ones, or losing stitches as you knit.
  10. Keep a small pencil pouch in your knitting bag to hold your crochet hook, tape measure, scissors, darning needles, etc.
  11. When winding yarn from a skein into a ball keep it loose. I wind the yarn with two or three fingers inside the wrapping, taking them out and resetting as necessary. If you wind the ball too tight you’ll lose some of the ‘give’ in the final garment.
  12. If you are changing colors in any work make sure to cross the second color over the first or you’ll end up with pieces not a whole product.
  13. Always check for errata when you purchase knitting books.
  14. If your knitting isn’t going right don’t get frustrated with it. Walk away if you have to and come back to it another time.
  15. Choose colors you like and yarn you like the feel of wherever you can. You’ll be working with it until the project’s finished.
  16. Run a contrast thread through a row with a darning needle at intervals as you knit. If you have to rip out then you will have the stitches saved ready to pick up from the contrast yarn. When you’ve finished the threads will pull straight out.
  17. If you know how to crochet it can be a quick and easy way to join the seams of a garment.
  18. When casting on stitches, leave a length of yarn sufficient to sew the seam when finished.
  19. Make a copy of the patterns so that you don’t have to worry about destroying or losing the originals by folding them up, marking them up, and carrying them around in your knitting bag.
  20. When working in the round when you have used the long tail cast on so that the tail and the working yarn are at the same end of the row, knit the first one or two stitches with both the working yarn and the tail held together and snug them up. When you reach the beginning of the second row, treat those doubled strands as a single stitch(es). This allows for really snugging up those first and last stitches of the first round without the gap that can result when only using the working yarn.
  21. Use jump rings purchased in the craft store as stitch markers.
  22. If you need to use stitch markers, attach a length of embroidery floss (about 12 inches) with a clove hitch knot so that there is a doubled length of about six inches of floss dangling from the stitch marker. The floss gets held in your stitches as you are knitting up so that if your marker should happen to fall off your needle, it cannot go flying across the room.
  23. If you have to put your knitting down in the middle of a row the yarn should always be on the right hand side of the work when you pick it up again.
  24. If your hands tend to get sweaty and damp when knitting, dust with baby powder now and again while working. It’ll make the knitting smell nice too!
  25. Don’t use the ‘fun’ yarns until you’re much more experienced. They are more difficult to knit with and it’s virtually impossible to correct mistakes because you can’t see what you have done.
  26. When knitting a long piece of work, mark every ten rows with a small safety pin or a small piece of contrast yarn then you can easily count up your rows later.
  27. Stop knitting and stretch out your shoulders, neck and hands when you start to get stiff.
  28. Learn to knit on two straight needles. Leave the circular needles or the double pointed needles until you are a more experienced knitter.
  29. Never knit in the same room as a kitten!
  30. Always check your tension/gauge. It’s heartbreaking to have to rip back a whole garment because it’s the wrong size. Checking your tension will save you hours of time and all that heartache.
  31. Never stretch your knitting when measuring – the garment will end up too small!
  32. When measuring the length of a piece of knitting while still knitting (e.g. to armhole shaping) measure from the cast on edge to the undersideof the knitting needle holding the work.
  33. When casting on a lot of stitches for a large project, place a slip knot of contrast yarn every 20 stitches. This makes it much easier to count the stitches. If you then slip the markers across every row it will help you keep track of your place in the pattern.
  34. When casting on with two needles, take care when you insert the point of the right hand needle, pull up the yarn to tighten the previous stitch while it is held open by the right hand needle. This way you will get an even tension and the cast on edge will not be too tight.
  35. When knitting the first stitch of the row be sure to pull it very firmly tight to avoid loops at the edge of the work. If you still tend to get loops try slipping the first stitch of every row rather than knitting it.
  36. To keep your edges neat always slip the first stitch of every row and knit the last stitch of every row. This gives you a very neat edge that is easy to sew up or to pick up stitches from.
  37. Always pull a length of yarn off the ball before knitting so you are not tugging against the ball as you knit.
  38. Keep your ball of yarn in a pot or bag to keep it clean and stop it rolling all over the floor. Empty tissue boxes work well.
  39. To avoid the loop at the end of the binding off, bind off the last two stitches together.
  40. Make your increases or decreases at least one stitch in from the edges of the work to keep the edges neat and even.
  41. Look through the pattern before you begin and check you understand what you are going to be doing.
  42. Many knitters will underline their size throughout a pattern before starting to knit. This helps keep you on track. If you don’t want to damage the pattern then take a photocopy and mark up the photocopy.
  43. Keep a pad of Post-It notes and a pencil in your knitting bag – always useful if you need to mark the pattern or make a note to yourself about the knitting.
  44. Don’t attempt to knit intarsia in the round. By the second time round the ends of your colors will be on the wrong side of the work and will have to be cut and rejoined in.
  45. When following a chart pattern take a photocopy and mark off each row as you complete it. Or place the chart in a plastic wallet and mark off each row on the plastic wallet. This keeps the original pattern clean and helps you keep your place as you knit.
  46. Use a crochet hook to pick up dropped stitches and work back up into place.
  47. Knit thin elastic thread in with your yarn for ribbing cuffs.
  48. When knitting a new complicated pattern for the first time have another knitter read the instructions out loud to you as you work through the steps. This avoids you misreading and helps you understand because you hear the instructions, which often helps unblock a difficult passage.
  49. To uncoil circular needles, soak in hot water for a few minutes. This will straighten them out and make them much easier to use.
  50. Keep a knitting journal. A three ring binder is useful to keep patterns you’ve made with yarn labels, and patterns you want to try. Make notes of any problems or changes you made to the pattern so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel if you reknit that pattern. You can even keep photographs of your own finished items with the patterns. As you become more experienced with knitting you will find your own favorite ways to do things. As one of my website correspondents wrote: “There is no wrong way, if it works for you, use it!”
50 Knitting Tips For Beginners
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