Knitting Tips

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Care of knitting needles – There are several ways to revitalize and smooth the surface of needles. Try applying a bit of hand cream or lotion to coat the tips of the needles. Wipe with a tissue to remove the excess. Wash and reapply every month. If nicks or burrs develop on the needles try smoothing them with an emery board or fine grit sandpaper, then apply the hand cream or lotion. Do this for almost all types of needles including wood, aluminum and plastic. (Source: Tips and Tricks from Lily Chin) Winding yarn! Most of us have had occasion to wind a ball of yarn by hand. We may have purchased a hank that needs to be wound or ripped back a section of completed work. The main thing to remember when winding yarn for knitting is not to stretch it. The ball should be soft and a little loose when you are through winding. If you knit with yarn that is stretched very tightly the yarn will return to its natural state the first time you wash the completed item. That
means it will shrink. Use similar caution when using cone yarn. The cones are often wound very tightly stretching the yarn. It may be necessary to unwind the yarn from the cone onto a skein, wash it, then wind it loosely into a ball.

Safety Pins-A Knitter’s Friend! – I mark increments with them for picking up stitches. When picking up a front band or around a neck, I place pins at ¼ sections and pick up the same number of stitches in each section. It evenly spaces the stitches. When sewing pieces together, I prefer safety pins (not the plastic ones) because they don’t fall out like
straight pins do. I use them as markers to show the right (public) sides of items. I also use large ones to pin a row counter right on my knitting so it is more handy than on the end of a needle or on a circular needle. –Jan Stephens, Roswell, GA

Use safety pins to mark increases or decreases. If decreasing every 6 rows 15 times, use 15 pins. After making the decrease, put a pin in that stitch. You will be able to see your decreases easily. Chain the remaining pins together on the bottom decrease so they don’t get lost. You can see at a glance if you’ve forgotten an increase or placed it incorrectly.
Chris Jordon, Shaker Heights, Ohio

Curly Needle Cord? – Do you have a curly needle cord on your circular needle? To straighten a stubbornly curled needle cord, dip it in a bowl or pot of hot water. (Hot, not lukewarm). It should straighten out in about 30 seconds.
Another method to try is to wrap the cord in a damp towel.
The cords tend to stiffen due to lack of moisture. Wetting the cord makes it more flexible.

Counting Bound off Stitches – When a pattern says to bind off a certain number of stitches, it is sometimes confusing to know how many stitches have actually been bound off.  Is it the number of stitches knit or the number passed over them? The answer is it’s the number of stitches you have passed over. These are the stitches actually bound
off. You work one additional stitch in order to pass the previous one over it. This stitch remains on the needle and will be worked on subsequent rows. It is not included in the count of bound-off stitches.

Joining in the round – To join circular knitting so that the join is almost invisible cast on one more stitch than your pattern calls for. When you have insured that your stitches are all aligned properly and not twisted, slip the last cast on stitch to your left needle and knit it together with the first cast on stitch using the tail from the cast on held together with
the working yarn. You are now at the correct stitch count and your circle is joined. When you come back to this stitch on the next round, make sure to knit the double strand as a single stitch. From Elizabeth Zimmermann

Picking up stitches:  – Easy Does It. If you accidentally pull out your needle from your work or need to rip back a few rows, here are a couple of tips that make replacing stitches on your needles easier.  A needle several sizes smaller is easy to slip into the stitches. Either slip the stitches back to the correct size needle after you pick them all up or just work across
using the correct size needle. If you use a circular needle you won’t have to worry about ending up with the working yarn hanging from the wrong end of the needle.

Tight Bound Off Edge – When binding off do you find that the edge is always too tight? How to correct this?
This happens because the stitches need to lie sideways across the edge of the knitting, but knit stitches are wider than they are tall. The bound off stitches naturally pull in a little compared to the stitches below them. Here are some tips that may help.
Use a larger needle while binding off. It automatically makes the stitch a tiny bit bigger allowing them to stretch more across the edge. Be sure to form each stitch on the straight part of the needle instead of on the needle tip.
Loosen up. Each time you bind off a stitch lift the right needle up a bit pulling the stitch looser before you knit the next stitch.  (The Knitting Answer Book)

Calculating required yarn for long-tail CO –  Here’s how to calculate the length of yarn required for any technique that requires a measured tail of yarn such as a long-tail cast on.
With the needle and yarn you plan to use, cast on eleven stitches. With your left thumb and forefinger, pinch the tail of yarn where it emerges from the last stitch. Slide all the stitches except the slip knot off the needle and unravel the stitches. Measure the length of yarn between your fingers and the needle. That is the length of yarn required to cast on
10 stitches. Multiply that number by one-tenth the number of stitches you plan to cast on. Source: The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmonds Hiatt.

What is “Frogging?” Frogs say “rip it, rip it.” That’s the reason knitters use the term “frogging” as they merrily unravel their hours worth of knitting. When you “frog” something that’s been knitted up for a while, you’ll find that it’s full of crimps and kinks. Use a skein winder, a swift, the back of a straight back chair or your arm and make a “hank” with the frogged yarn. Using short lengths of spare yarn (of a type that you are CERTAIN will not bleed!) secure the hank while it is still on the winding device. Fill your sink or some other container with cool or tepid water. If the yarn has been hanging around for years or dragged through lots of dirty places, use a little mild soap in the water. Let the yarn soak for at least half an hour, then squeeze it gently to remove the excess water. Repeat if desired. Hang the hank to dry completely. To wind the yarn into a center pull ball for use, you can use a skein winder. You can also use your fingers or the cardboard roll from inside paper towels! Source: Theresa Vinson Stenersen,

No stitch symbol – Have you ever encountered a symbol in a knitting chart that was labeled “no stitch” and wondered what that meant? Here’s the answer: When the number of stitches decreases from one row to the next, the stitches that disappear may be represented as black or dark gray squares. This often occurs when shaping takes place in the middle of a piece of knitting or a lace pattern has an unequal number of increases and decreases on the same row. When knitting from a chart just remember that when you come to one of these squares on the chart, there is no matching stitch on your needle. You ignore the square as if it weren’t there.



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