Knit Bits & Tips
Hints and tips accumulated in 50+ years of knitting, of
which over 25 have been spent knitting and writing for publication. I hope
you'll find this section helpful!
Binding off in purl
Chained edge on garter
started on double-pointed needles
Grafting (weaving) in
a center pull ball of yarn
Yarn in a bottle
Binding off in purl:
finishing a piece of garter stitch knitting, such as a border or buttonband,
binding off in purl from the right side makes a very tidy finish. An easy
way to do this is as follows: purl the first st, place it back on the left
needle, *p2tog, place resulting stitch back on left needle, rep from *
until all sts have been worked, fasten off.
Chained edge on garter
stitch: For a neat edge in garter stitch, complete row, turn work,
leaving yarn in front; slip first st purlwise, then take yarn to back between
the tips of the needles, knit across row. Repeat for every row.
K3tog (knit 3 sts together): Insert the tip of
the right hand needle through the fronts of 3 stitches at once (knitwise)
and pull the yarn through them. You may need to adjust the new stitch to
keep it from being sloppy. This decrease slants toward the right, with
the lefthand stitch on top.
Sl 1, k2tog, psso: Slip 1 stitch, knit the next
2 stitches together, pass or lift the slipped stitch over the stitch resulting
from the k2tog. This decrease slants toward the left, with the righthand
stitch on top.
Cdd (central double decrease): Slip the next 2
stitches as if you're going to knit them together (but don't work them),
knit the next stitch, then pass the 2 slipped stitches over the k1. This
decrease doesn't slant, as the center stitch ends up on top.
started on double-pointed needles: If you're having trouble getting
started on double-pointed needles without getting in a tangle, here are
some different methods you can try.
1. Cast on all the stitches on 1 needle, then divide
them among the remaining needles–be sure you don't let the strands between
the needles get twisted.
2. Cast on 1/3 of the total stitches (1/4 if you're using
5 needles) on the first needle; *put the next needle in your hand in front
of the previous needle and cast on 1/3(1/4) of the total stitches, repeat
from * until all stitches are cast on. Now move the needles into a triangle(square),
with the last stitch cast on next to the first stitch cast on, holding
the needles so they can't flop. I find this easier to do with 3 needles
because a triangle (3 sides) is more rigid than a rectangle (4 sides).
If you prefer to use 5 needles, you can always divide the stitches onto
4 needles after the first couple of rounds.
3. If neither of these methods works well for you, cast
on the total number of stitches and work back and forth for a couple of
rows, ending with a right side row. At the end of the row, instead of turning
and working a wrong side row, divide the stitches on 3 or 4 needles, join
and keep on going. You will have a tiny seam to join at the end, but probably
no one but you will even know it's there!
in pattern: If you need to graft in pattern, and are having trouble
following the path of the yarn, try working a swatch in pattern. When you
come to the row to be grafted, work it with a strongly contrasting color,
then work a few more rows in the main color. Use the swatch as a guide
for grafting your project. This is particularly useful when you need to
lengthen or shorten something, or correct a mistake without having to rip
back to it.
knitted yarn: After the yarn has been ripped out and wound into skeins
(you can wind it around a box, or a chairback if you don't have a niddy
noddy), tie the skeins in 3 or 4 places to keep it from tangling. Wash
and rinse the skeins. If you're not sure of the fiber content, it's best
to treat them gently, keeping agitation and temperature changes to a minimum.
Spin or blot out as much excess moisture as possible, then hang the skeins
in an area with good air circulation. If you want to add a little weight
to help straighten the yarn, a plastic hanger (no need to worry about rust!)
is often enough weight for a small skein, or hang a bit more weight on
the hanger. Too much weight will overstretch the yarn, which can throw
your gauge off later. When the skeins are dry, see below to wind it into
center pull balls!
Sweater repair: When
you're making a sweater, be sure to save some of the yarn for possible
repairs. One way to keep it with the sweater, and more likely to match
if it's needed is to weave it into a seam, so that it's washed along with
the sweater. If you can't find a close match to the color in knitting yarn,
try needlepoint yarn, which comes in a wide range of shades. While it's
thinner and usually more firmly spun, you can use several strands to match
the weight, and the texture difference is less likely to show than a poor
color match. If the sweater gets washed, it's a good idea to wash the yarn
before using it.
Twisted cord: Recently
when I needed to make a length of twisted cord for a project, I put a screw-in
hook in my little hand drill instead of a drill bit. Guesstimate the amount
of yarn you'll need (each strand should be approximately 1½ times
the finished length) and fasten the ends so you have a loop at each end;
hook the far end to something solid, and slip the near end over the hook
in the drill. Crank until you have enough twist [test by letting a short
length twist back on itself to see if you like the results - keep on cranking
if it's not enough], keeping tension on the yarn. Grab the middle of the
yarn - this is the point where it's nice to have help, especially if halfway
is farther than you can reach - fold in half, bring both ends together
and let it twist back on itself. Even up the twist, knot and trim the ends.
a center pull ball of yarn: First wind about a dozen or so wraps around
widely spread fingers. Use this as the foundation for your ball, always
keeping the end of the tuft sticking out of the ball. Hold the tuft between
your thumb and index finger and wind around the thumb and finger for several
wraps, then turn and wind across the first wraps, keeping the tuft inside
your fingers. Continue to wrap and turn, wrapping over more fingers as
the ball grows. When you come to the end of the skein, either tuck the
loose end under the last few wraps or tie it around them in a single knot.
This method gives you a ball that won't roll away and unwind if you drop
it - it's also easier to pull from when it's in a knitting bag.
Yarn in a bottle: Years
ago, at a church supper, one of the ladies was crocheting. Her skein of
yarn was in a 2-liter plastic soda bottle. She recalled, "One time at the
airport, I was crocheting while I was waiting for a plane. A group of women
kept watching me and whispering to one another. Finally one of them became
sufficiently curious to ask me where I had gotten yarn in a bottle." Her
yarn holder was a simple recycling trick: remove the bottom cap, then cut
a hole in the bottle. Insert the skein in the bottle with the working end
coming out the top, and replace to base. The bottle holds the skein while
you work, and keeps it clean at the same time.
I'll be adding to this page from time to time, so please check back.
Also, if you have a suggestion for topics, send me a note, and I'll try
©1997-2003 E. J. Slayton – You're welcome to print
this information for your own use; please retain the copyright notice on
any copies. It may not otherwise be reprinted or used in any commercial
manner without written permission from the author.
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