[Note: This is a preview of our new show, Knitting Helpline. We'll be launching this show with weekly episodes starting in January!]
Welcome to Knitting Helpline! The live online question and answer show for yarn lovers.
Each week we bring on your favorite designers and fiber arts professionals to answer you questions about knitting, crochet, and anything else related to yarn.
If you would like to submit a question there are a few ways you can do so:
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Today’s guest is knitwear designer and teacher, Anne Hanson of Knitspot.com.
Anne has a background in fashion design and costume construction. She left the New York fashion scene to pursue her own work and is now a prolific knitwear designer. She is well known for her gorgeous lace patterns and teaches all over the world. Her blog, Knitspot.com, chronicles her knitting journey and has a large and active following.
Check out Anne’s upcoming yarn club, Bare Naked KnitSpot, an exploration of natural, undyed yarns with exclusive patterns designed by Anne.
- A way of creating knitted fabric that is double layered.
- It has two “Right Sides”.
- You work each row twice knitting every other stitch on each pass.
- It’s a thick fabric that’s not very easy to shape, so it is not suited to all types of projects.
- The first page often has a list of materials. It’s very important, don’t skip it.
- Next is often the instructions. Skim over these first to get an idea of what is coming. Don’t get bogged down in the details yet.
- Last will be the finishing instructions.
- Some designers include notes. READ THEM! The designer put them there for a reason.
- Patterns have their own language with lots of abbreviations. You will become more familiar with these abbreviations over time, but make sure you look at the special abbreviation instructions and the pattern abbreviation section.
- Resource: Craft Yarn Council Standard Abbreviations
- Certain types of pattern have their own structure. Pay attention to the sequence that the information is given.
- If you get stuck on a particular line of instructions, try these two things:
- Do exactly what is written. It may not make sense reading it, but doing each step can help clear things up.
- Write out the abbreviations in long hand. This can often reveal steps you were skipping over by accident.
- Check for errata on the publisher or designer’s website.
- Video: How to Crochet the Invisible Join in the Round
[Note: This technique works for both knitting and crochet]
- Short row decreases are used to create curves in the fabric. This often creates a cupped section of fabric which is desirable in a sock heel or a woman’s sweater.
- The key to short rows in flat knitting is to eliminate the decreases by increasing at an equivalent rate.
- Patterns that use short rows but lay flat:
- Flat stitch patterns often have stitches added on to the end to balance out the pattern repeat.
- When knitting in the round there is no beginning or end to the row, so the additional stitches are unnecessary.
- Pay attention to how the pattern repeat is written. You will want to include the stitches that comprise the repeat.
- For beginners, charting out a stitch will make it more clear where the repeat begins and ends.
- Also the wrong side rows of a flat pattern will need to be reversed. The row will need to be written in the opposite direction and the stitches will need to be changed from knits or purls to the opposite type of stitch.
- This skill will open up your options for design.
- When trying this out, start with a very basic pattern that has a few rows and is symmetrical.
- Check out NSAD+ when it launches.
- They’re all the proper way. Make one just means to add a stitch to your work.
- If your pattern is particular about how the increase should be made, they’ll usually include instructions for how to perform the increase.
- Whatever you do, do it consistently throughout the project.
- Videos: Newstitchaday.com/increases
- If you are knitting from a pattern, try to use the yarn suggested.
- If you must substitute the yarn for some reason look for a yarn that has the same characteristics as the one suggested.
- Changing the yarn may make the project fit or drape differently.
- Swatching will be crucial to finding a good yarn the substitute.
- Use the Ravelry.com advanced yarn search to find similar yarns.
- Get an understanding of the contraction of that particular garment. Certain types of shawls and sweaters have a consistent construction.
- Identify the key elements of the motifs and shape that are begin created in the pattern. This will help you memorize the repeats of the pattern.
- Develop a system for keeping track of your rows.
- ALWAYS mark your place when you put your project down.
- Use highlighter tape to highlight your written instructions or chart. Buy Removable Highlighter Tape
- Use a lifeline. Video: How to Knit: Using a Lifeline when Knitting Lace
- Stitch markers are great, until you have to move them a lot.
- The American system of number is arbitrary. The numbers to do not correlate to anything specific. The larger the number the bigger the needle diameter. Above size 6, sizes grow by 1mm increments. Below size 6 the sizes reduce by .5mm – .25mm.
- The old British system ran from 1 as the biggest to the large numbers being smaller in size.
- The metric system is the most accurate and consistent. A 5mm needle will be the same regardless of brand.
- Most patterns will list both the US size and the millimeters.
- Some brands use different mm sizes for an equivalent US size.
- For uniquely shaped needles like square and triangular needles do not necessarily knit at the size that they are listed.
- If you are a designer, try to use tools that are commonly available.
- Knitting a swatch to get gauge will always beat out using the correct needle size.