Knitting hacks – easy and advanced knitting tips and tricks!
Before all the knitting hacks you will read, let’s discuss what is the difference between knitting and crochet?
What kind of yarn to use for beginners?
For beginner knitters, the best yarn to start learning is WOOL (or wool blend) yarn. It is an elastic yarn which is:
- comfortable for hands
- slides well on the needles
- hides some imperfections in knitting.
Light colors over dark colors.
It is not advised to start with cotton yarn because:
- inelastic yarn that doesn’t slide well on knitting needles
- shows every imperfection in knitting.
The best yarn weight for beginners
The definite answer is to start with yarn suitable for needle size 4.5-5.5 mm (US size 7-9). Usually, it is medium worsted weight yarn. This will help you get results faster, and that is very important for a beginner knitter to see finished work as soon as possible.
Easy lace pattern for beginners
Great way to try lace pattern using only knit stitches for shawls or summer tops – use big needle size and light yarn weight and knit garter stitch where every row is a knit stitch. It will be loose knitting resembling a lace pattern.
I got curious to try this tip. The result you can see below. While I was knitting, I imagined it could be great for bikini overall in hot summer days.
Best to use with cotton or linen yarn.
For the shawls, mohair yarn would be a good fit.
How to Pick Up Stitches Correctly and Evenly.
Ratio for picking up stitches.
In perfect stockinette knitting world, your gauge should be close to 0.75. What is this magic number? It is a golden ratio between stitches and rows per 1cm (or Inch). The closer you are to this number, the easier it is in picking up stitches. Because you won’t have to think too much – pick up 3 stitches over 4 rows. That simple!
What if I am too far away from this gauge? Then you will have to recalculate accordingly.
Step 1. Measure the height (rows) in inches or cm (let’s say 10cm=25 rows).
Step 2. How many stitches you have in 10cm? Assume 15 stitches.
Answer: I need to pick up 15 stitches over 25 rows.
How to make rib stitch neater?
When you learn to knit and purl stitches, the first pattern you will learn is a rib stitch pattern. It is a combination of knit and purl stitches. The most commonly used ribbing is 1×1 (alternating 1 knit and 1 purl stitches) and 2×2 (alternating 2 knit and 2 purl stitches), but other combinations are widely spread.
If you want the ribbing to hold shape better and look neater, use a slightly smaller needle size than for the rest of the knitting.
How to remove purl dash lines in ribbing?
Ribbing without ‘icky dots. That’s easy! When you start new color, knit the whole first row. After that, switch back to ribbing. Trust me, on the right side, knit row will be invisible.
Works great in knitted garments where you consider right and wrong side, for example, hats, socks, sweaters, etc.
Will not work well for scarfs because all the purls are on the wrong side and they will be visible. If you knit a scarf, I would suggest to stick with purl bumps on both sides.
Watch a short video where I show how to knit clean stripes in knitting (right and wrong side)!
Sewing knitting seams together
After casting on/off knitting – don’t leave a short yarn tail, leave it longer and use it for sewing parts together. At least, start with it, which will make edges look neat.
Learn at least two sewing techniques:
- mattress stitch
- garter stitch.
I use these seaming techniques all the time, and that makes my garments look neat and professional.
Knitting a gauge swatch
A gauge swatch is a knitting sample where you try a chosen pattern, needle size and yarn to get the right measurements.
A gauge swatch is an important first step before knitting the desired garment. It should be at least 3.9” by 3.9” (10cm by 10cm) in size. Bigger swatch – more accurate calculations.
Start knitting swatch, not with the main pattern, but garter stitch or ribbing, or any other finishing technique you will use in a garment to see how they behave according to each other. For example, a garter stitch is narrower than Fisherman’s rib pattern. So, after a garter stitch, decrease stitches to get the same width. This is very helpful to know before you start and will eliminate further mistakes.
When you are happy with a swatch, it is time to measure how many rows and stitches there are. Measure before washing and after washing. This will help you understand if the yarn has changed its shape – shrinks or gets bigger.
Knitting flat and in the round
Usually, knitters have a different gauge in flat knitting compared to round knitting. Round knitting is tighter because every row is a knit row. In flat knitting, you alternate knit and purl rows which might lead to tension difference.
Solution: If you plan to knit in the round, the swatch should be knitted in the round.
Imaginary seam knitting garments in the round
Sometimes, for easier blocking, you would want to have an imaginary seam on the sides. To achieve that makes a purl stitch row on both sides. It will be almost invisible but will let you know where are the sides of the garment.
Increases or Decreases
You can make decorative decreases/increases on the side of the body. To achieve that, step back 3-4 stitches from the side seams and make a decrease or increase. In my work in the progress, I used this knitting hack.
Set-in cap sleeve knitting pattern
I understand why seamless knitting is so popular these days. Many knitters don’t enjoy seaming, and seamless knitting is a great option to avoid any kind of seaming. This hack will be useful for those who like seaming pieces together but never get a set-in cap sleeve in the right shape. I have a detailed article about set-in sleeve calculation, which turns out great every time. Read an easy set-in sleeve pattern, and you will get it right the first time.
Also, I show you how to get a smooth decrease line.
How to avoid holes in underarm knitting
This hack is for a raglan sweater. After separating for sleeves and body, a gap will develop on both sides of the underarms. These could be smaller or bigger holes, but 100% you will get them because stitches get stretched. These issues are easy to fix on the go without sewing those holes after finishing. How? Read here – how to divide for sleeves and body!
Knitting increases for sleeves
Do you hate too many calculations in knitting? This hack will help you!
There is a consistent pattern for sleeve increases (same for decreases), considering you take average yarn weight and needle size.
- If the length of the arm is 52-60cm (20.4” – 23.6”) at normal fullness increases are in every 6th row.
- Length of the arm is 48-51cm (18.9” – 20”) at normal fullness then increases are made differently once 6th row and after 4th row alternating increases every 6th and 4th rows.
- If arms are short and full 48-51cm (18.9” – 20”) then increase every 4th row.
In case you get the desired amount of stitches but didn’t get the right length, then continue knitting another 5-6cm (2 inches) without increases until the desired length. Remember to write it down and knit the second sleeve the same way.
Knitting stockinette neat edges
Don’t know how about you, but when I knit stockinette, I usually get sloppy last stitches at the end of the knit row. It has all to do with tension since I am a continental knitter, purl rows are looser and knit rows tighter. To have ideal stockinette, I learned to adjust the tension. Purl rows I knit tighter and knit rows – not too tight.
The solution to getting rid of a sloppy edge
- At the beginning of the purl row, purl 3-4 stitches tighter than usual;
- At the beginning of the knit row, knit 3-4 stitches tighter than usual;
This is very important to get edges as neat as possible, especially when seaming parts to get a nice-looking seam.
Learn To Read Knitting Charts
Knitting charts are easier to understand how the stitches work together to form a pattern. You will save a lot of time once you get familiar with knitting chart reading. Here is the knitting chart guide.
These are all my knitting hacks for today, I am sure I will share more. But hey! Do you want to avoid these knitting mistakes?
Please share if you liked my knitting hacks!