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Topic: KNITTING FAQ - READ BEFORE POSTING (updated 12-1-07)  (Read 47429 times)
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melidomi
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« on: February 22, 2005 11:48:56 AM »

Ok folks, I'm putting together a knitting FAQ.  I'm going to make it a locked thread so that I can keep it tidy with all the info in one place.  But if you think of a question (especially one you've seen asked multiple times) that you think belongs here, please PM me with it, and if you include an answer, I'll give you credit.  Also please PM me if you see a mistake or something doesn't make sense.

BASICS
Q: I want to learn to knit.  Where can I find a good tutorial?
A:
There are lots on the web as well as in books (don't forget your local library!).  here's a good one with videos. If that doesn't work for you, try this or this.

Q: I just knitted a scarf and it's curling up! What did I do wrong?
A:
Stockinette, or Stocking Stitch (knit 1 row, purl 1 row) just curls.  If you want a scarf that doesn't curl you have 2 options: use a different stitch (garter stitch, seed stitch, and ribbing will all produce a flat fabric) or include a border (ie do 5 rows of garter stitch at either end and knit the first and last 5 stitches of every row).  If you've already made the scarf and want to fix it, you can try adding a crochet border or blocking it.  Either one might help, but neither is guaranteed.

Q: Where can I find a free pattern for X?
A:
Check this thread for lists of free knitting pattern sites.  Also try typing 'knitting pattern X' into www.google.com and you may get several good options.

Q: How do I do X stitch?
A:
 Check out www.knittinghelp.com , they have videos showing how to do most stitches.  Other good sites are www.stitchguide.com (pull down to knitting) or knitting.about.com (has more complicated stitch patterns, but is a little hard to navigate.

Q: Whats a good first sweater pattern?
A:
This will obviously depend on your taste.  If you can, read through a pattern (in a magazine or book) before buying it, make sure you understand at least most of it. Check these threads for some patterns and other people doing their first sweater


TERMINOLOGY
Q: What does 'join round' mean?
A:
It just means that after your last cast on stitch, or last stitch in a row, you start the next round by knitting into the first  stitch instead of turning it around and working the last stitch again.

Q: What does turn mean?
A:
 When the instructions say turn they want you to do just that: turn your knitting around, put the right needle in your left hand and the left needle in your right hand, as if youd gotten to the end of the row.   Youve just done a short row.  

Q: What are short rows?  What are they good for?
A:
Short rows are when you knit back and forth across only some of the stitches on your needle.  They make that section of the knitting longer than the rest of the piece.  They are useful in adding shaping for areas you want to stick out (like the heel of a sock, or the bust of a sweater).  They are also good for making the shoulder shaping of a sweater without the bumpy top edge you get from binding off stitches on different rows.

Q: What does 'blocking' mean?  How should I block this fiber?
A:
Blocking is what you do to a piece after you're done knitting it to try to get it to be the right shape and texture.  There's an excellent article on blocking here. It talks about the correct treatments for different fiber types.  Lace patterns REALLY benefit from blocking, you should be careful not to overstretch textured patterns when blocking, as they can lose their 3-d quality.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2005 05:34:26 AM by melidomi » THIS ROCKS   Logged
melidomi
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« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2005 06:53:21 AM »

FIBERS/YARNS/GAUGE
Q: What yarns will/won't felt?
A:
Only animal fibers will felt.  100% wool is your best bet, other animal fibers will probably work, too, though results may be unpredictable.  Synthetics and plant fibers will not felt, but sometimes blends (with wool and synthetics for example) will.  If you're dealing with something you're unsure of, knit a swatch and try felting it to see what happens.  Bleached fibers will not felt - so if your wool is white or a really light pastel, there's a good chance it won't felt.  Again, do a test swatch to find out before knitting up a whole project.  For more info on felting, see this thread.

Q:  The pattern calls for yarn X, but I want to use yarn Y.  Will it work?
A:
Try knitting up a gauge swatch in the yarn you want to use.  There's a good chance you'll need to change the needle size from what the pattern calls for, so play with that till you get the right gauge.  Now look at your swatch.  Do you like how it looks?  How it feels?  Does it seem to be the right stiffness/drapeyness for this pattern? There's a good article on yarn substitution here. Keep in mind that there's more to a yarn than the gauge.  The texture, fiber, weight, etc. will all effect how your finished project behaves.

Q: My gauge is off! What do I do?
A:
If you're getting too many stitches to the inch (or your swatch is too small) that means your gauge is too tight, so try making another gauge swatch with bigger needles.  If you're getting too few stitches to the inch (or your swatch is too big) that means your gauge is too loose, so try making another swatch with smaller needles.  Different people knit with different amounts of tension, so you may need a different needle size than the pattern calls for, even if you're using the right yarn.  In fact, most people 'loosen up' as they get more relaxed and experienced with knitting, so you may find that as you're starting out as a knitter you often need to use larger than recommended needles to get gauge, but as you progress, you may get more in line with the recommendations.  But it's no big deal if you're not using the recommended needle size.  The important thing is to get the right gauge, because if you don't the thing you're knitting will end up a different size than expected!

Q: I've got some mystery yarn, how can I tell what kind of fiber it is?
A:
A good way is to cut off a small piece and burn it (be careful kids, don't burn yourself or your house!).  If it melts, it's synthetic, if it smells like burnt hair or meat, it's a protien (animal) fiber, if it smells like burnt wood/paper/leaves, it's a cellulose (plant) fiber.  You can get more info here orhere.


TRICKY STUFF
 Q: My pattern says, "bind off 3 sts at the beginning of the next 4 right side rows, and AT THE SAME TIME decrease 1 at each neck edge on the next 8 rows"  What does this mean?
A:
Basically, they're giving you 2 sets of instructions for the same set of rows (4 rows in this particular case) the first row of the first part ("bind off 3") is the same as the first row of the second part ("decrease 1") .  You need to reconfigure these instructions so that you're doing both things at once.  So the first row will be : BO3, k to last 2 sts, dec 1.

Q: The instructions for the next row don't make sense.  They say to do something a set number of times involving yarn overs, but there aren't enough/there are too many stitches.
A:
The problem is there are two definitions of 'yarn over'.  The American definition is the same as the British 'yarn forward' - you simply wrap the yarn around the needle.  It does not use up a stitch (you aren't working a stitch from the left needle).  The British definition includes the next knit stitch - so for Americans it's the same as YO, k1.  (Further complicating the issue is that many tutorial type things say 'and then knit the next stitch' even if the patterns on their site really want the American definition.)  So if you're used to the British definition, and you're working a pattern and run out of stitches before you run out of instructions (or if it just looks wierd) try using yfwd instead.  If you're using the American definition and you run out of instructions before you run out of stitches (or if it just looks wierd) try adding a k stitch after each YO.


Q: I want to design an intarsia chart based on this picture, how do I do it?
A:
There are 2 ways, low tech and high tech:
Low tech: Get some knitter's graph paper (you can download it in any gauge here) then sketch or trace your picture onto it.  Pixelate it by coloring in the squares whatever color that square mostly is (if you use colored pencils, you can erase and recolor to smooth things out).
Hi tech: Import your image into Excell as a background.  Adjust the cell sizes to be the right ratio for your gauge and a good size relative to the image.  Color in the cells using Format->cells->colors.  Remove the background image.  Print.

Q:I'm making something with stripes, and I end up with these wierd mini-stripe things show up when I change colors (garter stitch example)
A:

The 'mini stripes' are also sometimes called 'bicolored purls' - they always show up on the purl side of the work when changing colors, there's nothing you can do to avoid them completely.  If you're working in garter stitch (knit every row) and always change colors after an even number of rows, they'll all show up on the same side of the piece.  If you work an odd number of rows, they'll alternate sides.  If you're doing a knit and purl stitch pattern like ribbing, you'll see a broken mini stirpe on both sides of the same row - with the mini stripes only showing up in the purl parts.   This can be avoided by just knitting the first row of a new stripe (on the right side, or purling it if it's a wrong side row) so that all the bicolored purls show up on the wrong side of the work - and you can't even tell that the ribbing or whatever is interrupted!

COPYRIGHT(thanks ax174)
Q: Is it ok to post a copyrighted pattern here on Craftster?
A:
Only if you wrote it yourself.  If the pattern is already on the web, post a link.  If it's in a book or magazine, post the name and author (and issue if it's a magazine).  You can post an excerpt if you have a question about it, but don't post the whole thing.

Q: Can I sell stuff I made from someone else's pattern?
A:
Usually no, unless your have author's or publisher's permission.

Q: Can I make patterns from trademarked images, e.g. Bugs Bunny intarsia sweater?
A:
Yes, as long as you don't sell the pattern or sell stuff made from it.

Q: Can I swap copyrighted patterns?
A:
If you bought a physical hard copy of a pattern, you can trade that for someone else's (e.g. you can trade a magazine for another magazine).  You cannot trade a photocopy of a pattern, or a printout of a pattern you bought electronically, or an electronic version of a pattern (that could be interpreted as redistribution in digital form, and the author/publisher usually holds digital rights).
« Last Edit: April 30, 2005 05:33:58 AM by melidomi » THIS ROCKS   Logged
Lothruin
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« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2006 04:58:55 PM »

Ok, to help consolidate the information about a few specific, useful topics on the knitting boards, and also to help keep people from posting new threads on topics that have already been covered, I'm making a Thread Locator thread...  I'll start each post with a note on the topic, then list related threads.  I'll also add an index here in post #1 that lists page and post #s for a given set of topics.  Please check here first if you have a question about tools, yarns, recommendations, etc.  You never know, you might just find what you need.  Cheesy

Page 1, Post 2:  Knitting Tools: basics, recommendations and Tips
Page 1, Post 3:  Help me, I'm new.  What do I do?
« Last Edit: October 06, 2006 06:52:06 AM by Lothruin » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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Lothruin
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« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2006 05:07:12 PM »

Knitting Tools: Basics, recommendations and tips!

What basics does one need for knitting?  What tools do experienced knitters find indespensable?

Basics: 

http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=66315.0
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=80347.0
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=56309.0

Needles: 

http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=75777.0
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=71245.0
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=62712.0
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=4133.0
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=18832.0
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=76303.0

Stitch Markers:
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=5617.0

Yarn Swifts and Winders: 

http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=113515.0
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=76517.0

Graph Paper and Charting:

http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=82924.0
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=90699.0


How can I make my own tools, or make emergency substitutions?

Point Protectors:  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=58348.0
Knitting Bags:  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=12120.0
Stitch Markers:  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=66771.0
Needle Rolls:  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=77314.0
Needles:  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=3513.0

Help me organize!

http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=70866.0
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=110920.0
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=78673.0
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=29222.0
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=119169.0

What the heck is that for?

Cabone Rings:   http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=73345.0
Hooks for Knitting:  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=56309.0

Knifty Knitters and Knitting Looms:

http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=114563.0
« Last Edit: October 06, 2006 04:53:00 PM by Lothruin » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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Lothruin
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« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2006 06:07:26 AM »

One of the most common questions we get on the knitting board is "Help me, I'm new.  What tools/patterns/stitches/videos/books should I start with?  Well, we tried to answer the tools question up above.  Now for Help me, I'm new.  What do I do?

What tools do I need to get started and what's the difference?

Please see the Tools post above for answers to this and many other questions.  Smiley

What is a good first pattern?

Beginner:  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=49748.0
Circs/DPNs:  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=101841.0
Circs/DPNs:  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=84269.0
Lace:  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=39317.0
Socks:  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=53627.0

Best instructional books or video links?

Favorite books:  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=35516.0
For New Knitters:  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=1144.0

Craftsters newbie tips and tricks

Magic Loop:  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=104509.0
Toe Up Sock:  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=102807.0
Learning:  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=50449.0
Rolling?!:  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=51905.0
Holding it?  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=58486.0
Pain:  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=31096.0
Charted patterns:  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=33294.0
Seams:  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=34963.0
Knitting in the Round:  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=37747.0
« Last Edit: January 01, 2007 11:24:56 AM by Lothruin » THIS ROCKS   Logged

Find craft patterns, supplies and humor at Lothruin.com!

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cynthianyc
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2007 07:42:27 PM »

Thanks for compiling!
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Feliciter
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2007 02:42:39 PM »

Thank you so much for this thread!! Smiley
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marnacrafts
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2008 11:40:45 AM »

The link for free knitting pattern sites is broken.  Any ideas?
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highteacup
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2008 06:07:55 AM »

 :)thank you for all th e helpful information.
I can surely use it.

I have tried my hand at knitting so often .
and now I'm at it again.
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tinker37
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2009 07:33:17 AM »

hello group.
I love Fair Isle, I think it's absolutly gorgeous.  However, I have no idea how to adapt it to the garment I want to make.  I have done some reading on here, but can't seem to find an answer to my question.  Does anyone, know how to incorporate fair isle to their garment?  Thank you for your time.  Judith
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craftfans
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2009 08:20:00 PM »

That's so great! it is very useful for me. thanks Smiley
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KLKing
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« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2010 07:42:51 PM »

 I just read thru this. here's a copyright pattern question.
 I found a pattern in a book. In one case, I combined bits of info from several patterns, like how to shape an armhole, etc. Basically, I wrote my own pattern but researched info to get shaping guidelines. I do not believe that violates anyone's copyrights.
  But here's another scenario:
I found a pattern, and calculated it and changed the yarn, needles, and stitch count to make a different item. In fact, it was different in many ways, but the stitch used was the same, as well as the border design. Do I need to give credit to the source, or is my piece considered a new work? In this case I modified an Afghan pattern into a shawl. The only thing remaining of the original pattern is the general look of the stitch pattern.
Plus, I re-wrote the instructions in my own words, and changed all the specs., as mentioned already. I thought about scanning the original afghan, but did not know if this was allowed. I have seen some vintage patterns shown which have been scanned, and posted. I do not think this is OK.
What is and is not acceptable in this case? How many changes need to be made to consider something a new work?
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katesi
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2011 05:59:05 PM »

RE: Curling stockinette. If you double knit something it will also lay flat. It means you should probably reduce your yarn weight but it works wonderfully for stockinette scarves and is great for colorwork.
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Grr. Arg.
Luv2CUSmile
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2011 12:48:20 PM »

This is a great starter thread. I saw many things I had questions about. However, I am still looking for sources to help me "read a pattern" - I am trying to learn how to read written patterns- charts will be helpful too if I ever need one but I don't see many patterns with charts unless it is knit with a design in the middle or something. (Which I hope to learn as well)
Can anyone help me find resources? I have done man google searches and am not really finding much more than I already know...
I am also most into loom knitting right now but hope to get much better in my needle knitting as well.  I am loving the looms and knit boards but am getting frustrated when I can't understand some of the patterns. Whether it be from terms used b the particular designer for the loom or whether it is because I am attempting to loom knit an original needle knit pattern...
Thx a lot! I am glad I found this group!

~Luv
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knitcrysis
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2011 12:54:53 PM »

Hello all!  Thanks for compiling the list of how-to-videos and links.  I still have a question about purling, more specifically in the stockinette k1p1 stitch. 

I have watched many videos, and read different directions of different approaches to purling.  It looks like I am doing it correctly, but every time I do either an entire row in purl, or k1p1, I don't see any difference in the finished product than if I simply did a garter stitch.  I am wondering if there is a common error in purling, or something to avoid, or remember to do. 
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KLKing
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« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2011 09:11:46 PM »

Hello all!  Thanks for compiling the list of how-to-videos and links.  I still have a question about purling, more specifically in the stockinette k1p1 stitch. 

I have watched many videos, and read different directions of different approaches to purling.  It looks like I am doing it correctly, but every time I do either an entire row in purl, or k1p1, I don't see any difference in the finished product than if I simply did a garter stitch.  I am wondering if there is a common error in purling, or something to avoid, or remember to do. 

If you Purl row after row, you WILL get a garter stitch. It's when you knit one row, then purl one row that the front is flat, and the back has nubs.
A purl has the nub showing on front. A Knit is flat on the front, with the nub on the back.
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Msluna
« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2011 04:36:09 PM »

What a great compilation.  I have a few things to add:

Where can I find a free pattern for X?
 www.ravelry.com is a huge compilation of patterns from free to in books. I discovered this site last year and it has rocked my world and wasted so many hours of my life that I could have actually spent knitting.

To address the "How to read charts" question


A lot of patterns have a chart and then they break it down in the knitting abbreviations (K, SSK, YO, etc.).  You will have a chart and a legend for that chart.  Each box on the chart is a stitch and each line is row, working from the bottom up (the bottom is row 1). 

Here is a link of standard abbreviations
http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/chart_knit.html

The more practice you have knitting from charts the easier it will become. 
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