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Topic: what's your favourite knitting tip or trick?  (Read 86763 times)
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ax174
« on: September 21, 2004 05:59:56 AM »

I'm always interested in hearing about knitting tricks and shortcuts.  It seems that most of these tips aren't published anywhere, and if they are it's in a little note within a pattern that is easily missed.
 
Here are some I've complied from friends and family, but I'd love to hear yours!

1.  To remember which way k2tog and ssk/skpo slant, I imagine a triangle sitting on its base, with k2tog on the left side and ssk/skpo on the right side.  It's easy to remember which belongs on which side because "k" comes before "s" in the alphabet.

2.  When I pick up stitches, I don't do it the regular way by pulling the yarn through the stitch with the needle.  I simply insert the needle into the left side of each stitch, then knit them like normal stitches.

3.  If my stitches are twisted, instead of lifting the stitch off the needle and placing it back on the correct way, I just knit/purl through the back loop.

4.  A really neat selvage stitch is: k1, sl1 knitwise at the beg of each row.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2005 06:55:08 AM by ax174 » THIS ROCKS   Logged

starlings
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2004 03:55:16 PM »

Spit splicing!  When you're coming to the end of a skein and you want to join a new end of yarn of the same colour, if the yarn is pure animal fibre (wool, alpaca, mohair, etc) you can felt the two ends together:  Spread out the plies of both ends, and overlap them.  Dampen the join by putting it in your mouth, then rub the join back and forth between your palms, applying pressure.  Sometimes it takes a few tries, but you'll end up with a firm, invisible join.
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emling
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2004 05:56:24 AM »

Spit splicing!  When you're coming to the end of a skein and you want to join a new end of yarn of the same colour, if the yarn is pure animal fibre (wool, alpaca, mohair, etc) you can felt the two ends together:  Spread out the plies of both ends, and overlap them.  Dampen the join by putting it in your mouth, then rub the join back and forth between your palms, applying pressure.  Sometimes it takes a few tries, but you'll end up with a firm, invisible join.

no way!  That's really cool. I'll have to give that a try.  On the subject of invisible joins--has anybody had success with the Russian Join technique.  I tried it once, and determined that it was easier just to weave in the ends--but maybe I was doing it wrong.
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melidomi
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« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2004 07:06:28 AM »

I've done the Russian Join, and also the easier version, in which you just fold the two pieces of yarn and interlock them (don't sew through the piece).  I don't really like it because it makes a few stitches double thick, which depending on your yarn and needle size, can be really visible.  On the other hand, when you run out of yarn with 3 sts left in a row, it sure beats ripping back!

Here are a couple of my favorite tricks:
When working with variegated yarn, do 2 rows of 1 ball, then 2 rows of another, keep switching back and forth every two balls - it prevents the 'faux argyle' effect you sometimes get. 

If you run out of yarn of one dyelot, and can't get more, but have the same color in a different dyelot, do that same thing when you're coming to the end of your last ball of dyelot A.  Do 2 rows of dyelot B, then your last two rows of dyelot A.  It softens the change between the two dyelots and makes it less visible.

One I've never been able to get to work, but seems like a great idea - lifelines when you're working a big complicated lace pattern.  When you've finished a row that you know is correct, thread a piece of sewing thread through all the stitches on your needle.  Make a note of where in the pattern you were (or always do it at the end of one repeat).  That way if you suddenly have too many/few stitches or have just made a mess, you can rip back, and you'll have one perfect row waiting on the thread, with only good knitting below it.
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dreamin2
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2004 01:58:52 PM »

Spit splicing!  When you're coming to the end of a skein and you want to join a new end of yarn of the same colour, if the yarn is pure animal fibre (wool, alpaca, mohair, etc) you can felt the two ends together:  Spread out the plies of both ends, and overlap them.  Dampen the join by putting it in your mouth, then rub the join back and forth between your palms, applying pressure.  Sometimes it takes a few tries, but you'll end up with a firm, invisible join.

I'm trying that tonight when I start a new skein for the socks I'm knitting. what an awesome tip!

These are all really great tips, I'm definitely taking notes. 

I was going to suggest the lifeline too. I've done it in places where I know there's a big possibility I'm going to screw up soon, and it's been a huge help.
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starlings
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2004 02:11:39 PM »

This may be obvious, but I like to have a "test" swatch on a set of needles at all times.  It doesn't have to be a yarn I'm using in a project, just some mid-weight waste yarn in a light colour.  That way, when I'm "auditioning" decreases or stitch patterns, I can get a rough idea of what they will look like.
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dreamin2
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2004 10:28:06 PM »

I realized I have two tips I could have put down earlier that I do:

1) when I do a cable cast-on i use a crochet hook to pull the loop throught and onto the CO needle. I find it much quicker for some reason (I also heard, but haven't tried, that picking up stitches using a crochet hook works well).

2) I have never been able to master winding yarn into a center yarn pull using just my fingers so I use a toilet paper roll (tip came from a website somewhere). Cut a slit in the top of the tube and insert the end of the yarn into the slit (so the end of the yarn is inside the tube) and then wrap the yarn around the tube to shape a ball. When you're done pull it off the tube and it makes a super center pull skein.
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melidomi
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« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2004 01:47:38 PM »

The toilet paper roll thing is also good because if you wind the yarn too tightly, the ball can collapse inwards a bit and let the yarn relax.

If you have tension problems, or are trying out different techniques for anything, here's a good way to compare.  knit it all in one swatch.  Say you're trying different ways of evening out your tension in stockinette.  Cast on 20 stitches.  Work technique 1 for an inch or two.  Do a right side purl or wrong side knit row (so that you've made a divider).  Work technique 2 for an inch or two. etc. 
Make sure you write down what order you're trying out the techniques.  They can't get out of order, so you can't get confused about which one is which.  And you've got them all together in the same yarn and needles so you can compare them really easily.
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ax174
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2004 05:37:45 AM »

I sure wish I had all these tips when I first started knitting! 

A coworker of mine adds this tip:
 > I learned this trick from a Kaffe Fassett book.  Instead of weaving in ends I carry
 > them along the back of the work and anchor them every second stitch or so by
 > twisting the yarns.  I've never had anything unravel yet and if you're using animal
 > fibre, over time the yarn will felt together with the piece.


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indiaromeo
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2004 07:21:51 AM »

If I'm working from a pattern in a book or a magazine, I'll make a photocopy of it to use as my "working version". That way, I can write notes on it, highlight places where I need to pay attention (where shaping starts, etc.), or even cross lines off as I complete them. Plus, it keeps my books and mags in better shape since they don't have to get tossed around in my knitting bag.

Very important: Please be aware that it's only okay to make copies of patterns under very specific circumstances. If you own a pattern book, you are allowed to make a copy of it for your own personal use.  That means that if you make a copy, you should keep it - don't pass it off to your best friend when you're done, or else the copyright police might come knocking on your door! I got my info here: http://www.geocities.com/jbtocker/copyright/copyrfaq2.html
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