Tips and Tricks of the Craft!

Are you confused by yarn weights and gauges? Here are some simple rules.

 

Weight Stitches Inches Needle Size
Fingering Weight 28 sts 4 inches 1-3
Sport Weight 24 sts 4 inches 3-5
DK or Double Knit Weight 20 sts 4 inches 4-6
Worsted Weight 24 sts 4 inches 5-7
Worsted Weight 20 sts 4 inches 6-8
Bulky Weight 16 sts 4 inches 10-13

Always check the gauge listed on the yarn against the gauge required for your pattern to make sure you are buying the right yarn.

Be sure that you know, if your instructions were written in America or in Europe! There IS a difference.
Particularly in the needles. American needles go from 1 - 15. The larger the number the larger the needle.
English needles go from 15-1. The larger the number the smaller the needle. If you do not have a conversion chart, remember that a 7 is a 7 in both American and English. A little figuring will give you the correct size.

It takes X amount of stitches to make an inch
It takes Y amount of inches to cover your body
x times y divided by 2 = the amount of stitches you cast on.
.....** plus a little more for ease**

If you tend to cast on too tight, try using a larger needle or you can hold two needles together while casting on.

Keep unwanted patterns from forming when using hand dyed yarns
Makers of hand dyed yarns recommend that you always work from two balls of yarn and alternate every other row.
The same technique works very well if you find yourself having to use different dye lots. Before you run out of one lot, start "stranding" in the new dye lot and you will never see the difference. The transition will be gradual.

For that cuddly wrap-around scarf
use a # 17 needle and work the "Mistake Rib" in thick, textured yarn. Quick and sensational.

How to knit with elastic:
Kimberly Davis of Rainbow Elastic recommends a k1p1 ribbing. DO NOT cast on with the elastic but add it to the first row. Drop the elastic to the floor and unwind 1 or 2 yards (you will want to feel a slight pull.) Wrap the yarn and elastic around your index finger and knit your ribbing as usual. Keep a tension on your elastic, but don't over stretch. When the ribbing is the size you desire, cut the elastic and tie it around your knitting yarn. Don't forget that the most important place for knitting elastic is in your sleeve cuffs! If you don't find the exact color of elastic to match your yarn, we recommend going a shade lighter.

Read your label carefully!
It tells you how your garment will perform and how it should be treated. Needle recommendation not only gives you the gauge, but will lead to the best performance by the yarn. It is, for instance, very important NOT to exceed the recommended needle size when knitting with Chenille as it will stretch. Yarns will not hold their shape as well when knitted too loose.

Put your test swatch to good use.
Measure it well in all directions and wash it the way you would wash your finished garment. Measure again carefully to compare to the original. You now know how it will look after washing, without jeopardizing your whole garment.

Save all your leftovers. Sort them by color families. Some of the most beautiful and original garments can be created. All you need is a basic pattern and a little imagination to combine color, texture and design. It doesn't even have to be all the same weight. A good start is to use an 8 or 9 needle and then double some of the thinner yarns, reduce the number of stitches in a section for a bulky yarn and then increase back to original for regular weight. Double strand two different textures and even colors to create your own effect. That's what the designers do.

Don't forget that you can combine yarns to get different weights. If you need a sport weight yarn... combine two fingering yarns. If you need a worsted weight yarn.... combine two sport yarns. If you need a bulky yarn... combine two worsted weight yarns. Always check your gauge, but many times this is a great way to use up extra yarns you have.

Count your rows!
Use one of the handy counters for the job or and you will never mismatch pieces. Mark every 10th row with a gold safety pin and your pieces will always be the same length. Also a good way to keep track of increases. Knitting Backwards

Perfect Buttonhole

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