Now that you have your favorite needles and notions let's chat about another element of becoming a confident knitter – Practicing Good Knitting Habits. You should do a few things to ensure that your project is going as you hope. Many of these tips are very obvious, but, trust me, we all fail to do them! How often have I gone gangbusters through a project only to find that I have done something wrong and have to rip out a couple of inches of work? WAY too often. Maybe I need to print this blog post and put it in my knitting bag. 😂
Read and understand your knitting pattern -
- Read your pattern (see above paragraph)
- Highlight any size information or directions you might not notice as you concentrate on your knitting. I always highlight my increases, decreases, and any needle size changes in the pattern. Those things always trip me up.
- Is there a technique you have not seen before in the pattern? If so, stop and watch a technique video or read about the steps involved. If you are traveling, download the video to your phone or iPad. You don't want to be mid-project on a plane at 36,000 feet and forget how to German Short Row.
- If you are confused by a technique, try it out on a little swatch.
- Take our Reading Knitting Pattern workshop!
Check your work - Find mistakes sooner rather than later.
- I put my knitting down, stand up, and look at it from time to time. You should admire your work! Also, when knitting, you look at a small part of the overall fabric. I have found many mistakes by looking at it from a different perspective. You might see a stitch that doesn't look quite right, a cable crossed in the wrong direction, or a missed yarn over.
- Stop and count your stitches. Yes, doing so is a bit tedious, but you can save yourself a lot of heartache.
- Use stitch markers and row counters as a reminder. For me, a yellow maker is the beginning of a row, green - increase, red - decrease, and so on. (This is one reason I only use Cocoknits Colored Stitch Markers.)
- If you have a repeating pattern across a row, use stitch markers to break it into sets. Say your stitch pattern is ten stitches. Put a marker every ten stitches, and if you have 9 or 11 stitches between the marker, you will know something went wrong
Learn how to read your knitting and fix your mistakes.
- Did you drop or twist a stitch, learn how to fix it. We have a fixing knitting mistakes class from time to time, but if you need immediate help, drop by the shop or check out a tutorial on the problem at Very Pink Knits.
- If you made a mistake and it is something obvious, rip back your knitting. If you leave it there, it will be the only thing YOU see, and you will not love your FO (finished object).
Finish your row before putting your knitting down. My family has heard it over and over again. "I will be there in a sec; let me finish my row."
- If you finish your row, you will know exactly where you are when you pick your knitting up again.
- If you are knitting in the round, knit one stitch after the beginning of the round marker.
- If you put your project down for a long period of time, please make a note of where you are leaving off. Then you will not spend 20 minutes figuring out what row you are on.
Here is my repeated last paragraph!
The key to becoming a confident knitter is... to knit! Knit a little bit each day - You do not have to have marathon knitting sessions. When you are just starting, try to sit and knit for just a few minutes each day. It is centering and calming, and it builds muscle memory.
Knit...and be happy!
this is really great advice. I second every single word you wrote.
I really, really should listen to you.
What I learned the hard way:
Label your swatch immediately. Yes, you think you will remember the needle size, but just wait three days and the info is lost forevermore
Also, especially if you drop your project for a longer period of time, write down whatever is important to remember (like “picked up 4 additional stitches or: knitted 60 rows on the left sleeve because you will need every single bit of info if you pick it up again.