Welcome, or welcome back to my blog
This is version number three of my website. It has been a lesson in persistence for me. I now have taken full control of my own site. I still have a huge amount to learn, and I have decided to record some of the ups and downs of my website journey in a new site My Yarns and Threads.
My Best Tips for all Knitters
(aka Some of the things I wish I had known at the start, or even well into, my knitting journey)
Protect your knitting from Pets
Pets can play havoc. My daughter’s cat loved to sleep on my projects as they were blocking on the table, oblivious to the pins and dampness. Of course she would trample it first with her sharp claws, pulling threads out willy nilly. Then there was the time she chased a ball of yarn around the house…..
Then there was the lovely baby cardigan I had to reknit for my grandson, because the dog ate it. “Please Mum, I really loved it.”
Buy the best knitting tools you can afford, start with the basics, and add more later.
I have been using circular needles for most of my knitting years (and years, and years). They can be used for nearly any sort of project, for flat knitting, or knitting in the round. Interchangeable needles give you lots of options. Poor quality needles lead to frustration.
You will then need a needle sizer – a metal one is best – to check the size of needles.
Buy a crochet hook, medium size, for picking up dropped stitches.
Wool is the easiest yarn to work with
Wool is elastic, and forgiving. It looks, and feels better than acrylic. Given good care wool garments last for years. (My father still wears a cardigan I knitted in 1970.) Keep the left overs in case it needs repair.
Choose your project carefully – Will it suit your figure type? Consider your skills, and persistence level
You will spend a fair bit of money, and a lot of time on your project. Check carefully if the style is good for you (We are not all tall and thin) Also note necklines, how the sleeve is set in – or not. Is the level of difficulty right for you? Read the pattern carefully, to check your knowledge of the techniques required. Will you get bored with the yarn colour, or the stitch pattern?
One of my first projects was a houndstooth check ski jumper. The climate where I lived was subtropical. After six inches I realised I would never wear it because it was never cold enough.
Buy enough yarn for the project
Sometimes dye lots change quickly. Buy an extra ball or two if you are not sure. I have several almost complete projects which need one more ball. (I keep going on ebay, and Googling, but no luck)
Measure, Measure and Measure again
Carefully check your measurements (or the recipient’s) against those stated in the pattern. Ideally get a garment which is a good fit, and use that. Knit a gauge swatch so you can adjust needle sizes if necessary.
If you hate to swatch, (I do) knit a pocket, a square for a rug, a hat, or start the sleeve – not so much to pull back if you have to.
Stop and measure about ten rows after the band to ensure the fit will be right.
Take notes in case you wish to make the garment again
It is fine to photocopy your pattern for your own use. Make notes on it.
You will make mistakes
Sorry, but mistakes in knitting are inevitable. Throw the project into a dark cupboard for a while, and then take it out and fix it. Then keep going.
Find knitting friends and mentors
If there is no one close by, or no helpful yarn shop, join online groups, forums and Ravlery.
On my knitting needles
I am currently knitting three cardigans for my brother’s three granddaughters. As I didn’t get around to doing baby cardis, I am now doing three to four year sizes. I am basing them on a vintage Sirdar pattern, and putting in my own aran and lace stitches. I am knitting the yoke now for the red cardi. I am using Bendigo Woollen Mills Stellar, a mix of half bamboo and half wool. It is machine washable and feels really soft.
I use Bendigo Wools a lot. They are reasonably priced, and the yarn comes in 200g balls – a lot less darning in Yay!
Just the yoke, the sew up, the bands, and the buttons to go. This knit didn’t go well for me. I did a huge amount of frogging and tinking, and will be glad to move it to a new home.