If you’ve ever watched an experienced knitter work with yarn and needles, you’ve probably picked that vibe of “having it all figured out”. How do they manage to get that aura of confidence and skill? Well, by spending years practising to, in fact, “have it all figured out”. Maybe not “all”, but definitely “most of it”.
That confidence doesn’t come from learning super advanced techniques and extraordinary ways to manipulate stitches. Rather, it comes from understanding small things about yarn, stitches and the structure of the knitted fabric. We’ve already discussed the most important knitting skill, and now it’s time to mention other tips that will help you become a more confident knitter.
In this tutorial, I listed five of them, but, of course, there are more ways to improve your knitting. I explained my top 15 tips in a free e-book I made for you. You can download it right here.
When you turn your work to start a new row, make sure the working yarn is hanging down at the bottom of the needle (as it is shown in this video tutorial).
Don’t place the yarn over the top of the needle. As you see in the photo above, it shows the first stitch as two strands of yarn. You might think that these are two different stitches and knit each strand separately.
That will add an extra stitch and mess up your project, especially if you are using a stitch pattern that has a pattern repeat.
Don’t make your stitches too tight. They should be loose enough to easily move on a needle. If you feel that you struggle every time you insert the right needle into a stitch to make a new stitch, try to intentionally make each stitch looser.
When you are a beginner, it’s better to have looser stitches than tighter ones. That’s especially true when you bind off stitches. Don’t pull the yarn too much. Watch this tutorial to see how you can control the size of each stitch.
Know where the right side of the work is. When you are working in stockinette stitch or other stitch patterns where two sides of the work look very different, you only need to remember the sides for a few rows until you get the pattern established.
But what to do when you work in garter or seed stitch or any other stitch pattern that looks the same on both sides?
The easiest way to remember the right side of the work is to attach a locking stitch marker or a safety pin at the beginning of a right side row (see the photo above). When you turn your work and see that marker, you will know that you are about to make a right side row.
If you are working in ribbing, seed stitch or any other stitch pattern that has knit and purl stitches in the same row, remember to bring the yarn to the back of the work before you make a knit stitch, and to the front of the work before you make a purl stitch.
This tip seems obvious, but I’ve seen quite a few beginner knitters struggle because they don’t move the yarn before making a new stitch.
When you put your work down in the middle of a row and then pick it up again, make sure the working yarn is attached to a stitch that sits on the right needle (as it is shown in the photo above).
If the yarn comes from the left, flip your work before you start knitting. We knit from right to left, moving stitches from the left needle to the right needle. So the last stitch that you’ve worked before putting the work down will be the first stitch from the tip of the right needle.
A FEW MORE BITS OF ADVICE 🙂
Don’t give up! Even if you make only 10 rows every day, you will finish a hat in about a week, a small scarf in two weeks, a baby blanket in less than a month. With every project, you will feel more confident and will enjoy knitting more and more.
That being said, remember that knitting is not a race or a competition. Be kind to yourself, take your time to practice and work at your own pace. Happy knitting!
If you enjoyed this tutorial,
here’s something else you might find helpful:
“Matching Cast Ons and Bind Offs” Book
Discover six pairs of cast on and bind off methods that form identical edges on projects worked flat and in the round.
“Neat Side Edges” Book
Learn twelve ways to make side edges of a knitted project nice and tidy. Plus, ways to fix side edges, and a way to improve edges of finished projects.
Dealing with Unfinished Projects
Dictionary of Knitting Symbols and Abbreviations – E-Book
Eastern (Russian) Knitting Simplified
How to Shape Neckline Without Binding Off Stitches – E-Book