I rant on this blog a lot, don’t I? Seriously, you guys must be sick of reading about sexism, immigration, and consent. And I don’t mean that in a “you don’t care” way. I mean that in the way I get sick of reading about this stuff, in this “oh god it’s everywhere and people are awful and why can’t it just stop way?” So today I’m going to give you all a nice post about knitting. There are no awful people in sight, and knitting is fun. If you knit, hopefully this is useful to you. If you don’t, you’ll be a step ahead if you ever decide to learn!
Over the years, I’ve picked up a lot of small tips about how to make your knitting look nicer and overall more professional. Most of these I saw somewhere on the internet that I don’t remember, or was told by people I know. In no particular order, here is a brief rundown of some of the things I do.
- If you are doing anything with a seam, count your rows! This is the one that makes me the saddest when people don’t, because I’ve seen beautifully knitted garments with seams that aren’t great because the knitting was done just by a measurement. Doing this allows you to sew your knitting up row to row, and you won’t end up fussing with your knitting to make the edges line up later. It may seem a bit tiring at first, but you’ll get used to it and it is very worth it. It’s also helpful just for making sure that two things, such as gloves or socks, are the same length.
- When you are starting to knit in the round, cast on one stitch more than you need. Then take the last stitch on your needles (the slip stitch you started with) and move it in front of the stitch you will start your knitting on. Making sure that nothing is twisted, knit those stitches together. This hides the join and makes it easier to start working in the round, because you don’t have those first few rows where everything seems loosely connected.
- When you have a ribbed edge, knit the first row, then start the rib pattern on the wrong side. This makes a smoother edge.
- With the exception of ribbing and planned stockinette curl, I almost never leave an edge without an edging. Personally, I don’t really like the look of the cast-on row or the cast-off row. Usually, I use an applied i-cord on my projects. It’s fast, goes with a lot, and makes your edges look neat. Instructions to make one are here. Of course, this doesn’t always work with what I’m doing. There are tons of beautiful edgings you can work, so don’t be afraid to try one, even if it means more sewing.
- This is a great way to weave in yarn ends when you need to add a new ball or change colours. It’s also useful when you’re going to have long floats in fair isle knitting. On the subject of adding new balls in the same colour, this post has three methods. I’ve heard about the first one the most, but I’ve never gotten the hang of it. I have used the second option many times with good results. I’ve never heard of the third method before, so if you try it or have done it, let me know how it goes!
- I was told a few years ago that a good way to make a straight side edge on knitting smoother is to slip the first stitch every row. I don’t usually use this because I usually do edgings, as I said, but it’s probably useful for things like scarves and strips/squares for blankets. This trick generally doesn’t go well if you’re using a stitch pattern with other slip stitches in it.
I hope these are helpful to start. The internet is amazing for finding out tricks like these, and they really can make all the difference in how your knitting looks.