I’ve been knitting for three years, and crocheting for about three months, and over that time I’ve learned a couple of things. Well I have learned them, I don’t always follow them – I’m talking about you gauge squares… So I thought I’d do a wee post on some of the hints and tips I’ve found most useful since starting knitting and crocheting.
1. If, like me, you’re a tight knitter or crocheter, then try increasing your needle or hook size. Generally I just increase by a half size, sometimes a full size depending on the pattern and yarn I’m using. Similarly, if you’re a loose knitter then use a smaller needle/hook than the one recommended in the pattern.
2. Pay attention to gauge. Maybe even knit or crochet the 4 inch squares recommended to check gauge. I never do as I’m too impatient to get started and it has been to my peril – having to rip out an entire side of a jumper because I’d be lucky if it fitted a doll, nevermind my child. Probably would have been quicker knitting the square…
3. In a similar vein, pay attention to the rough finished sizes provided by the pattern and the country of origin. Preferably before you start. Case in point, I have had to rip out nearly finished slippers as I realised too late that it was an American size 5 I was knitting up, not a British one.
4. Even if you don’t crochet, invest in a crochet hook (I think a 4mm one is the most useful). Great for picking up dropped stitches in your knitted work and obviously also pretty essential if you want to learn to crochet!
5. Set up a Ravelry account (www.ravelry.com) It’s free and gives you access to loads of free, and paid, knitting and crochet patterns.
6. Some people don’t, but I like to have a few projects on the go at once. I try to always have a smaller project that I can work on and complete quickly, along with something that is a bit more labour-intensive, so I regularly feel like I’m achieving something.
7. One of the major disadvantages of buying your yarn online if you’ve never used it before, is that you’re going on blind faith that the product description and colour is what you’ll actually receive in the post. I recently bought some ‘forest green’ yarn, which looked a lovely deep green on the screen. Not so much in real life (much lighter and more olive in colour – fine but not what I was after). It’s a definite win for yarn shops so you can see and feel your yarn before you buy it.
8. Pay attention to your work as you go along. I learned this the hard way. I had nearly finished the whole side of a cable jumper for my daughter, before I realised the cables after the decreases at the arms had gone wonky (see attached image). Cue ripping it back and doing it again #heartsinkmoment
9. Always ask for help if you’re struggling. I’ve learned loads from other more experienced knitters and crocheters. YouTube tutorials are great, but sometimes there’s nothing like somebody talking you through it in person. If you don’t know anyone who crafts, then head along to a local knitting/crochet group where people are always happy to help.
10. Sometimes things look harder than they actually are, so never be afraid to challenge yourself and try something new!
What are you best tips? It would be great to hear them. Aileen x