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25 Tips for Better Knitting

Thanks for taking the class! I hope you learned lots of tips and tricks to make your knitting faster, more comfortable, and more enjoyable.

As promised, more information on each of the 25 Tips are below. I’ll be adding additional resources as I make more videos, so come back later if you don’t see what you want here (or do a Google search to learn more.) I have even more references on this website at Knitting Resources: Basics & Beyond. Check there often for updates.

This page contains affiliate links, which may provide a small income to me if you buy something, but don’t cost you anything extra.

#1 Read Your Knitting, Not Your Pattern

Learn to look at the stitches on your needle, and not rely as much on the written pattern (or chart). Understand what the stitches look like: what knit, purl, and yarnover looks like. Remember that a purl stitch is just a knit stitch on the other side of the needle.

If you are new to reading patterns, look for the list of abbreviations that should be included with every single pattern, and start to memorize these, just as you would abbreviations in a recipe. For a general list of abbreviations, refer to the Craft Yarn Council.

#2 Understand Stitch Mount

#3 Learn to love charts

Knit Absaroka Poncho by Edie Eckman
Absaroka Poncho

The text and chart examples I used in class came from my Absaroka Poncho. They were edited somewhat; the poncho pattern has more details.

My free Cabled Afghan Knit Along on Creativebug offers you a way to learn to read charts. I walk you through many types of cables, with both text and charted instructions.

Cabled Afghan Knit Along with Creativebug

You can find explanations of common knit chart symbols at The Craft Yarn Council website.

Charts Made Simple by JC Briar

Charts Made Simple by J.C. Briar has very good explanations of how to read charts.

Stitch Maps
Stitch Maps is both a new kind of chart and an excellent stitch dictionary for knitters. , developed by the very same J.C. Briar, is an awesome place to visit to learn more about alternative ways of creating charts. I think it’s genius, and if you take the time to explore, you might come to love it too. The paid levels give you even more utility.

#4 Swatch, Swatch, SWATCH

Swatching is not just about trying to match gauge. It tells you many other things, like how your yarn will behave while you are knitting with it, how to wash it, and much much more.

Don’t rip out your swatch or throw it away before your project is finished! Otherwise you are getting rid of a lot of useful information.

#5 Believe that Gauge Matters

While you are knitting your swatch, don’t try to match a gauge in a pattern. Instead, let the yarn and stitches happen naturally at your comfortable tension. If your gauge matches the pattern gauge, great! If not, do another swatch with different needles.

Getting the same gauge as the pattern is important for more than just getting the right size. It also ensure that you’ll have enough yarn and that the fabric you make is the right fabric for the project.

From time to time, I teach a class called Everything You Wanted to Know About Gauge. Watch for it!

#6 Recognize the difference between the right side and the wrong side of your favorite cast ons

This video shows long-tail, cable, and knitted on cast ons. For other cast ons, read your knitting and figure out which side is the right side.

#7 Start a long-tail cast on without a slip knot

#8 Take advantage of three-needle bindoff

Cast On Bind Off by Leslie Ann Bestor
Cast On Bind Off

Any good knitting reference book will have the three-needle bindoff. Cast On Bind Off by Leslie Ann Bestor is a handy reference.

Another option is Cast On, Bind Off by Cap Sease (same title, different book and publisher).

#9 Know the difference between a M1-R and a M1-L

Increase Decrease by Judith Durant
Increase Decrease

This mirrored increase is a classic, for good reason. I’ll be making a video on it soon, but for now check for it in your reference books. Increase Decrease by Judith Durant is another handy reference.

#10 Learn the lifted increase-R and the lifted increase-L

Refer to a good reference book, like Increase Decrase metioned above.

This old video shows the lifted increase-R worked at both the beginning and end of the row.

#11 Master Kitchener stitch on stockinette stitch

#12 Use a tapestry needle bind off for 1×1 ribbing

#13 Use Emily Ocker’s Cast On for tiny circles

#14 Use Judy’s Magic Cast On for toe-up socks

Learn this cast on from Judy Becker herself.

#15 Use the Itsy-Bitsy Spider Cast On for a quick provisional cast on

This is one of my favorite cast-ons because it’s so fast to do. Remember, however, that it is a provisional cast on; you’ll have to do something to finish off that edge later.

#16 Master Magic Loop

Twisted Rib Socks Creativebug

My Twisted Rib Socks workshop on Creativebug requires a subscription, but I think it’s worth it! I show you how to knit a pair of socks using the Magic Loop method. The class includes the sock pattern and full tutorial.

#17 Learn to knit on double-pointed needles

#18 Enjoy I-cord

#19 Always know which decreased stitch will come out on top

#20 Practice stranded knitting with two hands

#21 Toss out the cable needle and make cables without one

#22 Master mattress stitch

#23 Count rows/rounds with this low-tech trick

#24 Block your work

Read How to Block Knitting & Crochet and watch the video at the end of that post.

#25 Evaluate your references

The Knitting Answer Book by Margaret Radcliffe

Not all references are good ones! You can usually count on books that have been written by a well-known authority and published by a reputable publisher, like The Knitting Answer Book by Margaret Radcliffe.

The Knowledgeable Knitter by Margaret Radcliffe

The Knowledgable Knitter, also by Margaret Radcliffe, delves into more of the “why” of understanding your knitting.

There are also some good websites out there, but with websites and YouTube videos you have to be more careful to get good information. Don’t judge the accuracy of the information by the number of followers, or by the production value of the video. Those are clues, but they don’t tell the whole story.

You can subscribe to my YouTube channel so you’ll see when I release new tutorials. I also recommend Knit Purl Hunter as a good video resource.

Do you have other resources you love? Share them with me in the comments below.

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