Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Knitting 101 - Knit and Purl recap

If you are working on the Knitting 101 course, then you've probably worked your way into the squares I recommended.   How are they working out?  The cotton yarn should be showing you where your weaknesses are. 

Stitches of Uneven Size

This is a question of tension in most cases.  Tension varies for a few reasons: lack of experience, failing to keep your points together during the knitting itself, or letting the knitting sit on straight needles for more than overnight.  Experience can only be gained by knitting more.  Keeping your points very close consistently (half an inch or less apart) is a question of building a new habit.  To practice this, you will have to look at your work while you knit, and be careful not to hold the needles in a death-grip.  Your hands need to be able to move smoothly across the needles and the work.  Lastly, knitting shouldn't sit on straight needles for extended periods of time (especially cotton and cotton blends!)  Knitting on circular needles eliminates the problem because you can slide the work onto the cord.  Otherwise, transfer your work to a needle at least two sizes smaller than the one you are knitting with.

Splitting the Yarn

If you find the yarn splitting while you knit, the problem is likely either the yarn or the needles.  If the yarn is a very loose twist, it should still hold together well enough to be knit with ease.  Let it go, and upgrade to a yarn with a higher twist.  If the issue is the needles, they may not be smooth.  Wooden needles are notorious for this.  The points may be irregularly shaped.  Lastly, they may be lace needles.  Lace needles come to a much finer point than knitting needles, which makes them split lower-twist yarn.  Bamboo needles may need to be sanded smooth with an emery board, then lightly waxed with furniture wax.

I hope it helps!  Keep knitting!

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