Andra Asars
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Tools:
  • Beautiful vases and pottery are perfect skein holders to prevent the balls from rolling under the sofa.
  • Tiny orthodontic rubber bands are great for grouping double pointed needles for storage. Find a friend with braces and ask nicely.
  • To straighten out curly circular needles, simply immerse needle into sink full of hot tap water. After a few minutes remove and wipe dry.
  • Washing needles before starting a new project is a good practice.
  • Learn the basics of crochet. Simple crochet stitches can spice up your knitted edges and make terrific fabric for handbags.
  • Another use for beautiful tea towels: Cover your lap while knitting yarns that shed a bit when knitting. When taking a break, simply fold project into towel and store in knitting bag
  • Retail sources for unusual handbag handles:
    UMX Catalogs: www.umei.com
    M & J Trimming: www.mjtrim.com
  • Retail source for custom length and color zippers:
    Custom Zips: www.customzips.com
Planning:
  • Always save your skein wrappers until project is finished. Wrappers have very useful information such as color, dye lot, fiber content and washing instructions.
  • Always cast on and bind off with needles one to two sizes larger than needles used for knitting piece.
  • Cottons and cotton blend yarns generally require knitting needles one to two sizes smaller than the equivalent weight wools.
  • Finishing starts when you cast on. At a minimum, before starting a garment determine the best cast on, how and where to place increases and decreases and which shoulder seaming techniques are best for the project.
  • Pattern corrections are available online from book publishers and better yarn companies. Check for corrections before starting a new project.
Knitting:
  • Slip as if to purl unless the slipped stitch is part of a decrease; then slip as if to knit. This makes a great visual difference for fashion decreasing and texture stitches.
  • Try to add a new skein of yarn at two to three stitches from the edge so tails can be buried into seams.
  • It's rare to find more than a few knots in one skein of yarn. Best to cut the yarn at the knot and treat as if adding a new skein.
  • Cable cast on is the best all purpose cast on.
  • When binding off for armholes on back and front of sweater weave in contrast scarp yarn at center of piece to use as an accurate measuring point for depth of armhole.
  • Leave tails when adding a skein at least six inches long for easier finishing.
  • Stop knitting every several inches to admire your work. If you've made mistakes it'll be much easier to fix them before the piece is fully knit.
  • Take periodic breaks from your knitting every 15 to 20 minutes to rest and stretch your hands, arms and shoulders. Over enthusiastic knitting can lead to muscle soreness.
Finishing:
  • For easier seaming work increases and decreases at least one stitch from edge of piece.
  • When sewing seams, start with fresh piece of yarn rather succumbing to the temptation to use those tails leftover at the cast on and bound off edges.
Felting:
  • Zip felting projects into pillow protectors before washing in machine to prevent clogging drain pipes and expensive plumbing bills.
  • Generally, very light colors of wool like pale yellow and white will not felt. To achieve colors lighter than natural wool the manufacturers bleach the yarn thereby preventing future felting.
Gifting:
  • Always wash or block items before giving them as gifts.
  • When giving a hand knit gift it's a good practice to include a note with care instructions.
Last Word:
  • Take classes and attend events at your local yarn shops. There is plenty to learn by interacting with other knitters.
  • Knit in public. Often.


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