BUYING YARN - Purchase all yarn from the same dye lot. Check yarn label for washing instructions. Stay within two sizes of the recommended needle size. When substituting yarns, select a yarn close to the original in weight and type.
KNITTING WITH COTTON - Cotton keeps us cool in summer and warm in winter. It is soft and comfortable. Cotton comes as crepe, boucle, slubbed, ribbon, and chenille to name some of the varieties. Cotton does not have the same elasticity as other yarns, mor does the yarn slide as easily on the needles. Always knit ribbing on smaller needles. Sew seams firmly. Generally, it is best to hand wash cotton knits. Do not dry in the sun, since sunlight discolours and weakens the fibres.
DOUBLE KNITTING is a means of producing two layers of fabric at the same time, working back and forth on straight needles. Say you cast on 20 stitches (always an even number of sts). Every other stitch is for the front layer. The rest are for the back layer. This reversible fabric has no right or wrong side. Work in DK by *K1, sl next st with the yarn in front, rep from * across row. You have knit all the stitches of the front layer and slipped all the stitches of the back layer. Work the next row the same way: *K1, sl 1 with yarn forward, rep from * across the row.
After several rows you can feel the two layers. It thus takes two rows to produce one row of fabric, but the fabric is double thick, reversible, and none of the edges roll. The layers can be joined, or separated. The space between the layers makes a wonderful place to hide ends.
KNITTING WITH RAGS - To make your own rag fabric strips, choose firmly woven or knitted light-weight fabrics. Look for fabrics that are the same colour on both sides. Make a trial swatch before starting any project to test for ease of movement in order to avoid using materials that are very stiff when knitted.
ASSEMBLING KNITTED PIECES - To weave the seams of a knitted garment together, hold the wrong sides adjacent and draw matching stitches together with yarn and needle. To overcast seams, hold right sides together and sew with whipstitches. Backstitching works best for curved seams and tapered shoulder seams. For nubby yarns, hold right sides together and slipstitch crochet the seams.
SETTING IN SLEEVES - If the sleeve is pleated, form an inverted pleat at centre top of sleeve cap and tack in place. If sleeve is puffed, gather cap with a running stitch and pull gathers up to fit armhole. Backstitch seams are most frequently used for side and sleeve seams. Sew firmly but not too tightly, without stretching the knitting. With right sides together, work along wrong side of sweater about one stitch in from edge. To set in sleeves, first join appropriate shoulder and side seams. Turn sleeve right side out. Mark centre top of sleeve cap and position sleeve in armhole. Match and pin together centre top of sleeve cap to shoulder seam and bound-off stitches at underarms. Using backstitch seam, sew around curve of armhole in a smooth line, easing in fullness of sleeve cap shaping.
KNITTING WITH BEADS
Because of its smooth surface, stocking stitch forms the most suitable background to show the decoration to best advantage. When adding beads between stitches on a purl row, purl along the row to the bead position, take the yarn behind the needle, slip a bead along next to the needle, knit the next stitch and return the yarn ready for purling. Continue in purl until the next bead position. Work the next bead in exactly the same way. To add beads between stitches on a knit row, work to the point where the bead is to placed. Bring the yarn forward towards you and slip a bead up close to the needle, purl the next stitch, then continue knitting in the normal way until the next bead position is reached. To add a bead in front of a stitch on a knit row, knit to the required position, bring yarn forward and slip a bead close up to the fabric, slip the next stitch from the left hand needle without knitting it and leaving the bead in front of the slipped stitch. Return the yarn to the knitting position and work to the next bead position. To add beads in front of a stitch on a purl row, purl to the bead position. Take yarn back to the right side of the work and slip bead up to the needle, slip next stitch, carry yarn across slipped stitch on the right side, bring yarn back and purl to next bead position.
KNITTING IN THE ROUND - The right side always faces you. To work Stockinette Stitch, knit every round. To work Garter Stitch, alternatively knit one round and purl one round. When ribbing, knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches.
Author: Patty Lee is the manager of HerIdeas, a delightful and educational
site for crafters and hobbyists.