Casting Off: Final Knitting Tips
Hello and welcome back! Today is the last post on the knitting section of this blog series, so I thought I would share a few final tips on knitting as a little summary. Here are my top ten tips.
10: Rewind Your Yarn
This one may sound a little strange but I often find that certain types of balls of wool come apart really easily then end up forming knots. So, I almost always rewind yarn before I start it. You can get yarn winders, which are essential for rewinding skeins, but as I don't use skeins a lot, hand winding works well enough for me.
9: Ensure You Have Everything
When I was new to knitting, I would often start things without any pattern, equipment or even a basic idea as to what I was doing. This wasn't a major problem but I did sometimes end up wasting wool that I could have used for something far better. That isn't to say that I don't experiment or make things up anymore but I recommend trying to get basic knowledge and quality equipment before starting any hobby.
8: Sew Ends In As You Go
Most knitters hate sewing ends in with a passion, but I'm afraid it does have to be done. To make it a bit easier and less of an annoyance, it may be a good idea to sew in a loose end as soon as you create one, and alternate between sewing ends and knitting regularly. Also, if you have lots of long ends, they can get tied together and muddled, which is very confusing. It may not always be possible to sew in ends as you go with a jumper as you may want to leave some ends to sew the pieces together, but I would recommend sewing in any ends that are too short to come to any use later.
7: Leave Long Enough Ends to Sew
This links to my last point. It's not only a good idea to sew ends in immediately but it's very important to have a long enough end to sew in as if you don't, your project could become unravelled! The length you want to leave will vary depending on the thickness of the yarn but 20cm is a good length in most cases.
6: Knit Regularly(ish)
This is not to say that you need to knit every single day - after all, knitting is meant to be a hobby, not a chore - but if you start a project, it is best to do it on a regular basis and avoid leaving it for a long period of time as it can be easy to get out of rhythm and lose track on it. If you are actively avoiding a project, the chances are that leaving it and doing it months later will make you like it less, not more (trust me, I have tried that more than once). Alternatively, if you are busy, it might be good to work through smaller and easier projects at that time as things that are harder will only add to your stress.
5: Connect with Others
There have been plenty of times where I have had a pattern and had no idea what to do or I have made a mistake somewhere and can't work out why. In times of doubt, it can be great to talk to a fellow knitter - for example, I always go straight to my mum if I am confused or need help with a project. Connecting online can be a good way to learn but if possible, it is good to have a few people who you know personally to help you too ,as they will know the best way to explain something to you. Be warned though, once you become a part of the knitter community, you may have to do this for many, many knitters in return!
4: Listen to Your Body
I feel as if the title of this point makes it sound a little more deep and profound than it actually is, so apologies if this tip is a little anti-climatic! However, it's good to know how you are feeling when you knit as your emotions, your energy levels and other factors of your life can impact your abilities and may lead to you making mistakes. For example, I sometimes try to knit in the evening to wind down before bed, but if it is too late and I am too tired, I will find myself making tons of mistakes! If you don't realise you are tired or stressed and you make mistakes it can be incredibly frustrating, so do your best to listen to yourself when you are knitting.
3: Find Homes for Your Projects
I don't know if I really should be saying this as I currently have projects and yarn all across my floor, but personally, I find the few projects that I do have organised easier and more enjoyable to work with. The projects that I currently working on will have their own little box, bag or shelf and that way, it is always on hand and I can take it wherever I need. I would really recommend doing this even it you only do it for one project.
2: Read Carefully
As I said earlier, it is very easy to get confused by or make mistakes with patterns, so always read them carefully! One thing that I was recommended by Sharon is that whenever you have a series of complicated rows, such as increase rows, you should write out all of them and what you do on each one. For example, I may write all the numbers from 1 to 50 if I have to do 50 rows and write increase rows in a separate colour so I know when they are. This is very useful and allows me to make sure I fully know what I am doing!
1: Enjoy It!
You have chosen to do knitting, so make sure it always feels like a choice and a fun thing to do. If you aren't enjoying a project, stop and start something you will enjoy as there is no point in spending your free time in a way that will make you feel miserable! For example, I learnt how to knit socks a little while back. I thought that I would love it but in all honesty, it wasn't my thing at all, so I haven't made any since. If I get the urge to retry in the future, I may but until then, I will be sticking to my chunky cardigans! Don't feel pressured to move onto a new project for a challenge, as not everything you do in life has to make you learn or grow - you can just enjoy things too!
Next week, I will be starting the crochet section. I am super excited for this one as whilst I am more experienced in knitting, I have got into crochet more over the lockdown and really love it. But until then, happy crafting!
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My name is Sharon the Sheep, the owner of Avicraft Wool Shop in Bromley Kent..