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Tips 'n Tricks

Do you have a helpful hint or handy trick that will make any aspect of knitting easier? Share it! Post ideas on scrap yarn usages, stitch markers, color changing, maintaining your sanity while following a difficult pattern, etc. There is most probably someone out there that will benefit from your help. Need ideas yourself? Read others' comments--we all live and learn!

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Friday, May 25, 2012Name: Cat Lover

Subject: Cat Toys

Comment: I make cat toys often and they need to be stuffed. I don't always have stuffing on hand, so I stuff them with paper instead. Put some catnip in them and you'll have a crinkly, irresistible toy for your kitty.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012Name: Cynthia

Subject: tangling when using two strands of yarn

Comment: Whenever you use two strands of yarn whether to combine two strands to get the required weight for the pattern or to use two strands according to a pattern; use both ends from one skein of yarn. There will be less tangling than using two different skeins.

Saturday, May 19, 2012Name: suzie9757

Subject: hot hands

Comment: In the evening I sit and knit whist watching TV. My hands get very hot and the wool does not handle as well. I used to wash my hands in cold water to cool them off. I did the washing up one night in really hot water and came straight in and picked up my knitting. My hands did not get over heated all evening.
I have found that by really warming my hands in really hot water (as hot as I can stand) I can knit all evening without having to stop.

Saturday, May 19, 2012Name: JustJudith

Subject: Circular Knitting Cord Key (ever lost one?)

Comment: Just discovered this one. Ever have one of these useful bits pop off and disappear somewhere in the room? To prevent it from going 'too far' across the room (LOL), attach a paper clip (the plastic coloured ones are easier to 'locate') to the eye-end of the is easier to grab when you need it and should it decide to travel, it is not likely to go too far and easier to find when it does! I am confident that I am not alone and this will help someone...happy knitting!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012Name: smckee51

Subject: knitting and crocheting

Comment: Crochet and knit techniques
By Sue McKee
For people who use the overhand crochet technique; hold your hook the same only use the tip of your thumb (on the same hand) to hold the thread against the shaft of the hook when you yarn over (to keep the gauge) and your little finger and partly your ring finger to roll the hook back and forth between your palm and finger in order to hook the thread and pull it through. There should be a little movement of your dominant hand (the one you hook with) but not much which makes it easier on the hand. The index and middle fingers should be relaxed and gently supporting the hook shaft.
Your other hand will be holding the working yarn and moving the work to the hook and turning it a little when placing the hook through the stitch being worked on. I usually use the hooks with round wooden dowels for handles (I have large hands and the ends of regular length hooks jab into my palm- also it is easier to roll larger hooks). I started right off using this technique because every time I tried using the pencil hold method (which is the only one I knew about then), I had jabbing pains run up my arm. I immediately decided to change to a different way and this is what worked for me for the last 45-50 years and I have never had a problem with my hands or wrists getting tired or sore. I don't know if anyone has ever published this technique or not as I have never seen it in any publication and have never seen anyone else crochet this way.

For knitting, use the long needles and tuck the empty non-pointed end of the needle under your dominant arm or in your armpit with your arm holding it in place and with the working end at a comfortable distance from your body.
Hold the yarn on the same side as this needle by wrapping it under your little finger, over the top of both your ring and middle finger, down between your middle and index finger and all the way around your index finger so it comes out on the palm side between your index and middle finger at the bases of their fingernails, with the skein at the little finger end and about two inches yarn between your needle and fingers. (In using some yarns you can skip wrapping the little finger).
With your dominate hand; keep index and middle fingers slightly curved and rest your thumb on the same needle and guide it into the stitch. Move the index and middle finger, with the yarn between them, back and forth; wrapping the yarn around the needle point like a shuttle cock on a sewing machine. You can also use your ring finger fingernail (of the same hand) to pull the stitch off the other needle onto the working needle with each stitch and use your middle finger to push yarn just wrapped around for a stitch towards the needle it is going onto. To change needle position at the end of the row; grab both needle points with your dominant hand and slip the empty one under your arm and the full one into your other hand, done right and you won't have to rewrap your yarn on your hand. I haven't found a stitch that I cannot do with this method and I can go very fast this way.
I have been knitting this way for about two years as I was having trouble holding the needles with a heavy- already worked piece on it so I put one end under my arm to support the needle and liked it. When I was in a yarn store I mentioned it to the clerk and she said she had read about this method in an early 1900 magazine but it was explained in a way that she couldn't figure out how to do it. She didn't say which magazine it was or who the author was. I just hope that I explained the method a little more clearly. This is also a great way for people with arthritis to start knitting again as there is little movement of the arms and hands and for beginners it allows them to focus on the stitches rather than on their hand movements. Once you have mastered this easy technique you will very easily figure out how to do it two handed as is required for double pointed or circular needles.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012Name: s mckee

Subject: pattern holders

Comment: I use a clipboard to hold my current pattern and then place the clipboard on a music stand set at the height that I need it so I don't have to keep bending down to the table to read the pattern. I also use blank cardstock held in place by squeezable paper clips to mark my place on the page.

Monday, May 14, 2012Name: Nikki

Subject: yarn in a tangle

Comment: I recently purchased some beautiful yarn from an online auction website. Being a novice knitter I didn't realize that it was too thin a ply for my pattern. Rather than waste my purchase I used two balls at a time. As you are all probably aware I spent more time untangling than knitting. I finally came up with the idea to use baby nappy sacks to keep the balls of yarn seperate. They seem to have the right of amount of static to stop the yarn tangling and they also smell nice!

Sunday, May 06, 2012Name: Susan

Subject: Bamboo Needles

Comment: When my needles begin to drag, I polish them a little with a dryer sheet - stitches will glide easily once again. I also use clear candle wax to keep my needles from cracking. Simply lightly cover (wax on) and lightly buff (wax off).

Sunday, May 06, 2012Name: Knit-a-scarf

Subject: Scarf patterns

Comment: What I would do, is buy wool with different colours in them, so you don't have to follow patterns, and you get a really cool pattern in your scarf. Try keeping your scarf about 25 stitches from the start, it will help.

Friday, May 04, 2012Name: Oldknitter

Subject: Yarn holder

Comment: I haven't tried it, but how about a fliptop plastic cereal/food container to hold knitting yarn while knitting? Needles and small projects could also be stored. When on the go, just pop the container (with project) into a tote bag.

Monday, April 30, 2012Name: mary mc connell

Subject: To make neat edges for sewing parts together

Comment: Always always slip the first stitch. My mother was the best knitter in Ireland and she taught me this useful tip.

Sunday, April 29, 2012Name: Chloe

Subject: Stuffing the toys

Comment: I learned a cheap trick this past summer when i found i was out of stuffing:
I had saved up all my scrap yarn, even the pieces that were only an inch long, and stuffed them into the toy, it still felt soft and squishy, if not better. :-)

Thursday, April 26, 2012Name: Lee Whitaker

Subject: Keeping track of my rows

Comment: I use a wooden clothes pin, with 1 on one side 2 on the other, to keep track of what row I'm on. Row 1 is my decrease/increase row, Row 2 is my knit row. I leave it on the table and turn it as I change rows and attach it to my work when I set it down so I know what row I'm on!

Sunday, April 22, 2012Name: ChelleB

Subject: record

Comment: I keep my patterns in page protectors, in a 3-ring binder. When I complete a project, I take a picture and place it with the pattern, along with any notes for changed numbers or if I want to try something different with the pattern next..

Thursday, April 19, 2012Name: ldf

Subject: on the cheap

Comment: Beginners. Don't bother buying straight needles, save money by buying only circulars & dpn. For small project use dpn & put st, saver on one end to make short straight needle. Circular ndls are stored in notebooks with page savers. To store dpn. put into the narrow bags the cirdular needles come in. Mark size on bag & store in old bowl (bought a fancy one cheap @ yard sale. Have tons of needles that are organized & can find right size quickly (& saves me from buying needles because I know what I have on hand) And best of all it doesn't take up much room.

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