Thursday, April 2, 2009

Tutorial 2: Knitting basic FAQ

For those who just learn how to knit, you can read below FAQ, which always helping you for understanding your knitting patterns

New Knitters FAQ

by Barbara Breiter

If you are among the thousands of people learning to knit, chances are you have a lot of questions. Don't despair...and please don't feel "silly" or "stupid". Tons of beginning knitters have the same exact question! Here are the answers to Frequently Asked Questions by new knitters.
Hopefully, you'll find the answer here to your question. If not, or you'd like a more detailed explanation, please join us at the Knitting Forum, a place where many knitters are willing to help with whatever question you may have. Register here so that you can post a question (it's free!).

What is stockinette stitch?
When you knit one row and purl the next and continue alternating between knit and purl rows, one side of the fabric is smooth and the other side "bumpy". The smooth side is stockinette. It is sometimes called stocking stitch. It means the same thing.

What is reverse stockinette stitch?
The bumpy side of stockinette.

What is garter stitch?
When you knit every row, then you have made what is called garter stitch. It takes more rows to produce an inch of fabric in garter stitch than stockinette. Garter stitch lies flat. Back To Top

My project knit in stockinette rolls in. Did I do something wrong?
You did nothing wrong. This is simply the nature of the fabric produced by stockinette. If you are knitting something that will be seamed, such as a sweater, it will be fine once you have sewn the pieces together. If you are knitting a piece that will not be seamed, such as an afghan or a scarf, then you don't want it to roll but rather it should lie flat. Try putting an easy seed stitch border around it and it will lie flat.

What is meant by right side?
This does not mean right vs. left. It means the right side of the fabric; that is, the side that will show on the outside. Back To Top

How do I work both sides at once?
This is generally done when you are shaping the neck on the front of a sweater. To work both sides at once, you will need to attach a second ball of yarn. Work across the required number of stitches with the ball you've been knitting with. Now the instructions will probably tell you to either bind off some stitches or place them on a holder. If you are going to bind them off, attach a second ball of yarn and then do so. Now work across the remaining stitches with the second ball of yarn. You will now have two balls attached. Work one side with one ball according to the directions, then work the other side. Using this method, you are assured of working the exact number of rows on both sides.
As an alternative, after binding off or placing the neck stitches on a holder, you can place the remaining stitches on a holder. After you have completed one side, place these stitches back on the needles and work them until they match the first side. Back To Top

Do I have to work a gauge swatch? Why can't I just use the needles the pattern tells me to?
Sorry, but the answer is yes you have to work a gauge swatch...that is, if you want your project to be the correct size. Too few stitches per inch and it will be too big. Too many stitches per inch and it will be too small. The needle size indicated in the pattern is only a suggestion for a place to start. The designer obtained the gauge of the pattern with that needle size. It doesn't mean you will knit to the same gauge. You should always, always, always use whatever size needles you need to in order to obtain the gauge of the pattern.
Even half a stitch per inch will make a huge difference in the outcome so please don't ignore this part of the process. Not convinced you have to swatch first? Let's look at an example. Say you're knitting a sweater with a chest measurement of 40". The back and front will each be 20". The pattern calls for a gauge of 4 stitches to the inch which means you will be working over 80 stitches on the front and 80 on the back (20 x 4 = 80 or 80 / 4 = 20). Suppose you knit to 4.5 stitches to the inch instead. The back and front of your sweater will now only be 17.78" each (80 / 4.5 = 17.78) and not 20". Instead of your sweater measuring 40" when complete, it will only measure 35.56". Clearly, it will be much smaller than you intended. Wasted yarn, wasted time and an unhappy knitter. So swatch and measure! Back To Top

Do I have to use the same dye lot?
There is a difference in dye lots and it will show. Sometimes it's subtle and sometimes it's very noticeable.
If you run out of yarn and cannot find the same dye lot, the best thing to do is to take what you have to the store and try to get the best match. Look at it in natural and artificial light if possible. Then work alternating rows with the two different dye lots to lessen the effect of knitting with a second dye lot. It's not perfect and you will still see the difference in most cases.

Which rows do I increase on if my pattern says to increase every "x" row?
The actual row numbers may vary depending on the pattern. These are simply examples to help you see the logic:
To increase every other row, increase on rows 1 and 3.
To increase every third row, increase on rows 1 and 4.
To increase every fourth row, increase on rows 1 and 5. Back To Top

How do I add a new ball of yarn when I run out?
For a new knitter, it is best to add the new ball at the beginning of a row. Simply start knitting with the new ball. Weave in the ends into the seam when finishing your project.

How do I knit with two strands of yarn at the same time?
Working with two balls of yarn, hold one strand of yarn from each ball together. Just pretend it was a single strand. Knit with them both as if it was a single strand. There is no need to twist them together or do anything special. Be sure you use both strands at all times. Back To Top

Can I convert a crochet pattern to a knitting pattern?
No you can't. Crocheting uses different stitches than knitting; they look different and they are not the same size or shape. Essentially, the project must be redesigned as a knitting pattern and this is not recommended for new knitters.

How do I make the pattern larger or smaller? Can't I just use larger or smaller needles?
Using larger or smaller needles will give you no control over the final size (see the information about working a gauge swatch above). It might fit, it might not. You're really just guessing using this method. To avoid disappointment, please don't do this.
It is possible to make the pattern larger or smaller; however, you will need to know quite a bit about how patterns work and garments are constructed in order to redesign the pattern at a larger or smaller size. As you learn, feel free to explore this area but as a new knitter, it's best to stick to a pattern as written. Back To Top

What does it mean when a pattern says end with WS or RS?
Sometimes a pattern will be specific and say "End with WS completed, RS ready to begin". Other times, it will simply say "End with WS". This means work the wrong side row and stop there. You will begin the next part of the pattern working on the right side; that is, the right side will be facing you as you work.

What does work even mean?
Work even means to work in the pattern stitch without increasing or decreasing. Usually, the pattern will say something like "Work even for 10 inches".

Happy Knitting!

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