No matter how experienced a knitter you are, there’s a good chance that every once in a while you’ll come across something in a project that you don’t understand or you can’t quite get the hang of. Fear not, we’re here to make things a bit clearer and help you on your way.
1. Left or Right?
In a knitting pattern, the left and right fronts refer to the sides as they would be worn, rather than as you look at them. Imagine you are wearing the finished garment and raise your left hand in front of you. This is the Left front. When laid flat with the front of your work facing towards you, this will be on the right-hand side but remains the Left front.
2. Size Matters
We all know that tension squares can be tedious to knit but we also know how much time and effort is involved in knitting a garment. If your garment has come out too big or too small and you have followed the pattern correctly, the most common explanation is that you did not check your tension before you began. If you have more or fewer stitches than in the given tension square, don’t just hope for the best, change up or down a needle size and do another tension square until you get the right measurements.
3. Lost in Translation
Unfortunately there are no set guidelines as to how a pattern should be written and because of this, it is easy to misunderstand instructions. Problems often arise when you are told to repeat a section ‘until the last X sts’. Sometimes you will have worked a full repeat at this point and can carry on as normal, at other times you will be required to stop in the middle of the repeat section then work the last stitches as instructed. Not all patterns will tell you whether you should have a full repeat, so trust the directions. After a few rows, if the stitch pattern looks like it is incorrect, contact your pattern provider.
4. Substitute Teacher
If you don’t want to use the stated yarn for a particular project, feel free to change it. However, there are things you need to remember. Always look at the original yarn and find a replacement with similar properties. Fibre content will affect your drape, as cotton is heavy while acrylic is light. Similarly, the variations in tightness will affect your stitch definition, so consider what kind of effect will look best with your pattern. To find out how much yarn is required, match your new yarn to the meterage of the original, not the weight. If in doubt, always add an extra ball – especially when buying hand-dyed yarn, as the shade may be different when coming from a new lot!
5. In a Twist?
Cables are a classic way of creating a textured knitted fabric but beginners to this technique often struggle to make them look even. Be sure to keep your yarn tight when knitting the first stitch of the cable to help reduce holes. Always keep the cable needle close to your work to prevent the stitches stretching while they are not being worked. And don’t forget, you don’t have to slide the stitches back onto the knitting needle. Instead, you can knit them directly from the cable needle, which saves on time and prevents the risk of an accidental stitch drop!
So there you have it – five of the most common knitting problems, encountered by both beginners and experienced knitters. As always, Let’s Knit is on hand to help answer your questions, and remember: the person who makes no mistakes is unlikely to make anything at all!