Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Hints and Tips

We recently asked you for any knitting or crochet hints and tips over on our Facebook page and we were inundated with nearly 100 fantastic pieces of advice.  In case you missed the post we have pulled together the best ideas for you in this blog post, and grouped them in to subjects to help you find the most useful tips for you.
We hope you enjoy reading them as much as we did.

For knitting

Gill Brammer Use different ways of casting on, eg for a rib of a jumper or say a hat.
Patsy Stewart There are only 2 stitches in knitting - knit and purl - so don't be afraid to try it.
Cara Clay If you leave a really long tail at the beginning of your work and sew it in if the piece ever needs darning in the future you can use that extra on the tail instead of trying to find the same yarn again.
Kim Phillips Knit socks from the toe up. No seams and only two ends to sew in.
Tracy Wright If you’re knitting a cardigan or jumper, knit the sleeves both at the same time on the same needles They will both be the same length and the increases/decreases will be at the same point on both sleeves. And you wont get second sleeve syndrome!
Helen Deering Use a lifeline for brioche and lace. Life and sanity saver!
Judith Hadnum Slip the first stitch of every row knit ways and knit every last stitch on every row even on a purl row. This gives out a foundation stitch for when stitching up and also gives you a very neat edge.
Catriona Stevenson When you're knitting a magic loop on a circular needle, split your stitches into 3 groups instead of 2 so that you don't strain the stitches or have a hard time at each end.
Jenni Hastings When knitting large baby shawls, or any garment for that matter, I always knit into a white cotton pillow slip, (Sit the pillow slip on your lap, open) it saves the wool touching your clothes & keeps it all beautiful & clean!! It also keeps everything together.
Elaine Greer Casting on when knitting - always leave a long piece of yarn so that you can use it when sewing up finished project.
Stella Buchanan Try casting on to a next size up needle and work into the back of each stitch on the first row, gives a nice even edge!

For crochet

Hana C-Smith With CROCHET if you need to come back to your work or take it somewhere enlarge the loop so that it has less chance of unraveling and tighten back in the Waves crochet hook when you are ready to start again.
Linda Rumsey Before you even make a slip knot, READ the entire pattern through at least once. Some very helpful hints or notes might be added near the end of the pattern. Usually these are things you need to know at the start.
Delma Dobson When crocheting granny squares, when you get to the end of each round turn you work, this helps to keep the shape whilst at same time giving the same effect both sides.
Tracey Young Always swatch, and read the abbreviations. What is good for one country, may mean something else in another country (translators, unless they are knitters or crocheters, usually mess things up!).
Kathryn Fackrell If you are starting your crochet project off with a slipknot, make sure it's made with the knot on the working 'yarn ball' end. This will allow for the knot to slide and close up to your hook.

Yarn tips

Jackie Soanes For yarn that tends to twist as you work, pop in a freezer bag, tie the handles to contain the yarn. And let it sit on the floor, as you pull the yarn to work it helps stop the yarn from twisting and helps a great deal to reduce the frustration that causes.
Judith Provan Always have a secret stash of wool, you never know when you might need it 
Debbie Hodges Something I learnt fairly recently - If you want to check if you've got enough yarn left (before joining another ball) to do another row, run the yarn across the length of work three times. If you can do this, there's enough for another complete row.


Sarra Bear Mackenzie-Pilot If you are a crochet addict and just starting out as a knitter, you may struggle casting on and off. Have no fear, grab your hook. You can chain the amount of stiches you need plus then take a needle and slip the loop onto the needle, as you go back.
Patsy Stewart YouTube is a fabulous tool to use when self teaching yourself knitting and crocheting.
Heather Robson Never be afraid to ask for help. Your local yarn store or department store haberdashery ladies will always happily help you and love to see your progress and achievements. Knitting knowledge should always be shared.
Adrienne Turner Teach your children this brilliant skill.
Helen Turford Never be afraid to ask for help.
Virginia Neale If you're ever stuck on a stitch or a pattern check the Internet. I am self taught simply by looking up on the Internet if I don't understand what's written I just check out a video to understand better.

Organising your projects

Joan Smith Always keep a record of your knitting and crochet (work in progress, ufos, notes you may need again) I find this a great help.
Hilary Adams I always use post it notes stuck on my pattern if I need to record numbers of rows.
Kay Blacklock Read the pattern and check online to see if there's any pattern update or advice about the pattern.
Patricia Mc Guire Swatch a yarn and take the measurement on different needles and write it all down. Next time check your notebook and you may not have to swatch again.
Jayne Globe This is one was passed on to my by my Mum who always did this. Knit a small sample with a buttonhole in it when you've finished your garment, and put it in your purse. You then have a good colour and size sample if you happen across suitable buttons.
Victoria Glynn Sort your patterns in to folders, only keep what you may wish to do, rip old magazines up just keeping patters that you like and may wish to do, if your folders get full and space is tight, look though again, and make sure your not hording patterns you no longer wish to do.
Catherine Davidson Elastic bands. I use them to keep row counters in place, to hold pairs of needles together, and if travelling, or putting a project to one side, an elastic band keeps stitches on the needles.
Claire Greathead Use clip on stitch markers to mark beginning and end of sections.
Helen Deering Download patterns in PDFs where possible. You can highlight/clear rows you're on, enlarge to nearly any size, make notes wherever you want on the page and have different colours for different types of highlighting - among many other things.
Deborah Jenkins If you suffer from arthritic hands, have both a crotchet and knitting project on the go, then you can give your knitting fingers a rest when crocheting and Vis versa!
Lorna Harkin Always have a pen and paper handy to write down how many rows you've done. With crochet your hand can ache after a while so it's always good to warm up your hand first. At the first sign of a twinge in hand or arm stop, take a break.

Finesse your finishing

Allie Jones Learn how to do Mattress stitch or Kitchener stitch, they are an absolute revelation when it comes to invisibly joining your knitted pieces!
Julie Kearney Sew up as you go along so it isn't a mammoth task at the end and if it's a pattern you do time & time again, make note of the size and how many rows you have knitted so next time you have it handy and no measuring. 


General advice

Catherine Lawton Knitting and crochet is not a competition, do not compare your achievements to others just be proud of what you have achieved and will continue to do in the future.
Theresa Bennett Enjoy what you do, don't let others cause you to stress or lose that enjoyment. Keep calm and crochet on!!
Vanessa Hubbard It's not rocket science. Relax. If it goes wrong either try again or carry on!
Mo Peberdy When giving a knitted/crochet item as a gift always include the ball band with washing instructions and a small piece of the yarn for emergency. (And an extra button if appropriate)
Laura Reinhardt Be not afraid. I did not knit until my 30's because I was afraid of how hard it would be. I did not knit socks, because I was afraid of how hard it would be. So many things I put off doing because of fear, and none of them were nearly as bad as my fear made them out to be.
Di Chesterman Join a local knit and natter group. The members spur each other on, offer advice, swap patterns, put the world to rights and eat cake. What could be a better way to spend time 
Stefanie Stansbie If you do something wrong - put your work away until you are no longer angry with yourself! And always count your stitches!
Jeannette Cripps AutismMumma If you're finding a pattern too frustrating/getting bored with it, take a break from it/knit or crochet something fast and easy and that will get your confidence.

And the final world goes to
Evie May Just do it!