Shiela Dixon


Knitting tips

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Fastening off neatly

From: Lyn

When you cast off do you find the last stitch leaves you with a great big loop, no matter how tightly you try and work it?  The trick is to slip the very last stitch before casting off the final stitch.  The working yarn remains in the right place for fastening off, you can pull it up tightly and there's no loopy hole at the end of the last row.

Picking up a ripped-back row of stitches

From: Lyn

Even if you're an experienced knitter there are times when you spot that mistake glaring back at you many rows down and the only way to get to it is to pull all the stitches off the needles and undo your work.  When picking them up again use a needle several sizes smaller than the ones you have been using.  It makes it so much easier and will make no difference when you use the correct size to work across the first row of your repairs.  I recently needed to do this with over 250 stitches on a circular needle and only had a finer straight needle to pick them up with, but transferring them in batches back onto the circular needle worked a treat..

Casting on by the tail and thumb method

From: Louis

I use the tail and thumb method of casting on because it makes the neatest cast on edge I know of, but are you put off by the guessimation error of either the catastrophe of not having it long enough for the number of stitches required or ending up with an unnecessary length too much? If so try this: cast on 10 stitches then slide them off the needle and take hold of the tail up close to the stitch then pull on the working yarn being careful not to undo the last one then get as close to that one as you can and pull it undone in such a way that you can get hold of the yarn as close as possible to where it pops undone. Have a measuring device handy you will now know how much is required for however many tens you need.

Joining the cast on stitches for tube work

From: Louis

I have read of people saying how they either cast on one stitch more than is required then knitting two together or swapping stitches over to start tube work. However you might like to try the method I have developed which is to cast on however many stitches needed minus one then when I have transferred the first stitch against the last I take the working yarn one side of it and the tail the other and cast on the last stitch around it which makes a very neat join.

Closing up the toe of a sock

From: Louis

Are you like me and find the Kitchener stitch more trouble than it is worth? If so try my method: hold the two needles as though you are going to do the Kitchener stitch but then transfer the stitches alternatively from each needle onto a third needle and then knitting two stitches together at a time cast off. I find it much easier and less fraught for error and no more bulky. Those cast off stitches serve precisely the same function as the Kitchener - my toes cannot tell the difference and they are no less sensitive than other peoples.

Switching cables with interchangeable circulars

From: Shiela

I did this recently to switch cables from a longer one to a shorter one. Put one tip on the old cable at the 'working' end of the work, and put the other tip on one end of the new cable. (you can use buttons on the other ends of the cables if you want to avoid the work coming off the other end of the cable). Then you knit a row. As you work, you'll knit the stitches off the old cable and onto the new one. When you get all the way across the row, then the old cable will be free and all the work will be on the new cable. Then you can take the button off and put the other tip on the new cable.


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