7 Tips for Perfecting Your Knitting
So you've learnt to knit, and you've got a couple of finished projects under your belt. But you've encountered a problem. Your knitting still looks very "homemade". It doesn't have that polished look that all those patterns you saw on Ravelry and Pinterest have, but you can't work out where you're going wrong. Would you like to learn more about perfecting your knitting?
Well, I have a few tips and tricks up my sleeve that have helped me to achieve a more professional finish to my knitting projects, and today I'm going to share them with you so you too can perfect your knitting!
1. Know your needles
Understanding the difference between various types of knitting needles will really up your game when it comes to the finish of your projects.
There are so many different types of knitting needles and the long, straight metal or plastic ones that most of us learn with are unlikely to give you the best outcome. They are however fantastic for full-on beginners as they are super inexpensive, so don't feel pressured into spending more until you're ready to invest in your new found skill.
2. Knitting a gauge swatch
Knitting a gauge swatch/tension square before casting on your project is paramount to making sure the thing you're knitting ends up the correct size. I'm yet to find a single knitter who actually enjoys knitting gauge swatches, and I've found hoards of knitters who skip this step altogether.
If you're really serious about giving your knitting that more professional edge, start with a swatch. I've also put together a couple of useful posts on this topic too, so to read more about what a gauge swatch is, and how to make and use one, check out this post, and this post respectively.
3. Improving your tension
Tension can be a tricky one, especially at first, but I'd say bad tension is probably the number one factor that makes a knitting project look unprofessional.
Bad tension comes from knitting either too tightly or too loosely. A lot of beginner knitters will find that they have lots of very tight stitches, interspersed with a lot of very loose stitches.
Good tension really does come with practice, however, there are steps you can take to help the process of improving your tension along. This blog post provides my 8 Top Tips on how to improve your knitting tension and this post looks at using a ball winder for your yarn, which can also help with tension issues.
4. Learning to fix your mistakes
For newbie knitters, mistakes often feel like the end of the world. Depending on your personality, you will either try and ignore the mistake in your work, or you'll pull the whole thing back and start again.
Learning to fix those mistakes is actually one of the best things you can do when it comes to perfecting your knitting (and protecting your sanity!) Luckily, most mistakes are easily solvable with a little know how.
Now, I don't want to shock you or anything, but I actually have a blog post on this. This post looks at 4 beginner mistakes that are super easy to fix.
5. Finish your row
This is a super quick tip. If you have to break off from your knitting for anything at all... Finish your row. Don't put your knitting down halfway through a row.
Life tends to demand a lot of your attention at all times. The kids are arguing, the washer is leaking, the dog has had an accident on the living room floor... Tough. Take a deep breath, engage your blinkers, and finish. the. damn. row.
Just trust me on this, you'll thank me later. (Probably after you've ignored my advice and come back to find your knitting unravelled, or end up with a really obvious spot in the middle of your work where your tension changed...)
6. "Proper" weaving in of ends
Now, there is no way to weave in your ends that is officially correct or incorrect. That being said, some methods are much more secure and tidy looking than others. I've been knitting for a very long time now, and the method I use to weave in my ends never changes as I find it be by far the most attractive and secure, which is really all I'm looking for.
Would you believe that I don't actually have a blog post on weaving in ends?! Not to worry though, I do have a video that makes up part of my free beginner knitting course that shows you exactly how I do it!
7. Block your knitting
Blocking your knitting is another of those steps in knitting that most knitters seem to hate. I actually love blocking my knitting. I think the final outcome is so much more professional when you take this one easy step. It is essentially washing your knitted piece, and pinning it out to dry in the shape you want it to be.
When writing this post, I actually realise I had neither a blog post nor a video on this technique and I wanted to rectify that immediately. So last week's blog post was all about blocking for beginners. Click here to check it out!
So, that concludes my 7 top tips for perfecting your knitting. Tell me, do you do some or all of these things already?