Skill Level: Intermediate
Knit Finishing Techniques FAQ
I'm allergic to wool. Can I use yarn with different fiber content?Expand
Yes, you can use yarn with different fiber content such as acrylic, nylon or cotton. If possible, try to use a yarn that is a blend of wool and another fiber. Such a yarn is more likely to have "memory", and your sweater will hold its shape better. Look for yarn that has the same gauge on the label as the pattern. Also, keep in mind that other fibers might require a different needle size than the one recommended in the pattern for wool.
Can I use a needle that's shorter than 40 inches?Expand
A shorter needle can be used, but you might find that the stitches are very crowded and have a tendency to fall off when you set your knitting aside. Use rubber bands or needlepoint protectors when you set the knitting aside so no stitches fall off. At the very least, make sure you push the stitches well away from the tips.
I have too many stitches in my 4-inch swatch. Is my tension loose or tight?Expand
Your tension is tight.
I have too few stitches in my 4-inch swatch. Is my tension loose or tight?Expand
Your tension is loose.
My tension is too loose. What can I do to achieve proper tension?Expand
My tension is too tight. What can I do to achieve proper tension?Expand
When I measure the stitches in my swatch, what part of the stitch am I measuring?Expand
When you are measuring a gauge, what you are looking for is the complete "V" that makes up 1 stitch. To count stitches, measure the legs of the V from side-to-side at the top of the V (where the legs are spread apart). To count rows, measure from the bottom of the V (where the legs come together) to the top of the V (where the legs are spread apart).
My gauge is wrong and I need to change needle sizes. Should I rip out my swatch and start over?Expand
You don't need to make a whole new swatch. Once you measure your gauge the first time, then keep switching needles as needed (sometimes several times) until you get the correct gauge. Don't be afraid to make a big swatch! It will give you time to "settle in" to the yarn, and you will get a more accurate measurement of your gauge.
Can I make the two fronts or both sleeves at the same time on one needle? If so, do you have any hints so I know which side I just finished working on if I put my work down?Expand
You certainly can make both of the fronts or both sleeves at the same time. Use two balls of yarn and a 32-inch or longer needle.
Here are some tips:
I'm ready to sew my sweater pieces together. Should I use the same yarn for seaming as I used for knitting?Expand
Yes. Use the same yarn for seaming as you used for knitting. The only time you need to use different yarn for the seams is when the sweater has been knit using a highly textured or very bulky yarn.
When making the side seams are the right sides or the wrong sides together?Expand
Seams made in knits are not the same as clothing where the right side is usually joined together. The edges are butted together and joined using a special technique called mattress stitch. The mattress is worked with the right side facing and as the stitches are formed, it automatically makes a seam that turns to the inside of the work.
When seaming, can I drop down a row at other stair-step transition points or just at the first one?Expand
You can certainly drop down a stitch (row) at each of the stair-step transition points if necessary. You might also find this technique helpful when you are joining the top of the sleeve cap to the armhole. The sleeve cap also has stair-step transition points.
Do you block the sweater each time you wash it?Expand
Think of washing your finished sweater as "blocking light." After hand washing your sweater, lay it flat, preferably on a mesh drying rack. Gently stretch and smooth it with your hands until it's even and looks to be the same dimensions as when originally blocked. If desired, use a tape measure to make sure it's the same dimensions. Usually just eyeballing the sweater is sufficient.
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