Knit Finishing Techniques FAQ
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.
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.
Your tension is tight.
Your tension is loose.
- Use a smaller needle.
- When knitting back and forth use a smaller size needle on the purl rows.
- Loop the yarn around your fingers so there is more drag.
- On purl rows add an extra wrap around one finger.
- Knit more slowly.
- Form the stitches on the needle tip instead of the shaft.
- Use a larger needle.
- Don't wrap the yarn around as many fingers or more than once around any one finger.
- Consider using a metal needle instead of a bamboo or wood one.
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).
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.
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:
- Put a stitch marker between the two sleeves. If you pick up your knitting and the marker falls off the needle, you'll know you've completed one sleeve but not the other.
- Pin the two pieces together about 2 inches below the needles. Pin across the gap between the two pieces using a locking stitch marker or coil-less safety pin.
- Obviously, you will be knitting with two balls of yarn, one for each sleeve. To keep the yarns from becoming tangled, rotate the needle clockwise at the end of the right side rows and counterclockwise at the end of the wrong side rows.
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.
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.
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.
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.