Knitting Instructions, Techniques & Tips

These 4 Tips Will Ease Your Knitting Frustrations

If you find knitting frustrating at times, these 4 tips just might help

I think we can all agree that knitting, while fun, can occasionally be frustrating.

Have you ever struggled with a cast-on that was far too tight? Knitted a flat piece that wouldn’t actually STAY flat? Went crazy with novelty yarn? Bemoaned the pilling and worn look that one (or more) of your hand-knits developed?

If any of these have befallen you, keep reading!

The following are terrific knitting tips that generations of experienced knitters have passed along. Some may seem obvious at first blush, but I think you’ll find some beneficial nuggets within each of these tips.

1. Tip for Casting On

Cast on with a needle that’s one size larger than you plan to knit with. This is especially helpful if you’re using something like a long tail cast-on, where part of the process involves pulling stitches tight.

2. Tip about Stockinette Stitch

Stockinette stitch is what you produce when you alternate between knitting a row and purling a row. (Or, if you’re knitting in the round, when you’re knitting every round.) Basically, it creates the appearance of knit stitches on one side of the work and purl stitches on the other.

Stockinette stitch looks nice and smooth, but when you knit it flat, it curls at the edges.

There are a couple of ways to combat this curling, though:

  1. Knit your project twice as wide as you want it. Then, when you’re done, fold it over and seam the edges together. This works especially well for scarves, and as a bonus, it’s nice and warm.
  2. Line your project with a piece of fabric. This could be knitted fabric, or it could be fabric you have left over from a sewing project.
  3. My favorite tip, and the one I use most often, is to use a non-stockinette edging. Seed stitch is my favorite way to do this; it looks really pretty and is so simple. Seed stitch gives the appearance of seeds by alternating knit and purl stitches.
  4. Block that baby! You’ll want to block in addition to one of the other methods, but it ensures a nice and neat appearance. And, it’ll ensure your piece stays flat. (For blocking tutorials, check out this article!)

3. Easy Does the Novelty Yarn

Use novelty yarn sparingly. Sometimes novelty yarn is so cute and fabulous that you want to knit a whole project with it. But resist the urge! There are dozens of fun things you can make with novelty yarn that WON’T drive you nuts or make you look like a fashion disaster.

Consider projects like scarves, trimmings for mittens or hats, stripes, and tassels. (Also, take a look at this article and this one. Both are filled with fun ways to use novelty yarn!)

4. Glycerin Can Work Miracles

Did you know that glycerin prevents finished products from pilling? If you want to keep your finished products looking new (and don’t we all), try adding just one or two drops of glycerin into the wash water, which smooths the yarn and keeps you from getting ugly pills and bunches.

NEVER put that piece into the dryer, though. Dryer + glycerin = gross, sticky mess.

I hope these tips will help you get more joy out of your knitting. Remember: knitting should be fun!

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Get your free guide, "How to Get Your Handknits to Local People in Need: What You Need to Know" with your subscription to the Knitting Nuggets Newsletter! When you join this community, you'll receive resources & inspiration to knit patterns you love for people you care about.