Celebrity Knitting & Crochet Tips
We have managed to persuade the celebs of the knitting world to share their best tips and tricks! Please feel free o share these via the scoial channels below.
"If you are working with colour, either yarn or fabric start with lots and lots of colour and then take out the ones that don’t sit well until your palette glows with life.
I wouldn't be without scissors or a roller blade – I am constantly cutting threads, fabric and paper as I work."
“Work garter stitch around the edges of your tension swatches, that way they don't curl and work them over at least 13cm square. I couldn’t live without my tape measure as I’m always measuring tension, garments or working out the measurements for a new design.”
"Read all the way through your pattern before starting to knit so that you are familiar with the instructions. Note the construction, any special abbreviations or pattern notes and measurements. It could save you so much time later on if you are know what you are doing from the beginning!
My best knitting tool is my mattress stitch needle. It is a Chibi and has a slightly bent end - perfect for all my sewing up!"
"Cast off knitwise on the wrong side because it stops your fabric rolling. Also, When you get t the end of casting off, knit the last 2 stitches together and then cast off the last one. This stops it going off to a point."
Neatening up the side edge:
"Try to avoid slipping the first stitch on the row unless the pattern tells you to do it.
Many knitters slip their first stitch in order to neaten up the side edges of their knitting - however slipping a stitch can make the gap between the first and second stitch more prominent when sewing up and can cause problems particularly when picking up around the neckline.
If you want to neaten up your edge stitches, knit all the stitches on the knit rows as usual and knit the first and last stitches on the purl row to create a garter stitch edge. The slightly bobbly edge that is created by the garter stitch also gives you a clear indication of where to sew up."
Changing yarn shade:
"When you change yarn colour in crochet, especially when working in the round, it is quite common to see a loop of yarn from the previous row or round poking up into the next row or round - this can look quite messy.
To avoid getting this odd loop of yarn it is a good idea to change yarn shade on the last step of the stitch before the yarn is needed. Regardless of what stitch you are working, you complete the stitch before the colour change through to the last step so that 2 loops of yarn remain on the hook - draw the new yarn shade through at this point so that the yarn shade on your hook is your new colour."
"We’re all so time pressured these days our leisure time is precious so when you knit, get the best yarn you can afford. It’s a treat for your hands and it will last! I couldn't be without the leather Mulberry tape measure that a good friend bought me for my 40th birthday!"
"Don't be frightened of knitting patterns! If you can knit and purl you can do anything. If you ever get stuck there are loads of you tube videos, lovely helpful yarn shops and knitting groups who can help to guide you through a new challenge....Just always have something simple on the go at the same time in case you get frustrated!
I couldn't live without my row counter APP on my phone. I'm rubbish at keeping count!"
"Knitting a tension square before you start your project is the most important tip I can give. Achieving the correct tension for your pattern will assure that your finished garment will fit you and measure correctly. If your tension is too loose, then reknit the swatch on smaller needles, if your tension is to tight then reknit the swatch on larger needles. Do this until you achieve the tension stated on the pattern. Please do take time to do this, after all you invest so much time and money in making a hand knitted garment. As a designer I want my designs to fit you perfectly and that you will wear them for many years to come.
I could not be without my favourite Rowan yarns – Felted Tweed and British Sheep Breeds Chunky."
Kirsty McLeod Commissioning Editor - Simply Knitting
"If I'm making something with loads of repeat patterns use stitch markers or mimi hair bands between the repeats so I know where I am if I stop for a cup of tea. I couldn't live without a notepad and pencil so I can draw, write and chart out parts of the pattern"
Sarah Neal (Let’s Knit)
"When choosing colours for Fair Isle projects it’s important to pick ones that contrast strongly with each other, and I find the best way to do this is to view them in black and white. I knit a small swatch, take a photo of it on my phone and then convert it to mono. Colours that are tonally too similar will merge together, but if the contrast is successful the pattern will be clearly visible.
I could't be without the yarn bowl I was given at Christmas, I love it! No more balls of yarn bouncing across the floor and needing to be retrieved from under the sofa. It even makes a nice centrepiece on the coffee table."
Belinda Boaden from True Brit Knits
"Write everything down as you never will remember what you thought you would and I couldn't be without a pocket calculator and straight bamboo needles."
Kate Heppell Editor of Knit Now
"Learn to enjoy swatching! So many people see swatching as a chore, but I’ve really come to enjoy the process of finding the perfect tension for my yarn and project, and the security of knowing that the finished item is going to come out the right size. It’s also a great opportunity to get to know your yarn, make sure you’ve chosen the right type of needles and to practice any tricky stitches or techniques before you launch into the project.
I couldn’t be without my project bags. I’m a pretty chaotic knitter, with at least ten projects on the go at any one time, so I need something to keep me organised. I love splashing out on special project bags – I think I probably spend more on them than I do on yarn! I keep them all in a box with the yarn, needles, notions and pattern together, so I can easily pick up whichever project takes my fancy on any given day."
Debora Bradley Editor in Chief, The Knitter
"If you're trying to work something out, take it away from where you usually knit. Put everything you need on the kitchen table and spend a bit of time puzzling it out, whether you're adapting a pattern, you think you've made a mistake or you're trying to design something of your own. It's amazing how a change of location, a 'desk' and getting out of a comfy chair can help!
I couldn't be without a small crochet hook to rescue the occasional dropped stitch (usually caused by lapses of concentration when there's something really exciting on the TV!)"