1. I have an old pattern, yarn discontinued what alternative yarn can I use?

You will need to find out as much as you can about the original yarn; what ply is it, what its composition is, what it looks like, what the yardage is, what the tension is. Try to find a yarn that is as close to the original as possible as this is the best way of achieving the necessary look. It will be important to do a tension square to determine that your new yarn will work out ok for your pattern.

2. What is blocking and is it necessary?

Blocking is a method of finishing your knitted project in a professional way. It is necessary, particularly when doing lace patterns, to achieve the desired shape and measurements. You will need to pin out your project on soft flat surface, such as a blocking mat, with t pins every 2.5cm to hold your knitting in position. There is no need to pin out the ribs. You will need to lay a damp cloth over your work and leave it to dry. Alternatively you can steam press your work by holding a steam iron over the cloth but not touching, allowing the steam to penetrate through the cloth on to your knitting. Then allow to dry before removing the pins. You will also need to refer to your yarns ball band for care instructions, as not all yarns will be suitable for steam pressing.

3. When told to pick up stitches how can this be done evenly?

To evenly pick up stitches use a tape measure to find the half way point on your edge, then half again and half again, once more placing markers each time. Divide how many stitches you need by 8, this will give you the number of stitches you need to have in each section.

4. How do I cast on stitches at the end of a row?

To cast on stitches at the end of a row you will need to have all your stitches on the left hand needle, put your right hand needle through the 1st stitch as if to knit, but rather than sliding your stitch off, hook your new stitch onto your left needle , 1 stitch cast on. Carry on until you have cast on as many stitches as you need, then knit across your row in pattern.

5. How do I check my tension?

To check your tension, cast on more stitches than the tension square asks for, knit your square with more rows than asked for, this will allow for your edges curling. Leave it overnight to relax then mark your 4 inches with pins and count your stitches and rows within the 4 inch square. If you have too many stitches this means your stitches are too small and you will need to use a larger needle. If you have too few stitches in your square the stitches are too big and you will need to use a smaller needle.

6. How do I choose what size to knit for a good fit?

Choose a design that suits your shape. Usually patterns give measurements and actual measurements depending on the fit. You can also use the garment diagram to get more information. This should help when you are deciding on the size to make. Check your tension for good results and keep measuring your knitting as you go, this way you will be able to re- work your knitting ,rather than finishing it only to find it doesn’t fit.

7. What does “actual” size mean on patterns?

Actual size on a pattern is the measurement that the finished garment will work out at to give the right fit and drape for the garment design. Some patterns ask for negative and positive ease, this refers to the fit of a garment. Negative ease being a garment that is smaller than your body size to give a fitted look. Positive ease being the opposite, a garment that will be loose fitting ie bigger than the wearer.

8. How many balls do I need to knit a scarf?

This depends on how long you would like your scarf and what weight of wool you would like to use. Just to give you an idea, to knit a scarf in double knit wool 1.5m by 20cm will take approximately 700m of wool.

9. Can I change needle size to make a pattern larger or smaller?

You can change needle size to alter the size of a garment, you will need to be mindful that to do this will alter the amount of yarn you will need for your project. Doing a swatch will be essential. You can also change needle size to gently shape a garment, this is really affective when doing a crochet garment.

10. Can I combine 2 strands of a finer yarn to equal a thicker one?

You can combine 2 strands of yarn to make a thicker one, as a general guide;

2 strands of 4ply =dk,

2 strands dk = a heavier than standard aran

2 strands of aran= chunky/super chunky

As you can see this is not an exact science and some experimenting will be needed.

11. What cast on method do I need to use?

Usually your pattern will ask for a particular cast on. The thumb method cast on is a quick, multipurpose cast on that requires only one needle, it will give you a more elastic edge to your knitting. Cable cast on is a 2 needle cast one that requires you to knit in between each stitch to make a new one. This cast on gives you a firm tidy edge which looks great on cabled garments. There is also a lace cast on, this is also a 2 needle cast on where you need to knit into each stitch to make a new on , this will give you a tidy but relaxed edge to your work that compliments lace patterns. You can also increase your needle size if you feel your cast on is too tight, remembering to change back to your correct size needle to begin your knitting.

12. My pattern is in ounces how do I calculate the number of balls to buy in grams?

You will need to times how many ounces your pattern asks for by 28 grams. This will give you the total weight in grams.

1 ounce is equal to 28 grams.