Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Great Knitting Discoveries

It is entirely possible, if you are a knitter, that you have always known about these three tricks. I wish that I had known, or that you had told me. Instead, I had to discover them for myself.

Trick #1: When knitting a complicated pattern, make a copy of it and put it on a clip board where you can see it. Use a sticky note to keep track of which row you are on, and use a row counter, shown above in the top photo. You can hang your little row counter around your neck, but don't forget that it is there and accidentally wear it to the grocery store. Row counters are sold in the knitting needle section of your yarn or variety store.

Trick #2: If you are like me, your circular needles find their way out of their packages and into a drawer somewhere. This means that every time you want, for example, a size 7 needle, you have to scout out your needle gauge, and measure the needles until you find the right one. This is because the needles aren't marked, unless by some invisible code I haven't discovered yet.

Now, this is a nice little project for when you are retired--I wouldn't expect you to have time for it at any other stage of your life. Gather up the needles, the gauge, and some brightly-colored nail polish. Measure each with the gauge, then mark the needle sizes with the nail polish, using a code that mades sense to you. The photo above shows you my newly marked size 6 needle. I grouped the marks in sets of three because I once read that three is the largest number that the brain can easily picture. Whether this is true or not, I can quickly grasp that this is a size 6 needle with just a glance.

Trick #3: Those same circular needles sometimes want to curl up, and there is nothing worse than the continual struggling that you will be doing with a needle that won't straighten out. I ran into this problem recently with a new needle that had obviously been languishing too long in its package at the store. I kept knitting and hoping that it would straighten, then I had to worry that I would have to take all my knitting off the needle and immerse the needle in something hot. Don't do this!

There is an easy solution to curled up circular needles and they can be straightened even while your current project is in progress and the needles full of yarn. Just warm the cables up with a hair dryer and they will straighten out in a few seconds. Magic!


Judy said...

I am not a knitter. Just don't have the patience but envy those who do. I love your new header. Hope you have a wonderful Easter.

Anonymous said...

I know you're not going to believe this, but a male engineering friend of mine used to sit with me on the bus from El Paso, TX, to White Sands Missile Range, NM, where we both worked. In addition to teasing me that my "clicking" needles kept him aware (it was a long commute each way), he helped me devise a way to "mark" my needle sizes. It's the very same except that I put 1 slash for each size. Thus, size 7 had 7 slash marks (vertically that is). I'll have to try the dryer trick. Thanks! Belton Belle (now knitting in Central TX)

clairz said...

Judy, I'm glad you like the new look. It has taken me forever to figure out how to put my photos up there in the header, as I had trouble making them fit. I kept looking at beautiful blogs like yours for inspiration.

Belton Belle, I'm thrilled to think that a knitter in Texas is reading this blog. Thank you for leaving a comment. I think, along with your engineering friend, that watching someone else knit is fascinating. No two people seem to do it the same way.

Happy Easter to you both.

Linda said...

I have a new knitting blog called "Socks that Blog" at

It's always fun to read knitting tips.