Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Knitting:How To Read A Pattern

How To Read A Pattern
Expert knitter Lucy Bennett shows you how to read a knitting pattern. Learn the basics of reading knitting patterns, and then you can make that extra special woolly jumper!


Step 1: Size
The size of the finished item will be clearly stated. Sometimes it states the size after 'blocking' which means after you have washed the finished garment for the first time.

Step 2: Gauge
Gauge is given as the number of stitches and rows, on the recommended-size needles, over a 4inch patch.

It is a good idea to make a gauge before you start knitting your garment to ensure the size needles and the number of rows and stitches in the pattern will produce the size and shape garment you need.

Step 3: Yarn
Most knitting patterns recommend the most appropriate yarn to use for the best results.

It is important to buy the yarn specified. Another yarn, however similar, may not behave in the same way.

Always buy enough yarn. It is a good idea to buy an extra ball just in case.

Step 4: Needles
Needle sizes vary and your pattern will tell you the best size needle to use but should be treated as a guide only.

Your knitted gauge will tell you if you need to use a different size needle to the one your pattern recommends.

Step 5: Instructions
Instructions are set out as row by row written instructions.

The letter P stands for Purl and the letter K, for Knit so if your pattern says Row One: P5, K5 you should purl five stitches and then knit five stitches on your first row.

To learn more about purl and knit stitches see our videos 'How To Stitch a Purl Stitch' and How to Stitch a Knit Stitch'.

Astericks are used to tell you to repeat an instruction. For example, an asterisk followed by P1, K1 tells you to purl one stitch, knit one stitch, and again purl one stitch and knit one stitch.

Sometimes brackets are used instead of asterisks.

Instructions are also set out as charts. They will have a corresponding key that tells you what each symbol in the chart means.

These symbols differ from pattern to pattern but don`t worry as nearly every knitting pattern will provide you with a glossary of symbols and abbreviations to help you read them easy


:How To Choose Knitting Needles

Expert knitter Lucy Bennett shows you how to choose knitting needles. Learn about needle sizes, types of needles, and how to choose the correct knitting needle for your particular needs.


Step 1: Needle material
Needles are made from a variety of materials and the choice is up to you and your personal preference.

Traditionally, knitting needles are made from aluminium with a pearl grey finish and are sometimes nickel plated.

Larger size needles are often made from plastic to reduce their weight.

Other needles are made from natural materials like bamboo or wood.

Needles made from natural materials are very popular as they feel good to hold and warm up as you knit.

Step 2: Needle size
Knitting needles come in lots of different sizes and widths and their thickness is expressed in millimetres.

The most important thing to consider is the width as this will determine the size of the knitted stitches and the look of your finished piece. The thicker the needle, the larger the stitch.

Step 3: Types of needles
There are three basic types of knitting needle which each have a different function.

Single point knitting needles are used in pairs to knit flat pieces. Straight and rigid, they are considered the standard needles.

Double point needles have points at both ends and are used in sets of four. They knit seamless, circular items such as hats.

Circular needles are two straight needles connected with a flexible plastic cord. They are used to knit round, seamless garments like socks.

Step 4: Caring for your needles
Straight needles can be kept in decorative buckets or pencil cups.

Needles, like socks, have a habit of getting separated, so put a rubber band around matching pairs or sets.

When the points on your needles are damaged or the needles are bent, it's time to throw them out and buy some new ones.

Knitting:How To Choose Knitting Yarn

How To Choose Knitting Yarn
How To Choose Knitting Yarn. A great short material on the best ways to choose knitting yarn including the yarn shape and size, yarn material and colour, yarn weight, and how best to care for your yarn. Expert knitter Lucy Bennett shows you how to choose knitting yarn.


Step 1: Yarn Shapes and Sizes
Yarn comes in lots of different shapes and sizes. There are balls of yarn and there are hanks of yarn, depending on the yarn material.

Step 2: Yarn Material
Yarn is made of fibres derived from a number of different places.

Animal-based fibres such as Lambs wool is a very popular choice as it has good insulating properties, is very absorbent, holds its shape well and is very hard-wearing. Lots of scarves and socks are made from lambs wool.

Plant fibres like linen or cotton are soft, strong and very breathable and are great for making summer and children's clothes.

Man-made fibres such as polyester or nylon are cheap and easy to wash and can be an ideal choice for baby clothes and fashion items.

Mixtures of animal, plant and man-made fibres are also all widely available, so the choice of texture is really up to you.

Step 3: Yarn Colour
Yarn comes in all the colours of the rainbow and it is up to you which colours you choose.

When choosing a colour pay special attention to the dye colour. It is important that you buy all your yarn from the same dye lot. Otherwise your knitted pieces will be one shade of colour at the start and a slightly different shade at the end.

Most yarn shops will allow you to return unused balls of yarn so remember to buy extra.

Step 4: Yarn Weight
Most yarn comes in a variety of thicknesses, called weights. Here are some of the most common yarn weights.

4-ply yarn is a very thin weight of yarn and is good for making light, fine garments such as lacy shawls.

Double-knit yarn is roughly twice as thick as 4-ply and is a good weight for knitting socks and children's clothes.

Aran yarn is the most common weight and is a great choice for beginners. It's twice the thickness of double knit and is good for making scarves and hats.

Chunky or bulky yarns are twice the size of Aran yarn and knit up quickly on large needles making them great for heavy jumpers.

Step 5: Yarn after care
Washing instructions can be found on the label of the yarn that you have bought. Following the washing instructions will allow you to preserve the quality of your yarn allowing it to last for a very long time.

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