Hints and Tips - Donations, Patterns, etc..
1. Ask family, friends and neighbours.
2. Put up notices e.g. if you knit for hospitals ask if you can put a notice asking for baby wool on the Outpatients notice board as well as in the Maternity Ward. Anywhere that people sit and are likely to read messages! Same applies for animal rugs - notices in Vet surgeries, RSPCA offices, etc. - explain what you do with the wool, put a photo on the notice.
You must be able and willing to go around these venues where you post the notices on a regular basis to collect any donations. This is most important!!
3. Check your local Library for books of Knitting Patterns. Most Libraries also have popular craft magazines for borrowing.
4. Search the Internet for Free Pattern Sites. If you are looking for a specific pattern (i.e. Moebius Scarf) do a search on the name of the pattern or even on variations of the name, you will be surprised how many sites are available.
5. Telling the difference between USA and Aussie Crochet Patterns ---- With Aussie crochet when you start a row for DC (double crochet) you always do 1 chain which acts as the first DC. When you are crocheting in Treble , you always start a row with 3 chain which acts as your first Treble . If you are working in Half Trebles , you commence a row with 2 chain.
Neatening the side edge of your cast-on. Before slipping the last cast-on stitch on to the left-hand needle, pass the yarn from back to front between the points of the two needles, then slip the stitch on to the left-hand needle. This prevents a curved edge on the last stitch. Very handy for blanket edges and cardigan fronts!
Tension Swatches/squares: They are a necessary nuisance! I have 2 hints for you ..
1: make a square using the corner to corner method. Cast on 3sts. Knit 1 row. Increase 1 st at the beginning of each row until the side edge is the length required. Decrease 1 st at the beginning of each row until 3 sts remain. Cast off. This way you can make each square the same size and when you have enough sew them together for a rug.
2: keep a scrap book of your tension swatches making a note of the yarn name and ply, and the needle size used. That way when you use this yarn again you just have to refer to your scrap book for the tension details.
'Little' needles: For all the times when you are only knitting with a small amount of stitches (especially when travelling) and you wish you had some 'little' needles here's a couple of ideas. Cut down your plastic needles and sharpen the end with a pencil sharpener. Make them whatever size you need. I always check in Op Shops for old plastic needles. Great for making turbans, bandages, baby mittens, bootees, hats - and lots of other things. Another way is to use double ended needles - stick a wooden bead on one end - instant 'little' needles.
Stitch Markers: (from Dawn) I have just finished making myself some stitch markers and thought the idea might come in handy for someone else. All my knitting life I have simply used thread as my markers until recently when I saw some that were really cute, but in my opinion expensive. So it began....I used very small split rings and added a bead or a charm to dangle from the ring and if I may say they are pretty. I did have trouble finding the small split rings but eventually came across the size I wanted at a key cutting place. I made 8 for the pricely sum of $2.00 having already had broken jewelry at home to use as dangles.The size of the split ring can vary, depending on the thickness of needles you use.
Needles and Hooks: Store your crochet hooks in a pencil case. There are several different types and can be very cheap to buy.
Use small hair bands (rather than rubber bands) to keep your knitting needles together. Rubber bands tend to leave a sticky residue.
Natural Moth Repellants: Tobacco or black pepper are natural moth repellants. As are bay leaves, cedar, cloves, cinnamon, eucalyptus, lavender, rosemary, or wormwood - they will all help to keep away unwanted bugs. Use them when storing your wool as well as your completed garments and also your clean woollies during summer.
When chosing needles to knit with unfamiliar yarn --
Double your yarn and thread it through the closest size hole on your needle gauge. Whichever hole it fits through the neatest (neither tight nor with gaping spaces around the yarn) is the best needle size to do your first swatch with.
I found this hint on http://www.knitting-and.com/ website. I think it would be a great guide when you get your ply's mixed up like I often do (especially with baby wool) - what do you think?
Natty Stripes -- Looking for a change from ho-hum stripes? A mathematical concept called the Fibonacci sequence is an easy way to get an aesthetically pleasing striped pattern. Here's a portion of the sequence: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21,34, 55, 89 ...
How did we get that? Take two numbers and add them together, then add the last number to the one before it in the sequence, and so on.
Working on 2 rows equalling 1 stripe the following might explain things a little more clearly. In the sequence 1, 2, 3, 5 (of stripes) - the number of rows would actually be 2, 4, 6, 10 and so on. Clear as Mud!!! A sequence for you to try is...
3, 5, 8, 13, 8, 5, repeating (makes a nice rug)
Group Member Hints
When the pattern says to pull the wool throught the left over stitches and secure, thread the wool into your darning needle and slip this through the remaining stitches then sew up as normal. It is easier and quicker than using the knitting needles.
When casting off the last stitch of a project I always ended up with a loose finish. Now I knit into the stitch below the last stitch and it tidies the finish up nicely. (winner of our tip competition Sept06)
There is no 'wrong' way, just be consistent!
Hate Sewing up Squares into a rug? I just cast on all my stitches (hundreds of them) onto circular needles, but knit them back and forwards as for regular needles. Then when I have finished knitting the rug - it is finished!! No sewing up at all.
If I am away from home and need to leave a mark in my knitting (e.g. start of pattern block or start of round with circular knitting, then I just break off a bit of yarn and tie it into the correct space with a single (loose) knot. It will remove easily when I don't need it any more.
When joining in a new ball of wool, whether the same colour or different colour, knit the first stitch with the new piece of yarn then knit the second stitch with the tail of the yarn. Carry on across the row with the live yarn. You can pull the tail tighter and it makes a neat edge instead of a saggy stitch.
I use a post-it note to mark the part of the pattern I am about to knit and I write the pattern size I am following on the post-it. This means I don't need to mark or write on the pattern book at all.
You can use a lotto ticket as a row and/or stitch counter.
Paper clips can be used as stitch or row markers.