5 Ways to Avoid Common Knitting Mistakes
I write about knitting mistakes a lot, probably because I’ve committed so many of them and I’m pathetically looking for some sort of validation (no, you are not alone). Some of my errors are technical: I confuse M1L and M1R, I lose count of what row I’m on, or I demonstrate a remarkable inability to knit consistent ribbing. Other errors are more logistical: I don’t buy enough yarn, I start knitting one size and end up knitting another, or I forget about buttonholes until I’m 5 inches into a pattern. I’m not one to flinch when I need to frog, but I’d really rather avoid it in the first place.
Kate Atherley’s newest course, Math for Knitters, is based on the philosophy that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure (and provides the conversion table to prove it!) The key to fixing knitting mistakes lies in preventing them from even happening, so a solid understanding of knitting pattern math is the key to success. Here are 4 takeaways from Kate’s course:
1. Pay attention.
Do you want to knit that shawl in a different yarn than what the pattern specifies? Make sure you are accurately comparing the yardage: 300 meters is NOT 300 yards. Proper conversions are key.
2. Don’t play Yarn Chicken.
When using a partial skein, make sure you have enough yarn to finish the job before you start knitting. Sure, that almost-full skein might be just enough for a hat, but why knit 93% of a project only to run out of yarn? Weighing your questionable skein is a great way to figure out how much yarn you actually have, and then check it against the pattern.
3. A simple highlighter is a mighty tool.
Knitting something that comes in multiple sizes with multiple sets of numbers in the instructions? Before you even cast on, highlight the right set for your size throughout the pattern, so your stitch counts, increases, and measurements are all correct.
4. MAKE A GAUGE SWATCH.
Gauge issues are one of the biggest sources of angst for knitters, and I have several tiny cardigans to prove it. As one designer friend of mine pointed out: you knit a gauge swatch no matter what—it’s up to you whether it’s 4″ x 4″ or an entire sweater.
Can you spot the math mistake in this article? To learn more, from yarn substitutions to breaking down the dreaded “reverse shaping”, check out Kate’s course!
Math for Knitters is a new streamable course you can watch at your own pace, anywhere, any time, on any device.
Want to learn more? Check out these resources