a knitting tip for for day 8 of blogjune
One of the best knitting tips I’ve picked up since I learned to knit a couple of years ago is one for keeping your edges neat. This is from Maggie Righetti’s fab book Knitting in plain English, and also gets a mention in Debbie Stoller’s Stitch’n bitch. I do love Maggie’s no nonsense writing style, how could you not love a book which includes a chapter “Button holes are bastards”? Anyway, about those neat edges…
When you get a loose wonky stitch, as at the start of the row, it feels like you should try to knit that stitch really tight but that has never worked for me. Here’s Maggie’s tip from the chapter “Some firm remarks about sloppy edges and joining judiciously”:
“Work the first stitch of a row. Insert the right-hand needle into the second stitch. Stop! Give the yarn a firm tug to extra-tighten that first stitch. Complete the second stitch.”
When I had some problems with wonky stitches in ribbing on an early project I also got a tip from Rox on Ravelry which I think is similar. When you switch from a knit stitch to a purl stitch, the last knit stitch will be looser than the others. In 1×1 ribbing it won’t really matter, but if you’re doing something like 2×2 or 3×3 ribbing or cables, the loose last knit stitch will stick out like a sore thumb.
I asked Rox for advice and her tip is very similar to Maggie’s, except that there’s an extra trick. While it looks like it’s the wonky final knit stitch that’s the culprit, the problem is really loose yarn in the first purl stitch so that’s the stitch you need to tighten.
After switching from a knit stitch to a purl stitch that first purl stitch will be loose so, in the stitch after that, insert the needle and give the yarn a tug before you knit the stitch. That will tighten the purl stitch which will make the final knit stitch sit nice and straight.
You can also use Maggie’s tip to avoid ladders when you’re knitting on double point needles in the round.