The best knitting tips are those that help knitters to create garments and accessories of high quality. One of the most important and basic tips for knitters is to know the basic stitches that make up most knit patterns. Many knitting tips offer advice on how to fix mistakes, such as dropped stitches, and how to avoid imperfections in the finished project. Other important tips give instructions for making garments that fit properly.
The two most basic knitting stitches are called knit and purl stitches. Knit stitches are v-shaped, while purl stitches, which are actually just knit stitches in reverse, are small horizontal bumps. These stitches are often combined in a simple and common stitch pattern called stockinette stitch, in which all the stitches on the outside of the knit fabric are knitted and all the stitches on the inside of the knit fabric are purled. Another common stitch pattern is known as garter stitch, which is one of the easiest stitch patterns for most knitters, as it involves making knit stitches on both the inside and outside of the knit fabric. Yet another common stitch pattern that most knitters should learn is ribbing, a type of stitch that creates alternating columns of knit and purl stitches.
Knitting is usually done in rows of stitches that stack up on top of each other, creating a fabric made of interlocking stitches. Dropped stitches are stitch loops that slip off the needles, unraveling the stitches below them and creating horizontal runs of loose stitches in the knit fabric. Many knitting tips offer methods for picking up these dropped stitches. When the dropped stitch is only a row or two beneath the current row of knitting, a knitter may use a knitting needle to pull the horizontal runs through the dropped loops to recreate knit stitches that can then be placed back on the needles. If the dropped stitch is several rows beneath the current row of knitting, the knitter can insert a crochet hook into the loop of the dropped stitch and use the hook to pull the runs through.
One of the most common problems knitters have with stockinette stitch is that it causes the edges of a garment or accessory to curl. There are many knitting tips that give advice on how to create selvedge stitches that will prevent edges from curling. One method for creating selvedge stitches is to knit the edge stitches in garter stitch, which tends to lie flatter than stockinette stitch. Another method is to slip the first stitch of every row by passing it from one needle to the other without knitting it, and to knit the last stitch of every row.
Many knitting tips offer methods for creating well-fitting garments. A knitter will probably want to use a yarn that is similar in weight, or strand thickness, to the yarn specified by her pattern. Knitting a gauge swatch, or a small sample square of knitting, is also useful as the knitter can then measure the swatch to make sure that her gauge, or number of stitches per inch, is the same as that specified by her pattern. Another important tip for knitters is that knit fabric, unlike woven fabric, is very stretchy, so knit garments will often fit better if the knitter makes them a size down from the size she usually wears.