Want to be a better knitter? Of course you do! Get easy knitting tips for beginners and for advanced knitters, get ideas to level up your skills and make your life easier.
I reviewed, fact checked and updated this post on May 22, 2023.
Essential Knitting Tips & Tricks
I’ve complied 50+ of the best knitting tips and tricks to make you a better knitter. Whether you’re starting out or you’re an experienced knitter who’s been knitting for years. I wish I’d known all this before I began knitting!
1 Use The Right Needles & Yarn
This is a key knitting tip! The wrong materials make your knitting process so much harder than it needs to be. I recommend beginning knitters start with straight knitting needles, then learn how to use circular needles. Avoid double-pointed needles until you have some experience, as they’re tricky to use!
Regarding materials, start with plastic,,bamboo or wooden needles. Many novice knitters struggle with metal needles. However, once you build up your skills, metal knitting needles are great for an efficient knitter! For your first knitting project, avoid dark yarn, and choose a cheaper acrylic fiber in a solid color.
2 Use Gauge Swatches
A swatch is a small sample of your knitting project to test the tension, or gauge of your work. It’s a measurement of how many stitches across four inches in a knitted square. The bigger the yarn, the fewer stitches.
It’s essential to make a gauge swatch before you start a project, especially if it’s a garment where fit is important.
3 Block Your Projects
This is where you soak and shape your finished project to make the stitch pattern pop. It’s especially important for lace projects and knitting projects with lots of little details.
4 Use A Row Counter
This is a neat tool to help you keep track of your rows. It’s especially helpful for patterns that are repetitive. If you prefer a DIY option, try tracking it on your notes app or on a piece of scrap paper.
5 Sign Up To Ravelry
Ravelry is a huge online knitting/fiber arts community. It’s a great for finding patterns in the knitting world, connect with other knitters, and get inspired for your next project. Also, there’s a forum where you can ask for help on knitting techniques. The people there are so kind and generous!
6 Use Yarn Cakes
Yarn cakes differ from skeins and balls because they’re wound in such a way that prevents tangling. They pull from the center, which makes them easier to knit from.
7 Learn To Read Knitting Patterns
This is an essential skill! If you can’t read a pattern, you’ll be stuck with basic projects. One day, you might be able to make your own patterns!
8 Join A Knitting Group Or Take A Class
There’s nothing like learning with others. Make new friends and have a support system while you improve your skills.
9 Use Stitch Markers
Stitch markers help you keep track of your place in a pattern, especially if it’s repetitive. They’re also great for marking the beginning and end of a round when you’re knitting in the round. Attach a stitch marker to the right side of the work so you know which is the right side and the wrong side.
10 Get Used To Frogging!
“Frogging” is ripping out your knitting. It’s easier than it sounds and it’s an essential part of learning! Mistakes are going to happen and sometimes you might not find them until you’ve knitted many rows.
Don’t despair! Undoing your hard work is difficult, I know how long some projects can take but you’ll be happier with redoing it.
11 Learn To Tension Your Yarn
Knitting tension is important for two reasons: it stops your knitting being too loose or too tight, and it makes your knitting even. If you tension your yarn properly, your projects look nicer.
11 Use Lifelines
A lifeline is a safety net for your knitting. It’s a piece of thread or yarn that you insert into your work at regular intervals. If you make a mistake, you can rip back to the last lifeline without having to start from the beginning.
13 Use The Magic Loop Method
The magic loop method is a great way to knit small projects in the round, like socks. This is my preferred way to knit socks on circular needles.
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14 Keep Your Knitting Supplies Organized
An organized workspace makes knitting much easier! Keep your yarn, needles, and patterns in one place so you can always find what you need.
15 Use Needle Point Protectors
Needle point protectors are little caps that go on the end of your needles. They keep stitches from falling off.
16 Use A Yarn Winder & Swift
A yarn winder and swift are two tools that make working with yarn much easier. The winder winds the yarn into a nice, tidy ball. The swift holds the skein of yarn while you’re winding it.
17 Create A Yarn Storage System
You can never have too much yarn, but you need a good way to store it! Keep it organized by color, weight, or project.
18 Use A Project Bag
A project bag is a great way to keep your knitting supplies together in one place. A knitting bag is perfect for taking your projects on the go.
19 Use A Yarn Bowl
A yarn bowl is a special bowl that keeps your yarn from getting tangled. It’s a must-have for knitters.
20 Cultivate Patience
This is an important virtue for all knitters! Your knitting skills will improve with time and practice.
21 Practice Making Even Knitted Stitches
This is the most basic skill in knitting, but it’s also one of the most important, and trickiest to get right. If your stitches are even, your projects look much nicer.
22 Learn New Techniques Before A Big Project
Don’t wait until you’re halfway through a project to learn a new technique! You’ll be less likely to make mistakes if you practice first.
23 Keep An Eye Out For Mistakes
This is easier said than done, but it’s important to try. If you catch a mistake early, it’s much easier to fix. If you pay attention when you’re knitting, you’re more likely to avoid common knitting mistakes like:
- Having too many stitches
- Dropping stitches
- Having too tight stitches
24 Use Circular Needles When Knitting Flat
Circular needles can be used for knitting flat projects and projects in the round. They’re great to knit flat on, especially for big projects because they disperse the weight of the project.
25 Add A Crochet Hook To Your Toolkit
A crochet hook can be a helpful tool for fixing mistakes or picking up a dropped stitch.
26 Avoid Twisted Stitches
Twisted stitches can ruin your hard work! Be careful not to twist them when you’re knitting.
27 Knit With Looser Stitches
Tighter stitches are more difficult to fix if you make a mistake. Looser stitches are easier to rip out and redo.
28 Learn Knitting Abbreviations
There are many abbreviations in knitting patterns. Learn the most common ones so you can understand patterns better.
Bonus Knitting Tips
- Start with simple projects
- Knit Continental-style if you want to knit faster
- Finish your row before you get up to do something else
- When you’re frustrated, don’t keep going. Take a break
- Only knit projects you want to make, otherwise you’ll lose motivation and won’t finish it
- Don’t compare yourself to the experts!
- Have a pin cushion for yarn/tapestry needles
- Use a sharp tapestry needle for weaving in ends
- Learn the purl stitch as soon as possible
- If you’re working with a pattern using purl stitches/knit stitches in the same row like seed stitch, bring the yarn to the correct position before making the stitch. (Back of the work for a knit stitch, and front of the work for a purl stitch)
- Loosely tie your cast-on tail so you don’t knit from it
- Add a garter stitch border to stockinette knitted fabric to stop it from curling
- Learn the slipped stitch technique for neat edges
- Learn to tell the difference between purl and knit stitches
- Use the slip stitch method for neater cast offs
- Use a long tail cast on for stretchy edges
- Pick up stitches with a needle one size larger than what you’re using to knit
- Cast on loosely for sock cuffs
- To learn the difference between the right/wrong side of knitting, practice non-reversible stitches like the stockinette stitch
- Memorize a simple pattern repeat so you can knit something when you want to relax
- Don’t buy yarn unless you know what you’ll make with it
- Use yarn that will showcase complicated stitch patterns, they’re hard to see in novelty yarn
- Use smooth yarn or cheap yarn for practicing, save the quality yarn for large projects
- Always keep your yarn labels with the yarn
- Join a new yarn at the start of a row, not in the middle
- Reuse scrap yarn for new projects
- Keep the ends of unused yarn cakes secure so they don’t tangle
- Support your local yarn store and ask for their help, many of the people working at these places are experienced
- Save your scraps in a zip-lock bag
- Use a yarn guide for knitting with multiple colors
- When you’ve finished making a creation, after you stop knitting, always weave in the yarn ends before starting a new project. It looks nicer and makes it last longer
- In your interchangeable needles set, use stitch markers to organize the pins/connectors
- If you have an interchangeable knitting needle set, use a smaller needle on the left needle to improve your tension
- Dip twisted circular knitting needle cables in hot water to untangle them
For Knitting On A Budget
- Use a plastic container or zip-lock bag for a yarn bowl
- Use wine corks for needle protectors
- Use a pencil case for storing notions and needles
- Look in your local thrift store for needles and yarn
- Store knitted socks in their yarn label for easy access to care instructions
- Print out your pattern and use a pencil to mark where you’re up to – you can erase it as needed
- Use a wire hanger as a blocking instrument for socks
- Use washi tape to track your progress on a chart
- Have a copy of your pattern downloaded to your phone for easy offline access
- If you don’t have wool wash, use baby shampoo
My last piece of advice is the most important. Practice often and frequently, and enjoy your knitting journey! It’s a hobby, after all. Now start knitting with your newfound knowledge. If you follow these tips, you’ll be a knitting superstar in no time! Have questions? Let me know below.