Top 5 Knitting Tips from the Experts

There are so many things to learn when it comes to knitting. With hundreds of ways to cast on and bind off, thousands of stitch patterns to choose from, and hundreds of thousands of patterns available to knit, it can all seem a little overwhelming. There are a multitude of tips and tricks out there to learn too; and here are a few of our favorites from the experts.

Don’t Start with a Scarf

If you are a brand-new knitter or teaching someone how to knit, I don’t recommend a scarf as a first project. Why? Scarves take a pretty long time to knit. Those basic stitches will likely be mastered after about 10-12 inches on the scarf, and then there’s still another 4 feet or more to go! For many people who are new to the craft, the scarf becomes boring after that initial 1-foot of knitting and it gets put to the side, never to be picked up again. I recommend starting with something small – like a dishcloth. Even a cowl or a hat project is great for beginners. If they aren’t ready to knit in the round, the project can be worked flat and then seamed.

Win at Yarn Chicken when Knitting a Top-Down Sweater

Yarn chicken occurs when you’re working on a project and you aren’t sure if you’ll have enough yarn to complete the project. Whether you skipped the gauge swatch or didn’t purchase the correct amount of yarn for the project, no worries. Knitting expert Rebecca McKenzie has some suggestions for you if you are worried about running out of yarn when knitting a top-down sweater:

“Knit the body and sleeves, stopping right before the ribbing and then shorten the ribbing or do a different finishing on the ends. You could easily color block, add a few stripes with scraps, or do a fade.”

Everyday Items Can be Useful Tools

Designer Corrina Ferguson has two great tips on how everyday items can help you with your knitting projects.

First, grab those nail clippers. She says, “I don’t always have scissors with me, but I always, always, always have nail clippers. I can’t stand a hangnail (it snags on my knitting of course) and nail clippers are perfect for trimming ends also.”

Her other suggestion is that you can use a U.S. Dollar bill to measure your project!

“A dollar bill is just about 6” long. Need to measure your knitting on the run? Grab a dollar and use it to measure!”

Create a Clean Bind Off

With many bind off techniques, you might find that the last stitch of the bind off is larger and more stretched out than the rest of the stitches. There are many ways you can avoid this problem and knitting expert Jill Wright share a simple fix for this problem. Jill says:

“To avoid the loopy last stitch at bind off, knit the last two bind off stitches together, then pull the yarn end through! Boom! Neat edge!”

Hopefully, you find some of these tricks useful in your knitting adventures. What are some of your favorite knitting tips or hacks?

Related Videos: The Basic Bind Off, Carrying Yarns Along Side of Your Project

  • (will not be published)

40 Responses to “Top 5 Knitting Tips from the Experts”
  1. Marie Hogan
    Marie Hogan

    I have just started knitting at the ripe old age of 75 have mastered the basics of K and P – have found an old pattern which requires minimum thought -for a hat- need to increase the cast on stiches for my husband has a large head the orginal patern called for 60 is there a simple to figure out how much more I need to cast on. Thank you

    • Jen Lucas
      Jen Lucas

      That’s awesome that you’ve learned to knit! The number of stitches you’ll need will depend on the gauge (how many stitches per inch you’re getting). So, you could make a small swatch, figure out how many stitches per inch you are getting, and then figure out how many stitches you need. For example, if you are getting 5 stitches per inch on the gauge swatch, and you need the hat to fit a 22-inch head, you’ll need 110 stitches. Happy knitting!
      Jen – Managing Editor, The Knitting Circle

    • Kathleen

      Good for you Marie–learning to knit at 75. I am a little ahead of you. Started three years ago at 71. Knitting for me has been a wonderful experience. Hope it’s the same for you.

    • Charlotte Panzera
      Charlotte Panzera

      That’s awesome!! I’m 72 and mostly crochet. Want to do some knitting – have knitted a scarf and a blanket so far!

    • Paulette

      I have not found a successful solution to laddering while knitting sleeves in the round. I have watched videos and read articles with no success. So, i either will avoid knitting a beautiful pattern or just convert to rows instead of rounds. Please help. Thank you.

      • Customer Service
        Customer Service

        Hi Paulette,
        Here’s what our expert had to say:
        I find the easiest way to avoid ladders is to try to tug slightly on the second stitch from the spot where you are getting the ladders. That seems to help. Also, if it’s a problem of having a ladder at the start of a round, it may help to rearrange the stitches a bit, so the start of the round isn’t in a spot where you are changing to the next double pointed needle (or the other half of the needle using magic loop or the other circular needle if using two circulars).

        Let us know if any other questions come up!
        The Knitting Circle Video Membership

  2. Riva Johnson
    Riva Johnson

    Love the tip about knitting the last two bind off stitches together, that solves a problem that I often have

  3. SUE

    I am making a hat and it says to do it on dpn do I have to do that or can I do it in the round with circular needles? Thank you

    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Sue,

      Thank you for contacting us.

      You absolutely can use a circular needle instead. When you start decreasing for the crown at some point the stitches may become too tight on your needle and at that point, you’d want to switch to using DPNs, or using magic lo

      If you have any additional questions, please email or contact Customer Service at 1-833-622-6523.


      The Knitting Circle Video Membership

  4. Carla Hickman
    Carla Hickman

    First timer here !! Great idea for the bind off with knitting the two stitches together. I have always had a problem with the loarge loop at the end !!

  5. Maggie McCormick
    Maggie McCormick

    Haven’t knitted in 45 years. At 72, decided to pick it back up. We’ll see how much I remember. Right now trying to find a one-skein hat pattern.

    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hi Judith!
      Here’s what our experts had to say: You can simply start knitting with the next skein at the beginning of the row. One way to easily do this is to knit that first stitch with the old skein and the new skein (with both yarns held together). Then drop the old skein and continue knitting with the new skein. You’ll just need to remember when you come back to that stitch on the next row that the two strands of yarn that are together in that stitch need to be worked as a single stitch (don’t accidentally separate them and knit them as two stitches because that will change your stitch count).

      Let us know if other questions come up!

      The Knitting Circle Video Membership

  6. Doris

    Rather than using dpns for socks, I use two cable needles; on the first I always carry the stitches that will become the heel flap, and on the other needle are the instep stitches. There’s a bit of figuring to do when I turn the heel and do the gusset, but otherwise it’s a comfortable knit. When I get to the toe shaping, those decreases occur at both sides of the fabric.

    • Kristine

      The tips are great. Thank you. That last loop to bind off has always been rebellious. So, just do it together with a sister stitch.

  7. Dottie lander
    Dottie lander

    I am 90 yrs old and have been knitting a long time. I’m looking forward to learning new ideas and maybe new patterns,

  8. Millie Folsom
    Millie Folsom

    Have never felt good about how I join pattern pieces together as in a sweater. Need help there???

  9. Sue Johnson
    Sue Johnson

    My pattern includes an instruction that says – purl through the back of the stitch. Is there a video that shows how to do this? Thanks

  10. Gayle Fossoy
    Gayle Fossoy

    I wish I had read this earlier today! I just finished a scarf for my husband, and the last bind off stitch was horrible. It looked better after I did some shaping, and it’s not blocked yet. This tip would have come in handy.

  11. Heather

    I learned for measuring, my middle finger is 7″, my thumb is 2″, if I spread my hand from the tip of the thumb to the tip of my little finger is 7″