How to Block Your Knit & Crochet Shawls Like a Pro

Since we’ve declared this the Summer of Shawls, today we'll share some tips to help you master the ultimate step in finishing those shawl projects: blocking. Blocking is the simple step of washing your finished shawl (or any finished project) and then allowing it to dry. The benefit of blocking is that it evens out any tensioning issues in your stitches, opens up lace and other patterning, removes oils from your hands transferred during the knitting process, and makes your finished project look ten times better overall!

Today we'll cover two of the most popular methods, steam blocking and wet blocking.

Steam Blocking

This method sets the stitches just as well as wet blocking, without the worry of stretching out your finished piece due to the weight of a waterlogged item. For hand-dyed yarns, steam blocking increases the longevity of both the color and the fibers. You can use an iron or purchase a dedicated hand-held steamer for this process; simply lay your piece on a prepared surface such as an ironing board or a clean table. Pin in place, then hold your iron or steamer directly above the piece so that the steam can penetrate the fibres. Allow your piece to dry completely before you remove the pins.

IMPORTANT: Do not let the iron touch your fabric - this will damage the fibers!

Wet Blocking

This method is useful for removing anything that may have gotten on your projects as you worked on it, and is particularly ideal for reshaping a finished piece. Note that yarn is not unlike clothing in that the more it gets washed with soap the more it will fade, so please wash sparingly and only when needed.


Step 1: Washing

Some yarns say "machine wash," which you can do if you prefer but please bear in mind that hand washing always increases the longevity of your project!

Fill a clean sink, bucket, or basin with lukewarm water. We like to add just a smidge of heat to the water to loosen any oils or dirt that might be lurking in a finished item, but prefer not to go too much beyond lukewarm. Next, add some of your favorite wool wash.

Gently add your project to the water. We like to press the project into the water softly and make sure it is entirely submerged. Don’t add too much agitation - just enough to get your project good and wet. Let your project soak for 5 minutes or less.

Remove your project from the water and squeeze gently to remove excess water. The key here is being gentle; don’t wring or twist your knit. If you have a clean towel nearby, you can roll your project into the towel and squeeze gently again to remove more excess water.

Lay flat to air dry using the instruction in Step 2: Blocking below.

Step 2: Blocking

Now that your project or garment is clean, let’s talk about blocking it! Essentially, all you are going to do here is determine how best to arrange your knitted or crocheted item so that it will dry in the shape you wish. Different projects will require different methods; we’ll do our best to cover all of them below.

First, find a good place where you can block your project. You will want an open, flat surface that curious pets and/or children are unlikely to discover. We find that the floor in a non-trafficked area is usually a good place to block; if you don’t have a good floor space to block, you can also use counter or table tops, or any flat surface (the bed in the guest bedroom, the dining room table, etc.).

If you are using pins to block your project (and in most cases you will want to use pins to hold the project in place!), you will need a porous surface underneath your project that you don’t mind sticking pins into such as our Blocking Mats.

Once you have decided where you would like to block your project, lay it out gently in the shape you wish to block it into. At this point you’ll need to decide how aggressively you want to block your project: some patterns will provide a schematic with finished dimensions which you can refer back to as you lay out your piece, using a tape measure to ensure correct dimensions have been achieved. You may have some personal preferences that inform your blocking approach as well.

For projects with lots of lace, blocking wires are a good investment. These thin, flexible wires can be threaded through the edges of your knitting and then pinned taut. This will open up your lace and enable you to create straight (or curved) edges in your finished garment. If your project doesn’t have a large amount of lace, or you don’t wish for super defined edges, you can use rust-resistant T-pins or our Rainbow Knit Blockers to secure edges as you arrange your project to dry. Generally, we lay the project out in the shape we want it to be, and then pin every 4-6 inches to achieve the desired shape. If your project has a lace edging, or ends with a picot or crocheted bind off, you may wish to accentuate the edges by pinning them into place. For instance, in the picot edging of this shawl, we might want to pin out each picot to create a pretty, open border.

We hope that these tips and tricks above have helped you navigate blocking your projects. We can’t wait to see what you create, and don't forget to enter our Summer of Shawls Photo contest, happening in our Ravelry group and social media channels! Simply share a photo of how you are styling your knitted and crocheted shawls this summer in this Ravelry thread OR on social media using the #knitterspride and #kpshawlstyle hashtags. You may post as many photos as you like, and while photos do not necessarily have to include Knitter's Pride shawl pins, we would love to see how you are using them to style your shawls!

 Like this post? Pin it!

Shawl Styling Tips & Photo Contest

Shawls are the perfect summer crafting projects! They usually need only one or two skeins of yarn (making them extremely portable), and can be knitted or crocheted in lightweight yarns that create beautiful drapey garments. Add some lace and cables for texture, or use up those variegated yarns to add some fun summer color!

While fun to make, handmade shawls can sometimes be a challenge to wear. Today, we share some inspiration to style all those gorgeous summer shawls PLUS a chance to win some fabulous prizes in our "Summer of Shawls" photo contest!

Styling Shawls

Centered in Back

Rriangular shawls can easily be worn with the point centered in the back and the sides draped over your shoulders. With a rectangular or a circular (or semicircular) shawl, try centering the shawl over your shoulders with the bulk of the shawl to your back. Worn this way, your beautiful handiwork is on full display, and your shawl will keep your shoulders, upper arms and torso warm. This is perfect for the chill of air-conditioning indoors, or on cool evenings.

Scarf Style

Rectangular stoles, skinny asymmetrical triangles and crescent shawls can be wrapped around your neck once (or multiple times) to be worn like a scarf. This is best done with lace and fingering-weight shawls to keep the bulk around your neck to a minimum. But, if done with a heavier weight yarn, your shawl will add warmth around your neck in the chilly fall and winter days.

Kerchief/Bandana Style

To wear a shawl kerchief or bandana style, you place the center point of your shawl at your front, and wrap the sides/tails around your neck and bring them back to the front. This creates a gorgeous focal point at your front, and allows you to show all that gorgeous work you’ve put into your shawl. Again, lighter weight shawls will wrap more easily in this style, but heavier weight shawls will keep your neck warm!

Off Center

Naturally, our favorite way to style shawls involves using a shawl pin or stick! Many people enjoy styling their shawls off-center, draping a point over one shoulder, or securing the ends over one shoulder with a gorgeous shawl pin or s tick. Not only will a shawl pin keep your work safe and secure, they can also add visual interest and enhance your handmade shawl! We have a variety of shawl pins that we use when styling shawls off center, or in any of the ways we pictured above.

Summer of Shawls Photo Contest

We'd love to see how you are styling your knitted and crocheted shawls this summer! Share your photos with us in our Ravelry group or on social media using the #knitterspride and #kpshawlstyle hashtags. You may post as many photos as you like, and while photos do not necessarily have to include Knitter's Pride shawl pins, we would love to see how you are using them to style your shawls!

Winners will get to select from the following prizes:

We'll randomly select FOUR lucky winners to announce here on the Knitter's Pride blog on Friday, July 26. Good luck!

Like this post? Pin it!

Spring Charity KAL/CAL Recap

Our first-ever Spring Charity KAL/CAL has been a huge success, and we owe it all to our wonderful knitters and crocheters who spent the entire month of May making blocks to donate to Warm Up America!

We're pleased to see that many folks continue to KEEP making blocks, too  - we hope you will continue sharing them with us on Ravelry and using the #KPCharityKALCAL hashtag on social media (we may even award some prizes over the summer for folks who keep making and sharing their blocks!!). Here are some free patterns you might want to try:

The Results
Many thanks to everyone who took shared photos of their completed blocks with us - you are all truly inspiring! From May 1-31, here's what our fantastic group of knitters and crocheters accomplished: 
  • 603 knitted blocks completed, which is enough to make 30 baby blankets or 12 adult-sized blankets!
  • 116 crocheted blocks completed, which is enough to make 5 baby blankets or 2 adult-sized blankets!
  • A grand total of 719 blocks which can be made into 35 baby blankets or 14 adult-sized blankets!
Grand Prize Winners
In addition to providing free needles and hooks to participants, we also offered up some prizes to the participants who make the most blocks during the month of May, and we're pleased to share our winners with you today!

For knitting the most blocks with a grand total of 160, Kawaii00natsume has won a Deluxe Ginger Interchangeable Needle Set!

For crocheting the most blocks for a grand total of 45, Mottley1 has won a Zing Crochet Set!

Winners will be contacted via Ravelry PM to arrange for the delivery of their prize.

Thanks again to everyone who participated in our Spring Charity KAL/CAL!

Pin this post to spread the word...and keep on knitting and crocheting those blocks this summer!

Knit & Crochet Shawls: Construction and Crafting Inspiration

Don't put down your needles and hooks when the temperature rises! Shawls are the perfect project for summer because they are lightweight and many can be made using that single special skein of yarn you've been saving in your stash. Today we’ll explore some of the different shapes shawls can take and include lots of free patterns as inspiration for your summer crafting adventures!

Triangular Shawls

When you think of shawls, you probably think about the standard triangle shawl. This shawl is constructed starting with a few stitches at the top center, and worked using increases at the center and outer edges which grow to form a triangle, as you work back and forth. The resulting shawl can be worn over the shoulders to keep you warm (with the point at the back) or can be wound around your neck bandana-style (with the point at the front) as a fabulous accessory.

Recently, Vickie Howell shared a great video tutorial on a Basic Top Center Out Shawl Recipe that she designed. Vickie completed two versions of this project, one worked in a single color and one incorporating some fun stripes (what do you have in stash?) using our Knit and Purr Interchangeable Needle set and a simple recipe for increases. If this is your first time working a triangular shawl, check out her video here, then check out the free knitting pattern here on Vickie's blog.

Basic Top Center Out Shawl Recipe by Vickie Howell

If you have a single skein of yarn that you’re dying to work with, no matter the weight or length, we can recommend the Age of Brass and Steam by Orange Flower Yarn. This customizable shawl pattern is a simple mix of stockinette stitch with a few eyelet ridges thrown in for good measure. If it’s lace you’re after, we love Reyna by Noora Backlund. If you love squishy garter stitch, but want a light lace accent, you can’t beat Multnomah by Kate Ray. And if you’re a crocheter, we love Johanna Lindahl’s crochet patterns (many of which are free), but especially Secret Paths.

Asymmetrical Triangle Shawls

This shawl shape is similar to the triangular shawl above, except that the increases only happen on one side, creating an asymmetrical shape. These triangles can be long and skinny, or very wide, but no two sides are the same length. This type of shawl can be worn over the shoulders to keep you warm (with the point at the back), around your neck bandana-style (with the point at the front) leaving the fun edges as tails, or to one side (asymmetrically) with or without a shawl pin to hold it in place!

The Asymmetrical Triangle shape can be built modularly with a jagged lacy edge, as in Close to You by Justyna Lorkowska or with a smoother edge, as in Boom by Playing with Fibre. You can incorporate different stitches (like eyelets) based on features of your yarn like in Prism Break by Alison Bjornson. Or you can crochet up leftovers in your stash to create fun chunky color stripes like in The Skye Wrap by Sara Larrieu.

Rectangular Shawls

Rectangular shawls are another common shape, and may also be called a wrap or a stole. A rectangular shawl is normally created by starting with a certain number of stitches and continuing to work until the end of the piece without increases or decreases, creating a rectangular shape. More complex patterns can include increases and decreases while working on the bias, or lace patterns that change stitch counts on different rows, but overall result in a rectangular piece. Rectangular shawls can be draped over your shoulders, or wrapped around your neck like a scarf.

If you’re interested in a simple rectangular shawl with just a touch of lace, we love the delicate Granny Smith Wrap by Maanel. If you want more lace, the Seascape Stole by Kieran Foley is light and delicate and perfect for summer. If you’re in the mood to use up leftovers from your stash we love the color block Spring Fever by Amy Miller. And if you’re in the mood to crochet, the Stashbuster Blarf (Blanket+Scarf) by Esther Sandroff is delightful!

Crescent Shawls

Closely related to triangular shawls, crescent shawls are typically start from a few stitches at the center and then are worked with increases at the outer edges, resulting in a shape that is usually wide with a shallow depth and rounded at the edges. These shawls can be worn over your shoulders, wrapped around your neck more like a scarf, or worn bandana-style. The key is that they aren’t very deep, so they function more like a scarf.

If you’re looking for something simple with just a touch of lace for spring and summer, we love the Ginkgo Crescent by Jade Keaney with its stockinette center and delicate leaf edging. If you’re after something with a geometric design, check out the Lattice Crescent Shawl by Jennifer Weissman. If you want to make a dramatic statement, Cameo Flower by Mia Rinde is perfect! And for our crocheters, we love the Chic & Strong Crescent Shawl by Rohn Strong which includes a simple double crochet and half double crochet pattern, with a lacy scalloped edging.

Circular Shawls

Circular shawls often start with a few stitches in the center of the circle, and are worked in the round expanding outwards with the use of increases at regular intervals. They are often called Pi shawls, as coined by Elizabeth Zimmerman, because circular measurements (diameter, circumference, etc.) include the use of the numerical ratio of Pi (𝝅). Circular shawls are beautiful as a full circle, but practically speaking are often worn folded in half and draped over the shoulders, or folded at some point (perhaps not half) and worn in a layered fashion.

If you want to start with the original, then there are any number of circular shawls inspired by Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Pi Shawl in The Knitter’s Almanac. We particularly love this variation: Elizabeth Zimmerman 100th Anniversary PI Shawl: Camping by Mwaa Knit, but she has several that are lovely. Other popular circular shawls are the Vortex Shawl by Kristina McCurley and the famous Shipwreck Shawl by Knitting Harpy that appeared in Knitty many years ago. If you’re a crocheter, we love the Circular Crochet Shawl by PJ Crafts in Austin.

Semicircular Shawls

If you prefer not to fold our circular shawl in half to wear, consider making a semicircular shawl! These shawls often start with a few stitches at the center of the top, and are worked back and forth expanding outwards with the use of increases at regular intervals. Semicircular shawls are a bit easier to wear than circular shawls because they can be wrapped over the shoulders or around the neck bandana-style.

Perhaps the most popular semicircular shawl is Citron by Hilary Smith Callis, a simple ruched shawl that appeared in Knitty some years ago. Other variations with more complex lace patterns include Wavedeck by Kate Atherley and Vernal Equinox Shawl by Lankakomero. Crocheters will love the Pineapple Peacock Shawl by Amy Gunderson!

To explore shawl construction in depth, we recommend exploring the 5 Shawls, 5 Days Challenge hashtag on Instagram or Aroha Knits’ ebook Demystify Shawl Construction. We can't wait to see what shawls you make this summer!

Like this post? Pin it!

6 Seaming Techniques Knitters & Crocheters Should Know

All month long, we're knitting and crocheting squares for Warm Up America here in our Ravelry group. Whether you plan to stitch a blanket's-worth of squares or just make a few to donate, you may wish to practice your seaming techniques to add to your technique toolbox. Here are 6 of our favorite ways to seam knitted and crocheted pieces together, with links to explore each one in depth. Enjoy!

Mattress Seaming (Invisible Vertical Seaming)

Mattress stitch creates an invisible vertical seam and is often used when assembling garments. The clean, invisible seam is especially well suited to joining sweater fronts to backs, or closing sleeve seams.

Two knitted or crocheted pieces can be sewn together by grabbing a strand of yarn from each edge and alternating back and forth, working vertically along the edges.

To use Mattress Stitch to seam your two pieces, take both pieces of knitting and lay them next to each other, with right sides facing up. Using a tapestry needle and the same yarn (we used a contrast color for the purposes of demonstration here; you may choose to use the tails of your yarn if they are long enough, or a separate length of yarn) we grab the horizontal bar that runs between knit stitches, and work back and forth from one end of the seam to the other.

Kitchener Stitch (Invisible Horizontal)

The Kitchener stitch (also known as “grafting”) involves closing live stitches on two edges together using the same yarn and a tapestry needle to mimic another row of stitches. This finish is typically used in closing the toes of socks that are knit from the top down. While it is possible to graft both ribbing and garter stitch, we’re just going to look at grafting stockinette stitch, which is the most common use.

To Kitchener Stitch, divide your live stitches evenly onto two needles. Hold the wrong sides of your work together, so the right sides are facing out. With your working yarn, thread your tapestry needle. Here are the next steps:

  1. Insert the threaded tapestry needle into the first stitch on the needle closest to you as if to purl and pull it through, leaving the stitch on the needle.
  2. Then insert the needle into the first stitch on the back needle as if to knit, leaving the stitch on the needle. Pull the yarn through.
  3. Insert the needle into the first stitch on the front needle as if to knit, while slipping it off the end of the needle.
  4. Insert the needle into the first stitch on the front needle as if to knit, while slipping it off the end of the needle.
  5. Insert the needle into the first stitch on the back needle as if to purl, and slip it off the end of the needle.
  6. Insert the needle into the first stitch on the back needle as if to purl, and slip it off the end of the needle.

Repeat Steps 3-6 until the last two stitches remain on your needle. To remember the sequence in which to kitchener, many knitters chant “knit, purl, purl knit” to remind themselves of the way in which you thread your tapestry needle through the stitches.

7. When you reach the final two stitches, repeat Step 4, and then go to Step 6. Pull your yarn through the final stitch and then weave the end.

For a visual breakdown of all the steps,  check out this video from Very Pink Knits.

Three Needle Bindoff

The Three Needle Bindoff is specific to knitting, as it involves closing live stitches on two edges by knitting them together. This does not create an invisible seam, but it does add structure to garments. It is most typically used for joining shoulders together in a garment.

To end up with the seam on the wrong side (inside) of the work, hold the right sides of the work together with wrong sides facing out. Using the working yarn from one of the needles and a spare needle (a DPN in the same size you used for the project will do) you will knit the first stitch from the front needle and the first stitch from the back needle together as one. Then you will knit the second stitch from the front needle and the second stitch from the back needle together as one. Next, lift and pass the first stitch over the second stitch, binding off one. Continue the process until you reach the end of your live stitches and fasten off the end.

For a visual tutorial, check out this video from Very Pink Knits. 

Whip Stitch

Whip Stitch is a quick seaming method for joining two pieces of knitted or crocheted fabric. It is not quite as invisible as Mattress Stitch or Kitchener Stitch, but is one of the easiest seaming methods and is often used for joining blanket squares that are either knitted or crocheted. To Whip Stitch two pieces together, hold the right sides of the work together with the wrong sides facing out. Tie a knot at the end of your yarn (or leave a tail long enough to weave in later). Then thread your tapestry needle and run your yarn through the right half of a stitch along one edge and the left half of a stitch along the joining edge. Continue in this manner until you reach the end of your seam.

Back Stitch

Back Stitch is a method that creates a strong, sturdy seam. It is worked from the wrong side of the project and creates a seam allowance, so it can be used to take in a garment slightly for a more fitted look. Begin by holding the right sides of the work together, with the wrong sides facing out. Thread a tapestry needle with the same yarn, and secure the seam by taking the needle twice around the edges from back to front. Bring the needle up about ¼"/.5cm from where the yarn last emerged. In one motion, insert the needle into the point where the yarn emerged from the previous stitch and back up approximately ¼"/.5cm ahead of the emerging yarn. Pull the yarn through. Continue in this manner until you reach the end of your seam.
For a visual tutorial, check out this video from Moogly.

Slip Stitch Crochet

A Slip Stitch Crochet seam involves using a crochet hook and the slip stitch to join two pieces of work together. This method works beautifully for both knitted and crocheted pieces!

Note that for this method, we will begin by holding the wrong sides of the work together, with the right sides facing out. To begin, insert the crochet hook through an edge stitch on both pieces, from front to back, holding the yarn at the back. Use the crochet hook to draw a loop through the pieces, up to the front of the work. Next, insert the hook through both pieces again, and draw a new loop through the work as well as through the loop already on the hook. Repeat the second step until you reach the end of your seam and draw the yarn through the final loop to secure.

We hope you find these seaming techniques helpful in all of your projects this spring. For more in-depth seaming techniques, click here to check out the extensive collection of Seaming Videos from Very Pink Knits!

Like this post? Pin it!

Fixing 3 Common Mistakes in Knitting

If you’re a newer knitter (or even if you’ve been knitting for a while) one of the toughest things to master is how to fix common mistakes that everyone makes in their knitting. Today we’re highlighting some tips and tricks for how to avoid tinking or ripping back every time you find an error.

For most of your repairs, you'll need just a few items that are typically found in your knitting bag: removable stitch markers, darning needles, and a crochet hooks or repair hook (our laminated birch repair hooks are pictured below, and are perfect for stashing in your notions pouch!).

Dropped Stitches

By far, the most common problem in knitting is that pesky dropped stitch. You’re knitting along, getting into the rhythm and enjoying yourself and all of a sudden your knit has a run in it! Don’t panic - just follow the steps outlined here.

  1. Catch the stitch. If you’ve got a locking stitch marker or a safety pin handy, the best thing to do is to catch the loop of the stitch as best you can, keeping it safe until you can repair it. In a pinch, a length of waste yarn threaded through the loop will also do the trick.
  2. When you’re ready to repair, work your knitting up to the column where you dropped the stitch. We usually find it easier to repair dropped stitches from the right side of the work, but it can be done from either side, depending on your comfort level.
  3. Using a small crochet hook or a laminated birch crochet hook, snag the stitch that’s on your stitch holder, remove the stitch holder, and gently begin to crochet the loops in formation back up to your working needle. When you get to your working needle, slide the stitch back onto your left needle and continue working in pattern. After you complete your fix, the tension in that column of stitches may be a little off (either a little loose or a little tight), but that should even itself out in washing and blocking. Congratulations! You fixed your dropped stitch!

What happens if you find a dropped stitch while you’re blocking a finished knit? This is every knitter’s nightmare, but it does happen every so often. Some of the steps here are similar to save your newly-finished project:

Use a locking stitch marker, safety pin or waste yarn to catch the stitch as soon as you find it. Then you have two choices:

Option #1: Let your knit dry (working with a wet knit is near impossible!) and, once dry, pick out your bindoff, return the stitches to the needle and repair the stitch using the methods outlined above.

Option #2: Secure the dropped stitch into your knitting and leave it as-is. If the dropped stitch is far enough back in your project, it may be difficult to pull the dropped stitch all the way up to the finish because there isn’t enough yarn in the dropped stitch column to add the stitch in each row. Rather than ripping back, you can pull the yarn through the stitch (removing the locking stitch marker) and thread each end of the yarn through to the wrong side of your work. Weave in each end of the length of yarn into your project, securing the dropped stitch in place to prevent further damage.

Stitch Mistakes

Occasionally you’ll look down at your work and find that you knit when you were supposed to purl or vice versa. If it’s just one or two stitches and you’re not knitting an intricate pattern, you can fix them using the method above. Otherwise, here are the steps you should follow:
  1. When you’re ready to repair, work your knitting up to the column(s) where you spot your errors.
  2. Drop the column of stitches all the way down to your error.
  3. Using your crochet hook, fix the errant stitch, and work your way back up the column of stitches, much like you did in the previous instructions. When you get back up to your working needle, slide the stitch back onto your left needle and continue working in pattern. Again, after you complete your fix, the tension in that column may be a little off (too loose or too tight) but that should even out in washing and blocking.

What if the error you find is in a lace pattern or something that is quite intricate? While the thought of ripping back to fix it might seem scary, it can be done! Here are some tips that may help:

Lifelines. These can be a knitter's best friend! A lifeline is a piece of yarn threaded through a row of stitches that can make it easier to rip back to the beginning of a pattern repeat. Your lifeline can be inserted either before or after you’ve discovered a mistake (oh hindsight!). As the name implies, they can make ripping back considerably easier, especially if you need to fix a mistake that is several rows down.

Here's how to insert a lifeline into your knitting:

  1. Thread a tapestry needle with some lightweight waste yarn (we usually use fingering weight) or dental floss (yes! You read that correctly!) and carefully thread it through a single row of stitches. You can put a lifeline into your knitting at any time: either when the stitches are on the needle, i.e. right after you’ve finished your repeat, or later, after you’ve discovered a mistake.
  2. Once you have your lifeline in place, you can take your knitting off the needles, and rip back to your lifeline. This is much faster than tinking one stitch at a time! 
  3. When you’re ready to begin knitting again, simply thread your knitting needle back through the live stitches and start knitting. You can leave your lifelines in as you continue to knit giving you safe points to rip back to if you need to.

Mis-Crossed Cables 

As you get more adventurous in your knitting and move on to knitting cables, you’ll probably end up miscrossing a cable sooner or later. Building on the tools we’ve already learned in fixing mistakes above, here is one approach to fixing a mis-crossed cable (hint: this is also a great technique for fixing mistakes in lace knitting!):

For this repair, we definitely find it easier to work on the right side of the work. You can use a lifeline in this process if you wish - place it just below where the error is. However, sometimes it’s hard to find the correct row of stitches where the cable starts. If this is the case, don't worry - just take a deep breath and make your best guess.

A few additional supplies will make this process easier: we like to have our Lace Blocking Mats and T-pins handy.

  1. When you’re ready to repair, work your knitting up to the column where the miscrossed cable begins. 
  2. Pull the appropriate number of stitches off the needle. If you have a 4 stitch cable, this will be all 4 stitches. If it’s a 6 stitch cable, this will be all 6 stitches, and so on. Intentionally drop these stitches down to where the mistake occurs, pulling one row out at a time and secure the loop above your work using a T-pin. Work carefully down the rows sequentially, pinning each loop above your work so you can reknit them in the correct order.
  3. Once you have reached the mistake row and pulled out that row of stitches, use a DPN or cable needle to knit back up to your working row. Remember to follow your pattern carefully. In this case, there is a cable row, followed by a return row where we knit the knits and purl the purls.
  4. Continue in this manner until you have reached your working row and place the stitches back on your left needle to be worked in pattern. Reworking cables definitely creates some tension issues, but these should be resolved with a good wet blocking.

What if your mis-crossed cable occurs in a more complicated pattern and affects a larger number of stitches? Here is a very clever video tutorial showing how to use duplicate stitch to "correct" any mis-crossed cables.

Like many things in knitting, your approach to fixing a mistake will come down to personal preference. Some knitters will do anything to avoid ripping back and re-knitting, while others may find the thought of dropping stitches and doing battle with mis-crossed cables anxiety-producing. Our goal with today's post is to five you a few more tools to fix common fixing mistakes, and the confidence to use all of these techniques without fear!

Like this post? Pin it!

Learning to Read Crochet Charts

After our last post on learning to read knitting charts, we had several crocheters ask us if we could do a similar primer for reading crochet charts. In today's post, we'll cover the basics of charted crochet patterns so that you can comprehend and follow them with ease!

What are Crochet Charts?

Crochet charts, quite like knitting charts, are graphic representations of patterns. They often save time and space as opposed to providing full written directions, and for some they are easier to follow than long rows of text instructions.

Crochet charts appear quite different from knitting charts, because often crochet charts are depicted in symbols that look like crude representations of the stitches. Therefore, they are organized less in grid format, and look more like a 2-dimensional representation of what you will be creating in crochet stitches. Here are a few important things to keep in mind when working with charts:

The Craft Yarn Council has adopted a standardized set of symbols to be used in crochet charts. Familiarizing yourself with these will help you in using charts. We love this chart created by Dabbles and Babbles which summarized the most frequently used symbols (and includes both US and UK terminology!)
And here is an example of a crochet chart (courtesy of Red Heart):

Working the Charts

So how do you begin working from a charted pattern?

When working flat (back and forth), crochet charts are worked in rows (numbered as above), from right to left, and from bottom to top (much like knitting charts). Repeats in the chart are bracketed, and color changes are indicated by the letter above. In the introduction to the pattern, the colors associated with those letters will be defined.

When crochet charts are worked in the round, they start at the center and work outward in a counterclockwise manner. If you’re working in the round, your chart may look more like this (chart courtesy of Bluprint):
As you can see, the arrow indicates the starting point, and the rows are numbered on the upper right diagonal, moving outward. You will begin to work counter clockwise continuing through the rounds as you do so.

A quick note: if you are left-handed, you’ll need to reverse the charts. You can do so by mentally flipping the image or you can physically mirror the image using graphic software. You may find this Ultimate Guide to Left-Handed Crochet useful in learning to adapt patterns for your use. When working a pattern in the round, you’ll be working clockwise instead of counterclockwise.

Tips for Working With Charts
As we recommended in our last post, the easiest way to learn to work from charts is to select a pattern that has both written instructions AND charted instructions. That way, as you’re reading the chart, you can compare the symbols in the chart against the written instructions (hint: they should match!).

If you’re most comfortable working with paper charts, our Pattern Holders (shown above) are magnetic boards that come with sturdy magnets to hold your pattern in place, along with an extra long magnet to keep track of your rows. You can also use one of our Row Counter Rings to track your progress and keep you from losing your place!

If you’re looking for more tips on learning to read crochet charts, we like this video from Marly Bird!

Like this post? Pin it!