In this instant-gratification world of ours, being a knitter at all is an act of rebellion, in a sense — knitting something, stitch by stitch, that others would buy, discard and replace in the same amount of time. And yet even though we’re committed to spending that time, we often still want things to be as quick as possible, right? There are the steps and details we’ll happily avoid or skip altogether, where possible — from choosing seamless designs to leaving ends dangling inside a finished object. But there are also the little details we each feel are worth that extra bit of time they take to elevate our FOs. Things that might be technically unnecessary (like adding seams to a seamless garment) or could be done in some briefer fashion (e.g., a plain neckband versus a folded one), and things that simply look too good not to do.
For me, a no-brainer is the little bit of extra time it takes to do a tubular bind-off on top-down cuffs. (This is my Grace pullover in progress.) The difference in how much better it looks than a standard BO is worth it all by itself, but the additional stretchiness of that edge is just so much more pleasant to wear, and I’m aware of it with every push and pull of the cuff for the life of the sweater. (I like Purl Soho’s tutorial, if you’ve never done it.)
So that’s my Q for You today: What’s the little knitting detail you consider more than worthy of the time it takes?
I look forward to your responses, and wish you a happy weekend!
IN SHOP NEWS: We’ve got the butterscotch Porter Bin back in stock at the moment! While they last …
(Stitch marker, yarn, Lykke interchangeable needles and DPNs, and tapestry needle all from Fringe Supply Co. lol)
PREVIOUSLY in Q for You: What’s your progress blocker
Thank you for introducing me. I will try this.
Every little detail is worth doing right. I have no problem with taking extra time to do all of the little things that go into have a garment that I really want, and every detail done right. It’s the reason I learned to knit, so that I can have things that are exactly how I want them. I’m very particular on how something fits. If there is anything not quite right I won’t wear it. I have no problem with reknitting an entire project if necessary just to get it right.
I adopted an idea from you of blocking a top down sweater WIP after the yoke was done. I did that with my Hildur (which is languishing unfinished now that I have miles of stockinette) and thought it was pretty great.
I plan to do it with other yoked sweaters.Thanks for the tip!
Oh, haha! The tubular/sewn stretchy bind-off was going to be my answer after reading the headline. I’ve also taken time to do a tubular cast-on for bottom-up sweaters, after learning it on a Brooklyn Tweed pattern (Channel Cardigan). Such a lovely finish!
Blocking work in progress to get just the right fit is a detail worth the time. It feels as though I’m losing momentum, but I just keep telling myself how much better the finished result will be. I put all the stitches onto waste yarn and then, leaving the rest of the ball attached, I soak and block the knitted piece. This reassures me (or not!) that the gauge is correct and gives me an accurate read on length, especially since many stitches gain length after washing (my Modern Gansey is a case in point). Festina lente!
Doing a proper swatch for gauge and pattern always gets my projects off to a good start!
Oh yes, time well spent.
I agree with Mary: the gauge swatch is my first line of defense in making things right. I’m a process knitter….the fun for me is the knitting, not the finished project. That said, I love wearing my handknit, handsewn, and handwoven pieces. I’m going to look into the tubular bind off. Thanks for the link.
Definitely blocking works in progress. Even if it sets me back a few days (ahem, bulky weight cardigan drying indoors in the middle of winter), the peace of mind knowing you are on track with gauge is huge!
Absolutely tubular bind off! I fell in love with it pretty much immediately – the stretch is great, but it also just looks so good….
Gauge swatching. Always. I’m a big believer in prep work.
Ripping out and fixing any mistakes. As Saint Elizabeth Z says, “It can and should be perfect.”
Tubular Cast On and Cast Offs, always are worth the extra time for me. I especially love the stretch and recovery of this edge. I use the cast on for socks too.
Knitting lace shawls out of lace weight or heavy lace weight yarn. You cannot buy this stuff. It is labor-intensive, somewhat expensive, and a pain to block. But when you are finished, you have something unique and feminine and exceptionally pretty. I don’t wear my shawls very often, but when I do, I feel so elegant. Worth all the work and cost!
I’m not a knitter but my sewing offers me multiple opportunities for delightful handwork: handpicked zippers, hand overcasted seams, hand rolled hems…
I’m such a basic knitter, sticking to accessories as I am so so slow, but I’ll always choose a twisted rib over a normal one, it’s so much crisper and neater.
When I knit rib in the round the reverse side looks a bit like twisted rib, so I’ll knit something inside out to get the look without the (relatively minor) effort. I agree though, real twisted rib is a thing of beauty.
When I’m in the throes of a project, I tend to tell myself that minor mistakes I find rows and rows after the fact (miscrossed cable, one set of the lace pattern is out of line with the rest, etc.) won’t matter. But most of my big projects get entered into the County Fair, and the judge is very strict. I once missed one 2″ end of yarn on a shoulder seam and didn’t weave it in, and so my (gorgeous!) sweater didn’t place. Now I ask myself if this mistake would mean my piece wouldn’t get a ribbon. If the answer is yes, I take the time to fix the mistake, and I’ve never regretted it.
1.Pockets are worth the time any day!
2. These days I don’t usually rip back to fix knitting mistakes unless it’s not very far back, or unless the mistake seriously compromises the pattern or stitch count in an unfixable way (of course each knitter has to judge the “seriousness” for themselves). But for small errors, I find that I’m the only one that notices, and when I point it out, people tend to shrug and say, “that’s what makes it special”. Learning to let the little things go has been a game-changer for me, and sometimes I even look fondly on those mistakes.
But, I’m not entering my projects in any state fairs, either, lol!
Getting the collar just right is worth the time to me. I especially love shawl collars, so figuring out the best way to work short rows to get the shape I want takes time. Also, I usually end up adjusting patterns to get the best possible fit. Of course that requires a good swatch, but also the willingness and ability to do the math involved.
I always carry a variety of crochet hooks so I can cast off using a much larger hook than the needle I was using to knit with. Tight cuffs make a pair of socks unwearable and that’s a lot of time to waste.
I always do swatches, but despite my best efforts, they oftentimes don’t correspond to the WIP. I think I’ll start adding the blocking midway through the project–it’s worth my time.
Tubular bond off AND tubular cast on !
I love doing an icord edging where possible. Simply adding 3 stitches before and after the cast on stitches and knitting the first 3 stitches and slipping the last 3 stitches with YIF makes a great edge – so neat and professional and doesn’t add much in terms of time and effort. I’ve used it for edges of button band free cardigans and scarves. PS I also recently discovered the tubular bind off (the sewn method) and now use it for binding off sleeves.
I’m also on team icord (though I also like a tubular cast-on, it doesn’t have quite the magic of the icord edging)
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Hi there 😁
When I work on any of my knitting patterns I keep reminding myself that if I don’t have the time to do it right the ‘first’ time’ then how will I find the time to fix it later?
Twisted German Cast On. No matter how many stitches. I use it for almost everything unless I’m not making a garment and I’ve never once regretted it. Using the Twisted German meant I didn’t have to make a buttoned collar on the sweater I made for my 18 MO whom I jokingly refer to as Easter Island. Totally worth it.