Tips, Tricks and Little Bits of Magic

Hi everyone,

As the holidays loom, I am noticing more and more how many little tips, tricks and bits of knitting magic I have discovered over the years that make my knitting so much easier. Some of them are things that are my own little quirks; others are things that friends shared that once spoken seemed so obvious.

Thought it would be nice to have a place to share them.

I’ll kick it off! I always had to look up how to do M1R and M1L. I could never remember which one picked up from the front of the bar and which one picked up from the back of the bar. I jotted it down one day and Voila! For M1R pick up from the back because the R and the B(ack) both have the same top loop. For M1L pick up from the front because the L and the F(ront) are all straight lines. Total game changer for me.


I’ve got one: when to make a right leaning cable, hold the cable needle to the back of the work, changing “get right back!” as if in warning, or like you’re trying to scare your knitting, depending on how you feel about it. :joy:


I learned to use my arms to show which way the cable leans. Left arm in front of right is right leaning. Right in front of left is left leaning.


Let that knitting know who’s boss. Elizabeth Zimmerman would be proud of you.


For my M1R/M1L I look at my thumb (because usually I’m trying to pair increases on a thumb gusset). First increase leans to the right, and it’s my best friend. “I’ve got your back!” So needle goes into the back.

Whatever works!


Thanks you have changed my life with this tip.


Make one right the r stands for rear so go in through the rear.


Oh, myyyy, that is brilliant! Thank you!

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My tip is for when you make a mistake on a cable and decide to rip down a few rows to fix it and you have all of those strands in the back competing for your attention, use a wonder clip to hold them out of your way until you need them.
I am amazed that it made it so much easier.

Forgive the dark picture.Wonderclips are a nice addition to your tool kit.


Best reply I’ve ever gotten!!!

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I make a lot of socks top down with a gusset heel. Never use a pattern any more, just measure against my body. From fingertip to 2nd knuckle (bend your forefinger) is the length of the ribbing, tip of longest finger to heel of hand is leg length (sometimes I go a bit longer), I’ve finally memorized how to turn the heel (no tips here, I just memorized it – put a marker in the center, knit two stitches past the marker, SSK, K1, turn, slip the first stitch and then purl 2 stitches past the marker, P2tog, P1, turn, etc.) Foot length is determined by trying the sock on and starting the toe when I get to my bunion.

Here’s my tip: when making the heel flap, do the slipped stitches on the purl side. I can knit a lot faster than I can purl, so I speed up the process by doing P1, sl1 and then knitting back. I never could figure out why standard instructions make you K1 sl1 and then purl back – it’s so much slower.


I’ll tell you a knitting trick that changed my life (and my willingness to knit lace): the one-move SSK. I learned it from the Yarn Harlot on a retreat.

Here’s how it works:

First of all, don’t slip anything!

Put your right-hand needle through the first stitch as if to knit.
Now reach around the back with that needle and put the tip through the second stitch, through the back loop.
Yarn over and pull through both loops to complete the stitch.

Voila! A tidy left leaning decrease, NO SLIPPING.


Ooo. I have to try this.


Good tip. I remember M1L by thinking “facebook like”. fb is front to back and like is left. Brains are whacky. Keep those tips coming.

Now how will I remember til I need that! Must start a knitting tips journal.


I copy and paste things I want to save into my notes app. Another way is to send yourself and email and make a folder for them.


I learned this from Stephen West’s Craftsy class, for M1 increases. “I’ll be RIGHT BACK. I LEFT the FRONT door open”. It’s worked for me for lifted-bar increases and also for cables.



I have a small tip - When making something from a pattern that’s row by row, use a sticky note to mark your place - I used to highlight or mark off the rows but that’s a PAIN! if you rip back and have to re-knit rows. I love love love the dollar store sticky notes - I don’t feel back about using a bunch of them b/c they’re so cheap ^^


Just make sure you haven’t been using the same old sticky note for too long, and then throw the pattern in your knitting bag… and then realize later that you knocked your post it off and feel hopelessly lost. Definitely not something that happens to me! :smiley:


I have another little trick when I’m making socks. When working on the gusset or the toe and I have to put my knitting down before it’s done, I always made myself crazy figuring out if I was on an increase row or a plain row. It’s not that hard to figure out really but it always made me a little nutty. Now I just make sure that I don’t put the work down at the end of the round. For example, if you have a gusset on three needles and needle 1 is a decrease needle, needle 2 is the instep stitches and needle 3 is another decrease needle and you put down your knitting either at the end of needle 1 or needle 2, the stitch count will tell you where you are. If the stitches on needle 1 and needle 3 are off by 1 stitch, you’re on a decrease row. If they are the same, you’re on a plain row. This is one of those solutions to a problem that’s not a huge problem but at the end of a long day, when I need my knitting to be relaxing rather than challenging or if my knitting and I are out and about and spending time with friends, it just makes the process flow so much more nicely for me.