How to Knit Faster: Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Tips

How to Knit Faster: Advanced Tips | knittedbliss.com

No matter what stage you are at with your knitting, most of us want to knit faster! I’ve put together  a list of a variety of tips and tricks for you to try. Some take more practice than others! I’ve divided them into tips best suited for beginner, intermediate and advanced knitters but it’s worth a read of all of them- you never know what might be just the trick you are looking for!

How to Knit Faster: Advanced Tips | knittedbliss.com

Beginner Tips

  • Learn to knit the basics (Stockinette, garter stitch, and ribbing) without looking at your hands. Practice knitting while looking away from your hands a few seconds at first, then a few more… which sharpens your mind on how the knitting ‘feels’ rather than looks.  After a while, you’ll even be able to feel when you’ve made a mistake or a stitch didn’t knit properly, and know to look down at your knitting again.
  • Learn to knit in the round. Knitting in the round decreases the amount of time you would need to turn your knitting over and adjust your stitches on the needle.
  • Find the right needles for you. You may find that you knit faster with metal needles (which many find more ‘slippery’), or bamboo needles. Find the right type of needles that you really enjoy using, that encourage your stitches to easily float along the needle. Not having to adjust your stitches on your needle will save you knitting time.
  • Practice, a lot. The more comfortable you are with knitting, the faster you will get.
  • Choose projects that call for worsted weight, Aran, or even Bulky- the bigger your yarn and needle size, the fewer stitches it takes to get from cast on to finished knit!

 

How to Knit Faster: Intermediate Tips | knittedbliss.com

Intermediate Tips

  • Knit everywhere. Make sure you always have a simple, portable knitting project that is easy to take with you and doesn’t require you to be looking at the pattern the whole time. Many knitters like simple socks or simple shawls for this very reason- lightweight and portable.
  • Time Yourself. Watch the clock and figure out how long it takes for you to knit a row or round of your pattern. Then try to beat that time for the next row/round.
  • Experiment with different viewing or listening materials. For example, if you knit while watching a movie on Netflix at home, look at the clock, watch a drama (for example), and then see how many rows/rounds you can complete in an hour. Then try it again with a comedy, or an action movie. You may find that the pace of the action on the screen will affect your knitting speed. Faster-moving plots may see you knitting more than a slower, more dramatic one. The same is true for music- you probably will knit more slowly listening to relaxing, slower temp music than you will to a faster, livelier tune.
  • Experiment with different styles of knitting. This is especially important if you are feeling any sort of hand or wrist strain from knitting. different styles often have you holding the yarn and needles differently, which would naturally use some different muscles. It’s worth trying out continental knitting.
  • Choose your yarn wisely. Knit with higher twist yarns that are less likely to split. Certain yarns can slow you down because they are more likely to snag on quick needle movements. Yarn with a high twist (or single ply) are less likely to snag and split.

How to Knit Faster: Advanced Tips | knittedbliss.com

Advanced Tips

  • Learn to do lever knitting.
  • Decrease your movements. The more minimal your movements, the longer you can knit more comfortably without fatiguing your muscles. It’s worth paying attention to how you are sitting, and how you are holding your back, shoulders, arms, elbows, wrists and fingers as you are knitting. How you hold your needles and carry the yarn are also important factors.
  • Knit using only the tips of your needles. Again, this is reducing movement in your knitting, by keeping your stitches closer to the tip and moving them along quickly. it takes practice to not drop a stitch when using this technique (so I don’t recommend for lace unless you are really awesome!), but it does add up.
  • Practice memorizing longer pattern repeats, so that you don’t need to refer to your pattern as often.

All of these tips decrease small fractions of seconds off the knitting time of each stitch. When you think of the thousands (sometimes hundreds of thousands) of stitch involved in a project,  all those fractions can add up to some serious time lost. For example- If you are knitting a sweater that will use approximately 1000 yards of DK, and it’s knitting up at about 6 stitches per inch, that’s about 216,000 stitches. Shaving a little bit of time off each round or row could save you hours.

Any tips that you would most like to try? I so want to learn lever knitting!

20 comments

  1. Alison   •  

    Thanks for these tips, they’re great! Been knitting about 1.5yrs now (so still very much new to this) but I’ve already seen an improvement in my speed and technique. I look forward to trying some of these tips!

  2. Anne Marie   •  

    I was amazed to discover that tv viewing affects speed. When binge watching 24 on Netflix with hubby I found myself knitting super fast along with the intensity of the show. Crazy.

  3. amanda   •  

    good article, my hands have not adapted to lever style; however, if I could get my hands on a Scottish knitting belt and the needles that go with….look out

  4. Renee Anne   •  

    I’ve been knitting for at least 7 years now and I still have to look for certain things…but if it’s plain knitting (stockinette or garter stitch or ribbing), I can usually do it without looking….more complicated things and reading charts, of course, require me to look.

  5. miss agnes   •  

    Thank you for these excellent tips. I did try the lever knitting a few times but I would need to practice much more because it really is not easy, especially when you already have your own way of knitting. Your hands tend to want to follow the usual movements, so you have to train yourself again. That being said, I understand why professional knitters would want to knit as fast as possible, but I prefer a slower pace. I enjoy the process of knitting so much that I don’t mind if it is a bit slow.

  6. Bekah   •  

    Great tips and tricks – love the one about taking your knitting places. Reminds me of when one of my best friends admitted “I guess this project would go faster if I actually worked on it, eh?”.
    I keep meaning to learn continental knitting – apparently that helps it go faster too 🙂

  7. Amanda S   •  

    What a great post! I really like how you offered tips for every level of knitting and level of comfort. That’s awesome. I will have to try some of these tips for sure.

  8. Val   •  

    Great tips! A few years ago I willed myself to learn continental in the hopes of knitting faster. I think being a lefty helped me pick it up rather quickly, but I didn’t knit any faster. Still, I try to remember that even the slowing knitting is faster than no knitting due to a repetitive stress injury! I feel it’s good to switch things up after long stretches.

  9. Fantastic! 🙂 I think I’m a fairly fast knitter but I’m still working on knitting while not looking so much so I can waste time in other ways, like by watching Orange is the New Black. 😉

  10. Alina   •  

    Level knitting looks so amazing! I want to learn it!!! Thank you for sharing!

  11. Bronchitikat   •  

    Knitting without looking – definitely. I once knitted through “The Constant Gardener” in a cinema. Fortunately it was the back of a cardigan and required no shaping.

  12. Elsie Pop   •  

    Thanks for this great list Julie – some of these tips would also apply to speeding up your crochet. In particular, being able to feel for the next stitch is really helpful. Decreasing my movements is something I struggle with – I’m a total yarn-flinger – but I actually slow down when I try to change my technique so I’m living with it for now. I’m also totally with you on yarn choice – there are some yarns I’ve tried working with (Patons Smoothie DK, I’m looking at you!) which are so splitty they made me crochet at a snail’s pace. xx

  13. kingshearte   •  

    I definitely move one needle a *lot* more than the other, but not like that. Good lord. I’m not sure how well that would work with circular needles, to which I’m fairly committed, but if she can do it with dpns, maybe there’s a way…

  14. Keren   •  

    I too want to try lever knitting (didn’t know it was called that, but saw that video and loved it!).
    I find my speed increases after I’ve been knitting for a stretch. In the beginning it’s like my hands are just waking up, and then they pick up a pace. In addition to knitting faster (if that’s what one wants to achieve, knitting slowly or at a moderate pace is fine too!), I find it’s important to have simple error detection mechanisms in place. I’ve had to rip out a day’s worth of knitting because I wasn’t paying attention and skipped some rows in my repeat pattern a long way back. In retrospect, if I had marked the beginning of each repeat and counted the number of rows after completing a full repeat, I would have detected that mistake sooner. Knit and learn! 😉

  15. Jenny   •  

    This is a wonderful post Julie – thank you for sharing these ideas! Some of them seem so simple, but will be so effective. I am only just realizing the importance myself of learning to look away from my knitting while I do it, so that is improving my speed somewhat. I think I will print off this list you’ve shared and give myself a little check list of things to practice/try 🙂 jenny xx

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  17. Zylo   •  

    I want to learn to lever knit so bad! I’ve tried everything I can think of but just can’t get the hang of it. I did manage to create what I call “hip knitting” where I stabilize my needle by trapping it between my leg and my hip, but then I have to watch what I’m doing, can only do a knit stitch, and it greatly affects my overall gauge because all my other stitches have a different tension. Not great.

    Does anyone have anymore resources for lever knitting? I’m the slowest knitter in the world!

  18. Christine   •  

    Speed is always something I struggle with so thanks for the pointers. It is really challenging to switch your knitting style once you get set in your ways. I did try the Portuguese style of purling and that was faster for me.

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