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!
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!