How much do you know about knitting?

Maria Trimarchi

All knitting begins by casting on. What's the first step?

There are many methods of casting on, but they all, in general, begin with a slip knot. To make one, start by making a loop with the end of your yarn. Holding the loop open, pull yarn through the loop -- this will create another loop, this time with a knot on one end. That's it! Now, slide the slip knot onto a knitting needle, and tighten.

All knitting begins by casting on. Which is not a commonly used technique?

Actually, all of these are ways to cast on and start knitting. Single and longtail are generally considered easier to get the hang of if you're a beginner.

Which is not a type of knitting needle?

Straight knitting needles are classic, and are the most traditional style of knitting needle. Double-pointed are similar to straight, but, as the name suggests, both ends are pointed instead of one. Circular style is when a pair of needle tips (the pointed ends) are connected by a flexible cable.

Which project is best suited for circular knitting needles?

Circular knitting needles are good for projects that are too large or heavy for straight or double-pointed needles, and allow you not only more room to work but also alleviate the wrist pain that can come with a big project on the wrong needle.

How do you knit garter stitch?

Garter stitch is considered the most basic stitch because all it involves is knowing how to knit. For instance, if you were making a scarf with garter stitch, you would knit every stitch of every row. The final product is reversible, and the edges won't roll up like some other types of stitching.

Holding the yarn in your right hand is called English knitting. What's it called if you hold the yarn in your left hand?

Holding your project yarn in your right hand is known as right-handed knitting, and also called English knitting. Holding the yarn in your left hand, wound around the left pinkie and over the left index finger, is known as Continental style.

Which is a benefit of using circular needles for knitting in the round?

While you can knit in the round with double-sided needles, many knitters prefer circular needles for the job. The technique allows you to create tubes, which means hats, socks, sweaters and a lot more.

What is gauge?

The number of stitches or rows per inch is called the gauge. Most knitting patterns will include a gauge notation in the instructions. To make sure they're not working too tightly or too loosely, most knitters will make a gauge swatch (which involves knitting about four inches of fabric and measuring your work).

Which of these determines gauge?

Both the size of the knitting needles and the weight of the yarn for your knitting project together will determine the gauge -- and most knitting patterns will come with a recommended gauge, called a gauge notation.

Although you thought you'd bought enough yarn with the same dye lot for your project, you were two skeins short. What are those two skeins called?

Running out of yarn from the same dye lot can mean risking slight differences in color. The "odd lot," as the unmatched skeins are known, may look basically right in the store, but color differences often make themselves known after washing.

In knitting abbreviations, what does "k2, p2" mean?

If the pattern you're following calls for "k2, p2," it's instructing you to knit two stitches, then purl two stitches.

Why is blocking a good final step for your project?

Although many knitters don't bother to do it, blocking your piece does have some benefits. Some swear by it to make their work look more professional -- specifically, it makes stitches look more even. It can also help any patterns knitted into your piece stand out, and can also help you correct sizing problems.

In knitting abbreviations, MC means "main color." What does CC mean?

Among the abbreviations you'll find in knitting patterns are MC, which means mean color, and CC, which means contrasting color. If your knitting pattern calls for two colors, you'll need to know MC and CC.

What is a skein?

Yarn that's been wound into a loose twist is called a skein. Like a ball of yarn, a skein is ready to be used. Yarn that's wound into a large circle and folded needs to be wound before you can use it.

What is a hank?

While yarn that's wound into balls and skeins is ready to knit, yarn that's wound into a large circle and folded -- called a hank -- needs to be wound into a ball before you can use it.

What does it mean to knit on the "wrong side" (WS)?

There's a "right" and a "wrong" side to your knitted project, but it doesn't mean you've done anything wrong. The "right" side is the side that faces out. The "wrong" side is the side that faces in. In Stockinette stitch, for example, the "right" side is the side that looks like "Vs" whereas the "wrong" side is just bumpy.

How do you knit Stockinette stitch?

Knitting Stockinette stitch (St st), which is one of the first stitches knitters learn because of its simplicity, involves knitting all right-side (RS) rows, and purling all wrong-side (WS) rows.

In English knitting, you "throw" the yarn. What is it known as in the Continental knitting style?

There's a reason why the two methods have their nicknames. When you knit with the English knitting method, you hold the yarn in your right hand and "throw" it over the knitting needle to form stitches. In Continental knitting, you hold the yarn in your left hand and "pick" it.

Which method of blocking is best for delicate fibers, such as cashmere?

There are three common ways to block: spray blocking, steam blocking and wet blocking. Spray blocking, which involves reshaping the garment while you lightly dampen the fabric with water from a spray bottle, is the most gentle blocking method, and is usually safe for delicate fibers like cashmere.

What is yarn that's been dyed more than one color called?

Yarns that have been dyed with more than one color, such as marbelized or self-striping styles, are called "variegated."

What's the safest way to block a sweater knitted with eyelash yarn?

Because it's considered a "novelty yarn," blocking isn't recommended for pieces you've knitted with eyelash yarn, or other novelties like boucle, chenille and metallic fibers. If you're unsure your fabric can handle it, block a gauge swatch first.

In knitting patterns, the abbreviation MB means "make bobble." What's a bobble?

MB, or "make bobble," is instructing you to make a three-dimensional stitch. Bobbles, big or small, are made by working multiple increases in one stitch -- sometimes you might work a few rows, and then decreasing back to one stitch. (The more rows you work, the bigger your bobble with be.)

What is a stitch holder used for?

The job of a stitch holder is just as its name suggests: stitch holders hold open stitches that aren't currently on needles until you're ready to pick them up again in your work.

What's the point of a point protector?

Point protectors, which are also known as a knitting needle caps, are used to prevent stitches from sliding off the needle points when you're not working on the project.

What's it called when you tuck any loose pieces of yarn into your piece at the end of the project?

Your project isn't finished until you tuck in yarn tails and any other loose ends in your project, what's known as weaving in ends. Doing so not only makes your piece look more polished, it also makes it more durable.

Which is not a commonly used buttonhole technique?

Eyelet, one-row, two-row and vertical buttonholes are commonly used in knitting projects. Intarsia, however, doesn't have anything to do with buttonholes. It's a knitting technique used to create multi-colorful patterns in your work.

Stitches should be uniform and not too tight, with loops facing in what direction?

It's best to keep your loops uniform in size, not too tight, and facing upward. Stitches that are too tight are difficult to work with, and will slow you down. And if those loops aren't facing upward, they could easily become twisted.

Which is not one of the three things you need to felt wool?

To felt your wool (or other animal fiber) piece, you need agitation, heat and moisture. While you could felt by hand, many prefer using a washing machine, which naturally adds all three elements.

How many passes does it take to complete just one row when knitting brioche stitch?

Unlike other knitting styles, it takes two passes to complete just one row of brioche stitch. This is because during each pass, half of the stitches are knitting but the other half are slipped. But the result are pieces that are doubly thick.

A stitch passed from one needle to another without being knitted is called what kind of stitch?

There are a lot of uses for a slip stitch, and it's a good tool to learn and use in your own work. Slip stitches are stitches that are passed from one needle to the other without actually being knitted.

How do you change the width of your work?

Technically, frogging involves changing the width of your work -- but it's unraveling your work or "tearing out knitting," not adding or subtracting stitches according to a pattern. Increasing or decreasing the width of your piece for shaping involves increasing or decreasing the number of stitches in a row.

Which is preferable, joining yarn at the end of a row or in the middle of a row?

It happens to every knitter -- you've graduated from dishcloths and scarves and your bigger projects require more than one ball of yarn. The best case scenario is to join new yarn at the end of a row. Doing so will allow you to more easily hide the ends, as well as avoid bumpy stitches mid-row.

In which direction is a plaited stitch twisted?

A plaited stitch is a single knitted stitch that's twisted either clockwise (called a clockwise-plaited stitch) or counterclockwise (called a counterclockwise-plaited stitch). Most often it's twisted by 180 degrees, but it could be greater depending on your project.

Which is not a synthetic fiber?

Nylon, polyester and rayon are all manmade, synthetic fibers. Mohair, though, is one of the warmest animal fibers. It's fluffy, can be difficult to create stitches with and is more expensive than other animal fibers.

Which is the oldest knitted artifact, dating back to 11th century Egypt?

While we don't know how old knitting is, scientists have found fine-gauge knitted socks among Egyptian artifacts dating back to the 11th century. And they're not just a basic knit stitch, either -- the colorfully patterned socks also use purl stitch.

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About This Quiz

Think you know everything there is to know about knitting? Whether you're advanced or just beginning your first scarf, see how much you know about stitches, needles and yarn.

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