3 basic knitting tips for easier knitting

Basic knitting tips

Here are some basic knitting tips to make your knitting life easier.

I use them myself, and maybe you do too, but otherwise you will know about them now 🙂

Stitch markers

Hook stitch marker
Ring stitch marker

In every knitting project I use markers. To keep track of rows and indicate columns where I have to do something like decreases.

There is 2 types of them.


The hooks you can put wherever you want, as long as it fits in your project.
I normally use these for indicating rows. The fit nicely on a knitted stitch as the picture shows 🙂

I also use these when working with crochet, since they are able to hook onto those stitches as well.


The rings are meant for in between stitches, where they are attached on the needle itself.
I normally use these for indicating where to do decreases.

Moving the marker

When you’re knitting a row, and arrive at a ring, you simply move the ring over to the other needle:

Moving ring stitch marker

So it will be there for the next row.

Knitting gauge

Knitting gauge

Before I begin any project I first make a knitting gauge of the yarn I want to use.

The purpose of the knitting gauge is to primarily check that the knitting tension of your selected yarn fits with a recipe, so you will end up with the same size for your project as the recipe.

But it is also nice to do, so you can see how a pattern will look with a specific yarn and needle size.


The recipe

Check the recipe for indication of knitting tension.

It could for example say that it uses a knitting tension of 25 stitches per 10 cm (4 inches).

Normally the recipe also indicates what specific yarn is used, and with what size of needles. So you have an approximation of what kind of yarn will work with the recipe. But even if you choose the same yarn and same sized needles, it’s a good idea to make a knitting gauge, since everyone creates a unique tension, when making stitches.

Be aware if the recipe also indicates what pattern the tension measurement is from. Normally stockinette or garter stitch is used, but it could be a specific pattern for the recipe, where they have indicated the tension for that pattern.

Actually making the gauge

Now you choose the desired yarn, with a fitting needle (normally written on the note with the yarn) and make the amount of stitches in the recipe plus 10’ish extra stitches.

You will knit for a few rows, to make the stitches able to stretch out properly. Then you pull a bit around in the pattern to loosen it up.
Then you will measure the tension.
Either with a ruler or a specialized ruler for measuring tension:

Checking knitting tension

In this case my little elephant ruler shows around 30 stitches per 10 cm, when doing garter stitch with this specific yarn on size 3.0 mm needles.
If the recipe I was going to do, indicated a tension of 28 stitches, I could compensate by using bigger needles. If it was 32, I could instead use smaller needles.

If the difference is bigger that 3-4 stitches, I would recommend looking for another type of yarn. Because if you use needles too far away from the recommended size of the yarn, it can be tense when you use small needles, or give big holes in the pattern, when you use big needles.


Knitting lifeline

When trying out an unknown pattern, or when you are going to do a difficult bit of a recipe.
Then a lifeline could be nice to have.

They are way of setting up a checkpoint, that you can go back to, in case you make any mistakes.

Setting it up

When you want to create a lifeline, you take some yarn, that is smaller than the yarn in use, so it won’t interfere with the stitches in the project.
It’s only big in the pictures, so it’s easier to see.

Then you put the yarn through a sewing needle, and follow along the the active loops on the knitting needle:

Making knitting lifeline

Then you will have a lifeline:

A knitting lifeline

And if needed, you can create more of them.

Then you just continue knitting as usual according to the pattern, while you have your lifeline:

A knitting lifeline

When done with your work, you can simple pull the lifeline yarn out of the project. As simple as that.

Going back to a lifeline

When you make a mistake, and want to go back to a previous lifeline, you simple remove the active needle, and pull the string:

Unravel to knitting lifeline
Unravel to knitting lifeline
Unraveled to knitting lifeline

The stitches, from where you made the lifeline, will not unravel because of the lifeline.

Now you can put the stitches on to a needle again, and continue working from the lifeline:

Getting stitches from knitting lifeline

Just let the lifeline stay, in case you need it again.


I hope these 3 basic tips will help you out. Even if you already knew some of them already.

For more knitting related content, you can go here.

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