FAQ for beginner knitters

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JJJ
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FAQ for beginner knitters

Post by JJJ » Wed Nov 22, 2006 5:48 pm

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Before I made my first soaker I asked a lot of questions so I thought it might be helpful to compile a FAQ for other beginners. Experienced knitters please add your wisdom!

Where can I learn to knit online?
www.knittinghelp.com has videos which are excellent
www.knitting.co.nz
www.knitty.com

Where can I buy wool?
Spotlight
Mascoes
Knitting World - www.knitting.co.nz
Your local craft store
www.thewoolcompany.co.nz
www.thetinshed.co.nz
www.treliske.co.nz
Trademe - especially "tekapo" wool which is popular. Tekapo yarn is also available from:
Murray Freer at Twiggiedale Crafts Ltd - email f.murray@xtra.co.nz
LemoNZ says "He stocks lots of wool and spinning related stuff and accepts bank deposit and stuff is always well wrapped and posted really fast. he has been great to deal with when I have bought my weaving and dying kits off him."

Also this website lists wool shops nationwide:
http://www.naturallyyarnsnz.com/stores.htm

What sort of yarn do I need for longies or soakers?
100% wool is ideal. The yarn needs a high wool content to perform properly, as the lanolin in the wool neutralises urine and helps keep your soakers leak-proof. General consensus on TNN is that 70% wool 30% synthetic works ok, although it may get smelly quicker, but less than 70% wool is not so good. Alpaca/wool blends or possum/wool blends are also a good choice (they are just a bit more expensive). I've heard that 100% alpaca doesn't hold its shape as well as alpaca/wool blend though.

What ply yarn do I need?
Most people use 8 ply and most patterns are written for 8ply, but you can also use 10, 12 or 14 ply (but you would need to amend the pattern to suit). 4 ply is generally considered too thin and you risk the soaker leaking.

How much does wool cost?
Being budget conscious, most TNNers wouldn't pay more than $5 for a 50g ball of wool. Utiku wool from www.thewoolcompany.co.nz is $13 for 200g which is reasonable.

What is the softest wool?
A possum/merino blend is supposed to be very soft, especially after washing. Callum's Godmother is the TNN expert on possum/merino and which brands are good. I think alpaca/wool blends are quite soft too.
Treliske organic merino is very soft, ideal for newborns. Utiku 100% wool (from The Wool Company) is fine, but some people wouldn't use it on newborns (its not scratchy, its just not the softest you can get). Tekapo is generally considered to be a little scratchier, some TNNers find it ok, but others don't use it for this reason.

What are "flats"?
These are normal straight knitting needles. You need two of them to knit.

What is a circular needle?
This is one long needle, it has a point at each end and bendy nylon in the middle. When you reach the end of a row, you join it to the beginning of the knitting so you end up with a tube. This is called "knitting in the round". Lots of TNNers love these because there are no seams to sew up and no purl rows when you do stocking stitch.

What is a DPN?
Double Pointed Needle. If you want to knit in the round but don't have a circular needle then you hold your stitches on three DPNs and knit with a fourth needle.

What is an addi turbo?
This is a brand of circular needle made in Germany, and many TNNers really like them. They are the only brand which makes circulars as small as 30cm (which you will need for knitting cuffs on soakers or legs on longies knit in the round). Until recently, you could only buy these overseas, but now www.greenbeans.co.nz has started stocking them (yay!)

What is a skoaker?
This is a skirt attached to a soaker. I'll add some links here when I get a chance.

What free pattern should I use for a soaker?
Check out this thread:
http://www.thenappynetwork.org.nz/phpBB ... .php?t=478

The most popular patterns for a soaker on flats are:
http://www.birdcrossstitch.com/soakers/pattern/

http://grapevine.net.au/~bluegum/freesoaker.html (but see these threads first:
http://www.thenappynetwork.org.nz/phpBB ... php?t=9145
http://www.thenappynetwork.org.nz/phpBB ... hp?t=11488 )

or you can start with this simple pattern:
(given for approx 3 month old, with 6 month old in brackets - these fit my baby at these ages but yours might not be the same shape so do adjust the pattern for your wee one!)
using 8 ply (I used Cleckheaton Country) & 3.25mm needles:
cast on 46 (48)stitches
rib for 10 rows (either K1 P1 or K2 P2)
change to 4mm needles
stocking stitch 30 (34) rows
mark the last row with a loop of yarn at each end
next row (and other knit rows) decrease one stitch at each end of the row until you get down to 28 stitches (if you inc/dec one stitch in from the end rather than the very 1st and last stitch it will be easier to pick up stitches for the leg cuffs later)
all the purl rows just purl across
When you get to 28 stitches do stocking stitch for 4 (8) more rows (depends on how chubby your bubba's thighs are)
then start increasing one stitch at each end of every knit row (ie 2 stitches every 2nd row) until you get to 52 (54) stitches
all the purl rows just purl across
mark the next row with a loop of yarn at each end
stocking stitch 30 (34) rows
rib 10 rows
bind off


The popular pattern for a soaker in the round is:
http://www.livejournal.com/community/pu ... 10889.html

What free pattern should I use for longies?
The favourite flat pattern seems to be:
http://www.birdcrossstitch.com/organicw ... pants.html

Knit in the round:
http://www.aubreydoodlepants.com/
http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEsummer05/PATTcargo.html

What about patterns to buy?
A few TNNers have bought patterns from this site:
http://www.littleturtleknits.com/pages/ ... tterns.php

and this site has patterns for sale too:
http://woolywonder.com

What size needles will I need?
For 8 ply wool, you will probably want to use 3.25mm needles for the ribbing on waistbands and cuffs, and 4mm for the body of your longies/soaker. Some TNNers also use 4mm and 4.5mm needles for 8 ply.

Whats the story with lanolin?
To use your soaker or longies as nappy covers you will need to lanolise them to make them leak proof. You can buy a specific lanolising product eg Sudz'n'Dudz balm, wool wash bar or liquid wash from Bumbles or just get pure lanolin from a sheepskin shop or use Purelan or Lansinoh from the chemist and apply as follows:

Pea-sized dollop in a cup of boiling water with a dollop of baby shampoo or wool wash to dissolve; fill bucket with lukewarm water to cover your cover, pop cover in, mix in the lanolin mix. Leave it to sit for approx 15 mins. Then gently roll up the cover in a towel to dry.

Also check out this thread about why soakers are great and how they work:
http://www.thenappynetwork.org.nz/phpBB ... ht=lanolin

What are short rows?
Short rows add shaping to a garment - instead of knitting to the end you stop partway across a row (or partway through a round if you are using circulars) and turn the piece around and work back. Short rows are often used for the soakers or longies to make the back (butt) bigger than the front. There are techniques which will stop holes forming when you turn the work - www.knittinghelp.com has a great video, but for knitting in the round you should look here too.
Last edited by JJJ on Fri Nov 16, 2007 7:27 pm, edited 13 times in total.
Mama to Elliott and Connor

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Stacey
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Post by Stacey » Sat Nov 25, 2006 8:43 am

Sorry I missed this - its fab! Thanks very much :) Ive stickyfied it now.
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Neak1
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Post by Neak1 » Sat Nov 25, 2006 10:57 am

8-) Yay neat idea. I know I have posted many times asking some of the questions you have answered :alright:
Monique

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Nina 4

ariayla

Post by ariayla » Sat Nov 25, 2006 12:16 pm

Great job JJJ!!

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daffodil
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Post by daffodil » Mon Dec 04, 2006 8:19 am

What a great reference for beginers!!! :smt023
Happy mummy to two beautiful children!!!

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annie
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Re: FAQ for beginner knitters

Post by annie » Mon Jan 29, 2007 8:50 pm

[quote="JJJ"] (and other knit rows) decrease one stitch at each end of the row until you get down to 28 stitches
then start increasing one stitch at the end of each knit row until you get to 52 (54) stitches [quote="JJJ"]

please help me...if you decrease two stitches per knit row and then increase one stitch per knit row will that not make the back way longer than the front????

annie
annie,

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JJJ
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Post by JJJ » Mon Jan 29, 2007 10:16 pm

Sorry my instructions weren't very clear! You increase and decrease at the same rate - 2 stitches every other row (ie at the start and end of each knit row (and just purl across on the other rows). I should have said the ends of each row, golly what a difference an s can make! :oops:
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annie
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Post by annie » Tue Jan 30, 2007 4:15 pm

cool, thanks jjj.

annie
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Mumstheword
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Thanks

Post by Mumstheword » Thu Feb 08, 2007 6:55 pm

Thanks that was a great help, now all I need is a dictionary of knitting terms.
Rachael Mum to Josh and Samuel

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Callum's godmother
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Post by Callum's godmother » Thu Feb 08, 2007 7:05 pm

are you saying that none of those websites had knitting terms? we need to recify that!! I'll have a look next time I have a spare moment or two!

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Post by Paws » Thu Feb 08, 2007 9:07 pm

A website of terms would be good! My MIL is teaching me to knit this week....I'm starting to get there but a little lost with some of the jargon and can't work out why i seem to end up with a different number of stitches than when I started! ](*,)

Anyway - this is an awesome reference so thanks!!

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nova
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Post by nova » Fri Feb 09, 2007 11:06 am

here ya go :)

knitting help abbreviations (incl. videos)

or from knitty-

alt - alternate
approx - approximately
beg - begin[ning]
BO - bind off [cast off]
cab - cable
CC - contrasting color
cn - cable needle
CO - cast on
cont - continue[ing]
dec - decrease[ing]
dpn - double pointed needles[s]
foll - follow[s][ing]
g - grams
inc - increase[ing]
incl - including
inst - instructions
k - knit
k tbl - knit through back of loop
k2tog - knit two together
kfb - knit into front and back of stitch
m - meter[s]
MB - make bobble
MC - main color
m1 - make one stitch
mm - millimeters
mult - multiple
opp - opposite
oz - ounces
p - purl
p2tog - purl two together
patt[s] - pattern[s]
pfb - purl into front and back of stitch
pm - place marker
psso - pass slipped stitch[es] over
rem - remaining
rep - repeat
rev St st - reverse stockinette stitch
RS - right side[s]
rnd[s] - round[s]
sc - single crochet
SSK - slip 2 stitches as if to knit, then knit those 2 stitches together
SSP - slip 2 stitches as if to purl, then purl those 2 stitches together
sl - slip
slp - slip one as if to purl
sl st - slip stitch
st[s] - stitch[es]
St st - stockinette stitch
tbl - through back of loop[s]
tog - together
WS - wrong side[s]
YO - yarn over
* * - repeat directions between ** as many times as indicated

hth?? :D
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LemonNZ
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Post by LemonNZ » Sat Feb 10, 2007 8:08 pm

Could we have an update on the wool prices? I would love to be able to compare on here what the price per g and also if people could note if anywhere has good specials on.

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nova
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Post by nova » Sat Feb 10, 2007 8:23 pm

if you're after un-dyed wool for dyeing yourself, mascoes has 100% NZ wool 8 & 10ply 200g hanks for $10.95 :D its quite nice & dyes well 8-)
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LemonNZ
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Post by LemonNZ » Sat Feb 10, 2007 9:03 pm

nova wrote:if you're after un-dyed wool for dyeing yourself, mascoes has 100% NZ wool 8 & 10ply 200g hanks for $10.95 :D its quite nice & dyes well 8-)


I would love to but am scared of making a mess in my white on white rental property :shock:

Maybe when I buy my dropping to peices old villa I will have a Kool Aid party :wink:

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