Monday, August 8, 2011

how to knit with novelty yarn

How to Knit With Novelty Yarns

Susan Brockett
Susan Brockett worked in the computer industry as a technical writer for nearly 20 years at companies including Motorola and Dell Computer Systems. In addition, her articles have appeared in Society of Technical Communications publications. Brockett has a master's degree in English composition and communications from Kansas State University.

Moderately Easy


    • 1
      Choose a design that has a simple shape and standard stitches like garter stitch or stockinette because novelty yarn has more texture than traditional yarns. For example, a scarf with cables or lace is not a good choice because the novelty yarn will hide the design. But a triangular scarf or a tank top in garter stitch is a good choice because the yarn will give these projects texture and pizazz with simple stitches.
    • 2
      Knit a swatch to get a feel for how the yarn behaves and how the fabric looks. Use the size needle specified by the pattern, and cast on 12 stitches and knit six rows of garter stitch or stockinette.
      If you are knitting a garment, this is your gauge swatch. Gauge is the number of stitches and rows per inch and that information is included in the pattern. It is important that you match the pattern's gauge for the garment to fit.
    • 3
      Make adjustments to the needle size if needed. If you want a looser fabric, use a bigger needle. A smaller needle gives you a firmer fabric.
      Some novelty yarns split easily. In this case, choose a needle with a blunt tip. One other consideration is the needle material. If you find that the yarn is slippery, choose a needle with a little grip, like a bamboo needle. If the yarn sticks, change to a metal needle.
    • 4
      Cast on loosely for your project. Because the yarn does not have a lot of give, use a stretchy cast on like the long-tail method.
    • 5
      Knit slowly to avoid errors. Novelty yarn is harder to rip out than traditional yarn when you make a mistake. If you do need to rip back, just go slowly.
    • 6
      Cast off loosely. One trick for a loose cast off is to use a needle a few sizes bigger.

Tips & Warnings

  • A good source for patterns is the yarn manufacturer's website. Look for patterns designed specifically for your yarn.
  • Another use of novelty yarn is as an accent. Add it to the edge of a hat or the cuff of a sweater.
  • Because novelty yarn hides the stitches and usually has no elasticity, it is not a good choice for a first knitting project.
  • Novelty yarns with a high percentage of acrylic fiber are not flame retardant, so use care when choosing a novelty yarn for infant or children's clothing.

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