What’s Your Neatest Knitting Hack?

By Kay Gardiner
June 11, 2020

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315 Comments
  • I have an even better place for my cable needle (or rather, a dpn in the appropriate size). As I mainly wear knitting tops and sweaters, the easiest is to just stick them through the knitted fabric of my top, across the chest.

    • I usually stick it further down in the piece I’m working on.

      • I seed stitched a wrist band and did a 3 needle bind off. I wear it bump side out and stick me cable needle through it. When I am done for the night – I just slip it off, put it on top of my knitting and I don’t need to find it the next day.

        • The BEST! Thanks from the no-watch wearers

    • I leave my swatch attached.
      Hanging at the bottom of the work.
      It does triple duty.
      I use this for my cable needle storage and when the project is finished. It goes onto a split ring as a reminder of what pattern I used.
      A friend would sew a musiln swatch on one side. On that she would write which book she used, who she made it for, date, size, etc and then put it. In a three ring binder. Sometimes she would take a polaroid and attach that too.
      I am not that organised.
      But I do like to take a photo on my phone.

  • When I need a cable needle, and I only use it for larger cables, I use a small crochet hook. I always have one when I am knitting for picking up dropped stitches and the like. When I am not using it I stick it behind my ear, like a pencil. Works great.

  • I was lucky enough to be there live with you last night, totally unplanned. It was great to spend an hour knitting with friends I have yet to meet…yet. A few years ago I purchased a Makers Keeper by Cocoknits. I wear it often when knitting. It has a magnet that works perfectly for metal cable needles and stitch markers. There is also a row counter. I bought mine at my LYS.

    • Yes! I bought one of these recently and it is a total game changer!!!

  • I have an old hooked metal cable needle that I’ve managed to hang on to for over 20 years. When cabling I hook it over my little finger until it’s needed. When not in use it’s stored on the side of the cup I use to keep various knitting tools handy. If I ever lose it I may just have to give up cables.

    • The u shaped cable needle is my choice too. I hook it over my thumb to keep it handy. I never drop it but it’s a different store with stitch markers those stitch markers

    • I’ve always used a small stitch holder as a cable needle. I too hook it on the little finger of my left hand while cabling across a row. Then I hook it into my knitting, an inch or so below, until I need it again.

      I usually cable without a needle unless it is a difficult cable.

  • I usually stick mine in the gap between the cushions on our sofa, but as it has to be point up, it’s a bit dangerous if you’re forgetful… I like the idea of tucking it behind your ear like an old school workman would have done, thanks for the tip!

    • I too use a crochet hook for a cable needle. The hook easily grabs the stitches and then they are knit off the other end. I used to put the hook behind my ear when not in use, but when I got old enough to need reading/knitting glasses that trick didn’t work any more. So now I stick it, hook up, in my cake of yarn.

  • My favorite hack: when knitting in the round, I work back across my cast-on stitches before joining and working in the round. This is very helpful to avoid twisting that first round, particularly when your pattern starts: “cast on 400 stitches.” And since I often find the first round worked after cast-on to be fiddly to work, it’s nice to work it without the extra worry of joining first.

    I find it makes no difference in the look of the final piece: I have to weave in that end anyway, so I use it to seam up that first row too. Depending on which side of the cast-on I want on the public side, I will sometimes work two rows before joining.

    • I do this,too. If it’s a “2 inches of ribbing” type of start I do all the ribbing flat, then join.

      • I don’t know if I have any knitting hacks. I do, however, love to use a curved cable needle. Because it is curved, I can let the stitches on it hang until I need them, even if it’s only 2 and 1/2 seconds. The thing is, it’s getting more and more difficult to find a curved cable needle and I keep losing the ones I get. Anyway, it was good to see you two ladies and Patty on “Ewe”Tube. Stay safe and well.

        • I dont usually use a cable needle, but i was knitting a pair of socks on size 1s with an awkward kind of cable. My regular cable needles were too thick for the stitches – enter the partially unbent paper clip! Now one lives in my knitting bag with my other tools.

        • If you have a flat metal type cable needle with the “bump” in the middle gently squeeze it towards a “u” shape. I’ve done this for years.

      • I agree, I get a better ribbing when it is knitted flat.

    • Oooh, LOVE this!!!

    • I do the same thing. Apart from avoiding the risk of getting an unwanted mobius strip, I prefer the side of the cast-on that shows on the right side when I cast on long-tail, .

    • Brilliant!

    • That’s awesome!

    • Wendy, this hack made me gasp with delight!

    • Yes, I read this, on your blog, I think, and have been doing it ever since. Bonus: it has reduced the number of times I get a twist in the round as they are easier to see with the extra row. Thank you Wendy.

    • This is so helpful! Thanks for sharing.

    • Genius, you have just saved me future hours of frustration and throwing down yarn after getting through about 3 rows of 200+ and yelling expletives because I’ve discovered an evil twist!

    • Brilliant!

      • This is such a fabulous post. I am still a novice. I don’t have a hack but I write down my row counts on paper. Since I forget to press the digital or mechanical row counter. The row marks are on a printed copy ( yes I sacrificed paper ) and I notoriously use a pencil because I might have to frog several rows. BTW May I say how much I enjoy your blog. Thank you so much.

        • I do the same thing you do, Jayne. The “scribble stick” and paper are my best friend when I’m knitting. All I have to do is remember to cross off the number of the row I completed!
          This is my first time “visiting” and I’m having so much fun-and learning a lot too.

        • I’m a pen and paper girl too. I also add the days of the week so i know how many rows I’ve done. Its lovely to look back and actually see how much you have done

        • I do something similar when counting repeats or increases/decreases. On the paper that is my copy of the pattern (because I love me a paper copy of the pattern to scribble on and mark up), I draw little empty boxes, one for each repeat or decrease row. I check the box each time I do one. It feels satisfying!

    • I have seen this suggested before, and tried it yesterday for the first time. Game changer! I will never be frustrated by a twisted cast on again.

    • I do the same…so much easier.

    • I use binder clips to hold the stitches in position to join. First, I cast one one extra stitch at the start. Leave 2-3 stitches showing on the needle, attach a binder clip at one end and do the same on the other end after you make sure the stitches are all properly aligned. Slip the first right hand stitch to the left hand needle and knit the first two stitches together, joining the round. Remove the binder clips and knit on confidently. The round is not twisted! This works equally well whether you knit a few rows as mentioned above or just join after casting on.

      • Love this – briliant.

      • I use wonder clips(I am a sewer too) or have even been known to use the claw shaped hair clip. The claw hair clips are also great for holding together your pieces when seaming. The claws go thru the fabric and hold things from sliding. They are cheap at the dollar store and come in lots of sizes. I like the smaller ones meant for little girls.

    • Yes! Started doing this last year, and it’s been super helpful!

    • I do the same thing. It saves SO MUCH TROUBLE.

    • What a brilliantly simple idea! Thank you, I will do this next time.

    • As a sock knitter, you just changed my life.

    • Great idea! I’ll try that next time on a large circular piece. Thanks!

    • I confess that I did my first sweater in the round with a twist that went undiscovered —- till the ARM. Hard lesson learned. Gained a new appreciation for a well-written pattern that warns not to twist!

    • SO SMART!!! Thank you!

    • BRILLIANT!!! With two daughters and four granddaughters, I knit many, many large blankets. I manage to join without twisting, but it’s long and very tedious. NO MORE!!!
      THANK YOU FOR SAVING MY SANITY.

  • The cable needle gets stuck in my ponytail. If I’m knitting my hair is up. Little things like stitch markers go in my bra—which has proven to be a slightly flawed system since I haven’t willingly worn a bra since March 16.

    • A woman after my own heart! I only wear a bra if I have to go out. Which, being retired, is not very often.

    • I have actually used my hair sticks as cable needles, and once to hold nonworking stitches in an emergency when I didn’t have any spare yarn to transfer them to.

    • My first comment on Facebook after learning of my furlough wad, “well, at !easy I won’t have to wear bra every day!”
      Right there with ya, sister knitter!

      • Was not wad. My brain hasn’t COMPLETELY deteriorated, lol!
        OMG! and “at least” not that garbled autocorrect! Sheesh!

        • Lol – I thought of a wad of cash and was like, good for her! Spend that furlough wad!

    • Yup. Ponytail. Anything that can go in my ponytail does go in my ponytail.

  • I can’t wait to see all the responses!

  • My cable needle used to live at the bottom of my project bag somewhere amidst other balls of yarn and some scrap yarn where I could never find it. We both agreed this was not the right place, so now I ‘weave’ the needle in my knitting when I don’t need it or I have it between my teeth when I am working on a cable. It may not be pretty, but life is too short to go on all 4 looking desperately for a cable needle!

  • I rarely ( if ever) used my salad spinner, but as a tool for soaking and then spinning out the excess water during blocking it has become my one of my favorite tools. The spinner is much happier now that it feels useful in the kitchen.

    • Love it!

    • Great idea!

    • Brilliant.

    • I do this too! For larger pieces, a quick spin in the washing machine spin cycle (ONLY the spin cycle) works great. No more piles of wet towels when blocking!

    • The only reason I even bought a salad spinner was to do this.

    • OMG! This is one of those “why didn’t I think of that” moments. Genius. Off to block the tee shirt I just finished.

    • Wow will I be using this tip forever.

    • Super idea!

    • Now I need a salad spinner!

    • Yes! I actually learned this from Ann. I still use it for salad too.

    • Genius! I love hour MacGyver spirit.

    • Brilliant!!! Thank you!!!!!

    • Brilliant!

    • THAT is brilliant. I’ve struggled to drain all the water without twisting the knitting. Spun spun. Love it.

    • FANTASTIC IDEA!!! Became full-timers on the road and left my spinner in storage. STUPID MOVE!!!

  • I am constantly losing those little round squiggly things you use to hold your knitting needles together when you stop knitting. One day I desperately needed one and could not find one. Pulled the hair elastic out of my hair and used that. Worked a treat. Never went back. I like the bright neon colored ones for this, and one elastic works for any size or shape needle. And, once stretched out a bit, I keep the elastic around my wrist when not using it.

    • I have a stash of the fuzzy little girl size hair elastics that must be 20 yrs old. No tiny girls around here anymore but they’re perfect for holding needles together, especially sets if dp’s not in use.

      • I use those tiny vinyl elastics for stitch markers too – the ones girls use for making “cornrow” braids. You can get like 100 of them for about a dollar. Also, they are big enough to hold a set of small-gauge sock knitting dpns when in storage. And if you drop and lose one (or two or ten) it’s not worth losing sleep over, unlike my handmade stitch markers which I treasure and am always dropping and having to hunt for on the floor.

    • Thank you for this tip I started using this one right away! I love it

  • just stick your cable needle in the knitting you’re working on! I mean, it’s always there – unlike a watch band or your top (that might not *gasp* be a knit). or in the top of your yarn ball.

    • I do this, generally sticking it right into the next cable that I’m going to have to cross.

  • Especially for warm weather knitting, I use a large plastic salad bowl to hold my knitting. It works especially well to contain a one-piece sweater while knitting sleeves. No more flopping pieces around – just spin the bowl in my lap, and stay cool.

    • This may be the most useful tip for me. Clever!

    • Brilliant!

    • Love this idea. I may have to find a second spinner for this, since my salad spinner actually holds lettucee. Sometimes.

    • This is Brilliant! I’m always overheated in the summer so this is a great idea for keeping cool while knitting those holiday present projects like blankets in the middle of July heat and humidity.

      • Similar to the bowl I used a flat round basket to contain my intarsia project. I turn the basket as I work on each color. Look Mom!, no tangles!

    • This is the greatest hack ever! I have the perfect day to try this right now!.

    • I do this too, but when I really want to keep it moving I sit the bowl on a plastic lazy susan so it spins easily.

      • If doing multiple cables -use a double pointed small cable needle. I knit continental style. I Hold the cable needle with my 3rd, 4th& 5th fingers of my right hand while I knit bkgrd sts between cables. That way my cable needle is right there and ready, point forward.

    • Yes, I do that too! A large stainless steel bowl for a heavy sweater while on sleeve island. The sweater spins well in the stainless;)

    • I only knit top down sweaters – that way I can knit the sleeves before the sweater is huge and has to constantly be rearranged/maneuvered. I learned this from a knitting book by Maggie Righetti. Knit top down, divide for sleeves, knit a sleeves, then get stuck in knitting the body. Easier to add length to sleeves and the body if it’s top down too.

    • I use a pillow cover when knitting a blanket easy to turn

  • Since we’re among friends, I can reveal that this is where a DDDcup bra comes into its own — cable needle, stitch counter, crochet hook, stitch holder — you can put them all in one handy, warm location and get up to make coffee with no fear of losing any of your tools.

    • Sometimes at the end of the day it is quite a giggle to see what comes flying out.

      • Lol! I have found popcorn in there!

      • I was just thinking that!

    • Difficult for those of us who are more AA cup!

      • Me too. All my friends can use their bras for storage. Anything I put in mine slips right through. I never worry about dropping food on my shirt tho. It all goes straight to my lap.

    • I would have to concur with this method…but can only use it when my teenage son is not hanging out with me! Otherwise, it’s quite handy.

    • giggle, snark, gafaw!

    • You all are hilarious!

    • Veronica… you forgot the PEE WARNING!!!

  • My best keep me sane trick- use a second strand of yarn for the tail of a long tail cast on. No more guesswork in the length of the tail!

    • Great idea, especially if you have to cast on a lot of stitches.

      • When knitting a border, I keep track of the rows by tying a knot for each row in the long tail of cast on yarn.

        • I love this idea! I always seem to bump counters and mess up.

          My hack is tying stitch markers out of scrap yarn. I can choose colors for special alerts, don’t care if they get lost, they never interfere with stitch size, and can be untied (if knotted loosely) or cut if they need to be removed (or tied on to be added) when I’m not at the stitch.

        • Amazing. My kinda row counter!

        • I, too, make stitch markers out of yarn scraps. When casting on I put one marker every 20 stitches (which I check). When casting on dozens or hundreds of stitches this makes it really easy to confirm the stitch count.

    • I use both the center and outside ends to cast on. Although using a different color gives you a bit of a pop.

    • I agree. Elizabeth Zimmerman said that one just knows instinctively how much yarn is needed, but I’m afraid that gift isn’t universal. I never got it right. The only tiny drawback of using a second strand is an extra yarn end to weave in and I can cope with that.

      • All the knitting books I’ve ever read said to allow for three times the length of the cast-on edge, but I always need four times the length of yarn.

    • Most of the time, if I am not doing a project with a stitch pattern that eats a lot of yarn (like bobbles or trinity stitch, which I have not done in decades), for longtail cast on I pull out at least 3 times the width of the piece I’m going to be knitting to be sure not to run out of yarn before I finish the cast on. That always seems to work for me.

    • Me too. That helps a lot.

    • An absolute game changer!

    • I cast on 10 stitches, keep a finger at each end, and unravel. I then use that amount of yarn as my gauge for how much I need. 200 stitches? I need 20 of that length. So I just measure out however many I need with the 10-stitch length as my ruler.

      • Brilliant. Totally going to try that! Having an overly long tail bothers me as much as not enough tail.

      • I do that too!! It’s a great yarn saver.

      • ANOTHER BRILLIANT IDEA!!! Thank you. Normally I get a good result from 3 times the width, but every now and then, NOT, BIG TIME!!! Knit too many large blankets. : (

  • There is a forum on Ravelry called Loose Ends. One of the topics there is “Oh I Can Use This For Knitting” which lists oodles of clever things folks have come up with to aid in knitting. Check it out when you have time to kill….There’s a lot of ideas!

  • During the pandemic, I got tired of seeing my bits and pieces of knitting equipment scattered on the end table or nightstand. I found a pretty cloth basket to store everything in …project, stitch markers, crochet hook, pattern, yarn. It keeps the family room neater and I am very portable on a moment’s notice! A few stitches here, a few stitches there I avoided wicker baskets for fear of snags.

    • A basket? My husband bought me a tool case…one of those giant mechanics’ tool chest that is on wheels! I load everything in there and can wheel it out of the room ( I have other hobbies…gasp! Painting, sewing so lots of supplies to fit in there )

      • I bot a small fishing lure container (3”x4”x1”) and have it on my end table. Lots of little slots for diff sized markers, diff type of markers, cable needle, weaving needle, pins, the device to tighten needles onto cords when I change needle sizes, a piece of paper with my credit card number so its handy when I’m ordering on-line from my iPad on my lap. I love it.

      • Love it!!!

  • ooh does this mean I get to get an iPhone? –oh wait, I guess I have to at least start a cable project first.

  • My Mum used to stick her cable needle down her cleavage for safekeeping. Then she’d often forget and go out in public with it still there 🙂
    (I don’t have the same facility available to me, so just lose it down the side of the sofa)

    • I don’t have the facility either, but I’ve been know to get off the bus with a lovely circular needle necklace on! (I’ll usually loop one around my neck if I’ve just cast something off)

    • I do this all the time. Often when I take off my bra, stitch markers, cable needles go flying in my bedroom. 🙂

  • For small stitches, I use a toothpick as a cable needle. Put it in the knitted piece when not in use. I love all of the responses so far!

    • I use an orange stick, like what you use for doing your nails. I’m not sure I’ve ever (or could handle) knitting something so small I need a toothpick!

  • Hello, I always have one or two pair of socks on needles, 90% of the time they’re toe up. I don’t care for square toes, so I had been looking for a good rounded toe pattern and found this one: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/rounded-toe-2. The coolest trick that I’ve seen is that she uses Judy’s magic cast on but requires you to leave a long tail – – because the second round is knit using both working yarn and the tail for the increase to double the stitches. Not only is it the easiest increase, with no little nub or hole, you don’t have to weave in an end! Sigh, I love that toe

    • I do the same thing with a Turkish Cast on. Best Toe Up Ever!

    • Thanks. I’ll be checking it out!

    • Thanks so much for this tip. I am doing my first toe-up sock and I don’t really like the look. I will try this next pair, if the magic cast on is easy to learn. I had to have 3 runs at the crochet hook/needle cast on to find “success”. I have heard the Turkish cast on recommended as well.

    • THIS IS GOING TO CHANGE MY LIFEEEEEE thank you!!!!

  • I went to an office supply store and bought a package of multiples of expandable, plastic, spiral key holders. I attached to each a green Clover stitch counter. I wear the stitch counter on my wrist, making it always handy to tick off whatever I am counting. It’s also useful for travel. Since they are different colors, I know which one goes with what project.

    • Love this idea!

    • I see an online hunt for those and an order for stitch counters from my LYS happening today. Thanks

  • Pin a swatch (yes– another practical use for a swatch!) to your shirt with a safety pin and stick the cable needle in it. I LOVE using a cable needle. It may be because I’m a Continental knitter, but I find it much less fussy than knitting without one.

    • Great idea! On a related note, I’ve recently started using a spare Appleseed coaster from the MDK field guide (Merry Making #8) to hold spare needles – for example, when I’m switching between 2 needle sizes on a project. And it (the coaster) is already sitting on my table.

  • When knitting a seamed garment, I leave a long tail when casting on. I then use this tail to seam the pieces when finishing the garment.

  • Two hacks: Try the spin cycle (no rinse) to remove water from washed items before blocking.
    When doing colorwork, thread each color through the metal loops of separate binder clips clipped to the edge your yarn bowl or sturdy project bag to keep the yarn from tangling.

    • I always use the spin cycle on my washer (top loading, no agitator) to remove the water before blocking. I find it much better than rolling in a towel and my blocked knits dry so much faster

    • I love binder clips for holding ends to the yarn ball, clipping tools to the side of my yarn project basket (cable needle slides in the small gap when not being used) anf of course, holding my pattern charts to a handy board for easy refernce without putting down my knitting, but I hadn’t thought of using them to keep colorwork yarns from tangling. Thank you for that!

      All these ideas are really creative. Let’s do this kind of sharing again soon!

  • Sometimes old fashioned ideas are still applicable — like using a paper and pencil to keep track of multi row pattern repeats. I write down 1 through whatever the last row is. Then tick them off as I go. I never have to worry about where I left off — or the mental stress of saying “Just let me finish three more rows of this pattern”! Really takes a load off my mind as I would rather enjoy my knitting than stressing about it.

    • I do this too! I got a multi pack bundle of mini spiral notebooks at Sam’s club so I can have one in every possible knitting project bag…and I have lots of them.

    • I have a small pencil in my project bag and just laying around in the house including my night stand

    • I do this too! Usually writing on the pattern I’ve printed out. Much easier to pick up and start–knowing exactly where I left off.

      • Me too! Mark it on my printed out pattern. I write all my notes on there and tape the ball band & a piece of yarn on it also. Then it goes in a 3-ring binder. (I’ve only been knitting about 2 years so just one binder so far!)

        • What a good idea! Would prevent the mystery much later of wondering what fiber you used to make a gift, or the things in your own closet….

    • When using a paper pattern, I stick the needle into the paper after each set of repeat rounds. Then it’s easy to count the little holes.

      • Love this! No more fiddling to find a pencil!

    • Me too. Love paper and pencil. Another benefit I discovered when making others of a shawl with different yarn is to see how many pattern repeats I did, to judge the likely finished length.

      • Oh, and a good use for all the golf pencils I find lying around the house.

    • I keep a knitting journal. It’s a small, pretty binder/organizer that I keep in my bag. It lets me add paper, a small ruler, a pencil, stick in pockets, etc.

      I write down each project, the yarn, needle sizes, start/finish dates, and any changes I make to the piece. I also tape a small snip of the project’s yarn to the page. So the book also becomes a scrapbook of my knitting.

      This book has also occasionally helped me track down needles or row counters held hostage by an abandoned project.

      • Someone at my LYS once asked how many pairs of socks I had knit. No idea, so looked at my current knitting journal – that one had 42 completed pairs!

    • Absolutely love using a notepad! I also use it for multiple cable patterns that say useless things like “continue in pattern, working across chart A, then chart B, then chart D, then chart A” where all of those charts have different row repeats… As a prep step, I write out the row numbers, then write which row of each chart I will need to do on that row. Then I just check each row off as I go.

    • I do that too!!

    • Related to this, I knit a lot of shawls and a frequent instruction for an increase row is something like “Repeat the last two rows 7 times, until you have 112 stitches.” I use a post-it note (because I love post-its, but any piece of paper will do!) to list the stitch count for each of the repeats. Then I cross them off as I finish each repeat. That way, I can verify that I have the right stitch count and the right number of repeats. You have to do a tiny bit of math to know how many stitches you’re supposed to have after each repeat, of course.

      • I do something similar! In any pattern with loads of increases or decreases, I make a chart/grid showing stitch count or I pencil in the number at the end of each row in the pattern or chart.

  • Patty also taught us to use scarp yarn to keep track of rows in our knitting (“cuz you can’t measure your project while in the needles” ) so I use that sliced bread plastic clasp thingy as a bobbin so the thread does not get yanked out. I also use it for any annoying long loose ends like cast on tail.

    • oooh, that’s such a good idea. True confession, I was using a vertical running marker on my Palm Canyon and the scrap yarn was too slippery and when I shoved it in my knitting bag, it DID come out. GRRR. I put it on a tapestry needle and brought it back through the bottom and tied it around (not very easily) my cast on edge, but your trick is WAY better.

      • I loop the beginning of the running count thread back thru the bottom row to anchor it and use paper embroidery thread bobbins to wind up the excess thread and yarn tails. Of you have a big project need longer yarn , kumihimo bobbins work great too.

    • Great idea! Now that’s a hack worthy of MacGyver!

  • Knitters Pride makes a magnetic knitters necklace that is very handy for cable needles or metal stitch markers (included) I treated myself to one at a yarn crawl last year. Bonus…it’s a really pretty piece of jewelry

  • I’ve had a terrible time keeping track of all my circular needles and often ended up buying sizes I already owned. So I went to an office supply store and bought a file case – a pretty one with a big handle and a brass looking closure. Inside, instead of alphabetizing files or papers I have numbered the sections and keep all of those circular needles in order. Now it’s easy to find the #9, 24”. I’ve even gotten good at putting them back when I’m done.

    • I love this idea!

      • Office supply stores are knitters’ gold! I bought a set of clear plastic document envelopes with velcro fastenings – all different colors – so each size of circular and dpns needs gets its own envelope. A sticker on the outside tells me that I have size 6, and the different lengths that I own. (I found the “circular needle storage” cases made me wind up the needles too tightly).

    • I use a BassPro worm binder.

      • Me too!

      • The Bass Pro Worm binder is the best hack ever. Been using one for years. It holds not only all my interchangeable needles and cords but nearly every other knitting tool I own.

    • Awesome! Thank you!!!

  • For decades now, I have used bobby pins to hold the pieces of my sweater together as I sew the seams (and yes, I still prefer sweaters with seams; always have, always will). The little crimps in the bobby pin hold the knitted fabric pieces together better than anything else on the market. They are inexpensive and available almost everywhere. ( And, as someone else suggested, I store a lot of the spares in the crack of my couch)

    • I’m definitely going to try this! Great tip thanks!

    • Love this idea. No more sticking myself on quilters pins!!!

  • I just finished my first Sock Madness, and have been trying to find ways to knit faster. The most efficient tip I found was this: if you are knitting with interchangeable circular needles, use a size smaller needle for the left (non-gauge) needle. It makes the stitches slide more smoothly and therefore quickly.

    • Yes! I keep a number of interchangeables with different size needles, Less to carry around (l’m all over the place), easier to knit with

      • I knit a LOT of hats and mittens that I donate to a couple of places and I generally have at least one in progress since it’s easy grab and go knitting. To avoid pulling out a tapestry needle to draw up stitches at the top (and b/c I generally knit a 1/2 dozen or so hats or mitts and then do all of the weaving in of ends at one go), I “knit” the remaining stitches but pull the tail thru each stitch instead of completing the stitch. Quick, easy and I don’t have to crawl under the bleachers to retrieve yet another dropped tapestry needle. Also, I like tiny Goody hair elastics (the neon, silicone ones) to use for stitch markers. They’re inexpensive so I don’t worry about losing one and there are several colors to mark repeats or BOR, and I can also use them to bind up an unwieldy yarn tail, bundle dpns, tie off my braid in windy weather…

    • Wow, I have to try this! This is a productive change in thinking for me — “non-gauge” needle… Thank you.

  • I knit with Knit Companion on my iPad for my patterns. The case I use allows the iPad to stand up with the magnetic portion of the close in a convenient place to put light bulb stitch markers so they stay better rather than traveling along the floor.

    • Yes, I often forget it’s magnetic until I find some errant stitch markers stuck to mine!

      And KC is the HACK of all Hacks, isn’t it? Magic markers, custom charts, and other gems.

  • okay smartie pants. First of all, cabling w/o a cable needle is EASY, second of all have MANY hacks that would make you think “really, that’s not very profesh”,
    My favorite thing to save are those dome top smoothie cups with the big straw holes. Wash them out and keep them in your car cup holder (yes, I’m a New Yorker with a car), they make the BEST road trip yarn feeders. Save those little plastic clips that comes on bakery bags, they make great emergency bobbins. When you forgot your tape measure and you need to measure something, a US dollar is 6″ long and 2 1/2″ high and a quarter is a pretty good 1″ measure.

    And Ann is the perfect teachers pet.

    xxoo
    me

    • More ways to measure if you don’t have a measuring tape: The cuff of a sock is the length of your index finger to the second joint. The length of the leg of a sock before you start the heel flap (or put in the scrap yarn for an afterthought heel) is the distance between the top of your index finger and the end of your thumb when your hand is held vertically and stretched out. This is also the length of a hat before you start the top-of-the-head decreases; if it’s a child’s hat, use the child’s hand.

      • I need a diagram of this hat-until-decreases hand measure thing. I read and think I understand, but I think that measurement is only about 3 1/2″ on my hand, so not actually right for the hat. But I also just made FOUR hats to get one right for the hubs and now I want to make a lot more and I love the idea of this trick!

  • I have a safety pin in the bottom of my piece in case I lose my cable needle, drop a stitch, lose my stitch marker, or need to get up in the middle of a fiddly bit (yay, squishy mail, boo porch pirates)

    • I don’t know if I have any knitting hacks. I do, however, love a curved cable needle. Because it is curved, I can let the stitches hang on it, even if it is only for 2 and 1/2 seconds, until I am ready to use them. The thing is, though, curved cable needles are getting harder to find and I keep losing the ones I get.

      Anyway, stay well stay safe. It was great seeing you ladies and Patty on”Ewe” tube!

  • I’m going to print these comments so I remember all these great tricks. A book idea: “The MDK Book of Great Knitting Hacks”.

    • Ooooh, meta-hack!

  • I put my ball of yarn in a paper bag then scrunch the neck around the yarn. The balll can now fall on the floor and not run anywhere. If it’s a due lot that comes off it now on the inside of the bag. At the end of the bags life recycle!

    • Love it! I am forever chasing balls before my cat can get to them

    • ooo! I love this. Now I know what I’m gonna do with all those left over lunch sacks now that my son just graduated!

    • I use a plastic produce bag, turn it inside out if you don’t want to rinse it, close the top with a bread bag “bobbin”, snip a small corner off, and feed your yarn thru! I have cats too!

  • These hacks could be compiled into a handy 2021 calendar, with proceeds going to some or all of the entities you have been highlighting. I’d buy several!

    • Love this!

    • I’d definitely buy that calendar

    • Great idea!!

    • Excellent idea!!

    • same! Sign me up for one! 🙂

    • Great gift idea for knitting friends, after you’ve purchased your own copy!

    • Yes!!! Great idea!!!

  • My sister and I are The Rainey Sisters and have had a blog for years. We share our tips and tricks on our Ravelry group of the same name.

    • Love them. and save in my favorites on Ravelry in their own bundle.

  • When a pattern tells you to put X stitches on scrap yarn or a spare needle, I use the very thin silky ribbon you can buy on a spool at the fabric store. The thickness of it keeps the stitches in shape, and because it’s slippery, it’s much easier to transfer the stitches back to a needle when needed. I often cut the ribbon twice as long and safety-pin the ends together, or tie a stitch marker on each end, to keep it from accidentally sliding out. A cute little Altoids tin keeps the ribbon(s) safe for next time 😉

    • PS I also always have a nail file in my notions bag, which has really come in handy these past few months! No yarn snagging on a bad nail…

    • AWESOME IDEA!!! Thank you Toni. Time to go shopping ; )

  • Another use for swatches: You can unravel them and use them for seaming. Great for those times you’re playing Yarn Chicken.

  • One of my hacks is to place a solid white dish or tea towel on my lap when knitting with a dark color. The high contrast makes it easier to see my work.

    Also, when I am knitting the sleeve in to a sweater I place the sweater in to a plastic bag so that as knit the sleeve and rotate my knitting the body of the sweater stays nice and compact and doesn’t get dragged around my lap.

    • For a larger project like an afghan, I put the long knitted portion in a pillow case…same idea as yours for a bigger project.

  • When pinning flat pieces together for seaming, I use the teeny tiny, itty bitty, very wee indeed Baby hair clips. They measure 1/2” long and come in packs of 24 at my local dollar store. Insert smirk emoji here.

  • When I knit Portuguese style, I found I can use the 1″ hair clips, the “alligator” type, to clip the yarn on my shirt. It comes off quickly if you have to answer the door or something and they are very inexpensive. I have found it is secure enough for my regular knitting tension. I do have one sweater I’m knitting very tightly, and for that I have a “store bought” clip with a hook.

  • My cable needle is usually stuck in my hair; near the hairline at the front, since my hair is probably in a ponytail or a bun.

    My favorite knitting hack is using small drawstring bags to manage the yarn when I’m knitting socks (2 at a time, 1 long circular); can loop the drawstring over pinky fingers as I knit (or on buttons, desk knobs if I’m on a zoom call, whatever) and it keep things much more organized. I generally knit toe-up, so when the socks are big enough, can just pop the bag into the toe of the sock!

    • I prefer using center pull balls or cakes as I knit, but the loose end annoys me, as does the way the ball collapses and can tangle as you near the end. I wasn’t satisfied with rubber bands or other commercial products so I found that cutting an old knee-hi hose into shorter tubes worked pretty well…I would slip the tube around the ball, with the center pull emerging from one end. Then I found out about tubular stretch and net bandaging, thanks to my sister, a nurse, and that’s all I use now. The tubes come in different sized widths, are washable/reusable, and are available online. The smallest sizes work well to hold your yarn ball together…just cut a piece to the length you need and slip over your ball.

      • The stretchy cuff of old socks work well too. Cut off the feet before ditching an old pair and repurpose the cuff for yarn cake control.

  • When knitting sleeves on a “no-seam” sweater, swaddle the sweater in a t-shirt and leave only the sleeve you’re working on sticking out. This makes it much easier to turn the work and the sweater body doesn’t get dirty, etc. while working the sleeves. I usually put a rubber band around the t-shirt or use a big binder clip to keep it closed.

    • Brilliant. And the plastic bag idea above. w

  • My fav cable needle is a nice, wooden DPN. It’s longer than a cable needle, so I can anchor it in the knitted fabric, so it’s secure while I knit.

  • I use a small stitch holder. I’ve used the same one for many years and I only use that stitch holder for cables. And it also serves the purpose of being my row counter. When I put my knitting down I run it through down the purl stitches the number of rows I have completed on my cable pattern. When I return to work I know what row to start on and where my “cable needle” is.

  • I wear Rx reading glasses when I knit, so I have an upright glasses holder on the table next to me. I keep a small steel crochet hook in there for emergency…easy one handed grab. You can also get the double upright holders and keep any necessities (needles, pens, DPN, crochet hook, small scissors) in one side and your glasses in the other if you are concerned about scratches. I also bought a pair of plain magnifying readers from the drug store in 3.25 magnification…I will put these on over my Rx glasses for that little extra umph when I’m struggling with mistakes or dark colors. (looks silly, but I don’t think my cat cares how I look.)

  • After winding a hank of yarn, I slide it over a piece of pvc pipe. Keeps my yarn nice and neat.

  • When I used to work cables, I had long hair that I was in a pony tail or bun and I used to just stick it up there. I also used a decorative stick or plain chopstick. Now that I have short hair, I just stick the needle behind my ear like how Patty was doing

  • I keep my tiny, frequently used tools (stitch markers, darning needles, cable needle, small scissors) on a small, sticky mat from Bead Smith. The mat fits neatly in a rectangle soap dish, keeps tiny items in place and is easy to rinse and dry when it gets dusty. Other tools (pen, nail clipper, measuring tape) are in pretty glass pickle dishes that I find at thrift stores. Usually they are on the coffee table in front of me but both are easy to swoop up and tuck in a drawer if needed.

    • I only use smooth metal stitch markers, so I bought mechanics’ magnetized trays to hold them. They also attract scissors and tapestry needles.

  • I knit my socks cuff down, two at a time by magic loop. To keep the separate balls of yarn from tangling, I use a Ziplock plastic bag. I snip a tiny hole on each side edge of the bag to feed the stand of yarn through. The balls don’t twist around each other, they don’t roll away from me, and they don’t become dirty no matter where they get stored.

    • I use a mesh bag with snaps to keep my two balls in one place. This works great for color work too. I use a center pull ball and put the strands in the gaps between two snaps.

  • I almost always have my hair pulled back in a ponytail or a bun. I stick my cable needle in the elastic tie. Stay put until I need it. (Unless of course you forget it’s there and go to bed. However, it was still in the elastic tie when I woke up the next morning.)

  • If your knitting gets twisted you can always cut it open and untwist. Once when I was knitting fair isle work after joining the work in round I realized it was twisted (it didn’t have a steek). I cut the work open, untwisted, and sewed it back up later. It looked fine.

  • I leave my cable needle or crochet hook between the temple of my glasses and my head.

  • I have started using an I Cord for the neck cast on for sweaters. It makes a beautiful edge, and the yarn does not strain as it does with other cast ons. I also use a knitted on I cord to finish off cuffs. The cuffs have a nice finish that matches the neck cast on.

    When I needed a second yarn bowl, my husband took two large, clean cottage cheese cartons, He put a layer of smooth pebbles in one carton and placed the second carton inside the first. This works as well as my expensive ceramic yarn bowl.

  • What a great idea! I don’t wear a watch though and so have to just stick the cable needle in my work, at the approximate location of the next cable… not nearly as good as a watch band! I wonder if a hair elastic Or elastic band would work as well…. I must try it on my next cable project. Thanks for sharing!

  • When knitting lace, I use this trick to insert a lifeline a row. I use interchangeable needles so they have a tiny hole where you insert the “key” to tighten… I thread a length of dental floss through this hole (like a needle and thread) and simply knit the next row and voila you have a perfectly placed lifeline! Also… if you are using stitch markers be sure you use a removable style so you can remove them from your lifeline as you come to them on your next row.

    • Lifelines in lace work are critical, just like actually knitting a swatch before starting a project.

    • I do this, and it works like a charm.
      I loosely knot pieces of scrap yarn as my markers, so they can be untied or cut and replaced.

  • I use a small stitch holder for cables and pin in into the knitted fabric of my project. No crawling on the floor needed.

  • I use highlighter tape on my pattern. As I knit and move it I mark repeat rows on it with a pencil.

    • I use the highlighter function in my pdf reader as I keep my pattterns on my phone and/or tablet.
      The highlight can be deleted if I need to frog.
      The comment tool helps for notes like changes to the pattern, – rates of increasing etc. because of gauge differences etc.

  • I keep the plastic “clamshell” containers that apples, pears, and peaches from Costco uses for packaging. When I have any yarn left from projects, I pop it in one of these. I group by weight and color. Then when I need a mini skein or small amount for color work I can immediately find what I need.

  • I have an abundance of circular needles that I keep in a nice big basket. Trouble was, even though I kept them in their original packaging, rummaging through my entire collection became a pain whenever I needed a particular one. I know there are so many cute needle cases out there, but frankly I would prefer to spend my dollars on yarn or patterns! I organized my needles by size, popped them into a quart or gallon sized ziplock bag and labeled the front of the bag with the size. Now, when I want a certain size, I simply have to look for the correct ziplock and grab what I need. Not pretty, but it saves time and works for me!

    • That’s exactly what I do, too! I have a pretty hinged fairly large metal box (it once contained lebkuchen) that I keep them all in.

    • I did this too and then punched holes in the bags to organize them in a 3 ring binder. So professional looking!

      • Have done this too, when organized.

  • I know how to do without one but I prefer using a cable needle. It is my knitting routine. That is the GREAT thing about knitting–there are a variety of ways for a number of techniques.

  • Here’s an oldie-but-goodie: I use a document cover (from the office supply store) to hold my pattern. I generally put the current page on one side and the chart on the other. I also love to use highlighter tape to keep my place in a chart. It is really easy to move on a document cover — usually I can use the same piece of tape for more than one project (not at the same time, of course!).

    • Ditto, then the swatch goes in, a ball band, a length of yarn for repairs and out goes in one of those 3-ring binders. And if you ever feel like you’re just not productive enough, a trip back through the binder will cheer you up.

  • Prefer a short dpn for a cable needle and just stick it in my finished work area.

    • Thanks to all of you creative Knitters from a girl who earned a D in high school Home Ec

  • I have a small bag (like 6″x3″) that is my tool bag. I have a little of everything in there so that I always have a cable needle, row counter, etc. and I move it to whatever project bag I’m using. Also, I keep my yarn ball in a ziploc bag with the top almost closed. Keeps the yarn clean and tangle free. For small projects, the project can go in there as well. I use a v-shaped cable needle and keep it behind my ear, but I love the watchband hack. DPNs fit beautifully in pencil boxes or cases. And sheet protectors for paper patterns–you can use highlight tape on them without ruining your pattern, and they go into binders so you can find them again.

  • I have a lot of notions but find I always use the same ones. I have a metal pencil case/tin that holds everything I need: mini scissors, mini Altoid tins with stitch markers, repair tool, measuring tape and the thinnest needle/gauge ruler (Chiaogoo) etc. I put an adhesive magnetic strip inside the lid. The strip holds a couple of tapestry needles, and a handful of metal stitch markers (the rest are in the mini Altoid tins). So nice to not have to root around for them.

    I also make my own yarn bras out of those plastic soap-saver scrubby things you can get at the grocery store. I undo them, giving a long narrow tube of mesh and then cut them into a few lengths, knot the ends and voila: Yarn Bras.

    For my fixed circular needles, I store them in an accordian style “receipt-filing” plastic envelopish thing. Mine is around 9″ wide and 5″ tall. I keep the needles in the original needle packages and store the packages by size in the different sections.

  • When I a m without a tape measure i can usually get hold of a standard size piece of paper like the paper my pattern is printed on. The standard measurements for that are 8 and 1/2 by 11. It’s not perfect but it gives you a pretty good idea of where you are if you hold the paper against your piece. If I don’t have a row counter i will count rows by hand and use a marker or a piece of scrap yarn in the last row counted. When you count again it saves you from having to start from row 1.

  • I think my favorite knitting tool hack is the bead sorter I bought to separate my stitch markers! I hate having them all mixed together, this one from Michael’s hold my Chiagoo round circle markers and my Clover locking markers so well!
    https://www.michaels.com/bead-landing-round-bead-box/10152227.html

    I also keep a roll of DMC cotton heavier embroidery cord in my knitting bag for life line use. It just fits through the hole in Chiaogoo interchangeables and is thicker than thread and doesn’t split.

  • Cannot believe I’m sharing this, but…….as a buxom broad, I tend to put my cable needle in my cleavage….right where the infamous “lift and separate” function extolled by Playtex lives. I recognize that this is not a hack for everyone, but it works for me…..haven’t lost a cable needle yet and it’s readily available when I need it!

  • Firstly “ Patty-esque or Atherleysian“ has me chuckling.
    My hacks: the coloured rings that come with electric toothbrush heads make perfect stitch markers; I use a dry wipe marker on a document sleeve to cross out completed rows and mark stitch counts (I do a blob on every fifth stitch of plain knitting so I don’t have to follow a line of plain stitches on the chart) for charted patterns, especially lace. Easy to rub out when you have to rip too; and I use a cloth pencil case for all the bits and bobs like cable needles, tape measure, crochet hooks etc.

  • A coffee stirrer will work too in a pinch

  • Eons ago I sewed a bunch of cloth hang-inside-the-closet-door shoe bags—this may be an item that is totally unknown today—and now I have one nailed to the inside of the door to the hutch where I keep my yarn. It’s 5 pockets across and four down. I keep circular needles in these in ascending size. The bottom row holds crochet hooks, needle gauges, stitch holders etc. and DPNs all thrown in together. Until I read these replies I never thought to put the matching DPNs in with the circs. Duh. This is going to be a game-changer.

  • Genius! I always wear a watch which probably gives a clue to my age LOL

  • I use a sock for a yarn bra. Depending on the size of the ball, I can choose anything from a tube sock to an ankle sock. Of course the elasticity of the sock is a factor as well. And of course I NEVER use a hand knit sock!

  • My first knuckle on my thumbs are 1 inch from my nail tip. I use this length to measure projects when I forgot the tape measure.

  • For cable needles – you need a Cocoknits Maker’s Keep! (big magnet bracelet) Holds snips and metal stitch markers, too. ; )

  • I knit with circular needles exclusively. Before starting a new project, I heat water in my electric kettle. I dip the flexible cable into the hot water while holding the needles. When I take them right out, I pull it out to full length to relax the tight curl from storing.

    • Brilliant, Meg! I’ve been struggling with this. Thank you!

    • I do something similar with new, circular needles. I have a small pot with a “pouring lip” & lid that always sits on the stove. To straighten out the loopy, plastic “wire” between the two needles, I boil up an inch or so of water in the covered pot. As the small stream of steam starts coming out the pouring lip opening, I grasp one needle in either hand, pull the plastic “wire” taunt between, and run the plastic wire back and forth through the steam until the heat sets it nice, straight & unkinked. Your hands (and face) don’t get any steam burns this way and the plastic wire sets in a minute or so, if that. Pro “non-tip”: don’t bother trying this with a hand dryer in a women’s room, it doesn’t work a whit! Nor did the vaguely hot water coming from the faucet at that sports arena. Nevertheless, I persevered with my new, lace project ‘cause it would have been a long sports game without something to knit!

  • I keep my wooden cable needle behind my ear — like a pencil. Always can find it!

  • Those little coloured plastic rings that come on replacement heads for electric toothbrushes make great stitch markers. They come in assorted colours and after you have replaced your toothbrush head a few times you’ll have a fine collection. And the wee lidded plastic container that holds the gloves in packs of hair colour is perfect to keep the little suckers in.

  • I was determined to take the Eddy Wrap (with all those colors) on a trip. I took a piece of cardboard, punched a hole for each color of yarn, threaded each ball through its slot, and placed all of the yarn in a bag with the “sieve” on top. I could pull the amount needed from each color without getting everything tangled. Worked when I got home, too, and placed everything in a basket. (Binder clips around a bowl sounds like a great idea too.)

  • Thank you.
    This Zoom Q & A was so fantastic.
    It is very generous to give up your time and share your knowledge with us.
    Cheers, Karen.

  • I knit socks using ML and TAAT, toe up. When the needle is at the starting position, I twist one of the needle points between my thumb and forefinger. This crosses the cables one or two times on the other end. This helps eliminate some of the tension on the yarn between the last stitch on one cable and the first stitch on the second.

    • I do this too! But I find that I still need to work the first stitch very tightly to not ladder. Not a fan of Magic Loop, but I would probably like it more if I used longer needles with more flexible cables haha

      • Try ChiaoGoo circulars. They’re so flexible and smooth, and the cables have no memory… that is, they don’t hold a coil after being stored, so you never have to try to force the cable to relax. Total gamechangers.

        • Agree 100%—they are game changers! I use only 40” ChiaoGoo needles and Magic Loop for everything.

  • When I long tail cast-on, I wrap the free end in a butterfly (?), so that it freely re-twists. And depending on the project, near the end of the skein I measure out the yarn for each row and put in a slip knot loop. Then if I looks like I’ll run out at a place I’d rather not, I can switch skeins a few rows early.

  • I also do not own a cable needle. Mostly I do not do cables. However, back in the day when I was doing more of them, my knitting friends and I used to use a Bobby pin instead of a cable needle.Not only does it hold the stitches more securely, but when you are not using it, you can clip it into your knitting somewhere and just keep going.While it is not impossible to lose, at least you have a relatively secure way to stash it in between those moments when you actually need it.

  • If I’m casting on a LOT of stitches and then joining to knit the round, I clip wooden clothespins to the cast on row and make sure they are all pointing in the same way before I commit to the the dreaded “join, being careful not to twist.” They settle down that twisty first row or two (especially on finer gauge yarns) before the join.

  • I enjoyed watching the 3 of you yesterday on the “Tube of You” and yes you & Ann were totally there for comic relief;) I’m the one that holds her cable needle in her mouth! Lol Actually I use a plastic tapestry needle to cable with and if I set it down and walk away, one of my #helpfulknittingcats starts carrying it around and loses it for me. My fave knitting hack is using interchangeable circs, sans cable, for I cord. I don’t “do” dpns!

    • Patty, I watched this yesterday and still want to know the answer about moths. Did you ever find the information Carson Deemers gave you?

      • I, too, am pining for this information – clearly a step above the (mostly rage-driven) measures I’m currently using. Loved the tip about shaking everything out, too. I sometimes toss in a no-heat dryer – not sure how much it helps.

  • Another WendyKnits here, and I also knit one row before joining in the round. It’s a game-changer!

    • I like to keep a small accurate scale with me in a notions pouch it’s about 4” by 2.75” and comes in quite handy. I like to watch people sharing their notions bags on YouTube that is how I found this hack. Another hack I’ve seen is saving yarn scraps to either stuff projects that need stuffing (toys, ornaments) and for making pom-poms. The range of colors in the scraps make for a colorful pom-pom.

      • Oo, I love the scrappy pompom idea! I keep my scraps in a jar on a shelf. . . . It’s like a cross between sand art and a time capsule. But it’s getting full and I find it hard to toss all those tiny knitty mementos. Thank you!

  • I have used the idea of knitting one or two rows before joining Magic Loop and it is usually useful. However I found it most helpful to follow the instructions exactly as illustrated in the Magic Loop Handbook when I was new to the technique. Unfortunately, I lost that handbook years ago and without that visual I sometimes run into trouble. After dividing your stitches on the two separate lengths of the cable, Concentrate on arranging them flat on a table with all the loops facing inside the circle and the working yarn running from the hand you will knit it with depending on your knitting style. Off the top of my head I think as a continental knitter that would be on the right needle. Switch if if you have laid the work down opposite what you needed . This is where the illustrations come in handy. Then pick up those needles in exactly that position and start knitting. If you pick up the needles and find you have to reverse them in the air, that’s where you can end up twisting them. Hope that helps. Chloe

  • I probably should have said at the end to pick up your needles and join your circle, THEN start knitting. Also tug gently each time you come to the join to prevent laddering. Some yarns and/or needles are easier than others. Chloe

  • My Cable needle – is a big tapestry needle tied with a loop of slippery yarn to the body of my work. Slip stitches onto the needle and hold, then slip back onto left needle when needed. I swear I got this tip from MDK originally.

  • This is not revolutionary for sure, but just yesterday I got tired of having to jam my scrap length of yarn into a needle to hold the live stitches on the sides of my fussy cut blanket squares – it just felt like so much extra work, after finishing each square! A pack of pipe cleaners was nearby for a kids craft project, and I grabbed them and started sliding the live stitches onto it, instead; one pipe cleaner for each side of the square. It’s saving me so much time, and still keep the live stitches safe and neat! All for the cost of $1 for a pack of them.

    • Mind. Blown.

  • I hate having to wrangle a printed pattern. If I can, I will print the pattern on stiff card and make a tag. Depending on what I am knitting, I will hang it from the knitting or from the needle. If I am knitting something with a lot of stitch markers I will print reminders to fit a small tag, then hang it from my knitting in place of a stitch marker.

  • I have 3 tips. 1- Use a rubber band to hold your needles together when putting them down for awhile. My mailman conveniently keeps me supplied. They are also handy to use to tighten your interchangeable needles.

    2- When I receive a package in one of the plastic mailers, I cut the top (carefully), empty the yarn, er the contents, & fold the bag to use as a trash bag beside my chair or knitting machines.

    3- I save the paper receipt from mailed packages, cut them into fourths, and use them for scrap paper. I figure yardage of projects, make tic marks for rows, or grocery lists!

    I use a ring that I always wear for holding my cable needle. You could use a child’s ponytail elastic.

  • On a biking trip (low luggage) I once needed some jewelry to bling up a plain dress for a dinner out… so I took the skien of beauuuutiful variegated lace-weight silk I’d just bought, put a loose knot in the bottom and wore it out as a necklace!

  • Koigu KPPPM yarn is speckled but I don’t think it’s superwash

  • I find when working ribs of knit and purl (of whatever combination) that the column of knit stitches right after a purl stitch is often wonky. Used to drive me mad. Then I found the solution. Just wrap the yarn the opposite way on that knit stitch – that is, clockwise instead of anti. The yarn doesn’t have to travel so far this way and it gets rid of that annoying loose bit. On the next pass you will find that stitch is seated backwards, just work into the back of it. You will be so proud of your neat ribs! I’m sure I’m not the first to “unvent” this but it’s worth sharing.

  • Or for people who don’t wear a watch anymore, knit a cabled wristband to stick the needle through.

  • Not sure if this is a hack or not , but the best timesaver I ever did was to put my entire stash in Ravelry ! I can easily browse and see if I have the right yarn /color/weight for a project without digging through storage tubs !

    • Yes! (It helps if you start early in your ‘career’, as I did, of course…but SO worth the time!

      The one thing I didn’t do initially but am now adding in is the location. Though I have yarns grouped, there are lots of partials that could be in a number of places, and by numbering my bins/boxes, it makes it faster to find things.

      • Location is the essential info for the Ravelry stash! I devoted an afternoon during my Christmas vacation to sorting and adding a bin number to my stash entires. I love using clear storage tubs so I can see the contents, but inevitably skeins hide in the mix so those bin numbers are useful.

  • Stolen from Techknitter, but COWYAK is awesome – Cast On Waste Yarn And Knit – easiest way to get edges to match.
    Also when knitting with DPNs I shift 1 stitch on every needle as I work around to avoid ladders forming.

    • YES! Never thought of this. Thanks for the tip.

  • I stick my cable needle through a cable further down on the work and it’s there the next time I do a cable row

  • I use a removable marker to mark the first-ish stitch on the right side of the cast on. This gives me a clear place from which to start counting rows.
    I also use a pair of removable markers to mark the increase or decrease rows (or cable twist rows): I clip them both on the first Action row, then clip the second one on the second Action row, clip the first on the third Action row, and so on. I can easily see how many rows between Actions should the project languish before I pick it up again.

  • I keep my stitch markers in a pill reminder case. Easy to keep the different sizes and kinds separated.

  • When a pattern says “knit to 4 inches above split” or “above armhole” or something like that, I put a removable marker in the split row, in the middle, and use that to measure from. It’s easier than measuring from the edge, which rolls, and you can easily see exactly what row you did the “split” on.

    • I knit a lot of mittens. I use the cast on yarn tail to hold thumb stitches until I’m ready to do the thumb.

  • Binder clips are great stitch marker holders that can be clipped to a bag handle or wherever so your markers are always handy and neat.

    • I meant binder rings, sorry about that typo.

  • Easiest way I’ve ever found for a cable needle: use a tapestry needle threaded with double yarn and tied onto the project. It’s always there. Never falls out and gets lost on the plane or in the car or between sofa cushions.

  • For neater yarn storage, I buy a bag of closed-end coin wrappers at the office supply store. Then I wind a new skein of yard on my ball winder. As I take the ball off the winder, I insert the coin wrapper in the center. I roll up the ball band and put it inside. When I’m ready to knit with this yarn, I take out the coin wrapper and pull from the inside. This way, I can identify the yarn months (or even years) after I buy it. (Wrappers for nickels and dimes work better than the ones for quarters and pennies. Plus, if you save your change, you’ll use lots more wrappers for quarters and pennies.

    • Thank you for this! I’ve tried so many methods for keeping the ball band with the wound cake, but nothing has been completely satisfactory. I think this hack will do the job nicely!

  • I use interchangeable needles, & when I knit in the round, I use a “feed” needle tip a couple of sizes smaller than the “working” needle. Not having to “unbunch” stitches between the cord & the feed needle means I can knit faster & more evenly.

    • Love this! I have so many sets of interchangeable circulars, rejected because the stitches bunch up in an annoying way! Now I can get my swivelling Chia Goos, lovely in every other way, back into action. (The best to date: Knitters Pride square wooden needles.)

  • I love doing the occasional complicated lace project. I have found that the easiest way for me to keep my place is to write down each row on an single 4 x 5 card. As I finish the row I put that card to the back of the stack and my next row is on top ready to go. That way if I have to put down my knitting for some reason I can come back to it and know exactly which row I’m on. If I’m working from a chart, I highlight each row as I finish it. Both ways really reduce the hunting time for me.

  • Point protectors are inexplicably expensive. I’m good at losing or mislaying them. I use plastic wall anchors which come in various sizes and colours to protect needle tips. They can be cut down with a sharp knife or chisel if they’re too long. The workshop offers a number of good knitting tools.

    • Wine corks are my new favorite point protectors!

  • I spent an embarrassing long time remembering how to save this post. Wonderful!

  • When traveling I sometimes find that I need to row count but forgot to pack any kind of row tracker (and I hate using my phone for this). An easy solution is to use a stitch marker. For example, on row one, the marker is placed after the very first stitch. On row 2, the marker is placed after the first 2 stitches, and so on. Yes, you can read the rows in your knitting, but I find this to be quicker and easier.

  • Prompted by an article years ago in a knitting magazine, sorry don’t remember which one, I purchased on Amazon a plastic box, measures 7″ x 4.125″ x 1.5″, comes with 6 movable dividers, of which I use only 2, and is sectioned into 3 long compartments. Product is called Flambeau Outdoors IDS 300, suggested use is fishing flies. However, in this box, I have 10 crochet hooks, 4 stitch holders, 2 vials of tapestry needles, 3 garter stitch laddering devices, a small pair of embroidery scissors, and in the 2 divided off sections, at the ends, at least 30 stitch markers of varying types. I am on my second box, the little plastic tabs which hold it closed wore out on the first one. I purchased the one I have now in 2018, and it’s holding up nicely. When I need to get up and go, I throw it in a bag with yarn and needles, and I have everything I need. I appreciate everyone’s tips, and the content of this lovely site.

  • I like to be able to refer back to a swatch and know exactly the project, needle(s), yarn name, washed or not, etc. So I write it all on a “plain manila shipping tag” below and tie it to the swatch. Handy referencewhen considering options for future projects.

    https://www.staples.ca/products/169706-en-staples-plain-shipping-tags-4-34-x-2-38-manila-100pack

  • When I’m making something complicated, I make my own stitch markers out of yarn and plastic kiddie alphabet beads. I can customize the markers so I know exactly what that particular marker is supposed to remind me – numbers of pattern repeats, raglans, a particular stitch, border, beginning of round, or even just make 1 or k2tog.

  • This is weeks too late but I’m adding to be part of the record:

    To hold live stitches or for a lifeline I use brightly colored nylon string or twine – neon actually. It’s strong so it won’t break and so slippery nothing sticks to it. So it’s easy to thread on the needle and to pull through the stitches and then out again when the time comes. If I am better organized than usual I just leave the twine on a spare needle inserted into the work already knitted, ready when next needed.

  • During the Q&A a moths were mentioned and a reference to something to put in a ziplock bag – can you please follow up on what that might be? Want to be rid of those pesky critters…