5 Knitting Tips You Need to Know

5 Knitting Tips You Need to Know


5KnittingTipsYouNeedtoKnow-trafalgarbooksDON’T YOU LOVE IT when someone who has mastered a craft shares a trade secret? Something that ensures your creation comes out with the polish that comes with years of practiced expertise? Yeah, we do, too, which is why we have collected five great tips from some of our top authors.



It’s a traditional saying in parts of Scandinavia that if you put aside knitting in the middle of a row, a sailor will drown! (Much like stepping on a crack is said to break a person’s back, in parts of the US.) While you probably don’t have to worry about that particular consequence, it isa good idea to finish the row you’re on before you set a piece aside, if only to avoid dropped stitches or pattern mistakes when you pick it up again. (Tip from TRADITIONAL SWEDISH KNITTING PATTERNS by Maja Karlsson.)



Cables are beautiful and fun to knit—but they can be a little tricky, too! Wrapped stitches are a quick and relatively easy way to add a little visual interest withoutknitting a cable: just place a small number of stitches on a cable needle, wrap the yarn clockwise twice around those stitches, and then slip them to the right needle without working them. (Tip from THE CABLE KNITTER’S GUIDE by Denise Samson.)

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It’s usually a good idea to use the needle size recommended by the manufacturer of your yarn—but you don’t have to! Fine yarn on big needles will come out light and lacy, and thick yarn on reallybig needles will come out looser and drapier. Or go smaller for a denser, sturdier knit—perfect for a handbag or a change purse! (Tip from ONE-PIECE KNITS by Tine Tara.)



When you’re binding off on a circular needle, it’s important to remember to knit the first stitch of the round one more time before the previous stitch is passed over it. (Tip from KNITTING DETAILS START TO FINISH by Ulla Engquist.)



Even in the most complicated pattern knitting, there might still be single-color sections—and when those sections are more than 5 stitches across, it’s a good idea to catch the float (the strand not in use) on the wrong side! Otherwise, it’s easy for floats to catch on your fingers (when putting on a garment) or on something else (the hook of a clothes hanger) and pull, or even break. (Tip from MEDIEVAL-INSPIRED KNITS by Anna-Karin Lundberg.)

These books, and many more bestselling knit, crochet, weaving, mosaic, and other craft books, are available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE to learn more.

Trafalgar Square Books, publisher of fine equestrian and craft titles, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont. 


Winter on Trafalgar Square Farm.


5 Amazing Crochet Tips



All of us benefit from those who have a touch more experience or a tad more exposure to a specific technique—that is, we do when they share their knowledge! And that, of course, is what is so fabulous about crochet and knitting technique books: They not only collect cool ideas and patterns in one place, they usually include some hard-won tips, tricks, and sage advice, to boot.

Here are 5 amazing crochet tips you might not have heard yet, gathered from books we are proud to have published.

Working in the round? Whether you’re crocheting or knitting, make it easy for yourself by placing a marker of yarn in a contrast color every few rounds—not just one in the first round, or one you have to keep moving up for each new round! Tip from CROCHET IN BLACK & WHITE by Constanze Diehl-Hupfer and Magdalena Melzer.


From Crochet in Black & White by Constanze Diehl-Hupfer and Magdalena Melzer


Crochet Tip 2
When you’re crocheting granny squares in multiple colors, it’s a good idea to begin a new color at a corner—and to begin the next new color at a different corner, so the square’s as even as possible. Catching the old color and covering it as you go means you won’t have to weave in ends later! Tip from KNIT-AND-CROCHET GARDEN by Arne & Carlos.

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From Knit-and-Crochet Garden by Arne & Carlos.


Crochet Tip 3
Working slip stitch through some eyelets? If you’re having trouble seeing the holes where your slip stitches need to go, try sliding a knitting needle into the holes to open them up and help you find them. Tip from CLASSIC CROCHET THE MODERN WAY by Tove Fevang.


From Classic Crochet the Modern Way by Tove Fevang.


It’s easy to work a crochet edging onto just about any piece of knitting or loosely woven fabric! You can even work onto something more closely woven—either by embroidering a base of blanket stitch at the edge and then crocheting along that, or by using fine yarn and a small hook with a pointy head to pierce holes along the edge. Tip from CROCHET WORKSHOP by Emma Seddon and Sharon Brant.


From Crochet Workshop by Emma Seddon and Sharon Brant


It’s easy to starch things that need to hold their shape—and to unstarch them, if they end up too stiff! 2 cups of confectioner’s sugar, boiled in 2/3 of a cup of water until transparent, can be swiped onto a completed piece of knitting or crochet with a pastry brush; and if you put too much on, you can always rinse a little starch back out with running water. Tip from TAPESTRY CROCHET AND MORE by Maria Gullberg.

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From Tapestry Crochet and More by Maria Gullberg


You can visit the entire TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE, by CLICKING HERE.

Trafalgar Square Books, publisher of fine craft and equestrian books, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.

Want Neat-n-Pretty Knitted Edges? Here’s How!


Slipped edge stitches are used on garment pieces that won’t be sewn together (front edges, button and buttonhole bands, the long edges of scarves and shawls). Choose your edge stitch technique wisely, and your edges will be pretty and distinctive—and even hold up better over time!

Check out these knitted edge techniques from KNITTING DETAILS FROM START TO FINISH, the knitting handbook that answers the questions you never even knew you needed to ask!


↑ Garter stitch. The first stitch in each row is knitted through the back loop; the last stitch is slipped purlwise with yarn in front.


↑ Garter stitch. The first stitch in each row is slipped purlwise with yarn in front; the last stitch is knitted.


↑ Garter stitch. The last two stitches in each row are slipped purlwise with yarn in front; the first two stitches are knitted. (This makes a particularly good edging for scarves!)


↑ Garter stitch. On right side, slip the second stitch from the edge with yarn behind; purl on wrong side. Knit the outermost stitch at each side on every row. (This edging works well for scarves—and also for button and buttonhole bands!)


↑ K1, p1 ribbing. The second stitch from the edge is a foldline stitch, and makes the edge look clean and tidy.


↑ K2, p2 ribbing. The third stitch from the edge is a foldline stitch, which stabilizes the edge.


Knitting DetailsFor more sample swatches, tips, and tricks, check out KNITTING DETAILS FROM START TO FINISH, available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more information or to order.


Trafalgar Square Books, publisher of fine equestrian and craft books, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont. 


Handmaking a Gift? Here’s How to Choose Which Yarn to Use


These days, the gifts that resonate most seem to be those that stand in stark contrast to our artificially enhanced and technology-dominated world. Handmade items is not only a demonstration of how much you really care about another, it also gives you a good excuse to slow down each day, breathe, and concentrate on a creative craft.

Of course, many of us choose to make things for others that we would like to have ourselves! How better to judge an item’s worth than by your own appreciation? This can help you choose materials when you’re stuck and unsure of a recipient’s taste.

“Choosing yarn for gifts is really no different from choosing for yourself,” says designer Kat Goldin in her book CROCHET THE PERFECT GIFT. “Think about how the recipient is going use and wear the item, how likely they will be to hand wash (or not) and buy the best you can afford.”

Yarn has come a long way in recent years. An ever-expanding combination of weights and fibers is available with relative ease in your local yarn shop or online. Here are some of Goldin’s tips for choosing the right yarn for your handmade gift:

Acrylic yarn is inexpensive, and many of the newer varieties are soft to the touch and machine washable, making it a good option for giving. Note, however, that acrylic yarns often don’t wear well or last over time.

Most wool and wool-blend yarns available these days are soft enough to be worn against the skin. There are many machine-washable wool yarns on the market, which is key in a gift, particularly if you are giving your handmade item to someone who isn’t a knitter or crocheter. When it is machine-washable it is far more likely your gift will be worn or used time and again by its recipient.

Cotton and bamboo yarns are great for items that need a lot of washing.

Linen and jute yarns are good choices for projects that need structure.


Crochet and knitting patterns usually suggest a particular yarn that works well for the project in terms of weight, drape, and washability. However, you can always substitute an alternative. To ensure you are successful in substituting yarn, choose one with similar properties—for example, if the yarn called for is a 50/50 wool/alpaca mix, then start looking there. Of course you can substitute other materials if you have a strong preference, but that means you must really consider the other properties (such as drape) before investing in skeins that might not suit.

If you have questions about how a particular yarn will behave in your pattern or project, ask someone at your local yarn store for advice.

Kat Goldin’s CROCHET THE PERFECT GIFT is available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more information.

Trafalgar Square Books, publisher of fine craft and equestrian books, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.