My Top 5 Tips:
1. Use the correct yarn for the project
There are three main things to consider before choosing yarn: gauge, "drape-ability" and care of fiber. You can knit something perfectly, but if the gauge doesn't quite work, or you want something the drapes and instead pick some yarn that doesn't move, you're going to be disappointed.
2. Use circular needles even if you're knitting flat
The cable holds a large number of stitches and you can see how increases will look (and how it fits) when everything is bound off and the garment is on your body.
3. Wind your yarn into cakes or balls before knitting
Those twisted skeins are gorgeous, but if you don't wind them before knitting you're asking to be the star in a horror movie entitled "Tangled, Part Deux." And if you've never done it before, look up a YouTube video on how to do it. At this moment I have a huge tangle to sent to me by someone who didn't know how to cake it!
4. Read the pattern and practice new techniques before you begin
Work out the "bugs" before you are making the same mistake over 147 stitches in lace weight yarn! Enough said about that.
5. Join your yarn at the end of a row
There are spit joins and Russian joins, both of which work beautifully. But if you have a choice, and you're not confident with fancy joins, just join at the end of a row.
Why I Started The Dizzy Knitter
Each project begins like a promising voyage – a calm sea, a steady breeze, blue skies overhead – but too often hits choppy seas, resulting in yards and yards of unraveling, and sometimes ends up in a shipwreck of a wretched sweater. “Jeez, look what the tide washed in!”
The whole idea behind The Dizzy Knitter is to offer smooth sailing from start to finish.
You should be able to begin your project with confidence that you have the right yarn for your pattern and a clear road map to completion.
That’s why I’ve created The Dizzy Knitter. A one-stop knitting shop that offers a beautiful array of yarns and patterns suitable for the beginning to the experienced knitter (and for all those somewhere in-between – like me!).
We each have our own stories about how we were first introduced to this wonderful craft.
I was raised in a trailer on the wind-swept plains of Central Oregon. My mother was a difficult woman - a far cry from “Marmie” in “Little Women.”
But one day she sat me down and took out her needles and a ball of worsted yarn and said, “It’s time you learned something useful,” and suddenly she became the mother I had always yearned for.
Knitting is transformative.
I remember struggling with that first garter-stitch sampler – the steel needles felt so cold and awkward in my small hands, my first stitches looked so lumpy, my rows so crooked.
But when I finally finished that small patch of woven wool, my mother actually smiled and gave me a silent nod of approval.
I flushed from head to toe with a warm glow, fingering that first piece with the realization that, “Wow, I can actually do this.”
And so knitting became a sanctuary – my chapel in the woods.
Although knitting is a solitary craft, at The Dizzy Knitter the credo is, we’re all in this together.
And this is the second purpose of The Dizzy Knitter – an offer of community. A place to go for advice and support, for a helping hand when the seas turn choppy.
A cozy, buoyant place where we can talk knitting, share tips and tricks, and bond over this beautiful craft.
A few months ago I walked up to the door of my local yarn shop – a place where the owner always had a ready smile and would even offer a cup of tea if she wasn’t too busy. She and I loved to discuss all things knitting. But on this day, the door was locked, a note taped to it – “Sorry. We are no longer in business.”
My face fell – I felt empty inside. I spent weeks in a deep funk – I hadn’t realized just how important that little store had become in my life.
At the same time, my life was coming to a crossroads of another kind. For years, I had been working in the medical field – running an imaging center – helping patients who had come to us to learn the truth about their doctors’ concerns. It was my job to guarantee that our testing procedures were as clear and accurate as was humanly possible. And that we treated our patients with kindness and respect during this difficult time. It was highly rewarding but emotionally draining work.
And now that phase of my life was coming to an end. And my local yarn store had closed. A light bulb went off. Maybe I could open my own shop!
But when I did my homework into opening my own brick and mortar store, I came to see what an uphill battle small retail stores face in this digital age.
I’m afraid this is the new normal.
But what if I were to open an online store? That looked a lot more promising. Before proceeding, let me be clear about something – if your local yarn store is still up and running, please please give them your business.
But if you’re facing my dilemma, or that drive has become just too much for you, or if a Big Box Store simply feels too impersonal and corporate for your tastes, The Dizzy Knitter is here for you.
I am here for you.
Let The Dizzy Knitter be your local yarn store. And with your help, we can build this community together.