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Simple Tricks for Perfect Knitting

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Whether you have been knitting for years or have just picked up the needles recently, there are some little tips and tricks for your knitting that can make a huge difference. Some have been created with dogged purpose while others are simply mistakes gone totally right. All are shortcuts for your knitting to reach a new level of perfection.

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Design Tip: The two-ball cast-on technique can be used to put an extra splash of color at the bottom of the piece by using one color for the anchor yarn and another for the looping yarn.

Knit 2 (or 6, or 15) Together, and How to Bring All the Friends to the Party.

Knit 2 together (k2tog) is usually the first decrease that is learned by knitters, whether on purpose or by mistake. Typically, this technique is worked by inserting the needles from front to back into the front "legs" of a multiple of stitches, wrapping the yarn around the needle and then pulling a stitch through, decreasing that multiple of stitches to one. This creates a right-slanting decrease on the right side of the work. It is fairly easy to execute when only working with two stitches decreasing to one stitch. But what if you want a right-slanting decrease that reduces three stitches to one stitch, or six to one, or 15 to one? Suddenly the humble knit-together decrease can become tricky. But never fear, there is a tip to help those needles through the mass of stitches.

Tip: Lay the active yarn over the left tip of the needle from front to back, then lift the required number of stitches over the active yarn. This creates a decrease which is identical to inserting your right tip knitwise into the multiple stitches, but it's much easier to accomplish. When you have finished slipping all the stitches, pass the stitch to the right needle tip purlwise.

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Smoothing the Ruffled Edges of a Slip, Slip, Knit.

When working a slip, slip, knit (ssk) for a left-slanted decrease, the original method implied by the name indicates to slip one stitch, slip the next stitch and then knit the two stitches together. But this can create a ruffled and irregular decrease that does not exactly mirror the right-slanting k2tog.There are two ways to improve your ssk so that it lies smoother. One method involves how the actual ssk is worked on the right-side row, and the other involves manipulating its treatment on the wrong-side row.

Tip 1: Slip the first stitch knitwise, reversing the slant of the legs. Replace this stitch onto the left tip in its new position, then knit the two stitches together through the back loop. When working a multiple decrease such as an sssk or a slip, slip, slip, slip knit, try slipping the (approximate) first half of the stitches knitwise, re-placing them onto the left tip and then completing the decrease through the back loop.

Tip 2: Complete the ssk as you normally would and then work the stitch as a purl through the back loop ptbl on the wrong side. Work across the back of the piece until you reach the ssk from the previous side. With the yarn in front, reach the right tip behind the work and insert from back to front through the back leg of the stitch. Wrap as if to purl and pull through.

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