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Resources for Serious Technical Knitters

Updated on May 16, 2017

Good, Basic Ribbing on Two Needles


Beyond Blindly Following Knitting Patterns

Many knitters are perfectly happy to simply follow the exact instructions in a knitting pattern, producing a finished item that looks just like the cover photograph on the pattern. The legendary knitter and teacher Elizabeth Zimmerman called these folks "blind followers." She did not mean it in a disparaging way--only that they enjoyed knitting in order to get a finished product, while those of us with a technical bent are into the process as much as the product. Some of us are engineers, designers, and/or general rebels who need to question authority or wonder what would happen if we just....

  • changed the yarn or colors
  • made it longer, shorter, tighter, looser
  • did it in the round instead of flat
  • changed the neckline
  • etc., etc., etc.

The resources I present here are tools for the knitter who wants to master the theory behind knitting and be free to create anything he or she can imagine with yarn and needles. Even if you don't aspire to becoming a knitting Jedi Master, these resources may help you fine-tune your skills or make minor adjustments to an otherwise satisfactory pattern. More skills mean more options available to you, the knitter. It's your knitting, so take control!

Knitting Shapes

In order to shape a knitted piece, increases and decreases are used. Advanced knitters understand that certain techniques produce lines that slant in opposite directions, enabling them to pair increases or decreases to create a design feature. Some techniques leave holes in the fabric, which may be perfect for lacy knitting. Other techniques are virtually invisible, perfect for applications that need less obvious shaping. The knitter who is adept at geometry may shape her/his knitting at will once there is an understanding of various increases and decreases.

Increase, Decrease is a comprehensive guide to the many possible ways to make extra stitches or get rid of stitches while knitting. I have been knitting for decades and even designing my own patterns, yet I knew only about a third of the techniques presented in this book. Terrific illustrations make it easy to follow the directions.

Symmetrical Decreases Make an Isosceles Triangle

Decreases in Herringbone Stitch
Decreases in Herringbone Stitch | Source

Quick Knitting Reference

Sometimes a design hits a snag. Something happens you did not expect. For those times, pull out The Knitting Answer Book and look for possible solutions. Wonderful illustrations can help you diagnose and correct your knitting problem.

There is a companion book for crocheters, aptly titled The Crochet Answer Book.

Keep in mind that an experienced knitter is often your best "answer book." Find such knitters at your local yarn shop if none of your family or friends knits.

Are you a Technical Knitter?

Which statement describes you?

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Videos Illustrate Technical Knitting

Plenty of knitters have been kind enough to post videos after they master a cool technique. Take advantage of their expertise and use their tips for your own knitting.

Knit Cables without a Cable Needle

Installing a Zipper in Hand Knit Fabric


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    • kschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel 3 years ago from North Carolina, USA

      A tartan is ambitious! I would have a tangled mess with so many colors--I have done 3 colors at a time, but never more. Hope you post a hub with pictures when it's finished--I'd love to see it.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Thanks for an interesting article. I love drawing up patterns on graph paper, although my present project was a little adventurous - knitting a tartan pattern. It means that I have five colours to weave in every row, probably not the brightest idea, but I'm enjoying watching it grow.

    • kschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel 3 years ago from North Carolina, USA

      I have done zippers in the jacket pattern used in the video with good results. She is using Elizabeth Zimmerman's modular Tomten jacket for her example.

    • Emese Fromm profile image

      EmeseRĂ©ka 3 years ago from The Desert

      Thank you f or this resource! At this moment the tutorial about installing a zipper was just what I was looking for :).