Nine Tricks for More Productive Knitting by Amy and Jaala

Excellent tips. I have favorite cast-ons for lots of projects and even though the cable cast-on isn’t my “go-to” for everything, it’s a great tool for your knitting bag of tricks.


Over the last 11 years, Jaala has knitted a fair bit, and Amy has been knitting for decades!  Some tricks, when we learned them, made that flashbulb go off in our minds, and some we learned by sad trial and error. Once you’ve ripped back half a sweater, you find the motivation to change your knitting habits!

IMG_2115 Amy in action

Come closer, because we’re about to share some of our best knitting tricks for faster and more successful knitting, and most of them don’t even require picking up your needles! Some preparation beforehand will save you time and trouble no matter what style of knitting grip you use.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Jaala models the beautiful sweater Amy knit her!

Tips for faster knitting

Much of successful knitting is a mental game; preparation is key! If you plan for a few research steps before you cast on, you’ll save a lot of gnashing of…

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Knitted beginnings

Mom and I were talking this morning, reminiscing over my beginnings as a knitter. When I was about 4 years old, mom taught me to knit. I started down that slippery slope at a very young age I know but I got the hang of it. Every doll I owned had a scarf, as did every flat surface in my bedroom. My dolls all had blankets as well.

A neighborhood friend of mom’s also wanted to learn to knit but she insisted on learning to knit socks on four needles. None of the “basics” for her! So one day Lil comes in with a tangle of yarn going in different direction with newly invented stitches — her sock. She asks mom what was going wrong. I was sitting in the rocking chair in front of the TV, watching Romper Room and knitting without looking at what was on the needles. Lil threw down her work and said “Oh, just forget it!”

I never went any further with knitting and finally stopped altogether when I was in middle school.

Years went by and one day while living in New York I was watching an old Cary Grant movie — Mr. Lucky. Yep, the one where Cary Grant knits. I felt that urge once again. The next time I went to visit mom I asked if she would give me a refresher course and also teach me to read a pattern. She did.

Back home I went. I needed to find a yarn shop IMMEDIATELY! And find a pattern for a sweater to knit for my fiance. I wanted to knit him an Aran sweater for Christmas. Next time visiting mom I showed her what I got and asked if she would help me put it together once knitted. She said sure.

I took it back when finished and that’s when she told me she never expected me to finish it because it was a very difficult pattern. It was at that point I decided never to be afraid of a project just because I had never done it before.

Now I have become a “collector of techniques.” I love learning different ways of casting on and off, cuff down, toe up, different heels, magic loop, English, Continental, combined, etc., etc.

I asked mom this morning if she will once again teach me her cast on. She and I don’t do the same cast on (weird!) and I want to learn her’s. Just like old times.

What have I done???

Just the same old, same old! I was called and asked if I would teach a knitting technique. I said yes. Now I have to go get a book to teach myself how to do it. I learn and teach pretty well that way.

I have the advantage of already knowing the basic technique. When I hit the heel, the sh*t hits the fan. But I look at this as an opportunity to continue learning something I’ve wanted to continue learning anyway. And in the process I can test out a toe-up technique I saw.

Thank god for Barnes & Noble and the internet!

Last time I was in B&N I found the knitting magazine I was looking for. Who ever heard of a magazine that doesn’t have subscriptions? Well, this one does not! Luckily B&N carries it. Yea!

As I walked though the store looking at books I came across one that I thought was a cuter title and premise. Little did I know it was a bodice ripper!! lmao!! Not what I was intending to read. I usually go for a more sedate chick lit but it’s a fun read anyway.

I bought “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.” What a blast! However since it is true Regency period with zombies thrown in I am reading it like I would any Jane Austen book — slowly to savor it.