For a while now I’ve wanted to find a way to share some of the little tricks I’ve found that help me make my knitting more successful (and more fun). As I’m working on projects I will record some of the strategies I’m using and do my best to explain how and why I use them. Posts and ideas will be short and sweet for both our sakes. So here we go…
This week I finished a pair of Axis mitts for the Blue Moon Fiber Arts booth. The Axis pattern uses a series of paired increases and decreases (I’ll call them the action rows) to create the slant across the front. In the mitt pictured below you can see how the edge leans toward the pinkie.
You can also see how it would be important to make sure the action rows are evenly spaced. If they aren’t the line across the front will be uneven and frankly unsightly. Certainly not something you want to highlight.
To keep myself on track, and to save myself from repeatedly checking my knitting to find my decreases, I used a piece of waste yarn to mark each time I decreased. It takes just a second to thread the yarn through the stitches and I can quickly see exactly where I’m at. Even without counting rows you can tell that sections of yarn in between the marks are the same.
If you want to give this a try be sure to select a waste yarn in a contrasting color and one that won’t felt. Left over sock yarn or anything superwash works great. You can also use embroidery floss or one of my personal favorites dental floss.
To mark the decrease I thread a tapestry needle with my waste yarn and after the action row and the row after it are completed (RS is facing you) I go back to the decrease and put my needle through both stiches and back up through the stitch holding them together. You want to do it after both rows are completed so you don’t distort your stitches. Once your project is complete pull out your yarn and no one will ever know it was there.
With this pattern marking your decreases also has one other benefit. You can use it to help you evenly space your buttons.
I hope you find this suggestion (and others to come) useful. Let me know if you have any questions or have a tip of your own to share.