New Years Day Table Runner Pattern Ideas

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Start your new year off with a special brunch or dinner. Gather your loved ones around to celebrate New Year’s over good food and conversation. You can make the event even more special with a hand-knit table runner. Use these free table runner knitting patterns to create a beautiful table setting to fit your sense of style or match your formal dinnerware.

Garden Party Table Runner

It may be cold on New Year’s Day, but the Garden Party Table Runner adds country charm to your table all year long. The checkered lace design features simple lines that provide a classic look to your table. To dress the table runner up for New Year’s knit it using a metallic yarn or add tinsel tassels to the borders for a little extra sparkle.

The Medallion Table Runner Pattern is knit in pieces that are joined together later, which makes it a good project for taking with you on errands or to knit during your lunch break. The sturdy lace pattern will look beautiful in a solid color to coordinate with your china or to add a pop of color to your table dressing.

The Shells in the Sand Table Runner Pattern features shells knit into the fabric. It’s a good option for showing off your color work and match a nautical table. Use this table runner for a seaside New Year’s getaway or to match beach-inspired home décor. Your guests will be so impressed with your knitting skills.

There are plenty of other table decoration patterns you can use to dress your whole table, too. Knit matching coasters, place mats, and doilies to add handcrafted décor to your whole dining room. When you use free patterns to create your decorations, you can save money to use on the secret ingredients for your delicious New Year’s meal.

Medallion Table Runner

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Quick Holiday Gift Knits

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Now is a great time to get started on your holiday knitting. Avoid a big time crunch in December by starting to craft your handmade gifts now. These free Christmas knitting patterns can be finished quickly, leaving you more time for bigger projects or other items on your to-do list. Knit up some quick holiday gift patterns and stash them away for spur of the moment gifts and decorations.

Angel Choir Set

Angel Choir Ornament Set

The Angel Choir Set is a quick knitting project you can use to decorate your home or to give as a gift. When you follow the intermediate pattern, you’ll create a set of pretty angel ornaments. Use the angels as gift tags or give them as gifts. You can give the whole set to one person, or give the angels out individually as small gifts or stocking stuffers.

Lacework Mantle Scarf

If you have a weekend to devote to the project, the Lacework Mantle Scarf makes a beautiful gift for a woman in your life. The lovely lace mantel scarf provides a warm wash of color to a living room mantle. You can add a special decoration to the heart of someone you love’s home.

Winter Clothing

For a holiday gift that will be a hit with everyone on your list, knit hats, gloves, and scarves using free winter clothing patterns. A hat or a pair of mittens can easily be knit in an afternoon. Create a chic hat and glove set or a beautiful scarf as a gift. You can use colors to match your families’ coats for gifts that will keep them warm and show you care.

Stocking Stuffers

There are plenty of stocking stuffers you can knit using free holiday gift knit patterns. Knit Wreath Table Trimmings as a hostess gift or stocking stuffer. Knit holiday bookmarks for the bookworms in your life. You can even kit a stocking! There are several styles of knit stockings for kids and adults. Knit the Sassy Stiletto Stocking as a fun gift for your mother, sister, or friend.

Get started knitting holiday gifts today and you’ll have more time to spend with your friends and family when the season is here!

Sassy Stiletto

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How to Knit a Swatch and Calculate the Yardage You’ll Need

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Knitting a swatch is an important first step to knitting any project. It can be tempting to skip the swatch, but swatching your yarn gives you a more accurate idea of how your project will come together, allowing you to make adjustments to your pattern or needles before you begin. If you skip knitting a swatch, you could get to the end of your project and find that it knit much bigger or smaller than you thought it would. For example, if your gauge is smaller than the pattern calls for, you could end up with a sweater that doesn’t fit.

how to knit a swatch

To knit a swatch, start with the exact yarn and needles you’re planning on using for your project. Cast on the number of stitches you will need to knit four inches across. Continue knitting in stockinette stitch for four inches, then bind off loosely. Wash and block the swatch as you would the finished garment.

Measure your swatch to the dimensions specified in the pattern. Most patterns come with a gauge indicated at the top of the instructions. Count the number of stitches you have in the space specified in the pattern (often one inch or four inches). For a shortcut, you can use a stitch gauge, a flat metal ruler that also includes spaces for you to check the sizes of your needles.

If you have more stitches than the pattern calls for, go up one needle size and try another swatch. If you have fewer stitches, decrease one needle size. If your gauge is off by more than a few stitches per inch, you might be using a yarn that isn’t suitable for your project. Try a different yarn and see if your gauge is closer. Once you’ve produced an accurate gauge swatch, you can get started. After you’ve knit about six inches of the garment, check your gauge again just to be sure that you are still on track. Your gauge could vary within a project because of factors that affect your tension.

If you’re using a different yarn than the pattern calls for, you’ll probably need to calculate how much yarn you need. To calculate your yardage, look at how many skeins of yarn the pattern calls. You might need to look up the yarn specified to see how many yards come in a skein. Multiply yards per skein by the number of skeins called for and you have the total yards you’ll need for the pattern. To see how much of your yarn of choice you need, divide the total yards needed by the yards per skein of your yarn and you’ll get the number of skeins you need. Round up to the nearest skein. It’s a good idea to have an extra skein, too.

Check out our handy Knit Glossary for more terms and explanations you might need.

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Weekend Knitting Projects for Kids

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Knitting projects for kids are fun because you get to use brighter colors and more creative designs than you might for adult projects. Plus, because kids’ knitting patterns are pint-sized, you can often knit an entire project in just one weekend. These weekend knitting projects for kids will satisfy your creativity and your time budget.

kids knitting patterns

Knitting Accessories for Kids

While a baby’s sweater and other baby knitting patterns are usually really quick projects, for older kids, knit accessories are fun weekend patterns. As fall and winter approach, spend a weekend knitting warm socks and slippers for your kids. Classic knit socks never go out of style, but you can also make adorable slippers that kids’ will love to wear. Try the Knit Lion Slippers, which will excite even the grumpiest sleepy-head.

Knit hats and gloves also make practical accessories you can knit in a weekend. Choose yarn to match your kids’ coats and you can prepare them for cold weather with accessories you make yourself. If you have a tween, she’ll love a knit purse. You can make her a drawstring pouch or a Back to School Tote in her favorite colors.

Free Kids’ Toy Patterns

Knit toys also make great weekend knitting projects for kids. Spend a Saturday afternoon knitting a sweater for a favorite teddy bear, dresses for Barbie, or snuggly stuffed animals. While the Bobbles the Lamb Pattern is a cute project for an intermediate knitter, Bonnie Bunny is suitable for a beginner. If you have a baby shower coming up, you can knit soft blocks or balls for a baby, too.

Knitting with Kids

In addition to knitting for kids, there are many patterns you can work on this weekend to knit with kids. Learning how to knit is an activity that can help children develop fine motor skills and patience. Plus, teaching a child how to knit is a wonderful bonding activity. Knitting is a skill a girl or boy can use for the rest of their lives. Get kids started with a simple scarf pattern. While an adult scarf can take a while to knit, kids’ scarves are shorter and will knit more quickly. Our helpful Knitting Glossary can refresh you on the terms you’ll need to teach a beginning knitter. kids knitting patterns

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Knit Sweater Techniques: In the Round, Bottom up, or Top down

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There are a variety of strategies used in sweater knitting patterns. Some sweaters are knit from the top down, while others are knit from the bottom up. While the difference might seem arbitrary, there are particular advantages to each type of sweater pattern.

Knit Sweater Techniques

Top-Down Sweaters Patterns

Top-down sweater patterns begin with the neckline as the cast on edge. The yoke is knit in the round with increases worked to shape the shoulders and the beginning of the chest. The sweater is knit in one piece as the sleeve stitches are set aside on a stitch-holder and then picked back up after the rest of the body is knit in the round. Alternatively, you can work the front and back separately, knitting back and forth, allowing for adjustments at the waistline and armpits.

One of the advantages of knitting top-down is that you can try the sweater on as you go. That way, if you need to make adjustments to the fit, you can do so as you work on the project. The other major bonus of top-down sweaters is that there is little-to-no finishing involved. Conversely, because the seams aren’t sewn or grafted, they may be less structurally sound. Also, top-down sweater projects are not good for travel, because the whole project comes in one piece.

Bottom-Up Sweater Patterns

Bottom-up sweaters, such as the Holey Moley Pullover, are cast on at the waistband, often including a few rows of ribbing to start. Bottom-up sweaters can be knit seamlessly, but more often they involve set-in sleeves that have to be seamed to the project after the front, back, and sleeves are finished separately.

Bottom-up sweaters do not allow for as much control over the fit because they cannot be tried on as the sweater is knit. There is also the potential, if you are not careful about gauge, of the pieces of the sweater not aligning properly. Bottom-up sweaters are a good option for working decorative decreases and raglan styling at the yoke. These sweater patterns are also more easily modified at the start for a custom fit.

Knit Sweater Techniques

Sweaters In the Round

Both bottom-up and top-down sweater patterns can be knit in the round. This strategy involves knitting the torso and the yoke of the sweater in one continuous loop, adding the sleeves, which can also be knit in the round, later. Knitting a sweater in the round means less finishing, because you will not have to sew side seams. Occasionally, however, a sweater knit in this method can begin to twist up on you, making it uncomfortable to wear.

You’ll be able to tell what type of sweater pattern you’re knitting by looking at the first lines of the pattern. Where does the pattern begin? If it’s hard to tell, a quick cheat is to look at how many stitches you’re asked to cast on. If it’s a high number—near or over 100 stitches—that means you’re probably starting at the lower hem and knitting from the bottom-up. For more knitting techniques and strategies, check out this helpful Knitting Glossary.


Knitting S-O-S: Quick Fixes for Common Knitting Mistakes

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In any handmade project, mistakes are bound to happen. Part of developing your knitting skills is learning how to fix those mistakes. If you’ve dropped a stitch or missed an increase, those little mistakes can become big problems if you just keep going. These tips will teach you how to pick up a dropped stitch, unknit, frog, and more.

knitting mistakes, knitting fixes

How to Fix a Dropped Stitch

Dropping a stitch is built up like it’s a knitting tragedy. In reality, dropping a stitch is not a big deal if you catch it early. If you don’t fix the problem, a dropped stitch can become a hole in your garment. Here’s what you do:

If you’ve dropped the stitch in the previous row. On the knit side of your project, Stick your right needle through the dropped stitch from front to back and under the strand of yarn running behind the dropped stitch (often it is fairly loose). Then, use your left needle to pull the dropped stitch over the loose strand. Move this newly made stitch to your left needle, being careful not to twist it. Continue knitting.

For stitches dropped earlier in the project, you can either frog (see below) your project back to that point or attempt to pull the dropped stitch up to your current row. If you’re working in stockinette stitch, the place where the stitch has been dropped will look like a ladder, with the spaces where your stitch should be making the rungs. Take a small crochet hook and stick it through the loop of the dropped stitch. Pick up the lowest “rung” of the ladder and pull it through. This will make your new stitch. Continue up the rungs of the ladder until you reach the top. Place the live stitch on your left needle and proceed with your knitting.

How to Turn Around a Twisted Stitch

If you pick up a dropped stitch backward or accidentally wrap the yarn the wrong way as you knit, you could end up with a twisted stitch. This error is easy to fix. Simply knit the stitch through the back loop on the knit side or purl it through the back loop on the purl side.

How to Rip Out (Frog) Stitches Without Losing Your Place

If you’ve made a bigger mistake, you may need to rip stitches out. This can be stressful for any knitter, because in ripping out stitches, you run the risk of causing more damage to your project. One solution is to run an anchor line through the stitches. At the place where you are unraveling to, thread scrap yarn through your stitches, being careful to use the front loops consistently. That way, when you are done unraveling, your live stitches will be secured where you want to begin again. Simply pick up these stitches on your needle starting with the opposite end so that your yarn is at the top of the needle. If you have a set of interchangeable needles, you can very easily use a spare needle to create your lifeline then simply switch out the needle tips and start knitting.

Unknit (Tink)

If you’ve made a small mistake within the row you’re working on, it may be easiest just to unknit, or tink, back to the mistake and rework it. When you tink your way back to the mistake, you don’t have to take the project off your needles to fix the problem. Simply insert your left needle tip into the stitch below the stitch on your right needle. Slip the right needle out of the stitch and pull the yarn. The new stitch will be unknit and the previous row’s stitch returned to the left needle. Continue in this fashion until you’re back to where you want to fix your mistake.

More Resources

For more help, you can use our Knitting Glossary to look up common knitting terms and techniques that you may find in your patterns.

knitting mistakes, knitting fixes

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Knitting Service Projects: Patterns for Charity Knitting

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Knitting service projects are a perfect way to put your knitting hobby to use for the greater good. If you knit a lot, chances are that eventually you will start building a pile of projects you finished but just don’t know what to do with. Knitting projects for charity can keep your knitting needles busy while giving your projects a greater sense of purpose. There are many organizations that accept handmade projects to be distributed to people—and animals—in need.

Chemo Caps: Chemo Caps is a program that honors the memory of those lost to cancer through handknit caps given to people undergoing chemotherapy. The caps help keep people comfortable while in the clinic, as chemotherapy can cause chills. Chemo caps are best knit out of soft, washable, and breathable yarn such as merino wool. Try this free quick and easy cap pattern to get started. Once you’ve completed your cap(s), you can donate the hats to a local cancer treatment center.

Prayer Shawl Ministry knitting service projects, charity knitting : Through the Prayer Shawl Ministry, knitting groups create shawls that are given to women who are in need of extra love and support. For example, shawls may be given to recently widowed or divorced women or donated to women’s shelters. While the organization operates nationally, it is another knitting service that promotes donating your projects locally, fostering community relationships. The Free Blue Skies Shawl Pattern would make a beautiful prayer shawl for your group.

Snuggles Project: To give animals in shelters some extra love, you can donate blankets through the Snuggles Project. The charity suggests knitting a 14″ x 14″ blankt for cats and small animals, a 24″ x 24″ blanket for cats and small to medium dogs, and a 36″ x 36″ blanket for medium to large dogs. Once you’ve completed your blanket with machine washable yarn, you can visit the Snuggles Project website to find a local animal shelter that accepts the handmade snuggles.

Warm Up America: To participate in Warm Up America, volunteers can knit or crochet a 7” x 9” rectangle (or many) and mail it to the organization headquarters. The collected rectangles are seamed together to create blankets that feature a unique patchwork of pieces, showing the diversity of people giving their time and love to the project. Once finished, the blankets are redistributed to organizations in-need, including homeless shelters and women’s shelters.

Mother Bear Project: The Mother Bear Project sends teddy bears to children affected by HIV/AIDS in the developing world. The organization has several patterns available for knitting the bears with, so knitters of different skill-levels can participate. You can even knit a Teddy Bear Sweater to go with your bear.

Charity knitting projects are fun for knitting groups or friends to complete together. You can dictate your level of commitment, whether you want to donate one knitted item or many, so charity knitting is also a good way for already over-scheduled people to give back. You can also create your own knitting service project, by knitting gifts to donate or sell to raise money.

knitting service projects, charity knitting

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The Knitting Curse: Knitting Sweaters for Men

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Have you heard of the curse? In knitting circles, legend has it that if you knit a sweater for a man before you’re married, you’ll soon break up. Some purists say that it’s if you knit anything for a man before you’re married. Knitting a sweater is a labor of love and a wonderful expression of your affection. Whether you’ve got a ring or you’re just not superstitious, these free men’s sweater patterns make great gifts for husbands, fathers, and other special guys in your life.

knitting for men

The Woody Gap Men’s Sweater features a mock turtleneck and raglan shaping with an off-center zipper at the collar. Its ribbed styling looks good and feels comfortable. The trendy style is great for men of all ages and suitable for an experienced knitter.

For an advanced knitter, a Tweed Cabled Pullover Pattern provides a fun challenge as you work the intricate cable chart. When you’re done, the pullover’s texture will provide a warm and cozy look for winter. This sweater makes a great gift for your husband or father this holiday season.

If you’re looking for a lightweight sweater, the Beachcomber Sweater Pattern, an advanced-beginner pattern, is knit with light cotton and features a subtle nautical trim, perfect for spring and late summer, or year-round wear in coastal areas.

If you’re wary of knitting a sweater, there are plenty of other options for creating handmade gifts for men. Knit a hat and a matching pair of gloves, or a warm winter scarf. Knitting a vest, such as the Brick Wall Vest, provides a nice compromise. Technically, a sweater vest is not a sweater, but it keeps the wearer warm and is a step-up from a scarf in terms of the commitment required to the project. You can knit a vest in less time than it takes to knit a sweater, but still create an extra-special handmade gift.

Whatever your stance on the knitting curse, there are plenty of ways you can use your knitting skills to create something thoughtful for a man you love.

knitting for men

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Trendy Hat Patterns for Fall and Winter

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Many knitters rejoice at the return of cooler weather, because it means the return of warm hats. Knitting a hat is a quick project, and a fun way to learn how to knit or pick up new knitting skills, so many knitters have a stash of basic beanies and stylish hats around. These trendy hats for fall and winter will give you plenty of weekend projects to keep you and your family warm this year.

Springtime Beret

Lace Berets

Whether slouchy or fitted, lace berets are a favorite hat for early fall. A beret is an excellent project for learning how to knit lace, and it makes a great gift, too. From basic lace beret patterns to more complicated lace charts, lace helps capture the texture of fall leaves. Pair a lace beret with a jewel tone yarn for a stylish hat you’ll wear all fall.

Felted Fedoras

Vintage revival is on-trend in knitting this season and that means feminine cloches and felted fedoras. A felted hat keeps you extra-warm while creating an “I can’t believe you made that!” look. Plus, a felted hat keeps its shape enough for you to embellish it with feathers, flowers, or broaches, creating your own personal flair.

Chunky Knits

The opposite of those delicate lace berets is the chunky beanie. Chunky beanies are trendy hats that show off your stitches, making them a good match for novelty or high-quality yarns and special stitches like cables. A chunky beanie pattern, such as the Palladium Hat Pattern, can also be an opportunity to experiment with dropped stitches (the intentional kind!) and other textures.

Palladium Hat & Scarf

Cute as a Button

Buttons are really trendy in knitwear right now. You’ll see them appearing on the yolks of sweaters, the details of lace, or as embellishments on knit hats. Many trendy hat patterns this fall and winter feature buttons for decoration. Other patterns are knit in the round, but feature a brim knit side to side and closed with buttons. For many styles, buttons are a simple and affordable way to dress up a basic hat pattern.

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Making Time to Knit: 7 Ways to Make Time In Your Busy Day

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One of the benefits of knitting is that it makes you slow down and focus on what you’re making rather than the cloud of concerns hanging over your head. If you’re always busy, however, it can be hard to find time to knit. These tips can help you make time to knit, even if it’s only 15 minutes at a time.

making time to knit

  1. Multitask. There are plenty of times during the day when your hands are free enough to multitask if you are on an easy place in your pattern. During a phone conference, on public transportation, watching your nightly TV shows, or even on the elliptical machine, you might be able to knit too. Experiment and see which activities you can multitask during.

  2. Commit. Just do it. Many days you may go to bed and realize that you spent an hour reading articles on your Newsfeed when you could have been knitting. Make a commitment to knitting a certain amount a day or a certain number of days a week. Whether you measure your commitment by time or project progress is up to you, but the sense of commitment will make you more determined to knit when you can.

  3. Set the Timer. Maybe you have difficulty making time to knit because once you start you can’t stop. Create boundaries on your knitting time and you will feel more prepared to knit during your lunch break or before bed.

  4. Create Small Goals. Some knitters get caught up in a whole project and freeze under the pressure. Break the project up into stages or smaller chunks and you may find it easier to make time for five rounds or three inches of a scarf.

  5. Make it Social. When you break out your project at happy hour or while watching your child’s sporting event, you may find other people are supportive and curious about your hobby. Finding a knitting group can also be a positive way to build a specific time for knitting into your schedule, and will give you the accountability to stick with it.

  6. Maximize Your Bag. If you plan on taking your project with you, you’ll need a well-organized bag. When you create a small knitting kit with extra stitch markers, scissors, and other notions, you can take advantage of small opportunities to knit, like in line or on hold.

  7. Learn to Knit in the Dark. You have to know your knitting skills well, but if you can knit without looking, you free yourself up to knitting at the theater, too. That’s certainly something to brag about. making time to knit

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