Advanced Knitting Techniques for Experienced Knitters

Advanced Knitting TechniquesOnce you’ve been knitting for a while, you’ll find that the basic knitting techniques are second nature. If you’re wondering whether you’re ready for advanced knitting techniques, you probably are. Once you’ve begun searching out patterns written for more experienced knitters or changing up a more basic pattern, you’ll know you’re ready. This is how you know you’ve become an advanced knitter. At this point you’ll be ready for some more advanced knitting techniques to expand your knitting repertoire. Some fun advanced knitting techniques to try include knitting cables, lace or knitting with double pointed needles.

Knitting Cables

Cable knitting is the technique of crossing one group of stitches over another on your needles. Cabling creates the twisting rows and knots that you see on many knit goods like sweaters because they are so popular. Standard row cables are the most popular style, with a single column of twisting stitches.

Cables are knit with a cabling needle in addition to your standard knitting needles. You use the cabling needle to suspend the stitches, which can be any amount that you like, and knit the same amount of stitches off your left hand needle before returning the suspended stitches to your left hand needle to knit. This creates the twisted design that is so well recognized in knitting.

Knitting with Double Pointed Needles

Many knitters consider using double pointed needles an advanced knitting technique. These needles are used for knitting in the round but since circular needles are so much easier to use, they are more popular among beginners. However, once you’ve been knitting for a while you may realize that there are many circular patterns you want to try that are too small for circular needles, such as newborn baby hats or skinny tubes. For these projects, you will want to use double pointed needles.

Double pointed needles, or DPNs, are needles used for creating circles without the plastic cord that holds the stitches. These needles are shorter than standard knitting needles and have points on both ends rather than on just one end. They come in sets of four or five, which are all used in the course of knitting in the round.

Knitting Lace

Knitting Lace

Knitting lace is considered one of the most advanced knitting techniques around, due to it’s complexity and attention to detail. Most knitters consider knitting lace to be the ultimate goal to show off their skill, because this transcends the typical knitting techniques and becomes a form of art. True lace is a piece that is reversible, and where the holes are separated by only one strand of yarn and no more. However, there are many ways to create a lacey pattern in your knitting without it being true lace. The biggest aspect of lace knitting, and the part that makes it so difficult, is the holes. Since woven fabric is not made to have holes in it, this makes lace a very advanced technique because you not only have to have the artistic eye to create a lace pattern, but you have to have the ability to create the holes and stitches in a functional and aesthetic way.

In order to create lace in your knitting, you need to combine a series of yarn-overs and decreases in a way that creates a design of stitches and holes in your piece. Some popular lace motifs include:

• Leaves
• Flowers
• Ferns
• Rosettes
• Diamonds

Once you’ve learned enough about knitting to go beyond the basic knitting techniques, you may want to begin to expand your repertoire. By doing this you can continue to broaden your knowledge of the craft and keep pushing your skills. Since many knitters are striving to challenge themselves daily, they are excited to learn about new techniques to try. You can try your hand at these advanced knitting techniques to start with, or you may just find a technique in a pattern that you’ve never heard of and decide to try it. That is how most knitters learn about new techniques to try. Don’t second-guess yourself when it comes to knitting. Once you have mastered the basic stitches and decided to change things up, you’ll know that you are ready for the more advanced knitting techniques.

Weft and Warp Knitting Differences

different knitting techniques

Weft and Warp knitting are technical terms that describe two different types of knitting used by either machine or hand. They refer to the widths and lengths of the thread and how many needles are used.  Knitting is typically done by hand, although some machines are used today.  These terms are technical terms mostly used when discussing machine knitting, although weft knitting can be done by hand, too. There are many differences between weft knitting and warp knitting, and since many knitters don’t commonly know these terms, we’ll discuss them here.  There is a lot to learn about weft and warp knitting, so continue reading to expand your knowledge of the ancient art of knitting.

Weft Knitting Versus Warp Knitting

Weft and warp knitting are completely different knitting techniques that result in two different types of fabrics.  The most obvious difference in these two techniques is that weft is a yarn that runs back and forth, while warp is a yarn that runs up and down. Due to these different techniques, the finished product is entirely different, too.  For example, weft knitting can produce shaped garments and highly drapeable fabrics while warp knitting produces only coarse yardage.

Weft Knitting

Weft knitting, which can be done by hand or machine, uses a continuous thread to form courses and loops in the fabric.  This technique can produce either fabric yardage or shaped garments such as circular fabrics.  Due to the fact that it uses one continuous thread to create a finished product, it is very hard to unravel and creates a very elastic and thin fabric.  However, this fabric is more likely to shrink than fabric created using warp knitting, and needs to be washed and dried by hand rather than in a machine.

knitting technique

While weft knitting offers many more options in terms of finished products, the technique is generally more complicated and takes a longer time to complete.

There are three fundamental stitches used in weft knitting, which are:
•    Plain knit
•    Rib knit
•    Purl knit

This knitting technique creates many of the classic knitting looks you’ve come to recognize, and is more likely used by hand knitters everywhere.

Warp Knitting

On the other side of the knitting spectrum is warp knitting.  Usually knitting machines are used for this technique. It is much simpler and faster than weft knitting, which makes it more likely for commercial knitting fabrics. Another advantage to warp knitting is that the finished fabric can be washed in a machine with much less risk of shrinkage.

Unlike with weft knitting, each needle on a knitting machine uses it’s own loop of yarn to form parallel rows.  These rows and loops are interlocked to form fabric like the knitted fabrics you can find in stores.  Due to the restrictions of this technique, warp knitting is only used for fabric yardage rather than shaped and fitted garments. Very large widths of fabric can be created using warp knitting.  In addition, the fabrics are generally coarse, and thicker than those produced using weft knitting.

There are six fundamental stitches used in warp knitting, which are:

•    Tricot knit, which is soft and less prone to wrinkles.
•    Milanese knit, which can be recognized by the rib pattern on the face.
•    Simplex knit, which is pretty thick and dense.
•    Raschel knit, which creates nets, veils, and lace.
•    Ketten raschel knit, which creates a raised pattern on the fabric.
•    Crochet knit, which is the basic hand-crochet stitch.

While these terms are most commonly used to refer to machine knit fabrics, warp and weft knitting can be used to describe some hand-knit pieces as well.  In fact, as mentioned above, weft knitting can be done by either machine or hand.  Knowing these terms can help you choose which techniques you need to use for your project, since they result in entirely different fabrics.  If you are looking for a thinner, more elastic fabric, or need to shape your project as you go, weft knitting is the way to go. However, if it is more important to you to have a fabric that can go in the washing machine, warp knitting will give you the finished product you are looking for.  Whichever way you go, it is important to know the differences between weft and warp knitting if you are creating commercial knitting fabrics.