ASK JILL

After the rush of the holidays, I like to cozy up in my studio and review my yarn stash. Keeping yarns organized is a big help as you decide on your next project. Ski sweater with snowflakes, anyone?

After the rush of the holidays, I like to cozy up in my studio and review my yarn stash. Keeping yarns organized is a big help as you decide on your next project. Ski sweater with snowflakes, anyone?

I recently inherited my late aunt’s yarn stash. She had many wonderful yarns, but the one I like best has no ball band. How do I decide which needle size to use? —Gini Porter, Welfleet, Massachusetts

There’s a very simple way to determine correct needle size: Fold a strand of yarn in half and place the two strands through various holes in your needle gauge. When a hole is completely filled, you’ve found the size you should use to begin your swatching. Knit your swatch and measure the gauge to see if it matches the gauge of your pattern. If it is too loose, go down one needle size and try again. If it is too tight, go up one needle size.

 

I ran out of yarn before I finished the sweater I am working on, and unfortunately the dye lot I need is no longer available. How should I deal with the color difference between the old and new yarn? —Jeanine Riggs Wilson, New York, New York

I always advise knitters to buy at least one extra ball for their projects, as the situation you are facing is quite common. If it’s too late to do so, you can make the color variations almost disappear by working one row with the original dye lot and the next with the new dye lot, repeating for several inches.

 

I have finally finished my first sweater but am discouraged to find two separate holes. How can I fix them? —Jenna Karpowicz, Montpelier, Vermont

You probably worked an accidental yarn over or otherwise incorrectly knit a stitch. But don’t despair: It is quite simple to close up holes. Cut a length of yarn about 12 inches (30.5cm) long. With a yarn sewing needle, on the wrong side of your piece, sew around the hole and stitch it closed, then weave in the ends as you would any loose tail.

 

What exactly is sk2p? —Liz Bekkedahl, Moffat, Colorado

SK2P is simply a double decrease, in which you slip the first stitch, knit two stitches together, and pass the first stitch over the resulting stitch:You have now decreased two stitches. Doing so creates a left-slanting decrease. It is mostly used when decorative decreases are desired. The Craft Yarn Council has compiled a comprehensive list of American knitting abbreviations, which you can print from their website (www.craftyarncouncil.com/knit). If you run into unusual abbreviations in a pattern, you should be able to find an explanation in the pattern itself or in the book in which the abbreviation appeared.

 

My pattern for a baby sweater with a hood has a zipper up the back. Is it difficult to sew a zipper in a knitted garment? Are there any special techniques I should be using? —Bree McBride, Pawtucket, Rhode Island

Many knitters are uneasy about sewing in zippers, but it is actually quite easy, and certainly makes for easy baby dressing. Using a very sharp regular sewing needle and thread, baste the zipper in with long, loose stitches. Baste one side, then close the zipper and baste the second side, making sure both sides line up evenly. Using a running stitch on the right side or whipstitch on the wrong side [see photo], sew your zipper in place with thread that’s the same color as your yarn; make small, even stitches.

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Jil Eaton

Jil EatonJil Eaton is an internationally renowned handknitting pattern designer. Her signature MinnowKnits patterns are sold throughout the US and Canada.

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