Crocheters often make afghans, and if your afghan is done in one piece, often requires a large number of chains.  It is so easy to lose count while chaining, and sometimes is difficult to go back and count them accurately and get the same number every time!  To help in counting, make use of the coilless safety pin markers (Yes, we have them!) or split lock markers that are available and should definitely be part of your stitching notions bag.  Insert a marker every 20 stitches or so and it will alleviate the need to go all the way back to the beginning of the chain when you lose count.

If you are altering the width of the written pattern and you need to change the number of foundation chains, figure the number of chains you think you will need, and then add a few extras.  Having too many is better than having too few, because you can always unravel the extra chains and just weave in the tail.

No matter how experienced a knitter you may be, or how carefully you follow the pattern, there are always times when you make mistakes, and have to correct them.  Sometimes it just involves a simple correction, unknitting a few stitches or dropping a stitch down a column to fix it.  But sometimes the only solution is to pull your needles out, and rip back an inch, or two, or three, or ......... *?!/#!+#!  The most intimidating part can be trying to get all of those pesky little stitches BACK on the needles after you've ripped back past your mistake.  It is much easier to pick up those little loops if done with a needle (a circular needle works best) several sizes smaller than the one you've been knitting with.  That way, the needle slips easily through the stitch loops without disturbing them and possibly causing them to drop down a few more rows.  When you knit the next row, you can put the correct size needle in your right hand, and simply knit the stitches from the smaller needle back onto your project needle.  It doesn't make up for the time you will spend reknitting your project, but it does make the process a little less painful!

We often get asked what size tapestry needle is needed for a certain count of fabric or canvas.  Here are some general guidelines for choosing needle sizes. 

Tapestry Needle Size               Aida                      Linen                     Canvas

            18/20                                                                                     10/12 mesh

            20/22                            6 ct                                                   13/14 mesh

            22/24                            8 ct                                                   16/18 mesh

               24                          10/11/14 ct              18-26 ct

               26                             16/18 ct                27-30 ct

               28                                                          32-40 ct

You always need to consider though the type of fiber being stitched with -- if you are using a particularly fragile fiber, sometimes it is advisable to use a larger needle than normal in order to enlarge the hole, and minimize the drag on the fiber.

Most knitters know that "decrease" meant to reduce the number of stitches on your needle.  There are many ways to do this, and the method you use depends on the way the piece is shaped and the look you are trying to achieve.  Decreases can be worked as knits on the knit side of your work, or as purls on the purl side of your work.  You will want to consider the slant of the decrease when you choose the one to use on a particular edge as you generally achieve a more professional look if the decrease slants in the direction of the shaping.  The explanations below will help you choose among the available options.                                                              

K2tog/P2tog -- Knit 2 together/Purl 2 together -- Single decrease, slants right

SSK/SSP/SKP -- Slip, Slip, Knit/Slip, Slip, Purl/Slip, Knit, Pass slipped stitch over -- Single decrease, slants left                          

K2togtbl or P2togtbl -- Knit 2 together thru back loop/Purl 2 together thru back loop -- Single decrease, slants left

K3tog/P3tog  -- Knit 3 together/Purl 3 together -- Double decrease, slants right

SK2P -- Slip one, knit 2 together, pass slipped stitch over -- Double decrease, slants left

S2KP --Slip two, knit one, pass slipped stitches over -- Centered double decrease

We get many questions in the shop about how to read yarn labels.  One of the most frequent questions is about the conversion of meters to yards when trying to figure out how much yarn is in a skein.  Many of our yarns are imported, and only list total meters per skein, not yards.  Since most patterns list yarn requirements in terms of yards, a conversion needs to be made.  If you multiply the meters given by 1.0936, you will obtain the equivalent yardage figure.  If you don't have a calculator handy, you can closely estimate the conversion by simply adding 10% of the total meters number to obtain equivalent yards.

For example:  200 meters x 1.0936 = 218.72 yards

                       200 meters + 10% of 200 (20) = 220 yards

The estimates are fairly close together as you can see, and either will work for figuring necessary yardage for a pattern.