Get News & Specials
Sign up for free
♥ PRODUCTS ♥
The Pattern Collections
Other Shawl Shapes
Sweaters & Vests
Socks & Fun Footwear
For the Hands
Neck & Up Coverings
For the Man
Minis and Miscellany
Holidays & Seasons
I Hate to Purl
All Beaded Patterns
PDF Pattern Catalog
Patterns by Yarn Weight
♥ SHOPPING ♥
Kits and Supplies
♥ STAY IN TOUCH ♥
Want to help me with some of the costs of providing free educational resources? Every donation counts. Your donation, small or large, is very much appreciated. Thank you!
"Your patterns are just fabulous ... unique and yet based on tradition."
- Jennifer C.
"I just love the simplicity of your patterns and the complexity of their appearance."
- Maureen M.
"I enjoy your website. It is easy to use and full of information ..."
- Debby L.
"... I love Heartstrings patterns. They are clear and well presented and Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer, the designer, is just a lovely, inspiring woman - well worth supporting by the purchase of the pattern."
- Kimberly L.
Your privacy and security are of utmost importance.
Index of Articles & Tips
From the knitting needles and spinning wheel of Jackie E-S
My wish is that a tip or comment here will cause you to think of something in a new way, or you will recall something long forgotten, or lead you to other random thoughts and "un"-ventions. These are offered to you without charge, but if you find them helpful and would like to donate something, of course I would be most appreciative.
In addition to the listings here, there may also be some other articles of interest to you in recent issues of HeartStrings Knitterly News, the e-Newsletter publication of HeartStrings FiberArts. I also invite you to subscribe to the newsletter so that you can read the newest articles as I write them.
Whether planned or serendipitous, you too are a creative knitter. Here are ideas to help you become more confident and let your inner self express itself!
What's all this fuss about fuzz? Knowing more about fibers and yarn attributes can help make you a more confident knitter when choosing yarns to suit your project's purpose.
Finishing as an In-Process Activity
By incorporating these "finishing" tips into your project right from the beginning and throughout, you can make the final finishing steps of your knitting project easier and seem effortless.
Blocking and Care
Whether you call it blocking or dressing or finishing, check out these articles for helpful methods and tips.
- Blocking Tips
Make blocking a pleasurable part of the knitting process.
- Blocking in Progress
Blocking is something we usually think of as only doing in the final stages of completing a knitting project – usually the very last thing! But have you ever worried while knitting whether you were going to like the outcome? Avoid the uncertainty of whether something is going to turn out satisfactorily by doing a blocking in progress.
- Knitted Lace Blocking Magic
Do you believe in magic? Well, just compare the before and after of blocking knitted lace!
- Weaving in Ends
Should you block first then weave in the ends, or weave in the ends then block it?
- Extracting Water
Tips for use with small hand-washed articles.
- Special Soap?
Treat your fine woolens as you would your own hair.
- Washing Socks
Hand washing method for deep cleaning delicate yarn.
- Is Dry Cleaning OK for a Lace Gift?
Q&A: Should I advise the wearer to have it dry cleaned when necessary, since she won't have blocking materials?
- Wash Before Giving?
Remove any doubts that the item is thoroughly clean and fresh, while making your item look first-class.
- Blocking a Smoke Ring
Keep it simple - how to block a smoke ring. Even though a smoke ring is a tubular item, the lace can be successfully blocked as two layers rather than complicating matters by trying to block in-the-round. Here's how ...
- What percentage can you expect lace to increase in size after blocked?
Is it a general rule of thumb that a piece of lace will typically increase in size by 25% after blocking? It depends ...
- Repairing a hand-knit sock with a knit-in-place patch
Considering the time and expense of making hand-knit socks, it is well worth the effort to repair them if you eventually wear through a hole.
Did you know that many of the HeartStrings designs are sampled in handspun yarns? (That spinning wheel in the HeartStrings logo is no coincidence.) There are more and more of the yarn/dyeing companies that are making lovely fibers available to hand spin into yarn. Let these blog articles
inspire you in your own journey of creativity with fibers. Even for non-spinners, there will almost certainly be something you find interesting.
- 5 Favorite Tips for Knitting with Handspun
Here are my "top 5" favorite take-aways that have served me well through all these years. Whether it is something new to you or just a reminder, I hope you find them useful when knitting with hand spun yarn or even choosing commercially spun yarn for your projects …
- Deb Robson explains scouring fleece
Deb Robson is the presenter in Knitting Daily TV Episode 603's How-to Segment. This segment focuses on the the process for producing yarn before you even knit a stitch. Deb explains step-by-step the process …
- Cotton Roving – braiding, dyeing, spinning and knitting
Here is a fun way to play with cotton roving …
- Spinning Jacob Wool – one fleece, many colors
Jacob sheep are small, multi-horned animals somewhat resembling goats. I love their spotted colors because of the fun I've had with their wool fleeces. From just one Jacob Sheep fleece, I can create a palette of tones from light to dark. Let me share …
- Knitted lace blanket in handspun Cotswold wool
The background on spinning for my Cotswold Lacie Blankie entry to the Save the Sheep Project, sponsored by Interweave Press and included in the book Handspun Treasures from Rare Wools. …
- Moody Blues, handspun pima cotton plied with silk
Besides the hypnotically soothing relaxation I feel when spinning, I think that a great joy in handspinning your own yarn is practiced control over the creative results. There often is the serendipity, too, and this leads to even more adventures and exploration …
- Spinning a 2-ply laceweight yarn for a scarf
I am often asked about the laceweight yarns I have handspun and used to knit scarves or shawls. At the top of my list of favorites, I like to spin a laceweight 2-ply yarn from hand-painted silk, cotton or fine wool blend. Here's how …
- Deco-organizing a spindle spinning collection
There's nothing more cost-effective than decorating with items you already own. And there's nothing more satisfying than organizing in a creative way. Put them together and you get "deco-organizing".
Knitting with Beads
Miscellaneous Articles and Other Quick Tips
If someone asked, chances are someone else has the same question. Besides all these resource articles, there are also other Tutorials, Tips & Techniques for Bits of Lace 2012
and BOBBOL 2013
- Have Our Eyes Fooled Us?
Do you sometimes think you are following instructions, then find out later your eyes fooled you?
- A Nifty Measuring Tape
A nifty little gadget to take easier, more accurate and consistent body measurements.
- Support Full-service Yarn Stores
Have you found your local yarn store yet?
- Choosing Needle Size
A useful method to choose a starting needle size to use for swatching your yarn.
- What is the Correct Knitting Gauge?
The actual knitting is what tells the true story.
- Reading Out Loud
Have your eyes fooled you? Do you sometimes think you are following instructions, then find out later your eyes fooled you? Maybe your first clue is that things are not working out. Or maybe something is just not making sense. Here's a tip that can help ...
- Smoother Wooden Needles
Help your stitches move more easily across the needles.
- Circular Knitting Needle Organizer
A home-grown solution for creating an interesting wall hanging while at the same time keeping circular knitting needles organized by size.
- The Lifeline
"Insurance" for knitters.
- Repairing a Lace Knitting Disaster
Nearing the big FO (Finished Object) stage for a shawl, I instead detoured to the "disaster" stage. I washed and went to block the shawl and a big area in one of the corners was nearly disintegrated. Here is the story …
- A Less Stressful k3tog
Tips for less stress on both you and the thread.
- SSK Alternative Method
A no-slip, no-remount method for making a left-leaning decrease.
- Crazy Quilt Combination of Colors
Using small amounts of yarn in knitting projects.
- Cable Take-up
Guidelines to avoid flare and puckering.
- Lever-Action Knitting
This is not an endorsement of the way I knit. I am describing here, only because so many people have asked. If you are looking to add to, change or refine your repertoire of knitting methods, I hope you find these ideas helpful. The basic premise is that less wasted motion means quicker knitting. A side benefit is the reduction of risk for repetitive motion stress ailments.
- Seamless Shoulder-down Sweater Sleeves
A neat construction alternative to knitting sleeves from cuff to sleeve cap, then sewing into the body of the sweater.
- Sizing Up a Pattern
Knitting for the larger figure.
- The Weigh-Down on Stitches
Struggling to work the first row or two of your knitting?
- Easy Knitted Circular Center Start
How to avoid the struggle of beginning the center of a circularly knit piece.
- Avoiding Finger Pain
Knitting should NOT be a pain. There shouldn't be any stress or strain on the finger in continental knitting.
- Will a circular needle work for making this blanket?
Why you should consider using a circular needle for flat knitting when there are a lot of stitches.
- Substituting Circular Needles for Double Point Needles
By using this tip, you can substitute circular methods (either two circulars, or even one circular) for any patterns written for double point needles.
- Join Without Twisting
Avoid mishaps of twisting your stitches while joining for circular knitting. This fool-proof method assures you get it right the first time.
- The Pedantic Cabler
Tips for knitting a perfect cable.
- How to Stiffen Lace
Tried and true stiffening that can't be beat.
- How long can triangle shawl be with the yarn you have?
A Balancing Act: When 1/4 = 1/2
- Take Time to Save Knitting Time: Rehearse the Process
A little bit of rehearsing will save time in the end by building confidence and reducing the chances of set-backs.
- Will this keep my edges from curling?
What NOT to do.
- Changing the Needle Size to Make Pattern Smaller or Larger
It isn't a matter of gauge only.
- A Pretty Yarn Bowl
Protect your yarn from rolling around and tangling, while supporting a local artist.
- Fleece Piece Keepers: Sort and Wash Mesh Bags
These poly mesh bags can be used for washing fleece, for dyeing, controlling balls of fine yarn, and with caring for your small accessory knits like socks.
- Ways to Wear Triangle Shawls
Discover new ideas for weaingr your triangular shawls.
- Beeswax Cakes for Crafting
Did you know beeswax is useful in crafts?
- A Different Take on Making Lemonade Out of Lemons
Do you love silk, but hate when it snags on your hands while knitting or spinning?
HeartStrings Knitterly News
Not getting HeartStrings free e-newsletter? Subscribe now
for more future articles and tips.