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The new knitonauts often feel overwhelmed by their first project, whether it’s making socks or baby caps. After all, it’s a new skill and there seem to be dozens of little things to learn.

Learning to knit differs from learning other skills and hobbies. There are specific and meticulous movements and details to master. At first, the movements are awkward, but with more practice, it will improve.

You also have many questions and I decided to take the questions that were most often asked by mail, mp and comments to answer in this article.

How to read a knitting pattern?

A knitting pattern looks different from the instruction manuals. These models appear to be reserved for high-flying tricoauts who have taken intensive training courses and years of experience.

Learning to read a knitting pattern requires a little more effort in the beginning. But once you’ve learned the abbreviations and how the pieces are assembled, knitting will become a game. You do not need intensive training courses, or years of experience to understand a knitting pattern. It can be intimidating or overwhelming at first, but once you understand the basics, it will be easy.

First, a knitting pattern includes different information: the skill level that the boss requires (beginner, easy, intermediate, advanced / expert), the size (very important if you knit a fitted piece), the sample ( not necessarily important for ALL bosses but it is still necessary to take into account) and other complementary information such as the type of wire used, the size of the needles etc.

Reading and following a knitting pattern will become second nature as you make more and more projects. After all, you can visualize the “finished product” and the intermediate steps will then be easy to imagine and execute

To help you read and especially understand a knitting pattern, I made a complete article on the subject and I refer you to it 🙂

How do I know what level of knitting skill I am?

We have seen that skill level is mentioned in many knitting patterns. But what do these skill levels mean? How do you know if you are ready for the next level?

First, novice projects have the simplest patterns. They often have simple shapes and only need place and back stitches (most of the time), making them perfect for novice or new knitters. Experienced knitters also choose these types of patterns if they are looking for something easy and quick to do.

After the beginner level, comes the easy level. Patterns that indicate this skill level are a bit more complex or take longer than beginner models. The “Easy” patterns use repetitive stitches and basic techniques of working colors, shaping and finishing.

Once you have experience (you have completed some Beginner and Easy patterns), it’s time to get started in Intermediate and Advanced patterns. These are more complex and difficult because their projects have complex designs, advanced formatting requirements and, yes, they require much more time.

If you start to adopt these patterns, you do not show and prove just your skill level. You also show your commitment to carry out such a monumental task. The commitment of time (plus patience) also shows that knitting becomes a serious business. Whether it is for your own pleasure or to create something useful and beautiful for a friend or loved one, the effort will be worth it because you have finished something you can be proud of.

What does all these abbreviations mean?

Knitting is a specific skill and hobby that has its own language (somehow) because of several abbreviations included in almost all knitting patterns.

Here are the most common ones:

  • s = stich
  • k. = knit 
  • p. = purl
  • CN = cable needle 
  • DPN = double pointed needles
  • inc = increase / increasing 
  • dec = decrease
  • K2tog = knit 2 stiches together
  • sl = slip
  • CO = cast on
  • BO = bind off 
  • rep = repeat
  • psso = pass slip stich over knitted stich

These are the common abbreviations that you will find in most patterns. You will encounter more abbreviations when you undertake more difficult projects. But for now, the above abbreviations should be enough to get you started. 🙂

Can I knit on the plane?

Yes (at least in most parts of the world). Knitting can be done by plane. However, the problem is more about whether you can bring the needles and scissors on board. Indeed, airport security may not allow knitting needles and round-toed scissors in cabin baggage.

First check which items are prohibited. Current regulations vary across airports and airlines depending on security issues and recent threats. I advise you to contact them either with the social networks or by mail. To avoid any problems, slip your needles into your checked baggage and focus on knitting once you get to your destination and do something else on the plane (read a book, watch a movie, listen to music). You will always have plenty of time to catch up, because you can knit at any time once you arrive.

If you have other questions, I would be happy to help you in comments or by mail 😉

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