Aw look! One pattern, 364 versions of the MDK New Ancestral Christmas Stocking.

Our Alter Egos Are Having a Contest

Dear Ann,
At this point I’m having difficulty keeping our alter egos straight. There’s Big Edie and Little Edie, of course. (Which sounds so much nicer than Old Edie and Young Edie, doesn’t it? It doesn’t?) And there’s those presumed-tranny country singers. (Gosh, I miss them! It’s hard to believe they had the same makeup person as Big Edie and Little Edie.) But there’s also the Problem Ladies! And the Problem Ladies have a deadline! Which means that Franklin has a deadline! It’s a web of deadlines, all dependent on readers’ questions. We’ll take a stab at any knitting question, any query about Method Acting—just lay it on us, whatever you’ve got.
To encourage the questing and questioning spirit of our readers, all questioners will be entered in a contest to win one of the following audio books, all of which are perfect to knit by and would be a nice diversion if they don’t get enough snow in Vancouver. The prizes are:
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Twilight. Sexy vampires. If you like that sort of thing. And of course you do like that sort of thing. 12 hours, 51 minutes!
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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
8 hours, 17 minutes! Jim Dale doing all the voices! A tour de force of the audio book genre.
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The Girl Who Played With Fire
18 and a half hours! Clearly enough time to knit all 3 socks on 2 circs!
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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
A mere 8 hours….sorry. A couple of dishrags, though.
419zuSvsRPL._SL500_AA240_.jpgThe Lost Symbol
Dan Brown is no slouch at the typing: 17 and a half hours!
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Last Night in Twisted River.
John Irving is the champion: 24 and a half hours! Knit yourself unconscious!
The Rules: Leave a comment to this post, asking the Problem Ladies a question, by Sunday, February 14, at noon (New York time). Winners will be drawn at random. The first-drawn winner will have a choice among the audio books, the second-drawn winner will have a choice among the remaining audiobooks, and so forth until they’re all distributed.
Good luck and happy questioning!
Love,
Kay
P.S. Thank you to our sweet publisher for the pile of audio love to share. Subscribe to Crafter News, everybody!

299 Comments

299 Comments

  1. Sock questions: Why knit lacey socks with holes in them? I just don’t get it. That’s not really a problem for you guys to solve, though. Just wondering. Also, is there a way to knit a sock that will stay on a baby’s foot?

  2. Why is there always a hole in my thumb on my fingerless gloves? Is there any way to make it to where there is not one??

  3. Why does my cat only like to chew on the really nice yarn (ie, the cashmere/silk)?

  4. I need help knitting from a chart. I am much better at following a pattern that is written out for me, but so many patterns nowadays are the newfangled kind with lots of charts and few words. Do you have any tricks or tips that might help me? The “do nothing” squares are especially hard on me, and wouldn’t you think they would be the easiest?? I can do nothing with the best of them but my concern about stitch counts always gets in the way of inaction, I can’t help myself!

  5. I’m about to start a sweater, however I want to add a hem instead of the ribbing, but there’s so much conflicting advice out there that I’m having trouble figuring out the best way to do it. Knit up or sew up? Smaller needles or fewer stitches? Purl turning row or picot turning row? The options are endless, and I have a really tough time deciding between options, so please help!!

  6. What’s the best way to knit while holding a small baby? This two-month-old of mine hasn’t really taken to knitting, and I miss being able to sit and knit!

  7. How can I get my two-color knitting to stop pulling together and making the bunching that is even less attractive in knitting than in ill-fitting pants?

  8. I just wore a big hole in the first pair of socks I knit. It’s on the edge of the foot, and if I try to sew it up, I’m sure there will be an uncomfortable lump and I’ll end up with a blister.
    Ladies, what should I do? I love those socks. They have served me through many a cold day. Should I revel in the fact that in this world of replaceable items I used something up? Should I pout? What is the acceptable thing to do here?

  9. How can I convince my husband that it’s natural to buy a skein of dishcloth cotton every time I’m near a craft store? I mean really, I’m just trying to help our heating bill by insulating the house. He doesn’t understand.

  10. I’m looking for tips on how to follow a pattern and count rows. I know Kay knits alot of square things, but she actually does have the ability to fashion shapes and patterns. Anything beyond the ballband or a plain stockinette mitten cause me to miss TV shows, burn dinner or lose children.
    How can I focus on my project, and follow a pattern while still remembering to breathe?

  11. O Problem Ladies, why is ribbing looser than stockinette? And why can’t I remember this before I get halfway through a cuff and have to rip back to change needle sizes?

  12. What is your opinion on the future of knit blogging? Several of my favorite bloggers have thrown in the towel, presumably in favor of Ravelry, Twitter, and – oh yeah – more free time to knit.

  13. When knitting lace in the round, what is the best way to knit nupps? Any help here would be appreciated.

  14. Why does every circular shawl I make look good in the picture and make me look like a bag lady when I wear it? Am I oddly shaped? Do I try to make it too big so that I’m extra warm? It always seems a straight shawl isn’t going to warm my back but when I look at myself in a circular shawl, I can’t help recoiling in horror!

  15. How can I get my husband to stop buying so many electronic gadgets? That money would be much better spent on yarn. Am I right?

  16. No matter what I do, whenever I knit flat stockinette, the RS rows always have loose stitches on the left side. How do I prevent that?

  17. I love to see the pictures of your well behaved pets minding their own business (except for some blocking pins). If I attempt to knit with pets in the room, the cat goes for the yarn coming out of the center pull ball creating a diversion so that the boxer grabs the extra yarn from the basket and makes off with it. What are your dog/ cat whispering secrets and will you share them with the knitting public?

  18. How can I so consistently miss the obvious when it comes to knitting? For example, I recently learned (from Bonne Marie Burns @ chicknits.com) that instead of driving myself crazy trying to figure out how to reverse shaping on the fronts, I should just use the shaping for the back! That is brilliant. And Obvious.

  19. I am a good knitter, but I am a terrible counter. Is there a simpler way to count other than 1, 2, 3, 4…

  20. Dear Problem Ladies, Please give me some hints on where to store my stash. My freezer is full of wool, and I think I’m going to start stuffing the piano next. Nobody every plays it anymore anyway. What can I do?

  21. Dear Problem Ladies,
    I start my day at around 7 a.m. by switching on my laptop, making my breakfast then sitting down in my fave chair/nest, surrounded by woolly loveliness, to read my emails, newsletters, blogs, etc. My question is how do I climb out of the rabbit-hole that is the internet in order to attend to my hygiene and household duties. It is now 9:21 a.m. and I could happily continue on this route for the rest of the morning. Is this wrong?
    Sincerely,
    She Whose Bum is Adhered to a Chair.

  22. Dear Problem Ladies,
    Is there a way to use knitting for snow removal purposes? As a resident of the Washington DC metro area, I find my route to my LYS blocked by a few feet of snow. How’s a knitter supposed to engage in stash enhancement? Is there a way to use those DPNs in my closet for snow removal?
    Many thanks!
    Snowed In

  23. My husband is on a golf trip this weekend in Phoenix. I am home with 40 inches of snow and 2 kids. What would you suggest for a Valentine’s gift to myself?

  24. Dear Problem Ladies,
    I truly enjoy reading your column (and blog). I need to know if it is a common occurrence for a black hole in time to open up, every time a ball-band dishcloth is cast on? Seems to me that I cast on that first row, and the next time I look up 4 or 5 hours have past. This phenomenon has happened over and over again. Not that I really mind, of course, but the children (the furry kind) want to be fed every once in a while.
    Grateful for any guidance you may come up with,
    Sheri

  25. I have a question about knitting from a chart. If it is a stitch for each square, I am ok, but I just can not wrap my head around the blank or no stitch squares. Can you help me?

  26. OK, Problem Ladies, what’s the best project for someone who has never done Fair Isle before? It’s a New Year’s resolution. Ha! Maybe it’s one I can keep.

  27. Dear Problem Ladies,
    The cast-on for my new hat is too tight and unstretchy (if that’s a word). How can I fix it without ripping out my whole hat or taking 6 hours to perform some esoteric Romanian reverse twist darning to replace the cast-on edge? And what would be the best cast-on to use next time I make a hat or socks or something else that cries out for stretchiness?

  28. I made a tank top and found that I bound off the neck line so tight I can’t get it over my head (I blame the yarn). Anyway, short of removing the binding and trying again, is there anything else I can do?

  29. Where to all the missing stitch markers go? Is there some sort of vortex into which they get sucked?

  30. I am forever knitting hats that turn out too loose. Even when I check gauge this seems to happen. So then I go back to add a “cuff” at the bottom, something to fold up so it pulls the hat tighter around my ears. Do you have any ideas how to make a join between these pieces that will look nice folded over?

  31. Dear Problem Ladies, I want to knit dish towels to match my dishcloths. Is there a special pattern to use?

  32. Dear problem ladies,
    Is it possible to keep a stash and WIPs under control and organized? Is there a cure for startitis or castonosis? Help!

  33. What is your favorite provisional cast-on?

  34. How do you weave in ends as you go along? I have researched this, I can do the first stitch or so correctly, anchoring the yarn on the back of the cloth, but after that everything goes haywire (or actually yarnwire). Thanks – Hester

  35. I have KADD, Knitters Attention Deficit Disorder. I want to start every new project IMMEDIATELY. I lose interest in my old projects as soon as a new magazine or book arrives on my doorstep. How do all these unfinished objects get finished? I am living in Unfinished Projects Universe and it’s burying me.

  36. I knit a pullover and I want to turn it into a cardigan. I’ve read about steeking but what I’ve read has said I need a sewing machine to “bind off” the columns on either side of the steek. I don’t have a sewing machine, nor easy access to one (I’m in a foreign country). Is there any way to do this without a sewing machine? It doesn’t have to be easy, it just has to be knitting-centric. thanks!
    (PS followup to Angela, I also would be interested in a suggestion for a good starter fair-isle project.)

  37. Dear Problem Ladies,
    I acquired a strange amount of novelty yarn in my stash from the early days of my knitting adventure. It evokes a sigh of disappointment every time I come across it. I can’t quite bring myself to throw it away. Any thoughts?
    Too much Wild Fur,
    Adrienne

  38. I’m making a sleeve on 2 circular needles and am getting ladders. Will they block out or is there anything I can do after the fact to minimize the ladders? Or am I stuck with either ladders or ripping out my sleeve and trying again?

  39. Dear Problem Ladies:
    What is the best way to add increases to a lace pattern in a top-down shawl to incorporate pattern increases? (besides the add one stitch at both sides and two at the spine …) is there a surefire way to make it work easily? especially when the charts say the pattern is 8 stitches + 1 …
    math boggled from the snow,
    Gail

  40. Dear Problem Ladies,
    My brain shorts out when I try to do short rows. Will you please give me the very simplest ever instructions for short rows? Thanks

  41. I’m still looking for the best way to “weave in ends”. I hate it when I come to the end of a pattern, and there it is the ubiquitous “weave in ends”. So I’m asking: how is this best done? Please???

  42. How many different ways are there to cast on? And when should they be used? And why don’t patterns help you out in that department?
    Sincerely,
    Cast-on-confusion

  43. which method of wrapping stitches do you prefer? I’ve read about 2 ways that are new to me-the Japanese way and the over the needle one in the new Vogue.

  44. If you’ve misplaced the label for a skein of yarn, how do you ever figure out the fibre content and care instructions? Thanks!

  45. Dear Problem Ladies:
    I see knitting everywhere. Should I (or my immediate family) start to worry?

  46. Dear Problem Ladies,
    Why do I always have problems getting the correct gauge. I have too many stitches, so I go up a needle size. I get too few, and I go down a needle size. But it seems that no matter what I do, I have the hardest time getting gauge, which is why I haven’t attempted a sweater. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated since I’m getting tired of knitting scarves (I never get tired of knitting dishcloths).

  47. Dear Problem Ladies,
    I finished my hoodie…..I even blocked it. But when I put on the 2 1/2 inches of rib band on it seems to hike up. Does it need to be steamed to relax it or rip it out and start again???

  48. I’ve heard that you can buy welding wire from the hardware store instead of blocking wires–but what kind?

  49. When you are binding off what is the best way to count stitches? I am always confused (do you count that first stitch?).I also wonder about multiple bind off methods. If there are multiple ways to cast on there must be multiple ways to cast off. (just saying) When and where are they most useful?

  50. This is a hybrid knitting and etiquette question. I really love to knit and wear interesting scarves, not too over the top but scarves that stand out from the store-bought type. However after a while, I rotate them out of current wear. Friends have admired them while I am knitting or wearing them. How best does one gift a scarf that has been admired after one has been wearing it for a season? I have a lovely purple alpaca Lace Ribbon scarf waiting to go to its new home, and I want to send it there in a way that isn’t tacky (“Hi, I’m sick of this but I thought you could use it” seems tacky.)

  51. Can I knit my partner a sweater if we don’t ever plan on getting married? I mean, I don’t want to invoke the sweater curse or anything, but at this rate, he might not ever get a sweater otherwise!

  52. Dear Problem Ladies:
    last year my dear son asked (alright, he might have been forced to agree) to me making him an EZ Tomten jacket from some handspun yarn.
    well, its almost a year since I cast on, the kid has grown (he’s 5), and when I had him to a try-on the other day, it hung so wierdly at the shoulders that I dont like it anymore.
    So, is it wrong of me to hide this as a UFO until he has outgrown it so I can reclaim the yarn for other knitting? or am I obligated to be the good mom and finish it?
    signed, guilt ridden mom (who really wants to knit something else with yarn!)

  53. How do I overcome my fear of knitting with yarn smaller than worsted weight? I always have to go down 2 needle sizes to get gauge, so I think I’m avoiding using small needles for garments that will take forever to knit.

  54. I have a beaded scarf pattern written for sport weight yarn, but I would like to use a DK weight. I’m not worried about an overall size difference, but how do I know what size beads will fit on this yarn?

  55. I have always admired the knit blankets in your books. What makes me hesistant to knit one (besides their giant hugeness) is the thought of having to wash one. How do you care for your knit blankets?

  56. I just knit a pair of beautiful socks, but they turned out too big. Other than frogging and starting over, how can I shrink them to fit?

  57. Why do I stink so much at weaving in ends? on my new seamless sweater, the places where i wove in my ends are all wadded up and tighter than other parts of the sweater, or there are bits of yarn peeking out, making the seater look slobby. any tips?

  58. What is the best technique for Method Actors to use when fake-knitting onstage? Follow-up question: which TV Miss Marple, in your professional opinion(s), was the best fake knitter?

  59. Why do I keep losing stitches all the time when I’m working on the February Lady sweater. It really bugs me and I don’t want to use a lifeline or stitch markers either. Don’t even mention them like all my so-called friends keep doing.

  60. What is the best method for getting the sweater I knit for my cat onto my cat? I heard that there was some controversy about this and thought you ladies might be able to help me.

  61. Heh. I have already read (or listened to) every single one of those books. But there are several I wouldn’t mind listening to again. So, here’s my question: which is the absolute stretchiest cast-on? I need it for my next sweater, which will be a crew-neck knit from the neck down. Throw my name in the ol’ toque!

  62. I’ve actually read all these great literary choices already, but am piping up to say you gotta take mercy on Sarah,above:
    “My husband is on a golf trip this weekend in Phoenix. I am home with 40 inches of snow and 2 kids. What would you suggest for a Valentine’s gift to myself?”

  63. I guess this is sort of existential. And I guess you won’t be able to solve it. But why do I always have the wrong yarn for the project at hand? And the wrong project for the yarn at hand? This has been plaguing my knitting for decades now… is there a solution?

  64. I want to knit a sweater out of Kureyon sock yarn. The pattern I like is written for Kid Silk Haze and some fine cotton. Is this a good idea at all? Tell us all about yarn subbing.

  65. I have started knitting socks and after a pair or two realized that I so love handmade wool socks that I shudder to think that they might someday wear out. I decided to add a reinforcing thread to the heels and toes of the pair on which I am currently working as well as use smaller needles for the foot. Should I use the reinforcing thread for the whole of the foot or just add to the heel and toe part, dropping and picking up the thread before and after the instep portion? Opinions? Advice?

  66. Do you have a secret for keeping ball bands with the yarn they came with? I get so disturbed when all of a sudden there is no ball band on a skein or ball in my stash.

  67. Dear Problem Ladies,
    I love the mishmash of colors that Kaffe Fassett and other Rowanites conjure up, but I hate the tangles that come with so many pieces of yarn, or balls of yarn, while knitting intarsia-style. Is there a better way, or should I just surrender to the cables forever?

  68. Is there a cure for Modern Baby Blanket knitting obsession? I’m on my 10th one now!
    No, really, here’s my question: I knit most of my Modern Baby Blankets out of cotton yarn and I have a devil of a time getting the ends to stay woven in cleanly. Do you have any suggestions for me on how to hide these ends? Should I just (GASP!) knot them? Is there a secret cotton end-weaving trick known only to the Alter Egos?

  69. I just figured out what a Russian Join is and now someone is telling me that there’s such a thing as spit grafting. SPIT GRAFTING????? What is it? Not as gross as it sounds I hope.

  70. Dear Problem Ladies,
    Lately I’ve wanted to knit nothing but lace, lace and more lace. (Shawls! Shawlettes! Scarves! Stoles! They keep calling my name and my needles. My problem is that I am a t-shirt and jeans girl that works from home and my family and friends aren’t the lace lovin’ types.
    What can I do with these gorgeous masterpieces when I’m finished? Covering trees just won’t cut it.
    Happy Knitting,
    Lavished in Lace

  71. How do I learn to knit faster? I love knitting, I’m just very slow at it. I’ve been knitting for a couple of years and don’t seem to be much faster than when I started. Oh, and when I do try to knit faster, I start to hyperventilate (very comedic, no?). Any help would be appreciated.
    And while Guernsey Literary is not the longest of books, it is truly amazing. I recommend it to any reader.

  72. Even though I go to great pains to make sure my darling Tut does not have unsupervised access to all things linear, he still manages to find it and eat it! How can I best explain to my kitty that if he eats another piece of yarn that must be removed surgically that he has to pay for it himself?

  73. Dear Problem Ladies:
    How do I motivate myself to complete an adult size garment that is NOT an accesory? I knit lots and lots and lots but can’t seem to finish a sweater even when I go ahead and buy ‘the good stuff’ …

  74. Is there a reason why you bind off each block of he moderne baby blanket before starting the next color instead of just using the live stitches?
    I know this is my second question and if you only want to enter me once in the drawing that’s fine but I thought of this after I had submitted my first question.

  75. Dear Ladies:
    I have a baby who is now a year old. I made several very cute knitted items for her and plans to make more.
    Question 1: why I am so afraid to put them on her? They are cute, they fit, and I just pass them over when I get her dressed. So why did I make them if I’m not going to put them on her?!
    Question 2: How can I preserve these treasures? They are still in good shape since she never really wore them and I hate to see them turned into doll clothes (ie ruined). The thought of just wrapping them in acid free paper and stuck in a drawer or box seems silly. I also don’t want to pass them on to another child because what if that mom puts it on the baby and it gets ruined?
    Any advice you have in the above matter is truly appreciated. I have plans for more adorable knitted problems for my adorable little girl. I would like them to not symbolize a waste of time and money.
    Regards,
    Ellen S.

  76. Dear Problem Ladies,
    When I soak a wool sweater prior to blocking it, how do I keep it from stretching out into a dress sized for an elephant? Color me frustrated: this only happens with some sweaters, and never with socks, so I have no way of predicting when I get the sweater, and when it goes to the elephant.

  77. What do you do when you find your gauge loosening over time, and you have a number of UFO’s lying around? Do you have to rip and start again? A quarter of a lace scarf is one thing, but half the back of a sweater is a whole ‘nother problem. Is there any way to solve this without ripping?

  78. Dear Problem Ladies: I got a beautiful old-timey cardigan sweater at the thrift store on half-price day for $1.50. I was astonished to find it, snapped it up and rushed home with it. When I got there, I looked at my treasure more closely and found 5 or 6 extremely obvious moth holes. Here’s my question: can I re-knit or patch up those holes somehow or should I unravel my little heirloom and add the cashmere to my stash? (I should probably mention that I’m not good with fiddly, painstaking tasks.) Your loyal reader, Susan J.

  79. Ladies, how long do you think it will take you to answer all these questions? I definitley need answers to all of these asap. Thanks

  80. What is the best way to block an adult size sweater? Do you wet the sweater and roll in a dry towel? Or do you wet the towel and roll the sweater in it until damp and then dry. I am confused.

  81. Who is your favorite celebrity knitter?

  82. I’ve made a gazillion crocheted patches for afghans this fall and winter (stash busting, yeah!!!) and it’s looking as though in a couple of months I’m going to wind up with at least a half-dozen completed single-size bed covers, do you know of anywhere that might be able to use ‘em? I thought perhaps a shelter or a hospice? I used to regularly make afghans to send to local shelters a decade ago, but I’ve gotten out of the habit due to illness. Surely there are online links, somewhere I can find that would let me know who might enjoy/appreciate such a nice, warm blankie?

  83. Did Kermit eat the frozen dinner?

  84. do you know where i could buy a pair of
    knitting neddles that would holler at me
    when i drop a sitch -you just dropped one
    yes thats right you just dropped another
    one -pick it up now and stop curseing

  85. Dear Problem Ladies,
    My friend finished a sweater, blocked it and it turned into a dress. What can she do to turn it back into a sweater? Or should she just buy some leggings, a belt and some really cute boots?
    Signed,
    Befuddled

  86. Repair Question: Because I am a knitter it was assumed by a dear friend that I could repair a “store-bought” Dale of Norway sweater that is coming apart. It is plain blue but has a color-work stripe near the cuffs. The problem appears to be that the ends were not woven in sufficiently and are very short. I looked at it briefly, shuddered, and draped in gingerly over a rocking chair. Help.

  87. Dear Knitting BIG and little,
    I have a TON of cotton yarn. What can I knit with it besides dish cloths?
    Your friend,
    Cindy

  88. I began knitting in the 80s. I thought swatching was supposed to help with the “making sweaters that fit” situation. Now I wonder whether I’m just permanently scarred by the fashions of my youth. Is there hope for me yet?

  89. I have a pattern for a onesie that is PERFECT for my nephew. Problem is, the pattern only goes up to 2 months and he’s 4 months. How do I change the pattern so it will fit him?

  90. Why is there so much information out there about knitting socks but so little information about darning the darn things when you’ve worn them out?

  91. Dear Problem Ladies,
    If I want to make a blue sweater, but the pattern says pink, what should I do?
    Just Following the Rules

  92. What do you do about buying a kit (yarn and pattern) from a yarn shop that misrepresents the project? This yarn shop clearly modified the original pattern but did not include the modifications with the pattern. After ripping twice, I called for the modifications and was clearly lied to! Grrrr.

  93. When knitting a cardigan which side is considered the right and the left? Is it when viewing the cardigan that the right side is right or when wearing it?

  94. Dear Problem Ladies,
    What do you do when you want to start a project, and you can find the little package that the circular needles you need came in, but the needles are in another project? And this happens over and over again–no matter how much you try to need the needles you do have, you end up needing the ones you don’t have. Do you buy more needles? Please don’t tell me to finish one project before I start another. I already have a mom.
    sigh.
    Carin

  95. Hello ladies! Is there an easier way to get the hang of knitting on DPNs? I have a heck of a time with them and their fiddliness and ust can’t seem to get my brain and my fingers working together!

  96. Dear Problem Ladies,
    What do you do when you want to start a project, and you can find the little package that the circular needles you need came in, but the needles are in another project? And this happens over and over again–no matter how much you try to need the needles you do have, you end up needing the ones you don’t have. Do you buy more needles? Please don’t tell me to finish one project before I start another. I already have a mom.
    sigh.
    Carin

  97. Do the Problem Ladies subscribe to the dunk or steam theory of blocking sweaters? Fiber content taken into account of course.

  98. Dear Problem Ladies, What’s the second best answer to someone who thinks knitting socks is crazy? The best answer, of course, is to knit them socks and let them learn first-hand, but that’s just not feasible, given the knitting time available.

  99. Dear Problem Ladies, When counting rows, does the row ON the needles count, and when is the cast on row counted?

  100. Dear Ladies, A dear group of church ladies that I knit with are making prayer shawls, both knitted and crocheted. They are very skilled in certain areas but not in others, such as fancy-pants stitches or adapting patterns that aren’t specifically for shawls. How do I nudge these caring and giving women out of their traditional knitting/crocheting box and into some adventure?

  101. Is there a way you can recommend to enlarge patterns written for babies so that they will fit toddlers, aside from using thicker yarn and needles and hoping for the best? I got a lot of projects done for my baby while I was pregnant, but my pace slowed considerably after she was born. I have all these cute patterns meant for babies that she will never wear (sniff).
    thanks

  102. I knit a raglan sweater out of beautiful hand-dyed, hand-spun wool bought at a market in Russia, and can’t wear it because I didn’t make the armholes deep enough (I have to stand with my arms above my head). How could I give myself some extra room in the ‘pits? Gussets? How would I make them and sew them in?

  103. My stash won’t fit in a closet. Am I a hoarder?

  104. Okay, I want to knit a top down, plug your gauge in, sweater but not a raglan, saddle shoulder would be DEVINE, oh and I want to use brioche stitch the one where two stitch act as one.
    If that can not be done, top down yoke. While raglans are fine on some I feel that they point out I have a somewhat large chest.
    thanks
    Patty in snowy maryland.

  105. Dear Problem Ladies
    For some reason that I can’t explain other than my love to keep things, I have saved every ball band from every skein of yarn I have worked in the last two or three years. The bag of ball bands is growing to the point that I either now appear to be a hoarder like those on tv or I need a new craft reason to keep them. Is there a crafty thing I can create from ball bands, some altered art that will show the beauty of the ball band and preserve the sweet memory of htat fresh unopened skein of yarn with such potential.
    A girl from TN with a bag of ball bands and a cross crafting heart

  106. ooow, I would LOVE to win the HP audio book (hint hint!).
    Ok, I loved Pardon Me, I Didn’t Knit that for You…and now I love even more the Times article and video for Grey Garments. Unfortunately, I have not been adequately able to convey my amusement and delight to my peers studying health policy. I don’t understand that. Even policy wonks need humor, don’t they? What a dull, unappreciative bunch.
    So since I need a question, I believe, to qualify for this contest…what’s next for all the alters?
    Happy knitting,
    Lindy

  107. Dear Problem Ladies, I am a traditionally built woman (a phrase from the wonderful Ladies #1 Detective Agency books by Alexander McCall Smith…another excellent knit-to audio series). A lot of patterns are for women “less traditional” than me. Can I just add a bunch of stitches to make it fit? What do you think?
    Meg

  108. I’m using some LB Nature’s Choice organic cotton. It is soooo soft & sooo fuzzy…do you think it will eventually stop fuzzing on everthing or just fuzz away to nothing?
    And on those mitered square blankets…how do you get your centers so neat? I blissfully mattress stitch to the tip & then it all goes to heck.

  109. Dear Question Ladies,
    What is the going etiquette on knitting at non-knitting-based public lectures? I’ve had students knit through classroom lectures, which really just indicates disinterest in notetaking (except for the student who got it OKed ahead of time, asking permission and explaining that as a kinesthetic learner she remembered things better when she was making something than when she was trying to write everything down). But if there’s no expectation of notetaking, what is the proper thing to do? Sit in the back so the lecturer can’t see? Put it away entirely? Enquiring minds are intensely worried about giving offense.

  110. What yarn would you recommend for making heavy-use mittens? I’ve been using Cascade 220 superwash or Dale Baby Ull, which work pretty well, but I’m wondering what you’d recommend in the superwash and also the handwash lines?

  111. Dear Problem Ladies…
    My problem is that as I read through these questions, I feel compelled to answer many of them. I would especially like to help Sarah whose husband (the bast’id!) is on a golf trip while she is home with 2 kids and 40 inches of snow. My question is: do you need help with this list? I am at the ready waiting to assist.
    Happy Valentine’s Day Ann, Kay and especially Sarah.

  112. Dear Problem Ladies,
    Since when are there 2 ways to perform a SSK? I was merrily performing “Slip as if to purl, slip as if to purl, insert L needle into two stitches on right needle from left to right, loop yarn as if for knit, slide off.” Now I hear some do this as “Slip as if to purl, slip as if to knit, etc”…
    Why didn’t I get this memo? And does it matter, really, which way the second stitch is slipped? Will I be shamed if I keep doing them the way I learned first?
    Pink Skating Girl

  113. What is the best video that you know to learn how to knit two socks at a time on one circular needle?
    Thank you!

  114. What is the best video that you know to learn how to knit two socks at a time on one circular needle?
    Thank you!

  115. So my question is – which is worse, sewing in a zipper or finishing a sweater where the shaping was done on the edge?

  116. A question on Steeking. When steeking was not an option in the original pattern. How do I put a steek into a baby bunting when the zipper was originally meant to go on the bottom, but I want the zipper down the front? I didn’t realize this until AFTER I had knit the whole durn thing.

  117. Hello ladies, what’s the best way to gain readers for my knitting blog. I love to talk (I even love it more if someone’s listening) and would like to share some ideas and opinions with the knitting world!

  118. How do I keep my dog from being jealous of my knitting time? Whenever I get settled in my chair to knit he either barks at me or sits by the door wanting to be let outside! He always wants to be the center of attention, but sometimes I just want to relax and knit.
    Thanks for your time. You two are the best!

  119. This is another knitting etiquette question: Is it rude to knit at dinner parties? I have on occasion whipped out my knitting during pre- or post-dinner conversation and sensed a bit of annoyance from the non-knitters in the group. Should I ask, “Excuse me, do you mind if I knit?” in spite of my doubts that superwash fumes are aggravating anyone’s allergies.

  120. There’s nothing about asking the same question as someone else, which is good because I have two that have already been asked but I would love the answers:
    I too would like to know what is the best stretchy cast on for a crew-necky sweater that will have ribbing attached after the fact?
    And also:
    What is a good way to knit in ends as you go? For that same sweater.
    Thanks!

  121. What is the best video that you know to learn how to knit two socks at a time on one circular needle?
    Thank you!

  122. I’m knitting a log cabin blanket from your book, and I have to wonder how you came up with knitting a billion knit stitches on tiny (for me) needles. I did the first on 10 and a halfs. It went faster. :D

  123. How do you keep pets from playing with the stash? My friend and soon-to-be roommate has a dog who thinks that my yarn was just made for her! I tried knitting her (the dog, not the friend) her own sweater so she would have her own pile of yarn to play with, but to no avail. How do you suggest I protect the stash and WIPs from her?

  124. Navy blue socks. According to DH, good to wear. No fun to knit. Discuss.

  125. Dear Problem Ladies,
    How can I buy yarn on the sly? My husband thinks I have more than enough yarn in my stash (and some of it is really nasty).

  126. What are some attractive ways to wear a triangular shawl? I’ve knit 2 and am working on a third. I love them all, but the most creative I can do for wearing them is to knot the ends together over my chest.

  127. How do I make my seed stitch look neat and even? It always looks airy in spots.

  128. Is crochet or knit easier for stuffed animal type objects? I am about to start a 6 legged flying bison for a gift and am noticing that a lot of the arigumi animals are actually crochet. I don’t have a pattern and will be making that up too – so what do you think – Knit or Crochet?

  129. are you working on another book? Why do my cats chew on knitting needles, even the metal ones?

  130. What is the best way to hold DPN’s when knitting in the round? I am always fiddling with them and cannot get comfortable! Also, how do you keep the marker in place to mark the beginning of the round? Mine always falls off so I put it between the 1st & 2nd stiches…Thanks!

  131. If you have puckering in a stranded project, is there any hope of getting it to relax? Will blocking help? How do you make sure you have enough play in the strand? Is there such thing as too loose in the strands?

  132. What is the best way to judge how much yarn to start with on a long-tail cast on? (I’ve been burned by this one so often I need a skin graft.)

  133. How many times am I going to have to start and frog the second border on my Victorian Lace Today scarf? I swore I would finish that thing before I got out of my house after the last snow storm, but I frogged the whole border two days ago, put the darn scarf in time out, and went out today. Are there any tricks to knitting a lace border and joining it to live stitches on the body of the piece?

  134. How do you come up with endless interesting topics for this blog? I’ve enjoyed reading all the questions/comments for this one.

  135. How fast do you knit? How many stitches in 5 minutes? I feel like I am really , really slow and I’d like something to aspire to.

  136. How can I convince my boss to let me knit instead of work?

  137. Dear Problem Ladies,
    I would like to know how to get my dogs to knit for me. They are quite clever (at least the whippet is) and I think of all the time they waste at home sleeping while I’m working to pay for the kibble. I’m sure Olive is clever and will share her tips on getting them to help out with the stash without slobbering all over the the yarn.
    Waiting in anticipation,
    Bonnie

  138. What are the best methods/materials/incantations to use for washing/cleaning handknits of all fibers and fiber combinations?
    Oh, and is there a water-quality-equalizing system/method to remove this as a variable in the above question?
    I find a lot of conflicting information about this, and honestly, to spend hours or days or – in my case – months (possibly years) knitting a garment only to have to experiment with tricksy maintenance methods is…not fun.
    p.s. Without audiobooks, it’s unlikely I would ever finish knitting anything. Audiobooks or wilderness trips – either one works for me, but one involves more frequent and higher-quality snacking.

  139. I have a terrible time trying to substitute yarn for the more expensive ones. Do you have an easy method?

  140. Dear Problem Ladies,
    How do you say no to someone who is cleaning out their stash and wants to give you all their clearance yarn that they just had to buy but realised that all that eyelash and novilty yarn is just no fun to work with? The word no and yarn just can not come out of my mouth in the same sentance.

  141. How much yarn do I need to knit a scarf?
    I work @ a LYS and need to know!

  142. What’s your favorite way to keep track of increases or decreases for long slogs of shaping — sleeves, for instance?
    And — what style, size, length, of shawl is most flattering to a pear shaped woman who is not ready to be Mrs. Tiggy Winkle?

  143. Why is it that after casting on more than 25 stitches and then checking the count I can get 10 different answers on 10 tries? I thought about taking the average as the cast on number, but somehow that seems wrong. Help? I’m tired of counting and recounting and recounting….

  144. Dear Problem Ladies, when I knit, should I leave the dog hair in my knitting, or pull it out as I go along? If it’s for me, I guess it would be a remembrance of my pooch, if it’s a gift, should I just act like it’s part of the yarn’s quality!??
    Your friend, Sara in AL
    smdenbo@aol.com

  145. Dear Problem Ladies:
    I often find a pattern I would like to knit online, only to find the yarn for that pattern is in outer Timbuktu. How can I decide what yarn is appropriate for substitution, when I haven’t seen/felt/knit with the original yarn? I know about gauge, etc. It’s figuring out drape/weight/how it knits that confuses me!

  146. Am 1/3 of the way through a m-d linen dishtowel, taking my time, enjoying the process; it’s very relaxing… Am also ready to cut my first steek and for this, my stress level is very high. If I use fray check on the cut edges as insurance against unraveling ends, no one will know except me, but will it cause damage that I, due to my inexperience, do not foresee?

  147. Thanks for sharing the audio love — whoo hoo! My question is this: when cutting a single stitch of knitting to unravel a whole section and knit in the opposite direction (like when I didn’t like ribbing on my cuff down sock, snipped one stitch, unraveled all the way around to reveal live stitches which I promptly put back on 3 DPNs and reknit the cuff from the middle of the sock to the cuff edge)why are the new stitches 1/2 of of a stitch off from the original fabric? Besides knitting in the opposite direction than the rest of the fabric, is there another reason this happens? Thanks so much.

  148. Dear Problem Ladies:
    How would I teach myself to knit in my sleep? So much lovely free time, no kids to interrupt me! No cooking!
    Please advise!

  149. Dear Problem Ladies,
    Thanks for the list to add to my library request list. I’ve been low on audiobooks. But my question is–and you may have answered this before but in different words–why do I make dumb knitting choices? Example: knitting an entire sweater without ever evaluating the gauge. OK, so one sweater this fall, I evaluated the gauge and it was tight but I *didn’t want to* start over. Sweater two, no gauge, bigger size than usual to accommodate for burgeoning body parts (I’m growing a human), read comments on Ravelry like “the sleeves are too long” and now… it’s big in the shoulders, the sleeves are about 6 inches too long and one of the shoulders poofs in a really tacky way. I’m going to try it on again tonight and you can bet I’ll either a) wear it with the sleeves rolled up or b) give it away. No way am I undoing the seams and starting over.
    love, Daphne

  150. Dear Problem Ladies, I am in utter despair and need your help. When I cast on for circular ribbing, K1’s and P1’s fill up my left needle with lovely stretchy stitches and then I join being careful not to twist and somehow have to turn the work to begin, whereupon the first K becomes a P, etc. I’ve made myself dizzy with this. Thanks!

  151. I have a question…
    I’d like to undo some ufos and recover some yarn – what’s the easiest way to get the kinks out? I’m not a spinner or a weaver, just a normal knitter with normal knitting tools. I’ve seen “helpful” hints that start with “wind the yarn into a skein” and they go on from there – I guess that’s the part I need help with.
    Thanks.

  152. How do you go about fixing a tear in a cardigan. My SIL must have caught it on a nail and tore a hole 4 st accross and about 6 rows high in it.

  153. I get panicky each time I think of sewing/finishing may sweaters. As a consequence, I’ve stopped knitting sweaters, though I do knit all the pieces and store them away. I have knit sweaters in the round and do pretty well, but I now have several sweaters patiently awaiting me. Instead of working on these, I knit l scarves, hats, mittens, wash clothes etc. How would you conquer your fear of finishing, if you indeed were fearful?

  154. Dear Problem Ladies,
    I have a knitting etiquette question – is it acceptable to perform a spit join while knitting in public? Surely one would attempt to disguise it or wet the yarn by putting the ends into one’s mouth rather than spitting into one’s hand! Or should one excuse oneself, find a quiet corner and perform the join in semi-seclusion? So far, this dilemma has not occured but I fear it is only a matter of time before I find myself faced with having to add another ball of yarn in public. It’s giving me a complex about knitting where others may see me – Help Please!!!

  155. When I’m looking at yarn, the ball tag says something like 50 grams, X yards, etc. Patterns say fingering, worsted weight yarn, etc. How do these different measurements, dimensions, etc. correlate? Why don’t patterns give you yards expected per size, and yarn labels give what kind of sportweight, worsted, chunky it is? Is this a conspiracy to make me buy more yarn?
    Puzzled

  156. My handknit sock has just sprung a hole. How do you darn a sock darn it?

  157. When knitting and counting and listening to an audio book how to you keep track of what is going on in the house around you? Do you simply not try and let the kids scream and holler and let the meowing kitties starve and ignore the husband while being comfortably ensconced in a chair and entering an alternate reality?

  158. How do you know how long to leave the “tail” when doing a long-tail cast on? Most of my projects get cast on at least twice because the tail is too short.

  159. How do you increase in 1×1 rib? I’m working a pattern that wants me to increase one stitch each end 8 rows apart…. I like to increase 2 stitches from the edge, but maybe that’s my problem… should I be increasing at the edge? But I was trying to keep it neat for seaming.
    Also any new tips on picking up stitches. I avoid button bands, etc, because my pick up is so frustrating.

  160. I’ve recently broken my fibula, and am thinking about knitting armpit cozies for my crutches. Is this a better application for felting, or a easy care acrylic? Or, do I invest my fortune in Euroflax, for the evaporative cooling effect?

  161. By what method would one knit two socks at the same time while using only ONE set of needles, as in Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’?

  162. How late is too late to give someone a Christmas present that wasn’t ready in time?
    I ask myself that almost daily.

  163. Why do so many people who knit have cats? I’m sorry; but I don’t care for cats…and they definately don’t like me. Will this effect how well I can continue in knitting? will I be limited in the skills I can learn? Would a stuffed, or knitted, kitten work as well for me? Hope you can help me with this.

  164. Dear Problem Ladies,
    I knit continental and I struggle with the SSk. Is there a trick?
    Thanks!

  165. When counting rows, does the cast on row count?

  166. Dear Problem Ladies,
    How do you know what level of knitwear your relationship can handle? Since I knew about the sweater curse, I only made my girlfriend a pair of mittens for Christmas, but soon afterward, we broke up anyway. Is there a way to gauge this before you start knitting?

  167. Dear Problem Ladies…
    I keep a bag o knitting in my car for knitting emergencies. (Hush now! You know it happens! You end up somewhere where you have to wait a bit or you show up at the coffee shop and realize that you have no-one to sit with so you knit, but sometimes you forget to bring your regular knitting…) Anyway. I had a really neat plan to sneak new yarn into the house. I would go to the yarn store where it would ambush me but instead of trying to sneak in with a fresh LYS bag, I would slip the new yarn into my car knitting bag. Then a few days later, it’s not “new” yarn anymore, and it’s safe to bring in the knitting bag and slip the yarn into my stash. Not only has my husband figured out my sneaky plan, HE STOLE IT and has been using it for Enhancement of the tool stash. He buys a tool and pops it into his tool box and sneaks it into the house a few days later… I found out because he left a new set of drill bits in the plastic wrapper. Amateur! You need to disguise all the wrapping!
    Anyway, so should I be upset that he not only knows my secret sneaky plan, but he’s using it himself? And more importantly… I need a new sneaky plan! Any ideas for a new surreptitious stash enhancement plan?

  168. Dear Problem Ladies, is there an easy way to work the ‘magic loop’ method? For once I’d like to make a pair of socks that are both the same size, rather than getting one that fits me and another that might fit a five year old. I’ve tried, but I can’t seem to get the knack of knitting with two circs . . . thanks for your assistance!

  169. Hello ladies – can you help me with this? When you cast on for your project does this count as the 1st row?
    I can never quite figure this out. I look forward to your advice.
    PS> Remember IBOL? I saw soldiers delivering IBOL boxes on the CBS news tonight! I’m so proud of all the quilters and knitters that donated for this project!
    Helen

  170. I’ve knitted lots of stuff but never socks. After working up my nerve, I’ve decided to try knitting a sock. So now it seems there are several different ways to do this! I thought of taking a class but it’s super expensive and I’m not sure I’ll like knitting socks enough to justify the expense. I’ve read several books, have bought a couple skeins of fun sock yarn, and have cast on (dpns) several times. I keep goofing up and having to frog. Is the universe telling me something? Should I just give up and forget about socks? Or should I keep persevering?
    (My daughter has said she would LOVE a pair of hand knit socks made by her mother.)
    Sockless Scotty

  171. I can’t resist buying sock yarn and I have an over abundance of it. The problem is I’d like to take a break from knitting socks. What’s a good project to knit with sock yarn besides socks?

  172. I would like to know if bamboo yarn shrinks in the wash the way cotton yarn does.

  173. I am having a problem getting gauge on a sweater, and am also having trouble locating another skein of Cascade Ecological Wool in Shade 8087 Batch 5897 so i can knit the next size up. Is it delusional to think it would be easier to just lose a couple pounds to make the sweater fit? Or possibly contrive some sort of slimming foundation garment to wear under the sweater?

  174. I’m knitting (size 11 needles) a pattern with horshoe cables (C8B, C8F), and I’m getting a big HOLE when I change from cable 8 back to cable 8 front! HELP! Why is this happening?

  175. I love books. I love knitting books. I love my iPhone. I love that I can read ebooks on my iPhone. Why aren’t there any knitting books (excluding fiction) available as ebooks????

  176. My question is:
    How do you get out of a knitting rut? Sometimes I feel like I slog away at a project, but either I don’t make progress or I get tired of it. What are your ways of breaking this cycle?
    Love, Andrea (lurker)

  177. I don’t need the swag–you have been generous enough–but how in the world can I get the pattern for the moose hats I see on the US Olympic athletes?
    I need to make one.

  178. Dear P.L.,
    When knitting the Log Cabin blanket, what suggeestions do you have for the outer edging? I’m loving my project while traveling to the Vancouver Olympics.

  179. Is there an easier way to knit lace? I always get confused and mess up and have given up. Any suggestions.

  180. I am putting together a “knitting basket” for a silent auction. I would like to include items that could appeal to a new knitter as well as a more experienced knitters. What would you gals consider essentials for a new knitter and/or fun items for a more seasoned knitter?

  181. Dear P.L.s:
    I bought a niddy-noddy at Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival ’09. We’re coming up on ’10, and I still haven’t got the hang of it. (Too close to baton twirling, I guess.) Do you have an illustration of the movement? A video?
    Thanks!
    AllisonInPhilly

  182. I have just spun 160 yards of silk and merino, worsted weigh, in a sage green. What should I do with it?

  183. Dear Ladies,
    What is the best size for a blanket for prematrure babies?

  184. Dear Problem Ladies: I am not a matchy-kinda-grrl. I make pairs of socks by making 3 or more socks out of the same 2 – 3 – 4 colors of yarn (not on 2 circs at once though – am pretty crappy at bending that time/space continum thingie) BUT, when I swtich colors from heel flap to gusset – it seems to want to start a hole.
    What to do to:
    1. avoid the whole hole issue
    2. fix said hole if it insists on showing up, and
    3. what is a good snappy line for when people look at my socks and say -“They don’t match!?!” in that surprized and outraged sort of way – yest is restrained enough of a comment that I do not end up out of work.
    I rely on your knitting mojo, NY chutzpah and Southern Smoothness to guide me, here.
    Thanks!!

  185. I almost always make two socks on two circulars because I have so much trouble counting rows. Sometimes I think I would like to use a sock pattern that is more complicated (interesting) and I want to make one sock at a time so that I am concentrating on the details of the pattern and not having to also keep track of where I am on two socks. LONG lead in to ask for tips on accurate row counting!

  186. How can I justify knitting another Clapotis for myself?

  187. When using a row counter, do you count the row you just knit, or the row you are about to knit? Just wondering what proper procedure is.

  188. My collection of yarn (I don’t want to call it stash that has a little bit negative sound) is growing and growing. I tell myself all the time that I shouldn’t buy more. What to do?

  189. Dear Problem Ladies,
    I love knitting and I love reading. Apart from using audio books, is there a way to do both? Any gadgets that you have found to help with this?

  190. Dear Problem Ladies,
    How do I convince my employer to let me knit at work again? 12-hour night shifts suck without craftwork of any kind.
    Thank you,
    Bored at 4 a.m. at the 911 center

  191. What is your all-time favorite scarf pattern? (I’m hoping for two answers here..)

  192. I horde pattern books and knitting magazines. I search book sales and library bins and fork over good yarn money for eighties patterns with big hair and bigger shoulders. Is it nostalgia? Do I think they’ll come back in style? I don’t know. Perhaps I’m saving them from the trash can for posterity’s sake.
    Am I doing the knitting world a favour, or should I burn these monstrosities in a bonfire of the vanities?

  193. Dearest Ladies Who Solve Problems,
    Why does someone (not me) buy skeins in random numbers that then do not work out for a project that that someone has in mind? In other words, how do our brains (not mine) generate the number that we (not me) use to buy random yarn on sale? Someone I know bought 5 beautiful balls of baby alpaca, but why 5? They don’t work yardage-wise with any desirable patterns.
    Signed,
    On Behalf of Someone I Know

  194. Why oh why do I get Startitis…..is ther a cure for this disease

  195. Dear Answer Ladies, I would really like to try a different method for knitting socks, but I just can not get a hang of this wrapping stitches thing. Can you explain it for me?
    Sincerely,
    Top Down, Four Sticks.

  196. I am trying to knit hats to match my daughters’ coats. The coats are three colors, can you help me decide a good placement for each color on the hat? Should the dominant coat color also be the dominant hat color? Thanks!

  197. I have to cheat when I knit. Actually, it’s not during the knitting, but in between, when I count. Example the first: when I finished the first section of a shawl (a pattern known to be brilliant and reliable that has been knit by thousands, Ishbel by Ysolda Teague) I was missing two stitches. So I cheated and added two yarnovers on the wrong side. Example the second: I cast on for a sweater last night with the correct number of stitches ( don’t ask how many times I had to count) but after the third row, I was already off by one stitch. So I skipped an increase.
    Is all this cheating a problem?

  198. Dear Problem Ladies-
    What is the “knit with slight variations for everyone on your Christmas list” project for 2010? In past years I have used ball band dishcloths, log cabin bath mats, and worsted weight socks to great success.

  199. Dear Problem Ladies,
    I don’t know how to seam. I’m admitting this up front. And there are so many lovely patterns out there written in pieces that you have to put together at the end. (Never mind that this means you can’t try the thing on before it’s too late.) Is there any reason you, with your many years of combined knitting experience, can think of that I should not convert every sweater pattern to knit all in one piece up to the underarms, or even (imagine this!) top-down? Why not, right? What do you think?

  200. Is it possible to Twit and Knit at the same time?

  201. How do you teach a very enthusiastic, but ADD sister to not twist her knit stitches? Driving me crazy – she wants to get on with making somethings, but her knitting is wonky….

  202. What is the best alternative to the spit-splice? I find that my spit-splicing is never successful, and that leaves my knitting (and my spirits) dampened.

  203. Oh, ladies–this comes at just the right time! I just finished knitting a pair of mittens that were really challenging (check out the Cat Mittens in Ravelry–totally cool!), but look lovely. Except for the place where I picked up those blessed thumb stitches! When a pattern has you knit with waste yarn, put the loops back on the left needle, and reknit the stitches, I get it. But when I go back to remove that waste yarn, I can’t seem to pick up the “loops” (I use quotation marks b/c they’re not obvious loops, which is my problem, I suppose), I can never find them, and the resulting “seam” is never seamless. What is a woman to do? I love mittens, and want to make tons of them, but this issue must be resolved before I commit to another complicated pair! Thanks in advance. :-)

  204. Why can’t I read charts? What are the rules? Why are the even lines the opposite of the odd lines?
    why can’t “they” just fill in all the squares?
    Will this disqualify me for more than one question?

  205. Dear Problem Ladies,
    I love knitting with bulky yarns, but knitting with the bamboo needles seems stiff and makes my hands hurt. I’ve had some difficulty finding larger (11+) metal needles for bulky projects. Any suggestions?

  206. Dear Problem Ladies,
    I love knitting with bulky yarns, but knitting with the bamboo needles seems stiff and makes my hands hurt. I’ve had some difficulty finding larger (11+) metal needles for bulky projects. Any suggestions?

  207. Is there a cure for swatchitis? I’ve knit up an *entire skein* of beautiful, one-of-a-kind yarn that I acquired without a pattern in mind, or maybe with too many patterns in mind — as swatches. The yarn is delicious; swatching it is too much fun.
    I hauled yarn, swatches and potential patterns to the knitting group at my LYS in a desperate plea for help, and came away with three more pattern books and a compulsion to knit yet more swatches.
    Is there a swatchaholics group somewhere? Should I just give in, swatch the other skeins, and call the swatches afghan squares? Help.

  208. How do I block a circular shawl so that it actually *is* circular, rather than oval as mine tends to turn out?

  209. When knitting in the round, and changing to back and forth, my stitches look different. It’s a bummer when the sweater’s bottom half looks better than the top. What can I do?

  210. Dear Problem Ladies–
    As a beginning sock knitter I am trying to keep things simple, yet as a lover of clogs I long for heels with pizzazz. How can I dress up those heels, yet still have projects I can finish before the snow melts?

  211. When making a mitered square blanket, how can I work the ends in, while knitting, so I don’t end up with those bzillion yarn ends to weave in, at the end. I am making the Shelly Kang Sock Blanket, using tons of sock yarn, so it will take forever to make and then another forever to weave in the ends if I don’t find a solution.

  212. How can I manage to knit and drive at the same time? I have a 30 minute commute (no public transportation option) and I feel that I am wasting valuable knitting time. Any ideas?

  213. What is the easiest way to knit glove fingers? It’s really annoying to try and balance 4-5 stitches each on 4 six or seven inch DPNs.

  214. Dear Problem Ladies,
    Thank you so much for offering this contest. I confess that I recently “discovered” you through another knitting blog. I love your attitude(s) towards knitting and life. Whatever got you both involved in knitting and blogging about knitting?
    Your newest fan in snowy Baltimore,
    Nancy P

  215. Technique question! I am trying to do a loop stitch so that the loop is on the knitted side as this project is knit in the round. I cannot come up with a way that doesn’t leave a gaping hole on the next row….. I have followed the tutorials on the internet and am doing the same thing they are and getting the same results. However, I have to knit the next 5 rows and they just draw out and the loops get smaller. Clearly I am wrapping wrong, binding off wrong, etc. I suppose I could purl the entire thing and turn it inside out on completion but this has my dander up now and don’t want it to win over me. Help! And to get a book on tape AND the answer? Priceless.

  216. Dear Problem Ladies,
    I’m a newlywed and love spending time with my husband and my yarn. My husband is very supportive and encouraging but I don’t want take take advantage. Reasonably speaking, how many drawers in *his* dresser should I be using for yarn storage?
    Canoodling in Canada

  217. Is there a secret to using double points? Seriously, how do you start anything on them, with all that twisting, sliding, slipping, crossing chaos of the first few rows?
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  218. Toe up or top down for socks? Thanks!

  219. Most, if not all knitting patterns give a gauge for the knitted item. Of course, I want garments to fit so I religiously knit that 4″x4″ swatch. I’ve read that it’s best to block that swatch and then count the stitches to determine if I’m on gauge. I always buy extra yarn to allow for this process since the blocked yarn should not be used in my garment. My questions are: (1) Do I really need to block the swatch? and (2) If so, do the given yarn requirements allow for this process?

  220. Why does my daughter insist on wearing store-bought gloves when I knit her a pair of pink (her favorite color) mittens that I HANDSPUN out of a blend of wool, angora, and pink glitz? WHY!?!

  221. Question: Why can’t I have time off work for the Ravelympics? However am I to finish my four projects in 17 days and keep a day job too?

  222. Why won’t my dog wear a hand knit?

  223. I have a question! Does seedstitch follow the same proportion rules as garter stitch? Seems like it should, but I’ve never heard anyone declare this to be true.
    Thanks!

  224. How can I make my husband understand it is perfectly reasonable to want a cleaning lady -so I have more free time to knit?

  225. Dear Problem ladies,
    How can I train my cat to not bother me when I’m knitting. She always wants me to hold her as I reach a tricky part.

  226. Hello problem ladies, i am a continental style knitter and my purl is always looser than my knit. Do you have any suggestions on how I can even things out?

  227. How do I create a thumb without a hole on each side when I use a wristwarmer/mitten pattern that has me knitting 7 stitches on waste yarn? When I remove the yarn, pick up the 14 sts and start knitting the thumb in the round I get a hole on each side and wind up doing a after-the-fact duplicate stitch patch job to fix it.

  228. Could you tell me how I can get my bedroom to not look like the one in your movie?

  229. It seems that my swatches are always knit tighter than my actual knitting. Even if I knit a giant 6 x 6 swatch, wash & block. Any suggestions? I have quit knitting sweaters because they just never turn out to be the right size or fit. HELP. I have a stash that is calling out to me.

  230. My question, dear Edies, is about ergonomics.
    What kind of wrist flexing or finger stretching exercises can one perform in an effort to stave off the pain of carpal tunnel (sp?) especially when one is knitting on tiny needles such as those required for socks.
    I find the best remedy for the pain is to simply STOP knitting. I will not accept THAT as an answer!

  231. Where can I find a copy of knitting 3 socks on 2 circular needles?

  232. Dear Problem Ladies – This is a mental health questions. Be warned, I might need a dr.
    Is there some disorder related to completing knitting projects (or, rather, not completing them)? I love to find the pattern, find the yarn, swatch it, start it, get into the pattern and then….then nothing. My fickle cheating heart starts yearning, then my roving eye starts wandering to the pattern books, the stash, next thing you know, I am a polygiknist, you know, the knitter who is intimate with more than 1 project. What’s the cure, problem ladies?

  233. How does one get past the almost-but-not-quite-finished-with-one-project stage without being distracted by other bright shiny projects and casting on that project, ad infinitum? And then having a pile of almost-complete projects staring one in the face every time one opens the yarn closet? Or is this normal?

  234. Why am I so darn late to the ball?

  235. Dear Problem Ladies: when do you know something about your garment will “block out” or be improved in the blocking process? What won’t be fixed through blocking?

  236. What can I do with warshrags when they are no longer good for bathin’ (or -dish-washin’)? They’re just too purty to mess up with cleanin’ somethin’not already semi-clean like in a bath/shower or cleanish dishes.

  237. I knit a baby blanket that got lots of wear and love by my first granddaughter. It was returned for repairs b/c my daughter & granddaughter want to pass it on to my other daughter and granddaughter number 2 (now 3 months old). I’ve had plenty of time to do this but I don’t know how. There are holes in the blanket, and I don’t know how to darn. Is there anything else I can do? Sorry for the wordiness.
    Thanks so very much!

  238. Dear Problem Ladies:
    What’s best for babies, wool or acrylic? I’ve heard that it’s bad for them to wear acrylic because it can melt at high temperatures, but will wool bother their sensitive skin?
    Thanks!

  239. My son fell in love with some brown chunky tweedy yarn when he was a toddler. Of all the yarn in the house (and there is a lot) he chose this yarn to carry around and love. He cuddled with it, slept with it, brought it to the dinner table. So, it seemed to me to make perfect sense – I knit him a teddy bear out of it. It is cute and cuddly and was as big as he was. As soon as this yarn was transformed into a bear he compeltely lost interest in it and has never cared for the bear AT ALL. Seriously? That’s my question…. SERIOUSLY?

  240. Can someone teach me how to purl so that my fingers don’t go numb? I pick, BTW. Thanks.

  241. Is there a good way to guesstimate the length of yarn needed for casting on? Thanks!!!

  242. Where can I find enough sweater yarn to knit a woman-sized sweater for under $50?!
    Thanks!

  243. I’m knitting with some lovely silk yarn for the Knitting Olympics and will end up with a cute sweater in 2 weeks. But, I dread washing it for the first time, as my past experience with silk wasn’t the best. Any tips for the correct blocking and care of silk so it doesn’t end up all saggy and baggy and shapeless?

  244. How many log cabin blankets are too many? I’m addicted to them….

  245. Dear ladies,
    My whole house is being renovated. Do you know where my UFO’s went or do I have to go shopping to start a new project? Thank you for your consideration of this most serious question for me.
    Sara

  246. I don’t like to seam projects. Actually, I prefer things without much finishing work. Is this normal? Am I restricting myself too much with these limits? Should I just get over it, or is it fair to declare my hatred of this part of the process?

  247. How can I best hide my yarn stash from the prying eyes of my family?

  248. You guys are great!
    Okay, here’s my question, which I’ve been meaning to write in to the Problem Ladies for a couple of weeks. For once my lack of memory might pay off.
    What ‘should’ one wash/block her handknits in? My mother always used dishwashing liquid, but she was of a certain generation that was extremely frugal, and at a time when no fancy expensive Euculan was around. I read on the Berroco blog that one should never use dishwashing liquid, but when I asked for more info I never heard back. Then recently, Clara Parkes in Knitter’s Review said dishwasing liquid was fine. Additionally, there was recently a bit of a karfuffle (sp??) on Ravelry Remenants Board about Soak — and it not being as environmentally friendly as it advertized itself to be. And then of course there’s the shampoo/conditioner camp. Personally, I do (much to my dismay) think that Euculan gets things softer than the dish soap if stuff is forgotten, I mean left to soak for hours, and it smells nicer. But does any of this mater for the life of the yarn? Which frankly is a lot nicer than the wool my mother knit with. Thanks Problem Ladies!

  249. I’m teaching myself to knit. I have several instructional-type books, and though I can read, I find that it really helps to watch each technique being knitted. Do you have favorite DVDs or websites that demonstrate knitting techniques?

  250. Dear Problem Ladies: I want to knit something that will hold my interest enough so that I actually finish! I seem to start a project with lots of enthusiasm, but putter out before completion. Lots of sweaters in my closet that only need a sleeve, buttons sewn on, or one lonely sock waiting for a mate. Any suggestions on how to cure me?? Thanks!

  251. Dear Problem Ladies: I want to knit something that will hold my interest enough so that I actually finish! I seem to start a project with lots of enthusiasm, but putter out before completion. Lots of sweaters in my closet that only need a sleeve, buttons sewn on, or one lonely sock waiting for a mate. Any suggestions on how to cure me?? Thanks!

  252. When can I teach my daughter to knit? She’s 17 months old and likes to play with my yarn already. Is it ever too early?

  253. I want to love knitting with lace weight yarn, but I feel like I’m chasing dental floss with chopsticks. Halp!

  254. how much yarn is too much yarn?
    or:
    is there such a thing as too much yarn?

  255. Okay, just off the plane, so I don’t have time to read the rest of the questions to see if this is a duplicate (so shoot me), if you are designing a sweater, how do you decide between the types of shoulder increases for top down (k, yo, k or yo, k, yo), with the “airier” types of yarn. I’m new to top down knitting and find this problematic.

  256. Dear Problem Ladies,
    I have a relatively small stash (relative to those I’ve seen in the homes of other knitters). It is confined to two large bookcases downstairs, the upstairs fireplace (we don’t use it), and a section of the living room wall.
    I am running out of ways to keep it out of the way. I suspect my husband is going to say something to me about it any day now. Should I find somewhere to hide my future yarn purchases from him? Or if he confronts me, show him online images of other knitters’ much larger stashes? Or something else entirely?
    Thanks for your help,
    Astabeth

  257. Do you think a lot of left handed people give up and learn to knit right handed because there are so few patterns written for lefties?

  258. How can I tell if the ends that I have woven into a handknit gift are really going to stay put and not unravel all to heck when I give the gift?

  259. Dear Problem Ladies–
    What is your preferred method for blocking? Some advocate steam. Some advocate a cold mist. What do you advise? Happy Valentine’s Day!
    Robin

  260. Questions about knitting, questions about Method Acting…okay, but can I ask about Method Knitting? Is there a method to our madness?
    How does one knit with a cat on one’s lap?
    Best fake or real knitting Miss Marple? – Joan Hickson, hands down. She’s the one who inspired me to learn how to knit!

  261. I am making a simple lacy scarf with a varigated bamboo yarn. Love the colors but can’t decide if they detract too much from the pattern of the lace. How long is too long to wait to see how the color patterns are going to work out? (The shades are very “oceanish.”)
    Thanks!!

  262. hi–ok–I’m knitting striped socks–2 rows one color, 2 rows the next color, and repeat—)I’m knitting them in in stockinet stitch)—when I change colors–how can I do this so the spot where I change colors hardly shows at all? thanks!

  263. Dear Problem Ladies, I am working on a denim yarn sweater and need to know…do I wash and dry all of the pieces separately and then sew them together or sew first? And… if I finish the edges with applied i-cord, will it scrunch up when it shrinks or look fabulous? thanks, mary

  264. How can I get my 4 y.o. son to stop growing so fast, so that he can get more use out of the wonderful handknits I make as bribes for him to come to the LYS with me? It helps that all the ladies fawn over him and give him chocolate kisses too!

  265. If I teach my Dh to knit – will that DOUBE my stash or HALF it?!?
    Love your blog!

  266. Do you ever think of crocheting? Do you have any comments about crocheting?

  267. I want a really really nice but easy Slouch hat that uses worsted weight yarn…also want to know how to correctly do a knit below the stitch…

  268. Is it possible to insert a lifeline in an already knitted shawl with a ruffle that is somehow completely wrong? I’m pretty sure I know the answer, but I can’t quite face the thought of tinking back through all those k1yo rows.
    Thank you.

  269. Dear Problem Ladies,
    I have made a half a dozen pairs of fingerless mitts and several pairs of mittens (even 2 pair thrummed). So why is it I am never happy with the thumbs? They feel bulky and awkward. The cast on stitches seem to either gap or the yarn stretches into giant loops is there a better way or do I just give up thumbs all together?
    Thank you.

  270. Dear Problem Ladies,
    I have made a pair of fingertip-less gloves. As my first pair of such knitwear and with all of the little ends that needed to be woven in, I felt overwhelmed and just did my best weaving in the very short (about 3″ long) tails. Now the ends are poking out all over the place and, try as I might, they just won’t stay in. Any suggestions?
    Yours faithfully,
    Too Many Ends in New York

  271. How do we get knitting to become an olympic sport? It takes skill, endurance, speed, determination, and a competitive spirit!

  272. Have you ever considered making any instructional videos? You Tube is full of people giving knitting instruction via the interwebs, but you ladies could give it some real class and style.
    And…Since you both seem to enjoy all other methods of crafting, will you ever write a book about other types of crafting?

  273. Hi,
    When I do short-row heels in socks, they are all all loose and holey. Any advice to make them look good?
    Thx!

  274. Is there a way to replace a worn out heel in socks that were knitted top-down? I have several pairs that need to be repaired.

  275. Ok, so I totally forgot to yarn over whilst knitting my top down sweater. That was around 6 or 7 rows back. How do I fix this without having to tink? and I don’t mean pee either. That would be tink le (tinkle)
    I enjoy your sarcasm and humor. Deb in CA

  276. So I found this super awesome sock pattern that is stranded. I bought the yarn and pattern in a tizzy so I could make them for my husband. Once the dust had settled from my tizzy and I sat down to actually make the socks I noticed that they are for a woman’s medium foot. This happens all the time and I just make them longer so I plunged forward.
    After one repeat of the pattern I realized I couldn’t even get it over MY foot (and I was working hard to keep the floats a little looseish). So I bound it off and now it has a life as a coffee cup cozy.
    But I still want to make these socks for my husband. He NEEDS them they are so freaking awesome. But is it even possible? How to stranded socks work given their non-stretchy nature? If I were to add in an extra repeat I would be adding at least an inch and a half to the circumference, which is just too much.

  277. i feel all little-edie-ish ’cause i can’t get a good cast on of 30 stitches at the end of a row of knitting – which, after they’re knit, are to be joined. it’s the miller’s hat pattern – a herringbone section, worked flat, gets 30 new stitches, then joined, then continues on in herringbone for a while. My 67 attempts at backwards loop (even TECH KNITTING’S way of turning the work and doing it and picking up slack …. ) result in a frail piece of mess. Any obv ious or even Edie-worthy secret ways of success out there? Thanks Ladies! xoxo

  278. How do you join a new length of yarn when you are working a lace pattern? At the beginning of the row, in the row, spit-splice, weave-in??
    I know how to start a new ball and hide the ends successfully in garter stitch, stockinette and doing cables, but the open work mystifies me. Won’t the end pop out and look horrible?
    Thanks for your help.

  279. Dear Problem Ladies,
    What should I do when the man I love won’t wear the handknit I sweated my heart’s blood to knit? It fits, it is what he asked for, and he has done it on 3 different projects. Oh wait! You answered that question in your video “Pardon me (I didn’t knit that for you)”…

  280. Dear Problem Ladies,
    How do I make my husband understand that there is no such thing as “too much knitting”?

  281. Here’s my problem: I knit a sweater last winter, and it fit great. I folded it lovingly in my closet for the warmer months, but this winter when I went to put it on the sleeves seem to have shrunk! They are at least 3 or 4 inches shorter than they used to be! I haven’t washed it yet, but the same thing has also happened with a store-bought sweater that has been washed. Do I need to re-block my sweaters every winter before I wear them? Is there some way to store them that would keep this from happenning? The sleeves are so short that I haven’t worn the sweater but once because it was so annoying to constantly tug the sleeves down… hope you can help! Thanks a lot!

  282. Dear Problem Ladies,
    My husband thinks that I have too much yarn. How do I convince his eye doctor to downgrade his prescription? Then I can just tell him that we have new throw pillows, or more cats.

  283. OK, it pains me to ask these, but I will put aside my pride for the sake of everyone possibly learning something:
    How the frack do you make a YO before or after a purl stitch without wrapping the dang yarn too many times over the needle?
    And how in the name of all that’s holy and knitterly can I keep from getting an unsightly gap when I’m transitioning from knit to purl in basket-weave types of patterns? As God is my witness, I don’t have this problem when knitting ribbing, but it always becomes something ugly when doing checker-board or basket-weave things. I swear, you could drive the Budweiser Clydesdales through those gaps! It’s embarrassing!

  284. Why can I knit quickly when not needed, but when I really need to turn on the speed for a present or an Olympic event I seem to get slower? WHY???!!! The pain, the agony, please help.

  285. Dear Problem Ladies,
    Probably a dumb question, but still: do you re-block a lace shawl every time you wash it? I haven’t knit any lace shawls yet, and I find the prospect of pinning out hundreds of peaky ends each time I wash my shawl-to-be makes me feel dizzy.
    Thank you!
    Andrea

  286. My question: I’ve only been knitting socks a little while, but it seems they all (so far) have a common problem: Saggy, baggy ankles. The tops are mostly fine (I think), and the foot fits pretty well. But I really dislike how they’re sagging around my ankles. What’s the cure?

  287. Dear Problem Ladies,
    How do you keep track of decreases when doing a lot of them – like sleeves. “Decrease 1 stitch every 4 rows for 7 decreses, then 1 stitch every 4 rows for 5 decreases, then . . .”
    I’ve never made anything with two sleeves exactly the same. Sigh.

  288. Could you please explain what a URL is? I never know what to put in that box. !! Thanks!!!!

  289. If I were to say…..leave a sweater nearly finished on the sticks for approx. 6 mos. Do I need to re-knit a guage swatch to see if my knitting has changed or can I pick it up again and just go at it?

  290. Almost 30 years ago, as a beginner knitter, I started a sweater in Melrose Memory yarn (cotton/stretch fiber). Just having dug it out of the bottom of the closet, I would like to finish it now, but am wondering if this Melrose Memory yarn will have lost its memory by now, and the half a sleeve I have yet to knit will be a waste of my time. Do you know anything about this yarn and its longevity? Thanks, Problem Ladies!

  291. I know I’m too late for the audio nutsyness, and you’ve probably already written your problem ladies action, BUT, log-cabinning and want to do stripes on the strip that go sideways – liiiike, perpendicular to the strip you’re knitting onto. Best joining method that is NOT knit it, then sew it on?
    Love,
    Amber

  292. I have a sock knitting question. I’ve been knitting them cuff down successfully for years, simple or complex, all good. I’ve recently started knitting them toe up, so as to use every last inch of my handspun sock yarn. Here’s the problem, doing the short row heels, with the wrap and turns, I end up with holes on the purl side, but not on the knit side. I’m wondering if there is something I should be doing differently on the purl rows, well, obviously, I should, but I don’t know what. I knit continental style if that makes a difference.

  293. I know I’m too late to enter, but here’s a question:
    How do you react to a creep-ed out husband when you freeze potentially-mothed yarn? He is now opening the freezer nervously, expecting alpaca to bounce out at him.

  294. Buttonholes—how to make them neat and tidy and so they actually fit the button I knit them for. Is there a remedy for sloppy buttonholes on a sweater that’s finished (without frogging)?

  295. I am determined to finish a lace project. After casting on and ripping out 5 times, I decided to write out the chart because apparently I’m so addle-brained, I can’t follow a chart. My question is about life lines. Do you use them? What is the best way to go about a life line? Will I finish my lace stole?

  296. Dear Problem Ladies:
    I have a lot of stash, but not a lot of places to put it. It’s kind of a mess with a sweater lot here and a sweater lot there. How do you recommend I organize all of this largess so I don’t forget that I have all of this before I go out and buy more?

  297. Dear Problem Ladies,
    Are there any super secret techniques to getting up the motivation to finish UFOs which have been lying around for ages? Is all hope lost?

  298. I just started learning to knit sox on dpns.
    Even though I give the yarn a little tug when starting a new needle, I still have the gaps and loose stitches between each needle. Is there an easier trick to it?

  299. question… i just got 9 skeins (25 grams each) of some beautiful blue (think old japanese kimono material color) that is 52% linen or hemp and 48 percent rayon. the label says NIKKELON-S (Mari yarn) it’s from Japan……what the heck should i make with this stuff????